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Xbox: original console was, “my decision, my accountability,” says Ballmer

Thursday, 12th December 2013 09:49 GMT By Dave Cook

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has reflected on his career at the company in a new interview. In it, he explains that getting the Microsoft brand into the living room via the original Xbox was his idea.

It comes as Ballmer prepares his exit strategy from Microsoft. The hunt for his successor is currently ongoing, and rumoured favourite Stephen Elop is said to have no qualms about cutting the Xbox business from Microsoft if it starts to fail or is deemed irrelevant to the bigger picture.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has also commented on this matter recently, stating that Xbox is detracting away from other key areas of Microsoft’s business.

Now, speaking with CNN, Ballmer recalled that it was, “my decision, my accountability,” and added, “I believe in accountability. I’m in. I’m accountable. I’ll make this work — not that I had to drive it — but we had some bumps on the road. And it was important that I stay accountable, stay patient, and stay behind the decision that we made.”

The article adds that former boss of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices division Robbie Bach recalled Ballmer spending a good six months on reviewing the business to see if Xbox was a viable strategy. He gave it the green-light and you know the rest of the story.

Bach said, “He was willing to step out into a space that Microsoft had never been in, look at a business model, and say, This is something we need to try.”

Former Microsoft strategist Charles Fitzgerald added, “It is easy to bemoan billions spent on Xbox, but when you look at it as a hedge to keep Sony or any game console from undermining the Windows PC, it is chump change compared to the hundreds of billions in Windows profits banked during that time.”

Would you say that Xbox did keep Sony from undermining Windows PC as a gaming platform? Do you feel that Ballmer has indeed brought much to the table?

Let us know below.

Via IGN.

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18 Comments

  1. Francis O

    The Xbox Brand is a money sink, and they will be exposed when the Steambox hits the market.

    If the Xbox brand is only around to not have Sony undermine the Windows business….then they are doing things wrong.

    That’s why Elop has no problems cutting it.

    In the 13 years Xbox has been around, the division has made no money. Microsoft has spoiled 3rd party developers. Constantly shelling out millions of dollars for exclusive map packs, timed DLC, and more.

    In my opinion, Xbox is more of a nuisance to the industry, as a whole. I would love for Valve to come and stomp them out. We need more companies strictly focused on gaming, which Microsoft is not.

    #1 11 months ago
  2. G1GAHURTZ

    ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Oy6DwHAi70

    #2 11 months ago
  3. pukem0n

    god, you people and your steam machines….

    PC and Valve fanboys are quickly becoming worse than PS and Xbox fanboys combined ^^

    #3 11 months ago
  4. Dragon

    @Ghz,
    Ignore the ninty fanboy.

    #4 11 months ago
  5. schnide

    For some reason, I don’t buy this being Ballmer’s idea at all.

    #5 11 months ago
  6. fihar

    The Xbox is what paved the way for a lot of non-Japanese developers to enter the console market you know?
    Bioware, Bethesda and a lot of current FPS developers grew to the size and fame that they are now practically because of the Xbox.

    The Xbox is what made video game mainstream instead of staying niche.

    #6 11 months ago
  7. Unknown_Gamer

    Fxxk Competition , I’d rather see this brand disappear as a whole after knowing that this evil looking clown is behind it , it doesn’t add anything to the industry , The multiplayer thing was originally created for the Dreamcast , so before anyone jump on the “I LOVE HALO” Bandwagon i would like to make things more clear , HALO was originally developed for MAC and for this reason there’s no excuses for anyone to justify this brand as a whole as if its something worth to defend on , its just a money making product for M$ no more no less and its being made from jealousy from other companies in industry .

    #7 11 months ago
  8. Pytox

    euhmn wasnt it bill gates idea to compete with sony? :P

    #8 11 months ago
  9. Opalauge

    @1

    “In the 13 years Xbox has been around, the division has made no money.”

    Damn…that is one stupid statement.
    Ever considered how much money they earn with XBL?

    @7:

    So Halo was originally a MAC game?! So what? What’s your point?
    So the online MP was on Dreamcast?! Yeah, that is true…but again…what’s your point?

    1. The PS1 was originally developed as the Super Famicom Disc Drive! So “there’s no excuses for anyone to justify this brand as a whole as if its something worth to defend on.” ???????

    2. SEGA was sort of a pioneer when it comes to online features on consoles, but MS revolutionized and established it worldwide.

    #9 11 months ago
  10. Belmont

    The only time he came up with a good idea.

    #10 11 months ago
  11. CPC_RedDawn

    @6

    No, no and more no.

    If anything, Nintendo is responsible for the gaming boom of the late 80′s after the infamous crash. SEGA tried to go after the older market with more “cutting edge”, “controversial” games but failed. Sony are the ones that made gaming mainstream with the PS1. They went after ALL markets but sold to the person in household with the money, the adults, if you don’t remember the craze around the PS1 then your obviously about 12 years old. For many people it was their first console they owned to play games like Wipeout, GTA, Medal Of Honor, etc whilst also having games like Rayman and Crash Bandicoot for their kids.

    However, if it wasn’t for Nintendo mistakenly turning down a partnership with Sony to develop a CD add on for the SNES (this was after SEGA were releasing the SEGA CD, 32X, etc) but SEGA’s releases failed, and failed fast. So Nintendo turned down Sony and that is when Sony entered the market with the PS1.

    If your talking about the past few years then NONE of the big three are responsible for how big gaming has become. The “THING” responsible is the Internet. Without the internet consoles would still be this box that you played alone or with a few friends in the same room. Without the internet we wouldn’t have been able to see the indie game boom, we wouldn’t have netflix, youtube, facebook, twitter, etc. As the Internet grew and speeds increased and it was made easier to use for the mainstream public THAT is when gaming went global.

    Just for your knowledge, Microsoft originally saw the Internet as a fad, and they had no plans to include it in Windows 95 until it was demoed to them by a single employee.

    #11 11 months ago
  12. manamana

    @1 what a prick comment. The Xbox gave gamers another option and thats what counts, you blind fool.

    #12 11 months ago
  13. zoopdeloop

    @12 +1000

    #13 11 months ago
  14. Ashmael

    Thank god this is gonna be their last console. :D

    #14 11 months ago
  15. salarta

    Paul Allen?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUAExyakpLI

    #15 11 months ago
  16. fihar

    @12
    “if you don’t remember the craze around the PS1 then your obviously about 12 years old”
    Why is it that people need to resort to condescension whenever they wanted to rebutt someone else’s opinion?
    Your arguments speak for itself, there is absolutely no need for your blatant display of unrivaled seniority.

    You’re kinda missing my point there. Both Nintendo and Sony failed to pry away PC developers.
    That’s why the PC and the console market at the time was heavily segregated, with a lot of western developers staying true to the PC and Japanese companies ruling over the console market. The Xbox bridged the gap between the two, what with being both an American company and one of the major players within the PC Market.
    Suddenly, you’ve got Morrowind on your TV screen, a competitive FPS experience that could actually rival the best PC has to offer in Halo and the migration of my favorite RPG company at the time with KoToR.
    A certain video game franchise began as a PC game, which then migrated to the 360, and is now one of the two biggest series in the industry, (the other being GTA) and it’s all because of the Xbox (and it’s controller and LIVE) paving the way.

    If the two Japanese giants were left to their own devices, the industry wouldn’t have been as big as it is now really, even with the omnipotent internet.
    I concur that the PS1 also exposed video games to a larger audience but I still maintain that cultural phenomenons such as Skyrim being Skyrim, ME3 ending outrage and the annual Call of Duty all had it’s roots within the Xbox.

    #16 11 months ago
  17. Cobra951

    Man. Delusion here runs rampant. Sony and Microsoft *are* the console world. They will continue to be the console world for years. If Elop cuts off the wildly successful Xbox brand out of some myopic bean-counter mentality, after the huge bills have already been paid, and it’s all gravy now, particularly online, he is a huge fool, and a much greater detriment to MS than Ballmer could ever be accused of being.

    #17 11 months ago
  18. 313714

    ballmer what you did?…:-o
    whhhay??? you destroyed everything :|

    #18 11 months ago

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