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The Xbox One Interview: Matt Booty

Former CEO of Midway, Matt Booty joined Microsoft in April of 2010. He now works as General Manager and oversees Redmond Game Studios, including products for Xbox Live Arcade, Windows 8 and Windows Phone. I sat down with him in a small room on the Xbox Campus post Reveal to talk about his vision of the next generation.

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For starters, tell us about your role regarding Xbox One.

I've got a great job, that I'm really lucky to have, which is being able to work with teams that are making some of the digital content for Xbox One - stuff that you will find out more about in E3 - and all the way up to teams that are working on some very high profile triple-A launch content for Xbox One, I'm also real fortunate to be the general manager who oversees Forza's Turn 10, so I had the privilege of working with that team quite a bit. It's been very exciting to see Forza coming together.

The Xbox One Interview: Matt Booty

What are you most excited about with the new generation?

A couple of things. I think, for me, in terms of a player, I'm very excited that Xbox One will have a really expanded and extended model of personalization and the ability to tailor it, so when I sit down to use Xbox One its gonna know who I am, it's gonna show the stuff I want to see. It's really gonna be personalized. Just like with your phone, how you can personalize it with different tiles, different colours and apps, it's gonna be the the same on Xbox One.

The second thing I'm very excited about is the power of the Cloud, which will almost future-proof Xbox One, just beacuse of the expanded capabilites it gives, the new features we will be able to add, the ongoing upgrades; things like automated updates in the background. All the stuff that having a Cloud connected to the console will bring.

What do you think of the state of the industry today?

As somebody who works with the game industry I'm happy to report it's a very healthy industry. Over this last generation the console industry has grown. If you look at games overall, even adding in phone games and tablet games, there's no question that business and activity has grown. And we expect consoles to continue to grow in this next generation.

We actually see the percentage of time that people spend on console gaming, and even given all the growth that's happened with tablets and phones, I think over 40 percent of the time people spend playing games is on console. So business is great, the industry is healthy and it's a great time to be a game player. I can't imagine a time in history when there's been so many options available to game players in terms of what kind of games and what kind of devices you can play on and how these devices connect to each other.

With such a focus on integrating social media with TV and games - do you see any particular challenges with this during the course of the next gen?

I wouldn't say challenges, but rather opportunities. I think that people today, more than ever, expect the services to be very deeply integrated with their devices and I think the opportunity that creates is that the device knows a lot more about you so you can spend a lot more time engaging in the content that you want. It will be something more personalized and familiar to you.

There's also the cool oppurtunity from - out of a game design point of view - to build content that works well across all these different devices. We're getting to a point where there's a common baseline platform across Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Xbox One. As a game developer I can create a piece of content that is easily brought over these different devices. One of the really exciting things about Xbox One being an Microsoft console is that we are going to see even more of this going forward where there's connections across our Windows 8-familiy devices and Windows Phone.

The Xbox One Interview: Matt Booty

Halo is coming out as a full-fledged TV series and then there was the live action shots in the trailer for Quantum Break. Will we see more integration with TV and gaming?

For big franchises like Halo it makes perfect sense to expand out into TV. I'm sure that we are gonna see other content down the road where that will also make sense, but I really think it comes down to the kind of game and the kind of world. Halo has such a huge lore; it allows you to create books and create toys and tv series, and there will be other games like that as well but I don't think that it would be something we would necesarily have to fit into every game.

Do you think there will be an increase of episodic releases?

I can't speak to what game developers are going to do, but with Xbox One we certainly want to enable game designers to have maximum creative freedom, and if their particular game would work well with some certain way of delivery we would hope to enable that going forward.

The current generation has been really long. How long do you plan to keep Xbox One in the loop?

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That's a good question. Right now, my picture of it going into the future is that we built a box that may be the last console you ever need to get, just because we hope that by tapping into the power of the Cloud and tapping into all the Xbox Live services, it's something that is continually upgraded. We will be able to add new features as well as bringing a new range of experiences.



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