Xbox CFO Thinks 360 Exclusives “Superior” to PS3, Wii

Dennis Durkin, Xbox CFO for Microsoft, has a vested interest in proclaiming his company’s products to be “superior” to their competitors. In a recent interview with IndustryGamers, that’s exactly what he did.

I think our first party performance in terms of quality bars and units per title this shift has been superior to our competition’s

It’s hard to criticise the guy for doing his job and trailing the company line but the assertion that Microsoft Studios are noticeably superior doesn’t appear to make much sense to me.

Statements like this are needfully non-specific. Is Durkin talking about every Microsoft Game Studios title released this generation? Is he including the Games for Windows and Windows Phone 7 content that Microsoft Studios publish too? Is he discounting sales of bundled software like Wii Play? Without clarification, it’s impossible to determine what he means and that makes it impossible to argue with his statements. Except that I’m not sure it works on any level.

[drop2]Of course, it would be equally as foolish to claim that Sony have had a clear advantage in anything but actual number of exclusives published on a home console. It’s simply too difficult to conclusively prove superiority in general terms when there are so many factors to be considered.

Metacritic averages for critical responses to each stable shows that Microsoft and Sony are very close (73 and 75) with Nintendo just faring slightly better with critics at 77. So there is a rough similarity with general critical response but using the best data we’ve got access to, and the most basic way of presenting it, Nintendo comes out on top.

Economically, of course, it’s a little more difficult to pin down. It’s almost impossible to get accurate data with many retail outlets not counting, a discrepancy between “shipped” and “sold” and no European figures at all. But it’s reasonable to assume that titles like Wii Fit and Super Mario Galaxy, with their astronomical sales and long tails, have outstripped first party offerings from either of the HD consoles. So economically speaking, at least on specific titles, Nintendo seem sure to take that crown as well as their narrow victory with the critics. But it’s all very marginal and based on a fair amount of guess work and supposition, not to mention wilful manipulation of the data.

Of course, another way to look at it is by taking specific examples and pitting them against each other. For example, is Uncharted 2 a better game than Gears of War 2? I think so, but then I also suspect that Gears of War 2, as great as it is, will have sold more units. So financially speaking, Gears would be the better product. But that triumph is short lived when Nintendo weighs in with Wii Fit. Is that a better game? I would say not but I think the sales figures, if we kept accurate data, would say it outstripped both Uncharted 2 and Gears 2 by quite a considerable margin.

It’s a murky debate perpetuated by plenty of participants with varying degrees of knowledge in the subject but, ultimately, it’s a fruitless one. The only sensible thing to do is to enjoy the games you enjoy on whatever machine you want to play them on and let the executives, like Durkin, worry about what business they’re doing.

Source: IndustryGamers


  1. Let the nerd wars begin!

    The truth isn’t that complicated, Sony lives on exclusives as evidenced by the amount of them shipped in 2011 already: LBP2, KZ3, Socom 4, Infamous 2, Motorstorm 3, etc. Microsoft lives on 3rd party support, timed exclusives i.e. Limbo, CoD map packs. Neither approach is wrong and its not worth trying to flame each other over.

    • You say that as if you’re not a nerd too.

    • The amount of exclusives doesn’t matter, I have always favoured the PS3, but while it has a mountain of exclusives as listed above none of them interesting me, while games such as Alan Wake, Splinter Cell, and some older exclusives such as Mass Effect, Left 4 dead, Dead or alive etc. Not to mention the jump of formally diehard PS exclusives such as MGS to the 360, were a big factor in my buying a 360 instead of a PS3. So for me, yeah it is true.

  2. Based on broadly similar Metacritic scores & a pretty big sales lead in the US, it’s easy to say Microsoft Game Studios beats SCE, but when you add in the rest of the world that changes a bit as does the scope of SCE’s 1st party exclusives which do seem to offer more variety.

    But on the face of it his statement could be correct, but its also wrong too as is the case with marketing in general

    • I don’t entirely see how that’s relevant to be honest.

      If you take that logic, Sony’s lead in Japan, which is far bigger than Microsoft’s in the US, and the relative equal figures in Europe, that would put Sony ahead.

      Don’t really get your logic there mate.

      • As in: “when you add in the rest of the world that changes”

      • Sooo…why make that point in the first place?

        That’s like saying “that would have been a goal if the keeper wasn’t in the way”. It has no relevance.

    • I think he’s trying to say that in the us alone Microsoft studios have sold more. Not in the whole world. I’d guess he’s probably right as the xbox is usally in the lead in most areas of the us market. Although when you take into account the sheer number of Sony exclusives then I may be wrong.

  3. When I saw this headline pop up on Twitter, I thought “oh lord here we go”. The article however turned out to be brilliant, really humbling and such a fresh and thoughtful outlook on the situation that it has left me feeling glad that I read it.

    • Exactly this, I was on Skype with Adam and heard him say ‘oh no’ so expected the worst but this was a brilliant article. Very impressed, well said Peter :)

      • When I see Peter’s articles I always think “oh god, no!” :-P

    • Indeed, very nicely done Peter. In the same call as Adam and Jon, and when Adam mentioned it I thought the same, but very nicely done sir.

  4. He thinks, he thought wrong.

  5. WOW a Xbox employee thinks it is better lol on paper it is just not true.

  6. Superior is a subjective, qualitative word. Words like ‘greater’, ‘more’ and ‘higher’ are quantitive and hence Durkin didn’t use them.

    Why are we discussing this? Slow news day?

    • My thoughts exactly.

      The answer to all this is quite simple, each and everyone of us has our own answer the the question, which consoles exclusives are better. Personally, I can dismiss the Wii in a heartbeat as I cannot take it seriously as a ‘this gen’ console, that leaves the PS3 and 360 and my heart screams PS3 for to me, obvious reasons. I am mature enough though to understand that the next man/woman has a totally different opinion.

    • Katy, are you EVER happy with this site anymore? :P

  7. I would say that the reason his comments are so vague is that if he actually made it clear what he was on about it would be easier for people to put forth differing opinions/facts.

    Typical politician type statement; it’s hard to properly refute a statement that is effectively meaningless.

  8. Wow, a Microsoft executive claiming his company’s products are better? Almost fell of the chair there due to the shock of it all! What’s next: he actually plays those games?

  9. I think Nintendo have some of the best first party titles. Not that anyone here would agree with me… ;)

    • I 100% agree. It’s rare that a Nintendo first party title is bad.

    • Ill be one of them, :D

      Until Nintendo stop remaking games, sticking to worn franchises and game setups I will never have respect for them. How they can have a better metacritic score for this is beyond me…

      • I’ll both agree and disagree. Nintendo used to have some of the best exclusives, games like OOT(which to be fair is improved on the 3DS) Super Mario World and Mario Kart are some of the greatest games ever made. Then the Wii came along and threw difficulty out the window, added enforced, unresponsive motion controls and started making titles like Wii Fit.

        As for the article, a lot of Americans think the US is the entire world so Microsofts large lead over there would give the impression of world domination.

    • I can’t think of one game that Nintendo have created that I either haven’t liked or was a genuinely bad game. F-Zero, Metroid, Mario, Zelda, Pikmin …. Sticking to tried and tested franchises is taking its toll slightly these days though, hopefully Nintendo have something up their sleeve completely brand new. I’d be lying through my teeth though if I said I wouldn’t welcome a new game from any or each of those franchises.

      Despite being a Playstation user in the main, I’m actually not massively keen on any of their first-party titles. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve played most of them and enjoyed them (My favourite are certainly downloadable games) but they’re not why I’m a Sony user, It’s really down to the controller and 16 (has it really been that long?) years of brand loyalty that keeps me with them. I certainly never naysay or avoid the other two though, I’ve had a Wii and two 360’s (among many and varying other machines and devices over the years) and they’re both brimming with quality titles.

  10. it could be accurate if he said it a couple of years ago.

    the ps3 part anyway.

    i don’t think anybody’s matched nintendo’s first party quality

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