Longtime PC and Xbox gamers will remember Ed Fries as Microsoft's vice president of game publishing. Fries was instrumental in building up Microsoft as a PC gaming powerhouse and launching the original Xbox. At The Ayzenberg Group's [A] List Summit, Fries will be talking to marketing and advertising executives about his long career at Microsoft. I was lucky enough to grab him for a chat and get his assessment on how the "big three" console companies are doing. Fries said:
"If you were to ask me to predict what would have happened this console generation, I wouldn't have predicted that this generation would be led by Nintendo. And that's what happened. They took the biggest risk of any of the three platforms coming into this generation -- from an innovation point of view -- and they've reaped the biggest rewards.
At the same time, I wouldn't have predicted that Sony would be the lowest. I have friends at all these companies now, so I have to be careful with what I say [laughs]. Sony has clearly made some mistakes this generation. That shows in their position in the marketplace.
Xbox, by being well positioned, is doing well. Microsoft didn't take huge risks with 360 and so they didn't get the huge rewards, but it also hasn't done anything...dumb [laughs]. It hasn't shot itself in the foot. So they're not in last either."
Stay tuned for a very long interview with Fries, where he talks about his career at Microsoft, his current ventures, his World of Warcraft
characters, iPhone gaming, and more. I'm still high from our conversation and I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.
For now, let me know what you think of his snapshot judgement of Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony? Is he on the mark? Anything you disagree with? Would you believe that an ex-G4 director and I once serenaded Ed with The Beatles' "Let It Be", changing the words to "Eddie Fries"?