Prior to 1995, Microsoft employees were seen as rebel hackers, free electrons that had nothing to do with giants like IBM. Everything changed when Windows 95 appeared. “Microsoft did something everyone wanted”Assures Alison Stroll, a former Microsoft Game Studios, in the report Power On. “It is the most profitable company in the history of mankind”Adds Seamus Blackley, the Xbox daddy. “I don’t think this has ever happened in the past unless I compare it to the Spaniards arriving in the new world to literally dig a mountain of money”He adds. On their side, the journalists compare Windows to “a giant cash dispenser”. Because of its new dominant position, Microsoft becomes the giant to be cut down, “the villain of the story”. “Our reputation was not great”Confirms Albert Penello, former marketing manager for the brand.
For their part, Sony and Nintendo have convinced millions of fans in the past. “The PlayStation 2 was the next big thing, and everything was going to be crushed in its path”Warns N’gai Croals, former editor of Newsweek. It must be recognized that the success of the first PlayStation was insolent, and that the console now evokes great things to players. When deciding on the final name for the machine, marketing teams had the choice between Xbox and Microsoft Xbox. They preferred to withdraw the “Microsoft” because of image problem the company. “Can you imagine going to Bill Gates and telling him that the biggest obstacle to launching this new product is the name of his company?” launches Albert Penello.
The Redmond firm also had to press third-party editors and developers to convince them of the seriousness of the project. As for Nintendo, the brand speaks so much to passionate gamers that the American giant think about buying it back. After all, the group has Shigeru Miyamoto among its ranks, “the video game Spielberg”. But the leaders of Nintendo break off the dialogue with the American giant. Microsoft will take years to try to appear “plugged” with young people.
Power On: The Story of the Xbox is available in full via here.