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Former Microsoft exec claims Xbox created because Sony didn't want to 'be a friend'

Microsoft wasn't always interested in entering the console market. In fact, according to a former Microsoft exec, the company only entered the console market because Sony refused to work with them.

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Microsoft made significant inroads in the console wars with the Xbox 360, stealing market share from the once-dominant PlayStation brand. However, Microsoft wasn't always interested in entering the console market. In fact, according to a former Microsoft exec, the company only entered the console market because Sony refused to work with them.

Joachim Kempin was VP of Windows Sales at Microsoft for 20 years, having left the company in 2003, two years after the launch of the original Xbox. He said that the main reason Microsoft jumped into the console market was "to stop Sony."

"They were never Microsoft's friend," Kempin told IGN. "And Microsoft in a way wanted them to be a friend because they knew they had a lot of things we could have co-operated on because they are, in a way, an entertainment company, you know?"

However, when Sony entered the market with the original PlayStation, Microsoft felt like its stronghold of the PC market could be eroded. Microsoft founder Bill Gates was afraid that "the living room computer" could threaten the Windows market, and Microsoft knew it had to work against Sony.

This story slightly echoes how Sony came to create the PlayStation in the first place. The Japanese hardware giant originally partnered up with Nintendo to create a CD add-on for the SNES. However, Nintendo eventually partnered with Philips on the failed CD-i. The apparent betrayal was motivation for Sony to enter the console space, and led to the formation of the PlayStation brand. While Microsoft doesn't appear to have collaborated with Sony as deeply, it seems that friendship could have prevented these console wars from escalating at all.

Andrew Yoon was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 6, 2013 5:00 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Former Microsoft exec claims Xbox created because Sony didn't want to 'be a friend'.

    Microsoft wasn't always interested in entering the console market. In fact, according to a former Microsoft exec, the company only entered the console market because Sony refused to work with them.

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      February 6, 2013 5:10 PM

      So, the moral of the story is that all new consoles are created out of spite?

    • ArB legacy 10 years legacy 20 years
      reply
      February 6, 2013 5:24 PM

      Microsoft is dicks.

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        February 6, 2013 5:26 PM

        Sony apparently were dicks first. MS then pulled the counter dick maneuver on them

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          February 6, 2013 8:56 PM

          nintendo were dicks, not sony. sony wanted to work with nintendo and nintendo went behind sony's back

      • reply
        February 6, 2013 10:12 PM

        DickBox 720? Isn't that the shack?

      • reply
        February 7, 2013 1:17 PM

        Sony got dicked, decided it'd be a bigger dick, which in turn resulted in MS causing a dick party wherein their attempts to cock-block each often result in being dicks to consumers. Considering the slang of MS's first-party juggernauts are Galo and Queers of War due to how engaging teabag mechanics are within them one may wonder how far this cock-fight goes. Even more so with the fact that Sony introduced dancing the funky chicken over an opponents corpse in SOCOM which enables players to be dicks towards each other by creating strife in with the form of a Cock.

    • reply
      February 6, 2013 5:28 PM

      Funny how Sony also tried to shaft Nintendo out of the N64. They just can't get along with anyone!

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        February 6, 2013 8:02 PM

        Who Nintendo? It was Nintendo who decided not to work with Sony, not the other way around.

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          February 6, 2013 8:42 PM

          Apparently Sony was being a dick about wanting rights to license software for the system so Nintendo asked Philips about providing CD drives as well. Sony threw a hissy fit and released the PS1 after convincing other CD licensors to not deal with Nintendo. Hence the N64 used cartridges instead of CD's (which it was originally supposed to).

    • reply
      February 6, 2013 5:31 PM

      With "friends" like Microsoft...

      • reply
        February 6, 2013 5:32 PM

        ...they could have ruled the galaxy together?

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          February 6, 2013 5:51 PM

          The games are with you young Sony, but you are not a game company yet!

        • reply
          February 6, 2013 10:52 PM

          Microsoft have a pretty big habit of backstabbing their "friends" i'd say they would have partnered with sony for a couple of years and then released the xbox anyway and totally screwed sony over.

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            February 6, 2013 11:41 PM

            Microsoft backstabbed HTC, Facebook, ...?

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            February 7, 2013 4:26 AM

            can you give examples of hardware partners that they screwed

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              February 7, 2013 12:43 PM

              i don't know why you're limiting it to hardware partners, but MS pretty much kept them all in the dark about how they were getting into the hardware space and releasing the surface tablets as direct competitors to PCs rather than just providing the OS to OEMs to build devices. pretty analogous to the position sony would have been in if they partnered up with MS.

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        February 6, 2013 6:12 PM

        Is there any large gaming company that you like?

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      February 6, 2013 5:34 PM

      Console wars are the silliest thing ever.

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        February 6, 2013 5:57 PM

        I can't believe you would think that and also visit this website. Console wars are some of the most exciting stuff in the industry! It's like game industry's version of Gladiator fighting.

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        February 7, 2013 1:22 AM

        Yea, console warriors are the worst.

    • reply
      February 6, 2013 5:40 PM

      wasn't the Playstation sort of birthed the same way when Nintendo told Sony to fuck off after Sony invested like tens of millions in r&d?

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      February 6, 2013 6:02 PM

      I was just watching a documentary on Netflix called "Game on!" that talked about this. Kind of a flimsy documentary overall, though.

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      February 6, 2013 6:27 PM

      Huh cool article.

      Nvidia's Shield is suppose to be the same deal as a cause of SONY pissing them off with ditching the GPU. I wonder if that is true as well?

      Weird.

    • reply
      February 6, 2013 6:40 PM

      Think the PS3 would have been nearly as good if it was released before blu-ray? Meaning it wouldn't have had a blu-ray drive at all. So, maybe dvd or a grand ol' Sony proprietary disc format.

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        February 6, 2013 7:23 PM

        I thought Blu-Ray WAS the proprietary disc format :)

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        February 6, 2013 8:02 PM

        PS3 would have been a miserable failure without Blu-Ray. It was their wedge against Microsoft. Of course, once it was mature, great games appeared, but for awhile it was like, "hey, blu-ray player that has games, cool".

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          February 6, 2013 8:48 PM

          I think it's very important that it was a GOOD blu-ray player. My most common reply to someone having blu-ray troubles is: "Hmm... I don't have that issue with my PS3". Granted, my 60GB model failed at some point, though. I can't recommend the fatty models

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        February 6, 2013 9:33 PM

        If no blu-ray meant coming out a year earlier and at the same price as the 360, i think they'd have continued where they left off with the ps2 instead of the uphill battle they faced with the slow start.

        Who knows if they win the blu-ray vs hd-dvd war if they had done that though.

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          February 6, 2013 10:11 PM

          They probably would have. HD-DVD still had the stumbling block of Toshiba being the only hardware manufacturer. Blu-ray wouldn't have taken off quite as quickly, but it still would have been the likely victor.

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      February 6, 2013 8:00 PM

      Sony started the Playstation for the same reason against Nintendo.

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      February 6, 2013 9:01 PM

      Kinda like how Nintendo refused to work with Sony so they released the Playstation on their own?

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      February 7, 2013 4:13 AM

      HAY GUYZ DID U NO SONY MADE PS1 TO SPITE SONY?!

    • Ziz legacy 10 years legacy 20 years
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      February 7, 2013 6:32 AM

      They could of had peace a lot easier in Star Wars if just the Empire and the Rebels could of been friends.

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      February 12, 2013 3:55 PM

      lets state it more directly: Japanese are incredibly xenophobic (read: racist) when it comes to business. Of course they wanted no part of the big stink Gaijins and their company.

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