Robbie Bach, chief Xbox officer at Microsoft, recently spoke to Japanese magazine Weekly Famitsu on the subject of the company’s strategy for the Japanese market in particular and broader plans in general.
According to the piece, which was partially translated by consumer game website GameSpot, Microsoft has much higher hopes for Xbox Live on the 360 than the current incarnation of the service. Roughly 10 percent of the 20 million Xbox owners use the system’s online capabilities, a figure which Bach said he expects to climb to 50 percent with the Xbox 360. However, Bach did not distinguish between those who use the free Xbox Marketplace system and downloads system via the Silver Xbox Live service and those who will pay subscription fees for online play using the Gold service.
On the subject of launch titles, Bach said that the finalized launch lineup for the system’s European debut would be announced shortly. Currently the company has not announced concrete details for the American launch titles either; it’s possible that all territories will be covered at the upcoming X05 event in Amsterdam. Bach also spoke of Microsoft’s “clear vision” for the mid-term future, which includes release strategies for the next 18 months.
Finally, Bach gave details on anticipated MMORPGs for the Xbox 360. The already-announced Final Fantasy XI will have a large beta test, such that any Xbox 360 owner with the necessary hard drive will possibly be able to participate. Apart from that, Bach said there would be no new MMORPG in the launch window due to the logistics of setting up a new service, but there would be a new entry in the genre two to three years after launch.