A common reaction to Microsoft’s E3 briefing this year was “Where are the games?” Core gaming was conspicuously absent from the keynote, supplanted by a focus on the Xbox 360 as an entertainment hub.
This came as no surprise to any observer of the video game industry as the race to provide an indispensable media center for the living room has governed the later phases of the current console cycle. And this year, for the first time ever, the United States Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates featured interactive television polling, hosted on Xbox Live.
It was a clear demonstration of how Microsoft is trying to expand the definition and usage of the Xbox 360 but what, if anything, can we gleam from those polls? Could such an unrepresentative, self-selecting sample of respondents really have told us anything other than what the Xbox Live audience thought? We spoke with David Rothschild, an economist with Microsoft Research, about how the debate polling was planned and executed and what lessons were learned.