Joachim Kempin, an ex-vice president at Microsoft, says that his former company only decided to get into the home console business in order to be able to compete with Sony head-on, with the initial idea coming directly from Bill Gates.
Speaking to IGN, the former executive says, “The main reason was to stop Sony. You see, Sony and Microsoft…they never had a very friendly relationship, okay? And this wasn’t because Microsoft didn’t want that. Sony was always very arm’s length with Microsoft.”
He adds, “I mean, at least a portion of Sony is and they had some really good things going there, but as soon as they came out with a video console, Microsoft just looked at that and said ‘well, we have to beat them, so let’s do our own’.”
The original Xbox home console was the first result of the decision to challenge Sony and since then, Microsoft has also launched the 360 follow-up.
At the moment, neither of the two rivals has announced plans for their next generation of home consoles, but analysts believe that the rivalry will continue.
For the current generation, the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 are head-to-head in terms of worldwide sales.
The Xbox 360 has managed to perform very well during the last two years, mainly because it managed to capture the imagination of first-person shooter fans with its support for the Call of Duty series and its multiplayer modes.
For the next generation of devices, both companies are expected to introduce more powerful hardware, better motion control integration, a system to discourage the use of second-hand games and better media hub capabilities.
The PlayStation 4 might be revealed as soon as February 20, at an event that Sony will hold in New York.
Microsoft will probably also soon show its new device, aiming to launch it during 2013.