In what may prove to be a controversial statement, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has described the Xbox 360 as “a general purpose computer”, echoing similarly controversial comments from PlayStation boss Ken Kutaragi when describing the PlayStation 3.
Speaking to the San Jose Mercury News earlier this week
, Gates stated that, “We wouldn't have done it if it was just a gaming device. We wouldn't have gotten into the category at all. It was about strategically being in the living room. This is not some big secret. Sony says the same things."
Although Gates’ description of the Xbox has been widely understood by the industry for some time, the company has previously shied away from describing the console’s ambitions in such explicit terms.
Elsewhere in the interview, Gates also suggests that Microsoft and Sony have now switched positions in terms of market dominance in the U.S., suggesting that Sony has “burned a year” in the design and manufacture of the Cell processor. As such he claims that the Xbox 360 will always be technically superior in terms of graphics because of its extra year in the hands of developers.
In direct contrast to comments widely reported earlier in the week, in which Gates suggested in a Japanese interview that Nintendo was the company’s “toughest competition”, he this time claimed that Sony was Microsoft’s direct competitor in the video games industry. He suggested, as he has done in the past, that the Wii’s novelty would wear off relatively quickly.