Shane Kim Discusses Portable Xbox Live

In a recent interview with Kikizo Shane Kim, Microsoft Corporate VP, discussed the possibility of a Microsoft portable device. However while he said a portable device was a matter of “when”, given the context of his comments it’s uncertain whether he meant a gaming device or merely an extension of the Live Anywhere service that was announced some years ago. When asked if Microsoft had been watching the portable space for opportunities for the Xbox and Live brand Kim had this to say:

For us, it’s a matter of focusing on ‘when’, because if we chased after a mobile or handheld opportunity, we would not have the resources and ability to do things like instant-on 1080p HD, Facebook, Twitter, Project Natal. And so we’ve chosen to focus on the living room experience from a hardware standpoint, if you will, but we’re building a service in Live that will… will extend to other platforms.

So that seems a pretty definitive answer. It’s also nice to see Microsoft so heavily focusing their efforts on properly solidifying their main console before expanding into other areas at the detriment of their core product. I’d rather have a significantly improved home console experience than a portable console, but that may just be me.

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However what seems slightly odd from this article is the wording, Kim discusses the Live brand and service rather than the 360 itself. This makes it unclear what sort of feature set they’d be aiming for with a mobile device. Live as a service isn’t something that’s focused on playing games. While it enables online play on the 360, that’s pretty much the closest it comes to actual game play (apart from the new Primetime service). However this may be more due to the fact that it seems that Kim is very unsure what form a device would take, should one ever exist.

So the question will be, how do we enter into that market – do we do our own device, do we create our own phone – that’s a question for the company itself – do we continue to go down the Windows Mobile path, which is that path that we’re on today, etcetera, etcetera. But believe me, we understand the importance of that device in people’s lives. And the more we make Live about valuable service and add more content, and add more ways to connect with your friends through it, we’re going to need to make sure that it’s on all the important platforms in people’s lives, including PC.

So it would seem that rather than a portable Xbox 360, in the same vein as the PSP, Microsoft are looking at ways to expand the Live service. This could include a portable console of some sort, it could be a release of Live Anywhere, some form of Remote Play or… well any one of dozens of options. If Microsoft isn’t sure where they’re going with this kind of product, then speculating at this point seems a little bizarre. However it seems that at the very least the expansion of the Live service to mobile platforms is in the works.

Source: Kikizo (Page 3)

http://games.kikizo.com/features/shane-kim-interview-july2009-p1.aspKikizo
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