Q&A With Microsoft South Africa

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I was lucky enough to be invited to Microsoft South Africa this morning for something I cannot tell you about…. But I will soon.

Anyway while I was there we had a short Q&A session and I thought I would share some of the answers with you lot… Obviously they had a lot more marketing talk in the answers but here is the general idea.

Q. When is the EU price cut going to filter down to us?
A. Never. SA was cheaper than the EU up until this recent price cut and now we are on the same level.

Q. When are the HDMI enabled Xbox 360’s hitting our shelves?
A. [silence]…. They can’t tell us otherwise prospective buyers would hold out. However as you can see from the article I published yesterday, HDMI is really not worth holding out for.

Q. What happened to the Bioshock and Darkness releases?
A. The publishers had originally planned for Megarom to distribute these titles but changed their mind at the last minute. Microsoft SA unfortunately did not have enough warning to get these out on time. They don’t expect this to happen again.

Q. Official Live support in South Africa?
A. Blame Telkom… Okay they didn’t say that but they should have done. Seriously they are doing their best and are pushing very hard to get it done. Our country is impressing Microsoft worldwide with our purchasing power and advanced retail systems so we are being moved up the list. Microsoft SA are happy that we have a thriving Live community though. It does help our cause.

Q. Are we getting all the Halo 3 accessories?
A. Yes, Obviously they are all limited but SA is getting its fair share. Look out for these at BT Games and Incredible Connection.

Q. How is the 360 doing here?
A. Way better than expectations, The elite more than doubled their forecasted sales. SA’s game attachment rate is also as high as the EU and US which is great for getting Live. The 360 currently accounts for 20% of all console sales (which includes the PS2)

Q. Have the reliability problems been addressed?
A. The hardware inside the consoles is being improved constantly however since the release of the Elite the RROD problems have decreased.

That’s all I can remember now that we are allowed to share. Oh the last thing was that Forza 2 actually sold more in South Africa than Gears of War which suprised most of us. This is actually very good news since it shows that we are a mature gaming market.

 [Updated to fix the terrible grammar, sorry]

Last Updated: September 19, 2007

  • thanks ..Glad to see Ms recognises us 360 games and the need for live

  • doobiwan

    Wow, cool, thanks Lazy.

    The forza info is especially interesting considering how long each has been out for.

  • LazySAGamer

    Ah but when they say sold more do they mean in total or just in the same time frames? 🙂 Marketing rocks…

  • Oh, please tell us what else you did today.
    Pleeeeeeeeease 😉

  • LazySAGamer

    lol Now coming from you Drift that is funny 😉

    Anyway can everyone see how well this article is being digged? Pity it’s not true… Digg is having some problems and has joined this article with another completely seperate one… weird…

  • Fred

    Bet you did not ask if the finally fixed their hardware in the new Elite models …. lots of people are scared of the rrod

  • Ruslan

    The RROD question was asked during a previous MS seminar at their Willem Nicol offices after the presentation and quietly the source said that the extra heatsink(s) will compensate until the 65nm units are out by Xmas.

  • LazySAGamer

    @Fred, thanks for reminding me, the question was asked and they said that the hardware is being improved all the time and since the Elites hit the market the percentage of RROD’s has dropped quite dramatically…

  • PillsburyDeeBoy

    I’m sorry. The answer about Live is still garbage. Effectively, they’re stroking our egos but are still not doing anything. “Microsoft is very impressed with South Africa”…yeah, I am too, we’re pretty cool, but we still don’t have Live. We’ve always been in the plans…and we’re always moving up some list…but what do we have? Still nothing. PR speech. Give us projections, give us timelines, blame Telkom, but stop treating like children by making empty statements.

  • LazySAGamer

    @Pillsbury, in the last update we went head to head with Poland but since Poland has an 80% internet connection rate and 45% of the entire population has broadband they won.

    They don’t have timelines, now we are competing with Hungary, Russia and Turkey (I think), we have the worst internet but the best retail supply chains and purchasing power which helps…

    I know Greece are also trying and they are also quite advanced… it really isn’t Microsoft SA’s fault. This is not to say that you all shouldn’t continue to hassle them, but make no mistake they are trying…

  • Ruslan

    If they could at least lower the content restrictions for certain downloadble items… sigh.

  • Example the GoW map packs.

  • Bob

    The Live thing is pure MS BS. If Sony can give us local PSN support, there is no reason Microsoft can’t give is live. There’s no brain surgery here, no local infrastructure to be put done – it’s just a simple case of bringing South Africa on board the existing Live service with local billing facilities and registration.

  • @ Pillsbury and Bob, MS are purposefully not bringing out live in SA as it will make us gamers unhappy and MS won’t earn anything from it! “FREE DISATISFACTION!”

    ok now seriously do you really think that MS don’t want to bring Live into SA? this is another marketing tool for them to gain more market share! Live is a huge selling point for the XBOX360 do you seriously think that they don’t know this?

    I’ve also been in many meetings with the crew from MS, and I know what’s going on, and I can tell you honestly that these guys are trying their hardest to make things happen it’s only cause you guys sit from the outside and you can make your assumptions, cause you don’t know what’s going on in the inside, fair enough a little bit of what’s going on would be nice, but surprisingly being in the gaming industry is like being in the CIA there is soooo much secrecy around gaming it’s ludacris!

    I trust the good folks at MS to bring us Live, I know they will deliver. the unfortunate part is it’s not up to them to say SA can have live, it’s MS US.

  • Bob

    Answer a simple question: why can Sony, despite generally being behind in online services, give South Africans the PSN if it’s so hard to do?

    Quite honestly, whichever way you cut it, the Xbox 360 is not next-gen in South Africa until it has official online support. At this stage, I don’t care about their excuses, I just want the full fucntionality of the expensive console I bought from them.

  • LazySAGamer

    @Bob, because the PS3’s online service is gimped compared to Xbox Live? They have not given SA any infrastructure and all they have done is allow payments in Rands.

    Personally I just want Microsoft SA to actually do the same but they have a different strategy and to protect their online model they will only roll out to certain markets to control the stress on the system. More regions means more servers.

  • Bob

    Payments in Rands is all Microsoft has to do; it is all they would do, anyway. It’s not like every country has its own Live servers – there’s only three big Live data centres around the world.

    More regions means more servers – what a lot of tosh! This is the Internet, this is the connected world, for heaven’s sake. Having a good month in the UK would probably mean more stress on the servers than giving Live to us.

    They should quite frankly not be selling this product anywhere without Live. I would sell my Xbox 360 and go back to PC gaming if they disconnected South Africans from the service. “Protect their online model” – sheesh, drink Kool-Aid much?

  • LazySAGamer

    @Bob, I am not sure where you are getting your information but Microsoft implemented 4 server farms in 2002 and I expect that has been increased since then.

    Either way I am not trying to defend them, I want live as well…. I just saying the requests need to be sent to the right place with the right knowledge behind them. I am not saying don’t keep asking for it and yes if we get kicked off live I will be one of the first on PSN exclusively.

    The SA guys are trying to get us supported that is all I am saying..

    Kool-Aid? Nah send the Amstels though if you are offering 😉

  • ManesanZA

    Im with BOB and Deeboy on this

    Anyone with half a brain knows how to illegally connect to XBOX live. MS knows this, thats why they dont care too much about live in SA.
    The 360’s been out for 2 years and launched exactly a year ago in SA, its pathetic that Live is still not avaialable(seeing that the PS3 with its rushed console was still able to have PSN for SA at launch.)

  • Ruslan

    All I can say comparing PSN to the XBL is like comparing peanuts to a full meal. True that we are illegaly connected to LIVE but once are set I dont see any problems unless you have support issues.

    But to honeslty say that the PSN is mature enough to compete with XBL is nonsense IMO. There is lots of maturity to still be reached and with Home being delayed till Autumn 2008 ( count 2009 for SA ) Sony will have plenty to catch to LIVE thus far.

    If you compare the PSN services for EU countries to what the US, Japan & South Korea get then you will see how we are being limited.

  • ManesanZA

    Ruslan,

    I dont think anybody here is comparing the services or features offered by XBL and PSN.
    XBL will not have any infrastructure or content servers in SA, we just want the payments in rands option and to connect to live legally, and we want it now. Not giving us a timeline and telling us that we have to compete with country X Y and Z before we get live is ridiculous. We PAY for this service (albeit illegally,and MS dont seem to have a problem taking this money).

  • doobiwan

    While I’d be happy with just an option to pay in rands I imagine rolling out a Live! region is a lot more complicated than that. I’m pretty sure they’d look at deploying local content servers at the very least.

    And connecting to Live! from an external region is not “illegal” it’s totally permitted, just not accessing region specific resources or giving false credit card information.

  • CodeMonkey

    IMHO we will not get Live before local Internet traffic is free. MS will have to put down some local hardware as SA will probably be serving the entire African region.

    Gaming shouldn’t be too much of a hassle, as the connections are pretty much P2P after host discovery and authentication has been done. The Multimedia content on the other hand, that can fill up a pipe quite easily.

    Some time ago I read that Telkom was going to use MS kit for their IPTV and VOD services; MS media streaming tech to get the content to the subscriber and possibly use the 360 to display the content on the TV.

    Taking all of this into consideration, a logical deduction might be that MS is negotiating partnership deals with, amongst others, Telkom media and will time the launch of their Live service in SA with the launch of Telkom’s pay TV service.

    Please note; all of the above are conjecture, at best.

    If you consid

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