You don't have to possess the IQ of Stephen Hawking to guess that the bigwigs at Microsoft would have been doing Snoopy-like happy dances last week after the announcement of PS3 launch delays
in Australia and Europe. The only mystery was whether Microsoft would do their gloating quietly or whether they would have a very public kick at their opponent while they were down. And now we have an answer--Microsoft in Australia is sinking the boot in!
Australia's top executive for Xbox, David McLean, spoke to CNET.com.au sister site GameSpot AU and said that news of the PS3
launch delay (from November 2006 to March 2007 in Australia) didn't catch him or anyone else at Microsoft by surprise. In fact, McLean was foreshadowing even more delays for Sony's next-generation console.
"It [the PS3 delay] doesn't surprise me -- and it further wouldn't surprise me if this product wasn't seen in March next year either," McLean said.
"We have always been comfortable with our strategy for Christmas irrespective of Sony. We are completely unsurprised by this situation. We have actually been a little surprised at how surprised other people have been."
McLean hinted that Microsoft would unveil some retail-focused strategies this Christmas to entice those gamers who had money saved up for a PS3 to switch to an Xbox 360
instead. McLean was close-mouthed when it came to providing exact details, however.
"We may well look at working with our retail partners to come up with some opportunities to give gamers more choice," he said.
McLean said the only downside for Microsoft with the PS3 delay was that consumers would have to wait longer to finally compare the 360 and the PS3 side-by-side.
"It would have been nice for people to really contrast what the Xbox 360 had to offer versus Sony this Christmas, so the vapourware aspect could go away," he said.
But when it comes to the other next-generation console still expected to reach Australian shores this year--the Nintendo Wii
--McLean was far more complimentary. "I actually think the Wii is very innovative. I think it will have an interesting niche market for that controller. I do think that it will lend itself to some new experiences around gameplay--but I also do think that in terms of true power, next generation content and true digital lifestyle scenarios, the game is still with Xbox 360," he said.
Sony Computer Entertainment Australia declined to comment to GameSpot AU about Microsoft's reaction.