Lewis: The “anticipation and excitement” for original Xbox was “enormous”

By Stephany Nunneley
15 November 2011 15:32 GMT

Chris Lewis, Microsoft’s European vice president of interactive entertainment, has said when Xbox was first released 10 years ago, the firm had “a vision” for what the connected world of online gaming “would mean in the future.”

Speaking with Edge in a retrospective on the original Xbox console, Lewis said the “anticipation and excitement” for the console was “enormous.”

“I think back to that point there were a couple of things that defined us,” he said. “Undoubtedly, one was what we saw as our killer app, if you’ll excuse the pun, but it’s what Halo represented for us back then. It became part of what is a $2 billion entertainment franchise. While we were positive about what it stood for, we had no idea it would evolve in the way it has.

“So that plus the work we were doing with third-party publishers back then was growing rapidly, particularly Ubisoft and Splinter Cell, another defining game for Xbox that really allowed us to establish the platform in a powerful way.

“I think while we knew we wanted to stand for entertainment broadly, we were focused on the core gaming community. That said, there was an Ethernet port on the back of that box, and we had a vision for what that connected world of online gaming would mean in the future. There were a number of key individuals in the company who had that foresight to architect the Xbox with online gaming at its core.”

Lewis goes on to say Microsoft knew it had to establish itself quickly, “because it would define” how partners would come to work with the company.

“We were first with many things we were proud of,” he said. “So I was confident we had the appetite for it. Could I have seen us here in ten years time? No. Did I think we would have 57 million Xbox 360s out there and growing? No, I probably wouldn’t have guessed we’d have that much momentum.

“But we were in for the long term and that it was a marathon, not a sprint.”

Microsoft is celebrating its decade in the console industry today. The original Xbox was released on November 15, 2001 with Halo as its flagship title.

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