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Microsoft Pushes to Broaden Xbox Appeal

Techstination feature for Friday, September 19, 2003

Microsoft's push to broaden the appeal of the Xbox. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Nine and a half million Xbox video game consoles have been sold by Microsoft so far... a figure that is far behind rival Sony's sales of its Playstation2. What Microsoft is planning to do for this holiday season sell more machines to families with a new package that will allow the box to be used to store digital photos and music... and sing along... with Karaoke software. Cameron Ferroni is the general manager of the Xbox platform...

"We've got a great new product this holiday called Xbox Music Mixer. And this is a product designed for the entire family and really bring everybody in for a great experience with the Xbox. It's got a ton of great features like being able to listen to your music and see cool visualizers. But some of the really exciting things are the ability to transfer photos and music from your PC over to your box. You can have the whole family sitting around in the living room with Grandma checking out your Christmas photos."

To make it simple, Microsoft is selling a wireless networking adapter for the Xbox. And that connection can also be used for the company's other big push... for its Xbox Live service... which has half a million subscribers so far...

"So we're shooting to double our current subscriber base by June and then over the next few years we want to get into that two million, five million number and really show how online's become a real mainstream activity on the console."

And the annual subscription fees for the service could help the Xbox make a profit.