With the next set of console launches right around the corner, it makes sense that some have begun looking back to 2005-2006 to see what helped (and hurt) the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii in the long run.
Microsoft's ex-president entertainment and devices Robbie Bach, speaking at a Northwest Entrepreneur Network event in Seattle, said that Sony's mismanagement of the PS3 launch played a critical role in the Xbox 360's long-term success.
“Some of the success of Xbox was due to the fact that Sony did some really not so smart things. They mismanaged their 70 percent market share," Said Bach. "It’s a long conversation. The transition to PlayStation 3 was really, really bad. And really hard. They mismanaged their partners, they mismanaged their cost structure. They made their next platform so complicated that developers couldn’t develop for it.”
Simultaneously, Bach said that strong partnerships with third-party publishers helped Microsoft take advantage of the situation. Though console-exclusive titles are few and far between these days, Microsoft has managed to find other ways to make the Xbox stick out, most notably with timed DLC exclusives for high profile titles like the Call of Duty series and the upcoming Skyrim expansion, Dawnguard.
"It turned out we were able to convince retailers and publishers like Activision, Electronic Arts and others, that it was a good thing for Microsoft to be successful, because if we were not successful, the only game in town was Sony. Being dependent on somebody else was bad for them, and so they supported us disproportionately to what they should have, mathematically."
Of course, Microsoft has had their own share of misfortunes. Bach said that dealing with their own console's growing pains - The Xbox 360's red ring of death - was "the most painful thing in my life." The console defect ended up costing Microsoft around 1 billion dollars, so it's not hard to see how that may have been a tough experience.
They say those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Does Bach's (and presumably) Microsoft's awareness bode well for the next Xbox? Do you agree that Sony mishandled the PS3 launch? Give us your own console retrospective in the comments!