In yesterday's Chain Interview installment, Sony's Scott Rohde wanted Microsoft's Shane Kim to say if Microsoft would get back into making sports games. Kim answered. Then things got... interesting.
[This post is the fourth in a series that recounts the chain of questions and answers I solicited from the people I interviewed during E3. I asked each of my interviewees to ask a question of the next one. Hence: Chain Interview.]
Shane Kim, Microsoft corporate vice president for long-term strategy in the Xbox 360 group responds: "We're really pleased to have Take Two and EA doing well on our platform with their sports games. So sports as a gaming genre is obviously very important.
"The way I think about sports is in a broader context. Sports is something that hundreds of millions of people are super-passionate about. That's where I think the opportunity is for us to do really interesting things with Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. While you can pick a number from a hat – [there are]six or seven million people who play Madden, there are a 100 million people who watch the NFL during the season. That's a very interesting market. So can we create an experience on our platform for that a football enthusiast or a basketball enthusiast or a baseball enthusiast...?
(At this point Kim got up and directed my attention to an Xbox 360 that was running a demo of a new service that will show Premier League soccer matches in a window that is surrounded by an audience of Xbox Live avatars. In the margins there was room for trivia and metagame stats based on the number of fans logged in from each team)
"That's not a soccer game, but that's Premier League live matches being broadcast on Xbox Live surrounded by our social entertainment experience… This is a much better video gaming experience to me than just watching the game."
Impressive, Shane, but did you have a question for your former Microsoft colleague Peter Moore, the head of EA Sports who I would be interviewing next?
Shane Kim asks EA Sports chief Peter Moore : "What Microsoft executive do you miss the most from the Xbox group?"
I saw Moore in one of EA's meeting areas, and after an interview I tested his wit by seeing how he could answer Kim's question.
Peter Moore responds: "Whilst that is like saying, which of my children do I love most, boy, it's got to be Master Chief. It's got to be."
I pointed out that Master Chief is not an executive. Laughing, Moore quickly replied: "He's responsible for more revenue than anybody else I left behind there. "
Fair enough. And did he have a question for my next interviewee, his boss and EA CEO John Riccitiello? He did. Some context: most of the parking spots at EA's headquarters are not reserved. Moore told me only two are, for electric cars. So…
Peter Moore asks EA CEO John Riccitiello: "How can you live with yourself by deliberately buying an electric car so you can get a reserved parking spot at Electronic Arts?"
Please come back for the answer and the final key links in our Chain Interview.