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Microsoft Plans for the Xbox 360 to “Go for Another Three Years”

Posted by Jim Tanous on September 5, 2013
Xbox 360

When now-departed Xbox Chief Don Mattrick told journalists that Microsoft’s solution for gamers without Internet connectivity was the Xbox 360, it turns out he wasn’t joking. With the launch of the Xbox One in November, the company plans to continue to support the current generation console for a bit longer.

Xbox Marketing and Strategy Chief Yusuf Mehdi told the audience during the Citi Global Technology Conference on Tuesday that the Xbox 360 “is going to go for another three years.” As pointed out by Ars Technica, Mr. Mehdi’s statement does not make Microsoft’s intentions and plans for the console explicitly clear (Is three years the production cut-off? Support cut-off? Expected life of the remaining consoles in use?), but he did provide a bit of clarification:

We’re going to continue to invest in the Xbox 360 and the two devices can work in concert. It’s not like the day we ship the Xbox One your 360 won’t work; we’ll continue to support it. In fact, we’re going to ship over 100 new games on Xbox 360. So you’ll still be able to play your [Xbox 360] games, just not on the same exact box.

The extension of support for the Xbox 360 is not surprising. With a retail price at launch of $500, the Xbox One will be out of the price range for many consumers, who will wish to stick with the current generation console. The original Xbox, replaced in 2005 by the 360, lasted for at least two years past the introduction of its successor, with new games and continued Xbox Live support. From rival Sony’s perspective, older consoles fared even better, with the venerable PlayStation 2 remaining in production until January 2013, ensuring its crown as the best selling video game console of all time.

Looking forward, both Microsoft and Sony have expressed their desire for the next generation of consoles to last ten years, with the usual fare of software updates over time. The lengthy life cycles are necessary for the manufacturers to turn a profit on the product, or at least attempt to break even. The Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii U all reportedly sold at a loss, with each company hoping to recoup the costs via game licensing and software sales. While many expect the Xbox One and PS4 to sell at a loss, Mr. Mehdi briefly mentioned during the Citi Conference that Microsoft hopes to “be break even or low margin at worst” on the upcoming console.

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