A comment on Peter Moore’s departure

I want to qualify that this is my opinion and I have nothing other than my own personal experience to draw from in forming this opinion however I think it’s important that people stop drinking the haterade and start recalling all the positive work that Peter’s done for Microsoft and the Xbox division:

<my opinion>
PETER MOORE LEFT MICROSOFT FOR A BETTER LIFE – i.e. he was anything but fired.  Peter wanted to live with his family in the Bay Area and EA is paying him truckloads of money.  Plain and simple.
</my opinion>

I only make this comment because I think it’s wrong really for everyone to wipe their shoes all over a guy who’s been an absolutely great leader for the Xbox division.

  • Is the XBox 360 the leader in next-gen gaming?  Absolutely. 
    13M consoles sold next to Wii’s 6M and PS3’s 3M.
  • Is the Xbox 360 doing hand over fist better than Xbox Original?  Absolutely.
    Far more titles, way more developers, with revenues coming in from 5 different sockets (like Xbox Live subscriptions and in-game advertising) instead of just games & accessories sales.
  • Is the Xbox 360 doing as well as the hyped Wii?  Of course.
    The Wii has sold 2.8M consoles since launching.  In the same span, Xbox 360 sold 2.7M consoles and it’s a year old.
  • Are there 4x as many games being produced for Xbox 360 than PS3 or Wii?  Darned right.
    With PS3 exclusives falling left and right to Xbox 360 and Wii not being able to get any decent developers on board other than 1st party games, all the dev skill is going to Xbox 360.
  • Is the holiday line up of games undeniably kick ass relative to the other consoles?  Oh hell yeah.
    Mass Effect, Bioshock, Halo 3, Grand Theft Auto 4 with Xbox 360 exclusive levels & content, Virtual Fighter 5 with Xbox Live Multiplayer (unlike the PS3 version), Madden 08, & SceneIt?.

The bottom line is that Peter Moore has been a great face for the Xbox and he did a tremendous job.  He made the brand what it is today, and he established the network of partners that has made Xbox 360 so successful.  Partners like EA, Epic, Team Ninja, Ubisoft, Valve, id, etc.  They wouldn’t be with us if it weren’t for Peter.

The common "evidence" I keep hearing is the charge that we’re extending the warranties on Xbox 360’s to 3 years in what some describe as an "admission" of fault in the hardware.

I just don’t believe this.  Why?  Because even if this were directly attributable to Peter, we at Microsoft simply don’t fire people for mistakes like these.  In my experience, it just doesn’t happen – especially big public departures like these.  People get let go for all sorts of reasons but this just isn’t one of them.  Our culture is generally one in which people aren’t penalized for mistakes so much as their encouraged to learn from them, and even if you could say that Peter Moore was responsible for a $1B chargeback to the Xbox division, I don’t believe our leadership would put a gun to his head but instead say, "Okay – what do we do to fix this and how do we avoid this sort of thing in the future?  You go figure it out."

I’ve heard some comments made about our lack of traction in Japan being the cause of Peter’s departure.  Look:  I’m Japanese and knowing oy ethnic heritage’s nationalism,  I can’t tell you how hard it must be to try to get an American console into a Japanese living room.  You have to not just get games written for the Japanese but also design a console that the Japanese might actually take to.  For example:

  • The Japanese want things small.  The console had to transform from the black behemoth that it used to be to the "thin, curvy" thing it is today.
  • The Japanese equate the "X" to a negative response.  "X" means "No" in Japanese.  We had to change the emblem of the Xbox to a ‘circle with an X in it’ to make it more positive.  Don’t believe me?  Look at a PS2 controller:  The ‘circle’ is the ‘ok’ button or the acknowledge button;  the ‘X’ is the non-acknowledge button or the ‘cancel’ button.
  • The Japanese believe Sony is godlike.  Sony is the symbol of Japanese success in electronics the same way that Toyota is the symbol of Japanese success in manufacturing.  Microsoft had to make the Xbox 360 ‘Japanese’ with Japanese developers, Japanese-specific targetted games, Japanese casings, Japanese exclusives, etc.

The bottom line is that Peter Moore was a great leader and an incredible influence on the Xbox 360 division and folks that are fans of Xbox really should pay him a debt of gratitude for helping create and market such a great product.

In fact, think about this:
Electronic Arts Sports games are already playing at 60 frames per second on the Xbox 360, making the game play twice as smooth and twice and beautiful than it’s Playstation 3 version which only plays at 30 frames per second.  Now that Peter Moore, a man who made his greatest accomplishment building the Xbox 360, is focused on building these same Sports games.

Which console do you think is gonna benefit from this move?

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