The Price of Parity: Former Xbox Exec Reveals Millions Spent to Compete with PS2

Former Xbox executive, Peter Moore, has shed light on the high costs incurred by Microsoft to establish gaming industry parity between Xbox and PlayStation systems during the early 2000s. Moore, who served as an Xbox executive from 2003 to 2007, revealed that the company invested millions of dollars to secure day-and-date releases of third-party games for Xbox and Xbox 360 that would align with Sony's systems. This article delves into the challenges Microsoft faced, the significant financial investments made, and the industry dynamics that led to this scenario.

Challenges in the Wake of PlayStation's Success

Following the monumental success of the original PlayStation, Microsoft encountered substantial obstacles while striving to establish a foothold in the gaming industry. Moore highlighted the difficulty of getting games on Xbox consoles initially, a process that necessitated hefty financial investments. He pointed out that without an established install base, Microsoft had to rely on forecasts to convince developers and publishers to commit to Xbox releases. 

In Sony's Pocket: The Cost of Parity

Moore's revelations offered insights into the extent of Microsoft's financial commitments to achieve parity with Sony's PlayStation systems. He disclosed that the company frequently spent anywhere from $5 million to $20 million solely to secure day-and-date releases that aligned with third-party games on the PS2. This substantial expenditure underscored the influence Sony held over developers and publishers during the 2000s, which was further solidified in the aftermath of the Sega DreamCast and the original PlayStation.

Fostering Healthy Competition

In a separate context, Moore previously articulated Microsoft's stance on the console wars of the 2000s. Contrary to creating divisions, he asserted that the competition between Xbox and PlayStation was beneficial for the gaming industry as a whole. According to Moore, this rivalry spurred innovation, raised the bar for both consoles, and ultimately enriched the gaming experience for players.

Moore's Varied Journey

Before his tenure at Microsoft, Moore had a multifaceted journey in the gaming industry. His involvement with Sega and his transition to Xbox underscored his pivotal role in shaping gaming history. Notably, Moore's candidness extended to a memorable encounter with Sonic creator Yuji Naka, wherein he bluntly responded to a focus group video with an expletive-laden retort. Following his time at Xbox, Moore assumed a leadership position at EA for nearly a decade before embarking on a unique career trajectory that led him to Liverpool Football Club in 2017. His recent return to gaming, through a role at Nifty Games, marked his renewed dedication to the industry.


Peter Moore's insights provide a compelling narrative of the substantial costs and challenges Microsoft faced while striving to achieve gaming industry parity with PlayStation systems. The significant financial investments required to secure day-and-date releases showcased the competitive landscape of the early 2000s gaming industry. Moore's journey through Sega, Xbox, EA, and beyond exemplifies his enduring impact on the world of gaming. Ultimately, his revelations shed light on the intricate dynamics that shaped the gaming industry and highlight the lengths to which companies were willing to go to secure their position in the market.


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