Microsoft sees long-life potential for Xbox 360

Tue Nov 6, 2007 2:47pm EST

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SAN FRANCISCO Nov 6 (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) sees potential for its Xbox 360 video game console to stay on the market longer than the five-year lifespan that is typical for gaming hardware, an executive said on Tuesday.

Asked about long-term prospects for the game industry, Mindy Mount, chief financial officer for Microsoft's entertainment division that includes the Xbox, pointed to Sony Corp's (6758.T) PlayStation 2, which is still going strong after 7 years on the market. "Look at the PS2; they've gone long-time and seem to have pretty good legs on what they are doing," Mount told a BMO Capital Markets conference on interactive entertainment.

"If we were able to do that, as CFO I think that's great, because every year you draw it out you increase profitability," Mount said.

Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 in November 2005, replacing the original Xbox that debuted four years earlier to challenge Sony for dominance in a video game industry that is on track to hit $40 billion this year.

Mount said features such as high-definition graphics make new machines attractive when compared against older hardware, but hinted that she sees less need to rush out an all-new console.

"At this point from the technological perspective, there are some real advances ... that make it worth having a next-generation console," Mount said. "Right now there aren't that many things on the horizon that you think, wow, that's going to be a game-changer."

(Reporting by Scott Hillis, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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