Xbox 360: An insider's story

Click herefor part one of our two-part interview with Dean Takahashi.

After Dean Takahashi, author of The Xbox 360 Uncloaked gave us a peek behind the scenes at Microsoft, we got him to talk about games, online plans and Xbox 360's challengers for the next-gen gaming crown.

Will Halo 3 be worth the wait?
Bungie has a track record that shows it takes its time, but whatever it does winds up being a high-quality product. I think it'll be worth the wait. Halo 2 was finished in fall 2004 and now Halo 3 will be launched in fall 2007, so it seems like Bungie is actually working faster on this one. And there is plenty of time to get it right.

Do people view Xbox 360 as the gaming console?
That's the case for now because Sony isn't in the market. But Microsoft doesn't have the stage all to itself. Nintendo's DS has really shifted attention from the idea that photorealism and graphics are what gamers care about, to this idea that gamers care about creativity. And that's starting to take some of the attention away from Microsoft.

We'll see more of that with Wii, where the emphasis is on the controller and a new type of gameplay, and where creativity is more important to the gamer than amazing graphics. Microsoft faces big competition and it's going to have to fight for attention.

What about Nintendo setting itself apart from the next-gen battle?
I think it's the biggest gamble that anyone has taken. The execution is going to determine whether it will turn out OK. It has a very low cost box, which may appeal to more non-gamers or low-income folks, and the more intuitive controller should appeal to non-gamers, again.

If there are a lot of non-gamers who want to play, but find games too intimidating, then Nintendo has a brilliant idea. If not, Nintendo is in trouble.