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Yet, this effort will all be for naught if Sony manages to bring out the games that gamers want more - as they consistently have. Or if Apple brings out an integrated media server (as people keep rumor-mongering that they will) and its interface is better.

Also, this move on MS' part puts it in fairly direct competition (according to some) with its own customers (Dell, Compaq/HP, anyone else who manufactures PCs).


i don't know if MS really needs games to sell the Xbox360 anymore... but yes, that is interesting, and sort of a gamble on MS's part.

And you're right, Apple is a serious contender. I think MS has done something pretty interesting though in challenging Apple indirectly through the games space, which Apple has shown no interest in (so far). Apple of course will go straight its core consumer base which it has trained through ipods and ipod minis.


I don't really care which system wins but I swear the tone of your article comes across less than an XBox fan and more like someone MS paid to post positive things about XBox 360. It's not a "this is what I think will happen piece" like most of your articles, the tone is decidedly different. Even if you end up being right is there something your are not disclosing?

As for the XBox 360 introduction not being for "us". Then who was it for? Certainly not people that want media players, those people don't watch MTV. People that want (and buy) media players are middle aged dads going to Best Buy.

As for Sony and PS3, you might be right about XBox but Sony has a more vested interest in media. They have walkmans, mp3 players, video cameras, digital still cameras, music companies, movie companies and they are part of the industry that brings you VCRs and DVD players. It is possible they will pull all of that together in PS3. PSP already supports movies, music and images. PSX as shown what their plans might look like.

Also, there is no proof that MS will "get it" as much as the hackers do. A Modded XBox is still a 1000 times better than an un Modded Xbox running the XBox Media Extender. Even if XBox 360 has that built in it won't be enough is it most likely will not support DivX, OGG, XviD, iTunes, Shoutcast, Quicktime, Real and all the other formats that a modded xbox does. Without all those formats it will just be annoying that 85% of my video collection won't play there.

And, in the end it will most likely come down to games. XBox 360 could be the best media center there is but if it doesn't have the games it's not going to sell. Although I'm 100% sure I will eventually get one (I have 2 Xboxes) They certainly didn't show anything yesterday that would make me buy one yet.


sigh. yes, you're so right. bill gates totally washed my car so i'd write that piece.

no, silly. :) i'm just clairvoyant!

but in a seriousness, the Xbox360 is not the end-all, it's merely the beginning of a new war, one that won't be fought amongst consoles, as we know them. dads may not watch MTV, but guess what? their kids DO. and the fact that the console launched on MTV was all over the business pages, which dads read. MTV has a much higher, more mainstream profile than E3, but still retains the hip, youth vibe for people like your imaginary dad.

Sony has potential, but they haven't been able to integrate their disparate properties. Sony music! Sony pcitures! i mean, why didn't they do this AGES ago? Sony's parts are too many, too spread out. will they be able to collect them?

by the time they too, i fear it will be too late. whatever's going to happen will have happened.


"Xbox 360 does not compete with Sony or Nintendo. It is not a gaming console. It is a powerful device to deliver content online and over WiFi."

So is a laptop.

"Sony has potential, but they haven't been able to integrate their disparate properties. Sony music! Sony pcitures! i mean, why didn't they do this AGES ago? Sony's parts are too many, too spread out. will they be able to collect them?"

I don't understand why they need to collect them. Just because the XBox does a million things besides play games doesn't mean that someone isn't going to buy a PS3 when the great games they want come out for it exclusively (and this is likely to be the case with Asian studios, especially given the XBox's supposedly lackluster popularity in Asia). This is part of the ridiculousness of the console wars in general. As much as I wish two--any two--of the three big console companies would just shut up and die so that everyone could just buy one system that can play every new game that comes out, I don't understand why Microsoft's suddenly going to drive Sony and Nintendo to extinction simply because its system does tons of things besides gaming.

Furthermore, most of those "tons of things besides gaming" carry with them potentially high costs of adoption for end-users: how many people, for instance, are going to drop their iPod for a portable music player that plays WMA files and interfaces with the XBox 360?

The biggest uncertainty I see with the 360 is that it doesn't actually seem to fill any particular niche; instead, it tries catering to a ton of niches at the same time--niches that are already being filled quite nicely by other companies. Perhaps in the end Microsoft will blow away Apple, Netflix, TiVo, Google, Sony, Nintendo, Wal-Mart and Starbucks, but right now it seems like it's too early to make any really meaningful predictions.


(on the PS3 exclusive games front: Asia? MS has been ACTIVELY recruiting Japanese game developers for exclusive titles. and the xbox 360 was designed by a japanese firm. they're courting it, big time. for what it's worth.)

listen: we all know it's coming. that's what consumer tech trends have been leading up to. ipods. podcasts. blogs. on-demand video. it's waaaaaay beyond games now. do you really still not get it? why would you get rid of your ipod? the ipod will be able to talk to your itunes on your laptop, which will be able to talk to your xbox 360, hooked into the stereo, playing your downloaded tunes while you play your fucking freeware game that you downloaded right into the xbox 360.

of course Sony and Nintendo will still be around, at least for the next few years. i never said they would die. and they will have cool games, i am sure. fuck, you know how much i love Nintendo. i LOVE Nintendo. i still play my GBA because it has great games on it. there's always a place for that--but it's a NICHE place. a gamer place. and as much buzz as gaming might get, the core gamer audience is still small.

Nintendo and Sony are still thinking old school, in the same space of last year. MS is new wave. a year ahead. they've understood how gaming can change the world, and they've gone with it.

the question is, who can do it fast, and well? the xbox 360 has already staked out the territory. Apple, Comcast, Sony, HP, Dell, Toshiba, everyone else will follow, possibly with better applications. Apple especially will be flexible and forward-thinking, as usual. but the point is, MS has thrown down the gauntlet. they are first in the ring. and anyone who wants to stay competitive will have to, somehow, acknowledge that. and from a market positioning standpoint, that's a huge coup for MS.

all the technology is already available--waiting for a monster machine to put it all together. to unite HD TV with video, with the web, with music, with online services, with video phones, with voice-over IP... and it won't matter about the games. honestly. there WILL be games, at least games the mass market will want to play. All you need is EA on board and you have the mass market right there.

a potentially trickier issue is the line in the sand between Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD...setting up a replay of the VHS vs Beta war. and as we know from that conflict, Sony lost out even with superior technology.

love it or hate it, MS has issued the first real challenge. it may backfire on them if Blu-ray rounds up more support.

but you know, i'm not even sure that formats will matter all that much. this is the age of emulation. it's all about services, not content. which is why, in the end, Google will own us all....


I don't like to think of myself as a potatoe of any kind, large or small.


I don't like to think of myself as a potatoe of any kind, large or small.


bovine: I dunno, being a small potatoe doesn't sound so bad to me.


"the ipod will be able to talk to your itunes on your laptop, which will be able to talk to your xbox 360, hooked into the stereo, playing your downloaded tunes while you play your fucking freeware game that you downloaded right into the xbox 360."

Okay, this is where I'm confused. I thought the big difference between an XBox 360 and a computer running MS Windows is that a computer running MS Windows has the freedom, for instance, to choose iTunes over Windows Media Player, or AAC over WMA. Will I install an audio driver on my PC that streams all my PC's audio data to my XBox 360 like a wireless audio cable? That's a lot of bandwidth. Or will I be able to install iTunes on my XBox 360? If that's not how it works, then I can only assume that the XBox 360 hooks up with Windows Media Player, or Windows XP at a filesystem level to grab WMA/MP3 files--in other words, no AAC/iTunes support. And will I really be able to play my movies encoded in any format, including the proprietary ones by Apple, RealNetworks, and so forth? Will Microsoft truly be that open on their new platform, or will they force consumers to stick to their proprietary standards? If it's the latter, then I'm better off plugging my laptop into my home theater system.

And will Microsoft really allow anyone to develop games for the XBox 360? Isn't this against some kind of long-standing law about console systems, that "thou shalt not let a hobbyist make and distribute games with ease", or has Microsoft rewritten this rule as well?

If the XBox 360 is actually as open a platform as you say it is, I suppose it is pretty cool. And if anyone who owns the system can instantly develop software for it that everyone else can use, then it's my new holy grail. But will MS really give its users that much freedom? An enforced limitation on freedom has traditionally been one of the key distinguishing features between home theater peripherals and PCs, and for potentially good reason.

This issue is too large and complex for me to discuss coherently without a lot more research on my part, but I'll say this: I think there's a big difference between a hobbyist who mods their XBox and Microsoft. A hobbyist doesn't have to worry about profit or technical support, for instance, and that allows them to make their modified platform as open and free as possible, without any repercussions or tradeoffs. I hope this is the case with the XBox 360, but I won't really believe it until I see some proof.

"a potentially trickier issue is the line in the sand between Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD...setting up a replay of the VHS vs Beta war. and as we know from that conflict, Sony lost out even with superior technology."

Well, from what I've heard, both Sony and Toshiba acknowledge that the Blue-Ray/HD-DVD fight could lead to another VHS vs. Beta war and it looks like a solution isn't too far off in the horizon. I hope.


> do you really still not get it

I get it, I just don't think Microsoft (or Sony) will be the ones to deliver it. Does the XBox 360 have 2 or more TV tuners built in? NO. Then it's not going to replace anyone's media center (Tivo, etc anytime soon)

Does MS have plans to sell this outside of gameshops and game departments? No. Would retailers support them if they did? Unlikely. If you want to know what its competition is you only have to look at where it's being introduced. E3. Not CES.

Mister Toups

I don't know. If the Xbox360 doesn't do anything differently aside from my PC (and if it truly NOT about the games), what motivation do I (as a hypothetical non-gamer) have to pay the $300-$400 for one at launch? You are assuming that the mainstream, non-gamer is going to go out and buy this en masse -- I'd like an explanation of why this will happen.

The scenario I picture in my head is this. Your average non-gamer perceives the Xbox360 as another "gamer" console; despite the MTV launch, I doubt they will have any reason not to. As the system is marketed towards them, they will ask "Alright. So as a non-gamer, I'm supposed to buy this. What does it do?"

And that still seems like a hard question to answer. Perhaps "Well, it does a lot of, um... content delivery."

I don't buy it. The average non-gamer already has plenty of content delivery. I want to know what Microsoft can do to make them forget the 360 is a gaming system AND convince them to spend so much money without getting any particularly unique service. Where's the hook?


hah! Look, I would consider myself an xbox fanboy as much as anyone. But this is ridiculous. You don't win a console war with marketing materials -- and to date, that's all we have seen. A marketing campaign.

Hype doesn't make the experience worthwhile -- or are you still enjoying the immersive 3D environments of your virtual boy?

I'm psyched for the xbox 360 too. But throwing around wifi like a magic buzzword, making brash pronouncements, fawning over a modded box like it's an epiphany rather than just a cost-effective media PC -- frankly, you're just embarassing yourself.


Just wanted to share my comment from my weblog on your article. I think your article was great and very true. It can be found at (http://news.botros.net/gamenews/2005/05/xbox-360-not-competing-with-sony-or.php) and basically I just throw in my 2 cents about the next generation of gaming/media accessibility. I read that all articles that link reference the article will be listed, so here it is.



I really think you've hit the nail on the head here, and everyone is continuing to miss the point because they are looking at the situation from the wrong perspective. The internet user who would come here to read a blog about gaming, who fully understands modded xboxes, multiple file formats, etc is NOT the mainstream audience that MS was reaching out for on MTV. The mainsteam audience does not have a media pc, or the technical know how to hook their laptop up to their home theater and stream their music. Yes, for the tech savy that would arrive at this site it is a no brainer and not a difficult task. However, I ask you this: would your mom know how to do it? what about your little sister? what about those 30something with children that just missed out on the internet as a lifestyle boom? These people can use something like the xbox 360 which is more of a convergence technology than anything. Look at the boom in myspace, AIM, gaming, web browsing, movie viewing, etc. These will all be nicely integrated features of the xbox 360. MS has proven it can provide a nice straight forward interface with Windows MCE. It is admittedly a work in progress, but is ever evolving and the average user "gets it". The xbox 360 will garner support because of its ability to do many things, outside of just being a gaming console. Sure you will have the gamers that buy it for Halo3, Splinter Cell, etc. But you will also have the borderline buyer who thinks, "wow my kids can get this for the games, but we can play DVDs on it, and listen to music". This person will find a use for it themselves instead of just having the Gamecube sit there with an unappealing Super Mario Sunshine. I don't think anyone here is saying the xbox 360 is the ultimate end all of convergence devices. The best point I have seen is the lack of TiVo like features. This is really only generation 1.5 though. MS found they could compete in the console market using something they were already good at: a PC. Then they realized the untapped revenue source available with xblive. They brought the sometimes complicated online gaming world right into the living room for your 10 year old kid, or your 35 yeard old parent. Once they saw the opportunity they have invested their focus fully into a box that your entertainment will revolve around. Xbox 360 will not be the ultimate killer, but as stated in Jane's post it gives them a headstart, a broader user base, and more practice that will eventually make perfect. If the xbox 360 is as popular or more than xbox1, I fully guarantee you see xbox4 do the following: web browse, tivo, file stream, have complete wireless freedom, chat, game, do HD-DVD, file serve, do DVD-A/SACD, and more.


I agree with everything theph0xx said, because theph0xx doesn't mention two things I disagree with in jane's original post:

(1) That the XBox 360 doesn't compete with Sony or Nintendo. The functionality of the XBox is a superset of that of a game console, which doesn't mean that it doesn't compete with other game consoles. This is like saying that a 3-in-1 printer/copier/scanner doesn't compete with a printer, a copier, and a scanner, or that a TV/DVD combo doesn't compete with a TV and a DVD player. The XBox 360 competes with quite a few things out there, including Sony and Nintendo's respective consoles. Furthermore, this also doesn't mean that the console wars are over, just as TV/DVD combos didn't signal the death of standalone TV and DVD players. Four or five years ago, one could have used the same logic jane uses here to claim that the PS2 was bringing about the end of the console wars because it also played DVD's.

(2) theph0xx doesn't directly equate an XBox 360 to a "polished" version of a modded XBox. A modded XBox, as jane says, is about freedom; However, I think that the XBox 360 is not about freedom, but about versatility. My disagreement here may ultimately have to do with our differing definitions of what the word "freedom" means in relation to technology, though.

On a different note, this whole "media center" concept doesn't actually require terribly powerful or expensive hardware; after all, jane, your friend Ryan's modded Xbox pretty much is a media center and supports nearly all the non-gaming features the XBox 360 will, and then some. If Microsoft wasn't targeting gamers with the XBox 360, they'd simply mod an XBox and sell it as a media center for $150, not create a cutting-edge system with an incredibly powerful and expensive CPU/GPU combo that sells for at least twice that price.

I agree that the reason Microsoft didn't advertise to gamers much on MTV is because they were trying to target a bigger audience--but that still doesn't mean that gamers are the small potatoes.

Not that I'd mind being a small potatoe.


News Flash: This was ALWAYS the intention fo the XBox, from day one. This has never been some insidious secret. If you go back and read a lot of the press from 2001, when the XBox was released, there is a considerable amount of discussion about Microsoft's game plan. The console is and always has been a Trojan horse for Microsoft to achieve dominance over your living room. I'm not entirely certain why people are suddenly all surprised, now that they've taken off their gloves. The whole media center experience has always been part of the plan. If there's anything surprising, it's that it took them this long to bring the whole thing to fruition.


I dunno, I think this is a misread of the situation.

First - we've heard this argument before. Both the PS2 and the XBox were going to go beyond the game with their ability to play DVD's and access the net. There's been a bit of of this come true, obviously, and as is pointed out in the article ... some hardcore gamers take it all the way, but many don't. And with the next generation - many won't again. Even if the 360 could surf the web, play my MP3's and record live TV ... myself and many, many others wouldn't buy it for that because we already have more powerful hardware for it.

Second - it's bad to assume that Microsoft isn't targeting the hardcore gamer just because of one lousy MTV infomercial. They've got the advertising budget of a behemoth and one of the aspects of such a budget is that you're going to see some grand strokes in direction from time to time. E3 is just opening it's doors, I think we'll see the information targeted to the gamer set real quick here.

Look at this way - why bother targeting your expensive MTV show at the same demographic which is going to be glued to blogs covering E3 in just a bit anyway?

Third - it seems premature to assume what Sony and Nintendo are and aren't going to do. Especially Sony who has made just as many inroads into trying to multimedia the living room that Microsoft has ... there's no reason to think that PS3 won't share a similar line of functionality.

Fourth - it's hard for to take hardware with only a 20GB drive and no HDDVD capability as a serious contender for the next generation needs of multimedia shuffling.

I think MS is going to wipe the floor when it comes to downloadable content and community. I think Jane's right on target there. I think they are onboard with smaller developers making smaller games for the XBox. I think you'll possibly see some limited file sharing and streaming. Sony might come up to par, but I think they'll fall a bit short here.


Funny thing is that the Console players have been trying to do this one and off for I guess around 10 years.

But with the success of Apple, business suits are starting to think again that this is the right time, the "inflection point", and are circulating business proposals for WiMax, G3, IPTV, etc. like creating an universal everything box.

MS just happens to have a deep pocket to push the envelop to win the "Set-top" wars.

But someone with better product, like Apple, will always come along and take the pot :)

Keep trying MS.

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