E3 07: Jeff Bell Interview

Posted by: Chuck at 7/18/2007 11:54 PM
We've already given you the short interview we did with Peter Moore last week.  Below is our interview with Jeff Bell, the Corporate Vice President - Global Marketing for International Entertainment Business for Microsoft.

Where do you see the Xbox 360 brand going over the next five to ten years?

In many ways I think Microsoft’s Xbox brand has got to maintain its core values of being charismatic, social and witty.   That is the personality that it portrays. Its fundamental story is borne of bringing people together. Connecting like in high school, the geeks, the jocks, the nerds, the freaks and bringing them all together in a community, that’s what the Xbox promise is all about. 

What that means is that we are going to continue to grow in our appeal to more and more people. Whether that’s five minutes or fifteen hours of gameplay and let everyone feel comfortable with our brand.

What game do you play most in your spare time?

I just finished Rise of the Silver Surfer with my ten year old and it has great co-op play. Next up for me is Harry Potter. I do get to see some games that haven’t been launched yet, and demo them and play them a little bit. I’m also really gotten into [Xbox Live] Arcade and I’m playing Prince of Persia a lot. 

Great game isn’t it?
Unbelievable, I forgot how great it was.

Did you play the original then?

I did.

I remember playing that on the old Apple //e


Of the games that are coming out, what game would you want to take home with you?

It’s Halo 3. I am a Halo fanboy. I’ve completed Legendary on both Halo and Halo 2 and I’ve completed the game in co-operative mode with both of my older sons. So I was just mentioning it to Frank [O’Conner] and Brian [Jarrad ] that I’m probably going to do a 24 hour run until I complete it with at least one of my sons. 

What do you like most about the Halo franchise?

You know I think for me it was the first game that I played with co-operative mode and so that was a real revolution for me personally because I could play with my sons. It doesn’t replace the time kicking or throwing the ball around in the back yard but the real dynamic of the relationship is learning to play as a team and being able to communicate. 

(interview continues after the more button)

Where do you see the game market going over the next several years?

I think the main thing is being able to use games to further relationships. I think it’s going to grow into edutainment and education. I also think, and we just launched an initiative called Games for Change, trying to get Social Issues to have a greater awareness through the use of games. 

What do you like most about your job at Microsoft?

Playing games.

About what’s your work/game ratio?

I would say that I’m still working a lot more than I’m playing games but I love games and I love that I get to play games. There are a lot of games that I never played that I get to play now. I never got to play Fable and so I got to go back and play some of the back catalog. Meeting Peter Molyneux motivated me to do that. 

How do you market the Xbox Brand to different countries and cultures? What are the most important things when you look at your marketing strategy?

As I said before it’s important for us to be Xbox first and France second for instance. We have got to be consistent. We define our personality as charismatic, social, and witty and we are very clear that we want to be that connector that brings people together and we’re not going to tell you how to pursue your passion. We’ll give you the opportunities and the tools to do it. Whether it’s sports, adventure, RPG, or RTS we want to be able to give it to you.

What’s the biggest difference between working for Daimler Chrysler and working for Microsoft?

The people are younger and smarter. In many ways the big challenge is avoiding the fragmentation that comes along with smart, motivated people. Microsoft has a great sense of independence and innovation and where I’m trying to add value is by adding consistency, some science to our marketing, and some connecting of the dots to make sure that we don’t fragment or do too much separate and unequal approach to the marketplace.