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Kim: Microsoft Broadening Xbox 360's Family Appeal

In a new interview with CNET News Australia, Microsoft Game Studios General Manager Shane Kim has commented on the Xbox 360's position for both 'hardcore' and casual game...
In a new interview with CNET News Australia, Microsoft Game Studios General Manager Shane Kim has commented on the Xbox 360's position for both 'hardcore' and casual gamers, indicating that with this new generation of hardware, Microsoft is moving to appeal to a broader audience. However, while doing this, Kim commented, the company is being careful not to alienate too much of the the company's established fan base by continuing to release titles such as Bizarre Creation's Project Gotham Racing 3 and the Epic's upcoming Gears of War, commenting: "I don't think we want to lose the relationship with hardcore gaming -- I don't think that will happen. I think we can do this without losing the hardcore gamer," he said. Nintendo has enjoyed a great deal of success with such titles as Animal Crossing and Nintendogs, as has Sony with their library of titles devoted to the PlayStation's EyeToy peripheral, and Microsoft has already announced that it will release a similar camera peripheral for the Xbox 360, in another move to help mainstream acceptance of the console. Another primary example of this new direction is the recently announced Viva Piñata, a multimedia collaborative project between Rare and 4Kids Entertainment. The customizable social game is being developed to be accessible to players of all ages and skill levels. In the game, players are challenged to create and maintain a living garden ecosystem that grows in real time. Beginning with a few basic tools, players build and take control of their environment to attract and host more than 60 species of wild piñata, utilizing hundreds of customizable elements to create their very own distinctively unique game world. "I think in some respects Viva Piñata is the most important title in our portfolio this year," commented Kim to CNET. "In order to win in this generation (of consoles), we know that we have to expand beyond the core gaming audience." Another paradigm shift taking place with regards to the Xbox 360 is in making it have more of a global presence. Kim noted that Microsoft has perhaps taken “too much of a US-centric view of content” in the past, but that the company hopes to change that going forward, commenting: “Buzz, Singstar, and those other games aren't really big in the US. But in Europe, which is a very important market for us in this generation, those kinds of titles and peripherals that go along with them, are very important. We have a lot of activity going on in that area -- I'll put it that way." The full interview with Kim, including more detail on Microsoft's plans, is available at CNET Australia.

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