GDC 08: John Schappert Talks Indie Games, HD DVD, and More
John Schappert was Microsoft’s main man at GDC this past week as he presented Microsoft’s keynote. Eurogamer had a chance to speak with him a day after the keynote and touched on quite a few subjects, including why Peter Moore’s replacement – Don Mattrick – wasn’t the one doing the presenting. He explained the Mattrick was back “holding down the fort” and that we can expect to see more of him later this year.
Schappert was quick to both praise the Wii (when asked about it selling more than the 360 has now sold in just a year’s time) and shrug off the PS3 (when asked what he thought about the PS3 gaining ground on the 360). Whereas he sees the Wii as something that is not so much competition and more of a compliment to the 360, Schappert simply pointed towards superior month-to-month sales of the 360 versus the PS3 prior to the holidays.
The most interesting part of the interview came when Eurogamer pushed Schappert on the subject of HD DVD. When asked what Microsoft plans to do with the 360’s HD DVD add-on, he said, “I don’t know what the plans are on that. It was a low attach rate. It wasn’t one of the high-selling accessories if you will. The people who bought it knew what they were buying. What I will say is that I think it circles back – it’s about a gaming machine we have that actually is the best gaming machine out there, which plays 7 of the 10 top-rated games, has the highest attach rate in history of 7 games purchased per console.”
Unsatisfied with that answer, Eurogamer continued to push him and pried some more.
You say it’s a gaming platform primarily, but you did want to have the HD-DVD drive – it’s not like it was forced on you or anything -
We wanted to offer people a choice -
Sure, so now with that in mind, ignoring the fact it’s the competition, would you do a Blu-ray drive and are you going to do one?
I don’t think we have any comment on that right now or any plans, but my focus is I’d rather give you community gaming and contribute to more games you can play and focus on the fact that you’re walking in, you’re buying that box and it plays great games and has the best online service. I think the fact that it does movies and sometimes TV shows in other territories is great but not the primary reason.
But in the interest of choice, in the pursuit of choice, which is something that you espouse, surely the next obvious thing to do now that this has been decided is to make a Blu-ray drive?
What I’ll say is we have nothing to comment there. We have no plans to announce or anything like that right now. But I’d also urge you to look at the attach rate for the HD-DVD drive.
So you’re saying that given that it wasn’t as popular as it could have been…
It was a 3 percent attach rate. So again, when you’re saying ‘the obvious thing’, you also have to take into account how did the other accessory do when you look at the future. We have nothing to comment right now on that and my focus is how we make Live better, how we get more great games and how do we empower the community. That’s what I wake up and think about, and it keeps me awful busy.