J Allard: “We Spent A Stupid Amount of Time on Stuff Like HD-DVD In Response to the Competition”

It "distracted us from our core beliefs."

Posted By | On 24th, Jan. 2016

xbox 360

Former Microsoft employee James Allard, who oversaw the company’s entry into the video game console business with the Xbox, recently had a chat with NowGamer (interview originally published in GamesTM magazine) about his experience while working with the Redmond based software giant.

The 7th generation of consoles war was not only about which company can offer better games, but it was also an important period for the entertainment industry as a whole. Microsoft were pushing the HD-DVD format whereas Sony was on the Blu-ray side. Both companies were so eager to push their respective formats that Sony included the blu-ray player within the PS3 itself and made it compulsory for every developer to release games on blu-ray disc only whereas Microsoft released a HD-DVD add on for the Xbox 360. However, with several companies phasing out support for HD-DVD, the media format wars was eventually won by Blu-Ray.

Allard recalls the incident and believes it was stupid that they focused so much of their time (and money) in pushing a media format instead of focusing on online services. This also meant that the team got distracted from their core beliefs.

“We believed Sony would push their media format (Blu-ray) heavily, push the hardware to the limit and be difficult to program like all previous generations. We incorrectly guessed that they would buy up a bunch of online companies because of the critical shift from traditional media to digital distribution given that it was the next obvious format and so much of their overall business has been dependent on the shift to next generation media formats,” he stated.

“There were definitely factions within the team that did worry more about the competition and we spent a stupid amount of time on stuff like HD-DVD in response to the competition that just distracted us from our core beliefs. A new format for high-resolution movies was not important to us. Leading the charge in online gaming was – and the HD-DVD effort was a good example of how worrying about the competition can take you off your game,” he added.

Well, atleast Microsoft fixed their mistake with the Xbox One. But what are your thoughts on Allard’s statements? Let us know in the comments section below.


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