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Shane Kim talks Japan, Peter Jackson, 2008

Speaking to Game Informer, head of Microsoft Game Studios, Shane Kim, has a lot to say about the current state of the Xbox. The main focuses of the interview are Microsoft's 2008 lineup, the 360's performance in Japan, and the Games for Windows brand. Of particular interest is the discussion on games likely to be released in 2008. Microsoft's E3 keynote focused only on 2007. Addressing the question of 2008 and games like Alan Wake, Too Human, and Fable 2, Kim notes that these titles are not "way out in the future" and that Microsoft would not be talking about them if they were. Kim also tantalizingly applied this reasoning to Peter Jackson's Halo project.

Another of the more bizarre moments of the interview occurred during the discussion on Microsoft's performance in Japan. According to Kim, Resident Evil 5 for the Xbox 360 was supposed to be "the big announcement." We're a little puzzled by this -- as was Game Informer -- considering the game was announced for PS3 and 360 just over two years ago. Read the full interview after the jump.

Kim "realistic" on 360's performance in Japan

Speaking to Gamasutra, Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios, says that Microsoft is "very realistic" about its prospects in Japan. Kim notes that Microsoft's approach was never to "win" Japan, but rather to do better than the original Xbox. Part of this strategy, of course, means recruiting Japanese talent like Hironobu Sakaguchi, who is creating both Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey for the console. Kim says the importance of Japan is motivated by more than financial numbers, but also by the amount of talent in the Japanese development community. Titles like Dead Rising and Lost Planet, says Kim, are illustrating to Japanese developers that Japanese titles can be financially successful in the west. Finally, Kim asserts that Microsoft's aims in Japan remain "realistic," and while Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey will be moderately successful in Japan, they will be successful in the west as well.

Shane Kim thanks Sony for all the help

Speaking with Gamasutra, Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios, is nothing but smiles when it comes to discussing the competition. Kim speaks openly about Sony's mistakes involving the Playstation 3 and notes that these mistakes have had a positive effect on the Xbox 360. Kim states that he's more confident in Microsoft's position now than he was when the system launched, noting that Microsoft has already shipped 10 million 360s, garnered 6 million Live customers, and will have 320 Xbox 360 titles by the end of the year.

Kim states that Microsoft is leading the games industry and that the Xbox 360 has the best exclusive content. He notes, however, that Sony helped Microsoft along the way: "Sony has helped us with their own missteps, and I'd be foolish not to say that it's not helping us." Double negatives aside, we think we get the gist of Shane's comment.

Concerning Nintendo, Kim lauds the Wii's success and is glad to see Nintendo bring more gamers into the industry, nothing that he believes "it's Nintendo and Microsoft that are really generating the excitement for the industry." Kim doesn't see Nintendo as a direct competitor, but admits that Sony and Microsoft both have to woo the demographic that Nintendo has captured with the Wii.

Expect to see the rest of Kim's interview later this week.

Fancast Xtra: the Microsoft blogger's breakfast

Microsoft has made the blogger's breakfast something of a tradition at GDC. Joystiq's Chris Grant attended last year, and this year I was proud to include myself in the same company. The blogger's breakfast is essentially a question and answer session for (you guessed it) bloggers. In attendance from Microsoft were Shane Kim, managing director of Microsoft Game Studios, and Chris Satchell, general manager of the Microsoft games group. In between bites of eggs and bacon, the two execs were bombarded with questions ranging from user created content and Xbox Live Arcade, to Peter Jackson and episodic content. We captured audio of the event for you all to hear. You can download the MP3 by hitting the "read" link. Subscribers to the Fancast will receive the audio automatically. Download and enjoy, but keep in mind you'll have to tune out the sounds of furious keyboard tapping, clinking plates, and the crinkling plastic of bloggers trying to unwrap delicious maple syrup.

Continue reading Fancast Xtra: the Microsoft blogger's breakfast

Halo 3 beta primarily a server stress test

Speaking with Game Informer, Microsoft Games Managing Director, Shane Kim, and General Manager, Phil Spencer, take some time to discuss the Halo 3 beta. Speaking of the Halo 3 beta, Spencer notes that it will scale over time. In other words, the beta will start out small and grow as time passes. In part, this is why MS chose to put the beta in copies of Crackdown. It's presumable that those who made it into the first two phases of the beta will be playing before those with a Crackdown disc. The idea behind this is to implement new systems on Xbox Live to insure that everyone has a good experience playing when the retail product finally launches. By slowly adding more people to the beta, Microsoft can gauge the stress placed on Live.

Spencer adds that before Halo 2 launched, many were worried about the amount of stress it would place on the Live network. According to Spencer, "For us that's what the beta is about." While this doesn't confirm suspicions that the Halo 3 beta is more a stress test than it is an actual beta, it certainly adds fuel to the fire. We've discussed our own theories in recent posts and the latest Fancast, but we'd like to know what you think.

Will the Halo 3 beta be an actual beta, bugs and all? Or, will it be nothing more than a glorified stress test (admittedly a kickass stress test that's fun to play)? Does it even matter?

[Via HBO]

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