Online distribution is “right horse” to back, says Xbox Europe boss

Thursday, 3rd April 2008 13:57 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Speaking in the Guardian, Xbox Europe head Neil Thompson has pushed online distribution yet again as the future of digital content, saying the disc formats will be a nonsense within 18 months time.

“The horse that we’re fundamentally backing is the one that says the future of entertainment content is online digital distribution,” he said. “I would argue that we backed the right horse.

“If we’re sitting here in 12 or 18 months time, we’ll be saying ‘why were people even thinking about a disc format when it’s really about digital distribution?’ Our strategy’s been developed for the last six or seven years, and ever since we launched the platform it [online content] has been our big, big, big bet.”

Rarely shy with his words, Thompson explicity attacked Sony in the piece, claiming they’re struggling with their online services on PS3.

“I think it’s much less significant than the transition from VHS to DVD,” he added. “The fact that Sony are desperately trying to deliver an online offering means they probably understand that there’s another front they have to develop for.”

Much more through the link.



  1. Blerk

    Again, he’s stupidly optimistic on the time scales for this. It’s just not feasible to deliver all modern-sized games in a networky fashion. Do I want to download 30gigs of PS3 game, or do I want to just click a button and have someone send it to me on a disc in the post?

    Until broadband is *very* much better and consoles have a much, much larger on-board storage device, online distribution of console games is going to be confined to smaller, simpler games. Like it is now.

    #1 7 years ago
  2. morriss


    #2 7 years ago
  3. patlike

    I reckon all this is code for “there’s no drive in the next console”.

    #3 7 years ago
  4. Blerk

    This generation we took away your hard drive! Next generation… your disc drive! The generation after that… no joypads! Ha!

    #4 7 years ago
  5. Hero of Canton

    Yep, totally with Blerk here. Broadband needs to be much faster and consoles need much more space. Even then, you’ll still get loads of people that like to own something physical to show for their purchase. I can’t see discs completely disappearing for a while yet.

    Let’s hope this ’12-18 months’ isn’t a sign as to when MS are considering making their next console.

    #5 7 years ago
  6. Shatner

    I think he’s still sore about those scratched Halo 3 discs.

    When MS release some of their big games (Halo, GoW2, Fable 2, Ninja Gaiden 2, Something Else 2) as a full downloadable game then I’ll be more inclined to have faith in their sentiment.

    Considering this comment comes along with badmouthing Sony – who’ve shouted less but achieved more with with online releases of high-profile games like WarHawk and GT Prologue – I find his claims questionable.

    #6 7 years ago
  7. Blerk

    Yes, it’s quite ironic really – Microsoft are the ones crowing about online distribution on one hand, yet they’re the ones limiting their downloadable games to 512mb because they have a HDD-less console that they have to support. :-D

    I suspect if time travel was possible at Redmond they’d have been popping back to beat whoever it was who said “hey, let’s have a ‘core’ 360 for less money!” with a cricket bat.

    #7 7 years ago
  8. Blerk

    Whoops, sorry – that’s 150mb, isn’t it? Unless they changed it again.

    #8 7 years ago
  9. patlike

    The standard’s 150Mb, yep. They only allow higher numbers on special occasions.

    #9 7 years ago
  10. Zumi

    It’ll be a long time before it’s truly feasible. It’s not just that the distribution methods will have to improve (better broadband speeds), but every console is going to have to come fitted with a behemoth of a hard drive.

    It’s not just that certain areas need to have fast internet with a lot of bandwidth, it needs to be something that’s available to the vast majority of people. Many areas of the UK have only JUST got basic broadband for the first time.

    #10 7 years ago
  11. patlike

    Agree. If they focus squarely on digital distribution they’ll alienate not only a large proportion of the UK but a huge chunk of the global population itself. Just look at the reaction to MacBook Air and it’s driveless comedy.

    #11 7 years ago
  12. grandmaster

    People like to buy games – a physical disk, that is – and then sell them when they’re done. Or buy old second hand ones at a bargain price. All of which is impossible with digital distribution.

    #12 7 years ago
  13. Blerk

    Yeah. And that’s why they’re so keen on it, obviously.

    #13 7 years ago

    Does anyone else see a surprising correlation between this and Michael Bay’s comments a while back?

    #14 7 years ago
  15. Tonka

    Pah! That’s what I’ve been saying for the last 12-18 months.

    I took it he was talking about video distribution.

    #15 7 years ago

    Basically he said that MS was pumping money into HD-DVD in the hope that it would fail and that they could fly the flag for digital distrubution.

    Which is kind of stupid, but there are parallels.

    #16 7 years ago
  17. bloke

    Neil Thompson certainly has great hair, doesn’t he?

    #17 7 years ago
  18. patlike

    He’s definitely not fucking about on the hair front.

    #18 7 years ago
  19. Tonka

    Are we looking at the same hair? It seems thinning to me.

    He’s still a handsome devil though. Reclining hairline or not. Could do with some grey on the sides…

    #19 7 years ago
  20. patlike

    I think his hair perfectly befits a man in his position. Understated but full of exuberance, a style that shows calmness under pressure and an adequate level of seriousness while being light-hearted enough to be a real part of the entertainment market. Very well cut.

    #20 7 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.