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Microsoft entered the console race “to stop Sony” claims former exec

Thursday, 7 February 2013 08:23 GMT By Dave Cook

Xbox exists because Sony and Microsoft have always had a heated working relationship, prompting the latter to enter the console race for itself. That’s the claim of former Microsoft exec Joachim Kempin, who was vice president of Windows Sales at Microsoft. Kempin has revealed the relationship between both companies in a new interview.

We first reported on Kempin back in January, as he has a new book coming out soon that reveals the untold story of life at Microsoft. In it, he paints CEO Steve Ballmer as something of a bully, and claims that his resignation could be the key to Microsoft’s success.

Speaking with IGN, Kempin now states that the only reason Microsoft entered the console market was to challenge Sony head-on, suggesting that there is some bad blood between both parties. The decision – he says – came directly from Bill Gates himself.

Said Kempin, “The main reason was to stop Sony. You see, Sony and Microsoft…they never had a very friendly relationship, okay? And this wasn’t because Microsoft didn’t want that. Sony was always very arm’s length with Microsoft.

“Yeah, they bought Windows for their PCs but when you really take a hard look at that, they were never Microsoft’s friend. And Microsoft in a way wanted them to be a friend because they knew they had a lot of things we could have co-operated on because they are, in a way, an entertainment company, you know?

“I mean, at least a portion of Sony is and they had some really good things going there, but as soon as they came out with a video console, Microsoft just looked at that and said ‘well, we have to beat them, so let’s do our own.’”

Hence the Xbox brand was born. We now know that both companies clash often in the market, and hold timed exclusives to allure fans to their respective format. Console wars are hype machines, nothing more, but it seems to be something many gamers enjoy in the spirit of friendly – and sometimes not so friendly – competition.

What do you make of Kempin’s claims? Has Microsoft done a good job of tackling Sony? Let us know below.

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23 Comments

  1. alterecho

    Looks like this is why Sony won’t try to adopt Windows Phone platform.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. locus2k1

    “Console wars are hype machines, nothing more, but it seems to be something many gamers enjoy in the spirit of friendly – and sometimes not so friendly – competition.”

    Well said.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Dave Cook

    @2 thanks.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Bomba Luigi

    Im not really a Fan of MS or the Xbox and don’t plan on buy the next Xbox, but I’m happy they entered the Console Market. I think it was very Important that someone else was there after Sega going down. Only Sony and Nintendo left would be not a good Thing for the Industire, I guess.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. orakaa

    Oh boy… oh I wished Sega would still be making consoles (especially instead of Microsoft and their cheap unreliable hardware… both my Xbox 1 and 360 died on me… never again, never again)

    #5 2 years ago
  6. shogunknight

    @4 I agree, competition between these three companies has saved us quite a few crazy decisions that would have been made if only one or two of the industries were present.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Goffee

    So Sony got into consoles to fight with Nintendo, Microsoft did the same to get back at Sony, leaving Sega and Nintendo as the only pure-hearted console makers worthy of our support!

    #7 2 years ago
  8. G1GAHURTZ

    Hey everybody!

    Buy my new book, it’s got some really controversial HOT TOPICS in there that I made up you didn’t know before!

    #8 2 years ago
  9. sh4dow

    I think they did a great job and a very important one too. I hated all the PlayStation hype, with the usually overpriced hardware and more shitty games than great ones. Still do. Although the 360 was a bit of a letdown because of the RROD. Made me think I should’ve bought a PS3 this generation.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Tormenter

    “Microsoft entered the console race “to stop Sony””

    We know this already, of course they did and they were willing to lose billions just piss them off, they just happened to come out on top, which certainly wasn’t planned for.

    Every time I read something about this Joachim Kempin, I like him more and more, well as much as I can ‘like’ a corporate whore.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. salarta

    Really? I was under the impression that Microsoft joined the console race because they wanted to be in the living room and hoped to completely dominate that market like they dominated the operating system market.

    I’m not saying he’s a liar, I have no idea what kind of things they discussed in meetings and all the things that led to the launch of the XBox, but I do find it hard to believe “We did it to stop Sony” was the actual reason. Especially when he framed the whole situation as if Microsoft was trying to be some saintly big buddy that did everything for the most altruistic reasons and went out of its way to try and work with Sony before deciding to compete against them as a last resort. I sincerely doubt that only the Sony side of the Microsoft-Sony relationship said and did things that hurt that relationship pre-XBox. Reads to me more like one of a fighting couple blaming everything on the other person.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. theevilaires

    Microsoft entered the console race “to stop Sony”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCgQmU_Mzm0

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Christopher Jack

    @1, Nope, they won’t adopt it because they won’t get many sales from it. If they thought they could benefit, they’d build a WP8 device in a heartbeat.

    I think MS is a little backwards, they should be working the full on desktop experience into mobile devices, not mobile experiences into desktop devices, that’s exactly why Windows RT is flopping.

    Of course they’ve developed a nice looking & fluid mobile OS but it lacks too many functions that Android users love, even iOS is more functional BEFORE jailbreaking.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Gadzooks!

    Windows phone is the worst piece of shit OS I’ve ever been subjected to. Barebones doesn’t come close to describing it. I wouldn’t mind so much if it was slick and stylish, but it isn’t.

    No corporation in their right mind would adopt it. I’m amazed HTC bothered producing a WP device.

    On topic:

    I wouldn’t be gaming now if the original Xbox hadn’t launched. I was getting very bored with consoles, and Xbox with online play and games like PGR and Halo came along and injected some much needed life and forward thinking into the industry.

    I guess I have Sony to thank for spurring MS on to go it alone and produce a fresh new console, and saving me from Sony’s descent into mediocrity.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. absolutezero

    I kinda like my Windows Phone more than any other smart phone for the simple reason that it just kinda does what I need it to do with little else.

    I use it as a phone and to listen to music. Sometimes I check websites. It tells me things and takes pictures and a can txt people if I want to.

    It does not crash constantly or force me to use iTunes. Its fine by me.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Gadzooks!

    It’s *okay* for consuming, but absolutely fucking awful for contributing.

    WP has hands-down the worst text editing interface ever conceived.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. DrDamn

    I’ve just switched from a HTC HD7 (Windows 7) to a Nexus 4 (manufactured by LG). It’s like night and day and I quite liked WP7. Android has flourished into a quite exquisite phone OS.

    I hated the HTC part of my phone more than WP7 mind. Rubbish battery, rubbish camera, rubbish breaking wifi … will never buy HTC or WPx again.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Ge0force

    Imo they entered the console race because they saw a lot of monetizing opportunities in gaming, and pc-gamers didn’t play along with them.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. DSB

    Step 1: Write book
    Step 2: Rile fanboys
    Step 3: Profit

    @15 What does it use though?

    I used to think iTunes was as bad as companion software could get right up until the point where I tried the one for the Zune. Talk about a trainwreck. That thing was just terrible through and through.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Cobra951

    We should always take the word of disgruntled ex-employees with a grain of salt. The bad blood Kempin himself spews repeatedly needs some scrutiny.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that Ballmer is a control freak. Who ever heard of a wishy-washy CEO at a publicly held major corporation? They’re all pushy and demanding.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. Da Man

    You really confuse functionality with tinkering if you think WP lacks in comparison to Android. You probably think system administrators are programmers.

    Besides Android is the worst OS ever made bar steaming piles of shit like Symbian and disasters like Bada. For the sole reason it uses Java. It’s also neither nearly as smooth nor straightforward to use as iOS or WP.

    Only thing I didn’t like about WP was how it forces you to use social networks integration, that and the clumsy back button, iOS is still the only mobile OS which was indeed designed flawlessly.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. theevilaires

    “Sony’s descent into mediocrity”.

    Uncharted,InFamous,LBP,Eye of Judgement,cross play,Buzz,Heavy Rain,Sing Star,KillZone,Mod Nation Racers,Pixel junk Monsters,and Journey all say….Fuck you and die :)

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Da Man

    Very well said in regards to Sony, #14.

    #23 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    When House of Wolves drops in a couple of weeks, you’ll be able to change the stats of some in-game weapons. This process is called ‘Reforging’. Alex goes over all the details Bungie revealed about the new Reforging system. This covers the materials you need, the weapons that can be reforged and much more. Make […]

  • GTA 5 PC: control the in-game phone with your iPhone using this mod

    GTA 5′s latest mod lets you control the in-game phone with your real-life iPhone. Reddit user Planetleak wanted to see if he would succeed in getting his iPhone to control the phone in GTA 5. He did it and has a video to prove it. It’s not a mod per-se, but it emulates mouse and […]

  • SoulCalibur dev wants to know fans’ favourite characters for “something huge”

    SoulCalibur developers are probably working on a new game, because they’re asking fans to vote on their favourite characters. Project Soul, the longtime developer of the SoulCalibur series is soliciting feedback on fans’ favourite characters. The developer said as much in a post on its Facebook page. “Calling all SoulCalibur Fans! Project Soul would like […]

  • Jason Voorhees doesn’t look out of place in new Mortal Kombat X trailer

    Jason Voorhees comes to Mortal Kombat X starting tomorrow and it’s time to celebrate his arrival. Jason Voorhees, the first DLC character for Mortal Kombat X has been given the trailer treatment. Jason is part of the game’s Kombat Pack, owners of which can start using him tomorrow, May 5. Being an iconic horror character, […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition – Dragonslayer DLC announced, free to all this week

    Dragon Age: Inquisition is getting a multiplayer expansion this week. BioWare has announced that all owners of Dragon Age: Inquisition will receive a new multiplayer expansion, for free. The expansion is called Dragonslayer and it’s centred around fighting dragons, hence the name. Three new playable characters will join the roster as you explore an all-new […]

  • Sonder is still happening, and this is the best news of the week

    Sonder is a really interesting-looking new indie adventure, which I am quite excited to remember exists. We first heard about Sonder in late 2013, when its debut trailer introduced us to a Kamai Media’s ambitious vision. In the intervening months Kamai has been hard at work on its space station management sim slash non-linear narrative […]

  • Twitter axes playable Internet Archive embeds

    The dream has died: Twitter has disabled Internet Archive game embeds. Remember how for a few days you could tweet a link to an a game on the Internet Archive and it was playable direct from that tweet? Well, Twitter has cancelled that. All those tweets now just show links. GamesIndustry suspects it has something […]

  • Lords of the Fallen, Divinity: Original Sin developers will reveal new games at E3 2015

    Lords of the Fallen developer Deck13 and Divinity: Original Sin developer Larian Studios have new projects in the works which will be revealed at E3 2015. Publisher Focus Home Interactive is behind both new games. In a French press release [PDF] spotted by RPG Codex, Focus said it will show off the two unrevealed titles […]

  • Rare game announce expected at E3 2015

    Rare’s new game will be shown off at E3 2015, apparently. Rare hasn’t announced a reveal, and neither has Microsoft, but it looks like the news has slipped out anyway. IGN cites a tweet from Rare creative director Simon Woodroffe in which he says that a new project from Rare designer Gregg Mayles will be […]

  • Batgirl expansion included in $40 Batman: Arkham Knight season pass

    Here’s what you get in the $40 Batman: Arkham Knight season pass. Batman: Arkham Knight’s season pass was announced last week, but apart from the news that it would cost a whopping $40/£33, we didn’t get many details of what it would include. Thankfully, Warner Bros. has since acknowledged the clamour this caused, as players […]

  • Star Wars Day Xbox sale discounts Force Unleashed, Lego games

    Star Wars Day is upon us, and here’s an Xbox sale to mark it. Microsoft is offering discounts on Xbox 360 games to celebrate May 4. From my desk here in Australia the sale is a bit light on content – two Lego games, plus The Force Unleashed and its DLC packs. Your mileage may […]

  • Here’s hoping this tease means we see Mass Effect at E3 2015

    Mass Effect boss Mike Gamble has shared a teaser image, which we’re more than happy to draw speculative conclusions from. The new Mass Effect game in the works at BioWare Edmonton is a mysterious beast. Judging by how long it’s been in development, it feels like we’re about due for a proper reveal, to clear […]

  • Watch almost a whole hour of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is almost here. Are you ready for old-school shooter action? Wolfenstein: The Old Blood publisher Bethesda livestreamed almost an hour of the Machine Games shooter recently, and has now uploaded the archive to YouTube. Check it out below: Wolfenstein: The Old Blood launches digitally on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on […]

  • Splatoon lacks voice chat to promote a positive online experience

    Nintendo’s multiplayer game Splatoon will not contain a voice chat option in order to “focus on the positive aspects” of online gaming. Speaking in the latest issue of Edge magazine (thanks, GamesRadar), Splatoon co-director Yusuke Amano said personal experience with negativity in online voice chat was one of the main reasons for excluding the feature. […]

  • D4 on PC: differences from Xbox One version, system specs announced

    D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die – Season 1 is coming to PC, and Access Games has provided a list of features different from the Xbox One version. We’ve pulled most of the changes off the game’s website and posted them below, along with the PC specs. D4 on PC Kinect gesture input controls replaced with […]

  • The Megalodon returns to Battlefield 4 with the latest CTE patch

    The Megalodon Easter Egg in Battlefield 4 may have been removed earlier this year from Naval Strike, but it has since resurfaced on the CTE with the latest patch. I’d make a Jaws reference, but it’s been done to death. The shark is shown in the video on the Paracel Storm map which was where […]

  • Survival horror game Kodoku has a new work-in-progress trailer

    Kodoku, the survival horror title from Carnivore Studio, has a new work-in-progress video available, showing you how the game is coming along. Announced for PlayStation 4 and Vita back in 2013, the game is slated for release sometime this year, and tasks the player with avoiding mythical Japanese ghosts using only magic and stealth. Thanks, […]

  • Current HoloLens prototype has noticeably “tighter” FoV compared to January build

    Microsoft’s augmented reality headset HoloLens is still very much in the prototype stage, according to various reports out of the Build Conference. Microsoft hasn’t discussed technical specs with the press yet as nothing is set in stone, but during a hands-on at Build, Ars Technica noticed the prototypes had a “x86 processor, 2GB RAM, 802.11ac […]

  • Silent Hills petition asking Konami to continue development has over 50,000 signatures

    A petition to save the Silent Hills game has been formed by fans in the hopes Konami will change its mind and bring the collaboration with Guillermo del Toro back from the dead. Konami confirmed on Monday the Silent Hill remake from film director Del Toro and Metal Gear’s Hideo Kojima had been cancelled, but […]

  • Attack on Titan has a US release date, title changed in EU over copyright claim

    Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains will be released under a different title in Europe, according to the publisher, and while a release date has been set for North America, the same cannot be said for fans across the pond. According to Atlus, a copyright claim in Europe has forced the company to publish the […]

  • Yooka-Laylee meets final Kickstarter Stretch Goal in less than 24 hours

    The Kickstarter for Playtonic’s Yooka-Laylee sailed beyond its final £1 million ($1.5 million) Stretch Goal overnight, which will allow for a simultaneous release on all announced platforms. Once funded, Yooka-Laylee was slated for release on Linux, Mac, PC, PlayStation 4, Wii U, and Xbox One; however, a simultaneous release on all platforms wasn’t guaranteed unless […]

  • Not a Hero will miss its May 7 release date, but not by much

    Not a Hero will miss its May 7 release date, according to an announcement from Roll7. Not to worry though, it’s only by a week. According to the developer, the delay is due to “having undergone super-secret upgrades to crank shit up to 60fps.” The extra week will provide the additional time needed for tweaking […]

  • Assassin’s Creed, The Crew, Far Cry 4, other Ubisoft titles on sale through the Humble Store

    Ubisoft has put a number of its games on sale through the Humble Store. Franchises Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry are on discount as are single release titles. The list of games on sale are below. For pricing in your region, head over to the Humble Store. Anno 2070 Complete Edition Assassin’s Creed 3 Assassin’s […]

  • Payday 2: Repeater rifle, Peacemaker pistol introduced with The Butcher’s Western Pack

    Overkill Software released the 21st DLC pack for Payday 2 yesterday, titled The Butcher’s Western Pack. The pack will run you $4.99/€4.99 and other digital distribution channels. “For our 21st DLC we go back in time to visit the Wild West and the arsenal it was known for,” said the developers. “With it we’re introducing […]

  • The Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter just launched and has already met its funding goal

    Playtonic Games launched the Kickstarter campaign for Yooka-Laylee at 5pm UK, and in just over 30 minutes it already hit its $270,000 funding goal. You can watch the funding counter continue to roll over through the link. Yooka-Laylee is a 3D platformer where the characters use special moves such as Yooka’s tongue grapple and Laylee’s […]

  • Batch of hi-res Persona 5 screenshots released by PlayStation Japan

    A set of screenshots have been released for Persona 5, and while you’ve seen these before in magazines and on the official website, these are high-res versions. Some will even look familiar to those who watched the first gameplay trailer back in February. The shots were posted over on the PlayStation Japan Persona 5 game […]

  • Is Alien: Isolation getting HTC Vive support?

    Placeholder images for SteamVR icons have been found and it looks like there may be support for Alien: Isolation, so if you enjoy soiling yourself, get psyched! NeoGAF members found a thread on Reddit, where a little rooting around in a Steam directory unearthed the images. The list includes both games and apps, and as […]

  • Xbox Live multiplayer is free this weekend on Xbox 360

    Xbox 360 players in all Xbox Live regions can play multiplayer online for free this weekend. If you are a Silver member, this means you are Golden from May 1-3 and can play multiple games online with your buddies. All you have to do is log-in to Xbox Live.

  • Assassin’s Creed actor Michael Fassbender confirms film production starts September

    The Assassin’s Creed movie will start production this fall, actor Michael Fassbender (Prometheus, 300, X-Men:First Class) as confirmed. Speaking with ComingSoon.net, Fassbender said filming will start in September, which is inline with Ubisoft’s announcement in February. The actor will star in the film alongside Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard, both reuniting with their MacBeth director Justin […]

  • Eve Online boss states VR won’t be as big as we think next year

    I don’t think I’m the only one who wants VR to hurry up and manifest into a Sword Art Online-esque reality. Unfortunately, the chief executive officer at the studio behind Eve Online doesn’t think that will be happening any time soon. Talking to Venture Beat, Hilmar Veigar Pétursson touched on his excitement at the prospects […]

  • The Last of Us: Left Behind goes standalone in May on PS3, PS4

    Naughty Dog has announced that The Last of US DLC Left Behind will be released as a standalone experience next month. It can be purchased for both PlayStation 3 and PS4 through the PS Store and a two-hour demo of the Factions multiplayer will also be made available. “The Left Behind standalone game will have […]