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Why Microsoft Embraced Gaming

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the something-about-extending-and-i-forget dept.

Businesses 146

wjousts writes "A interesting take on the birth of the Xbox from Technology Review: 'When the original Xbox video-game console went on sale in 2001, it wasn't clear why Microsoft, known for staid workplace software, was branching out into fast-paced action games. But Microsoft decided that capitalizing on the popularity of gaming could help the company position itself for the coming wave of home digital entertainment. "Microsoft saw the writing on the wall," says David Dennis, a spokesman for Xbox. "It wanted to have a beachhead in the living room." ... Now Microsoft is linking Xbox 360, its most successful consumer-focused brand, with others that have not been as well received. It is integrating Bing, its search engine, into Xbox and Xbox Live to enable people to search for multimedia content. By the end of the year, Microsoft is expected to unveil an updated Xbox Live design that is more in line with the look of Windows phones and the forthcoming Windows 8.'"

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Because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37936604)

They wanted to play games? Trick question?

Re:Because (3, Informative)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37936732)

This short-hand history does little to explain anything. The XBox did not spring forth from Microsoft, like Athena from the head of Zeus, "because they saw the handwriting on the wall".

Xbox was an extrapolation of work begun, at least, wit the introduction of DirectX in 1995. Equally, the history of MS Flight Simulator must be considered. This was rooted in a time when consoles were just a scroll and jump away from Pong.

Re:Because (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37936842)

I remember Microsoft Flight Simulator 5 on DOS. It was awesome, it even ran at 640x480 in 256 colours (I think). It was absolutely amazing for it's time. White is Flight Simulator now? As far as I know the last release was Microsoft Flight Simulator X, but that's eternities ago

There is an open source flight simulator called "FlightGear", but I never got the hang of it.

Re:Because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37937364)

I've heard rumors that the entire Flight Simulator development team was axed. I must admit it wasn't from a reliable source.

Re:Because (1)

cybersaga (451046) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937892)

According to Wikipedia, the team was just laid off. But it's coming back as Microsoft Flight.

Re:Because (2)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#37939504)

According to Wikipedia, the team was just laid off. But it's coming back as Microsoft Flight.

I might be wrong, but IIRC I heard somewhere that Flight is a different product and isn't necessarily compatible with the add-ons that Flight Simulator eventually accumulated a large number of(?)

Re:Because (1)

cybersaga (451046) | more than 2 years ago | (#37940146)

Yeah, from what I saw on Wikipedia and the Microsoft Flight web page (linked from Wikipedia), it looks like a complete rewrite.

Re:Because (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938156)

You are correct. Microsoft retired the whole team a couple of years ago.

Re:Because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37939682)

Microsoft payed IBM a Billion dollars to design the microprocessor for the xBox 360 a Triple core 64-bit PowerPC processor manufactured using SOI at 90 nm. Which is runing what was windows NT4.

Re:Because (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#37941004)

And the REALLY funny part? The thing that sold MSFT on DirectX was a bad Xmas game! For those that don't remember MSFT had a primitive graphics layer called "WinG" back in the days of win 3.x but it was a fiddly little bitch. Well along came a little game that used WinG called The Lion King and wouldn't ya know it, every parent went out and bought that for their little ones thinking they'd be sitting in front of the keyboard singing "I just can't wait to be king". Well instead what they got was a bunch of serious parent cursing when WinG would shit, die, shit AND die, or just lock the whole fucking PC up hard. yeah that made all those little tykes happy.

So it wasn't long after that they announced they were gonna come up with an abstraction layer to fix all the fiddly crap that was WinG and DirectX was born, and it was good. oh I'm sure some of those out here that are cheering for ABM (anyone but MSFT) hate it but ya know what? It works and it works WELL. I mean here I am in 2011, with a quad core PC with 800 stream processors for a GPU and an X64 OS yet I can STILL fire up a game from 1998 like No One Live forever and still have it hardware accelerated in all its blocky fingered fun. Then I can go straight from that to Just Cause II with full DirectX 10 bling bling squirting wonder across my screen, no fiddling, no changing shit, just "clicky clicky" and it WORKS. Now THAT is what I'm talking about!

As for TFA I have a REALLY good suggestion for MSFT, are they listening? Yeah you see that company over there, Valve? yeah those guys? Well RIP THEM OFF as hard as you fricking can! Because while you have made extending media to the X360 from the Win 7 PC about as butt simple as can be Games For Windows Live is a steaming pile of festering shit on a crusty roll.

Just for the fuck of it I decided i'd quit playing the pirate version and just register the Bioshock II game I'd had sitting in a box for weeks, I thought "Surely they have the bugs worked out by now, so I can just register and play, right?".....oh boy, what a horrible experience! Valve if any of you guys are reading this I will NEVER EVER say a bad thing about Steam ever again, okay? first i launch the thing and it needs to update. Okay I've had the game in the box awhile, that's fair. But then it kicks me off live to update but does NOT close the game so I'm sitting there wondering WTF is going on, so I close the game and it takes a good 30 minutes to update even though i'm on a 12Mbps connection. Okay fine, I launch when its done...and it needs another update, another 30 minutes....argh! So I finally get the bullshit done, play for an hour and go to bed, a couple of days go by and I decide to play a few more levels so I launch...another update...FUCK YOU GFWL &%$&^%$!

So please MSFT, you guys are famous for ripping off good ideas right? Please take a big lesson from valve and make it all seamless and nice okay? you have all the pieces of the puzzle, you have DirectX to make it easy for porting and programming, you have the Win 7 PC that is easier than ever to use, you have the X360 with all the bugs worked out, and you have the WinPhone with Skype recently purchased. Just make it all work together nice and neat, okay? steal the best ideas from Valve and Apple and make it butt simple to manage my media, play my games, have everything all neatly linked together and seamless. Is that really too much to ask for?

Re:Because (1)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | more than 2 years ago | (#37941294)

You can't do paletted textures, 16-bit dithering or table fog.

There. Not exactly backward compatible is it? And that's not even factoring in nvidia's "the way it's meant to be played" broken regressions in drivers.

But yeah, Microsoft was serious about gaming much before the Xbox. Halo kids don't know the huge Win95 "DOS Games are Dead" push, the antics of Alex St. John, that Gates doom video on pushing Doom95, Microsoft GDK and DirectX, the novelty of your dos games in a slowly updated window, the SIDEWINDER JOYSTICK LINE, Microsoft Arcade, the Entertainment Packs, etc.
sorry tykes, master chief didnt invent microsoft gaming.

Re:Because (1)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938630)

No, it was because of * Developers! * Developers! * Developers! * Developers! * Developers! * Developers! * Developers! * Developers! *

Money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37936608)

For money.

Next!

Re:Money. (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 2 years ago | (#37936744)

Originally, sure - but $billions in the hole with only a (very) slim hope of eventual ROI isn't much the way to do it. Then again, to be fair, maybe they think (hope/project/predict?) that their next console version will be the one that rakes in enough profit to pay all that off?

TFA does have it right though - we're already seeing XBoxes that do movies, music, online social bits, and the like.

Re:Money. (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#37936982)

For money.

Next!

Definitely, but you need to say it in the "Mr. Krabs" voice.

uh.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37936644)

[cough] bullshit [cough]

needs more than that (1)

g00mbasv (2424710) | more than 2 years ago | (#37936682)

well even tho they succeeded on launching their gaming business, I believe they really REALLY need to start building brand loyalty, NOBODY likes microsoft as a company, you might like windows, xbox, and games for windows live (why like GFWL is beyond me but whatever),but if MS went crashing and burning down today, nobody would really care about the company, about the services, yes; but about the company.. not really.

Re:needs more than that (2)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937024)

In the consumer market? Yes. In the business market, you're definitely mistaken. I don't know why, but once an organization becomes of a certain size, Microsoft is unavoidable and PHBs, CEOs and other three-letter-higher-ups absolutely want only to hear about Microsoft.

As such, I'd wager to say that, yes, there are people who love Microsoft and have very high brand loyalty to it.

Of course, it doesn't have the religious following Apple has, but there are some real Microsoft lovers[1]. Events like Vista, toned their vocality down, but with the advent of 7, they are back in full force. (I still think 7 is a polished Vista and made too much changes where not required. I still despise the interface. )

[1] Like people shelling out good money for Windows Server for a home server...

Re:needs more than that (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937220)

I still think 7 is a polished Vista

You say that like most others wouldn't agree with you. Of course that's all Win7 is: they polished the turd that is Vista, though they actually did a pretty good job of it, fixing most of the performance problems and such, so now people just don't have so much reason to complain like they did with Vista. But yes, the interface is definitely different (I don't like it either).

Re:needs more than that (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937584)

Meh. I like 7. I really disliked Vista.

I relatively regularly use Ubuntu, RedHat, Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Android.

now people just don't have so much reason to complain

So in other words, it's not really that bad, but people still dislike it? out of principle, I guess?

Sounds like the same thing that happens with Linux. People don't like it. Why? I dunno. It's "different" or it's not "supported" or it's "slow" or it's "communist" or who knows what else. Typically, there aren't really good answers by typical users. Actually, I'd say it's not quite ready due to video driver issues, but that's more nVidia and ATI's fault than anyone else, unfortunately.

And until they get the driver thing worked out, I doubt many mainstream games will be ported or written for it, unfortunately.

I love using Linux for work. Way nicer for me, since I do a lot of shell stuff, command line, python, perl, etc. But I use a Windows box for some things that just don't exist on Linux [yet]... like a good music notation program akin to Sibelius (or Finale, though I don't like Finale... at least not the version I tried in school a few years ago), games like The Elder Scrolls series or Neverwinter Nights type things, a relatively easy to use and cheap DAW like Reaper (yes, I know, it works in wine...), etc.

Re:needs more than that (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37939756)

Sounds like the same thing that happens with Linux. People don't like it. Why? I dunno. It's "different" or it's not "supported" or it's "slow" or it's "communist" or who knows what else.

How about "not compatible with the applications that I need to use" or "not compatible with the hardware that I own"? I've run into both at various times, as you mention with Sibelius, NWN, Reaper, etc. Or they disagree with the direction in which Unity and GNOME Shell are headed, such as Unity's mystery-meat [webpagesthatsuck.com] menu bar that's often half a screen away from the focused window. Granted, Mac OS X likewise has a problem of the menu bar being far from the window, but at least its global menu isn't mystery meat hidden behind an application's title bar.

but that's more nVidia and ATI's fault than anyone else

Assigning blame is one step. But if the blameworthy party proves unwilling to work well with the maintainers of other components, then even though it's not Linux's fault, it's still Linux's problem to work around.

But I use a Windows box for some things that just don't exist on Linux [yet]... like a good music notation program

I can has LilyPond?

Re:needs more than that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37940286)

As far as Neverwinter Nights goes... Toolset might not be available natively, but the base client, DM client, and server, have all been available for years --> http://ldots.org/nwn

As far as music notation goes... Have you tried MuseScore, Rosegarden and the like?

As far as DAW goes, how about Audacity?

Re:needs more than that (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937320)

MS is in a good spot when it comes to having companies use their products. Migrating from one OS and application stack to another is expensive and time consuming and this benefits MS. I have been involved with 2 of my customers who were making attempts to move from the MS stack to the Linux stack and it ended up being a fiasco in both cases. Their IT departments lacked the development and system administrative skills to make the change over and they ran into a couple of situations where they could not migrate some of their existing custom applications to the new platform.

Windows home server $50 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37938136)

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=693858&srkey=m17-7726

Nathan

Debian, Free download... (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938660)

www.debian.org [debian.org]

Re:Contiki, Free download... (1)

Blig (1167531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37939442)

http://www.contiki-os.org/ [contiki-os.org]

Re:needs more than that (0)

hb79 (917595) | more than 2 years ago | (#37939050)

> I don't know why, but once an organization becomes of a certain size, Microsoft is unavoidable.

Second to the money, they main motivator for staying at my current job is that I don't have to use anything MS. In fact, Windows is banned, and you need a higher level clearance to be allowed to run it.

So if it wasn't for these astroturf articles on Slashdot, I might actually forget about it completely. Windows 7 you say, or is it 8 now? I have no idea, I haven't even seen any them. I heard Vista was really crap though, but have been lucky to not have to make up my own opinion about that either.

Re:needs more than that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37939348)

> In fact, Windows is banned, and you need a higher level clearance to be allowed to run it.

OK, you're not good enough to use Windows at your place of employment. Sounds good!

Re:needs more than that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37940142)

Yup, some people indeed try to hard to scream out their "superiority".

Re:needs more than that (1)

g00mbasv (2424710) | more than 2 years ago | (#37940480)

of course I meant consumer market, its sad to see suits demand microsoft stuff because they dont know any better.

Re:needs more than that (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937042)

"NOBODY likes microsoft as a company" While this may be true in the tech world the average consumer could care less about the company they just want more games. Although today it seems that all corporations are under attack for one thing or another which is fine if they are forced to make changes in their business practices.

Re:needs more than that (1)

SadButTrue (848439) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937764)

Even though it sounded like you were disagreeing with "Nobody likes microsft", what you said is 100% consistent. Indifference != like.

Re:needs more than that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37937998)

"Although today it seems that all corporations are under attack for one thing or another which is fine if they are forced to make changes in their business practices."
When a company is sued for being able to better its competition under the same market conditions, I only see a government trying to empower bad companies.

Re:needs more than that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37937064)

wtf is the difference? I like Microsoft for the services they make available. By the time you start liking a company for being a company rather than for providing useful services, you become a fanboi.

Re:needs more than that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37937318)

NOBODY likes microsoft as a company

False. I know a Microsoft fan boy. Your argument is invalid.

Re:needs more than that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37937462)

? If you think the xbox was MS's first foray into gaming... well, you don't get out much do you? They've been putting out games (and top rated ones at that) for years.

Re:needs more than that (1)

N0Man74 (1620447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937718)

well even tho they succeeded on launching their gaming business, I believe they really REALLY need to start building brand loyalty, NOBODY likes microsoft as a company, you might like windows, xbox, and games for windows live (why like GFWL is beyond me but whatever),but if MS went crashing and burning down today, nobody would really care about the company, about the services, yes; but about the company.. not really.

I would agree that they could use more brand loyalty. Microsoft has never been great at image; they constantly fail to look hip, cool, or caring.

Look at at their competitors. Sony has repeatedly pissed on their customers left and right, but yet they still manage to have fanboys proclaiming how evil Microsoft is. Apple has managed to convince legions that missing a feature is a feature itself, and it's scary outside the walls of their garden. They even had a CEO that was viewed as a messiah.

Then again, it's probably better for us for them to be square. Where would we be without these other players providing competition and pushing them to innovate?

Re:needs more than that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37938226)

I don't think so. Brand loyalty always sounds like a good thing to create but it isn't so great in real life... mainly because consumers are fickle. Think about it - Apple was the brand loyalty king for all of about 15 minutes until Google took that away then Facebook seems to have grabbed it. Brand loyalty is something that takes forever and lots of money to create and ends up (in the 21st century) giving almost nothing back. MS is doing quite well without focusing on it and instead focusing on the products themselves...

Re:needs more than that (0)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#37939582)

Apple was the brand loyalty king for all of about 15 minutes until Google took that away then Facebook seems to have grabbed it

Yeah, Apple are real has-beens in the brand-loyalty stakes. That's why the iPod didn't sell that well and more recently the iPhone and iPad have been complete disasters that even their few buyers hated and didn't queue around the block or hang on to Steve Jobs' every word when the new one was due.

Seriously, what parallel universe are you living in where this is the case?

Re:needs more than that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37938878)

Eh, I think that's unfair. It wouldn't be anything like we saw when Steve Jobs died but even Microsoft's fiercest detractors would have to admit that it made an enormous impact on computers and our society. Whether they viewed that impact as good/bad/neutral is another matter entirely.

Re:needs more than that (1)

dskzero (960168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37939842)

I know plenty of people who like Microsoft, but, most important, they love the Xbox. THey don't really need to be liked by geeks and gamers, anyway: they have plenty of products that are widely used in business and that's what they need: I haven't RTFA but I really doubt the Xbox failing would be the end of them.

Making everything look the same... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37936688)

Is not "brand unification" it removes the distinct identity of the product running your UI.

Sure... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#37936704)

I bought my Sega because I believed it would lead me into a larger world.

I bought my Playstation because I believed I would become more self actualised (whatever the heck that means.)

Funny how they are in boxes, gathering dust, which I continue to use a desktop computer.

Re:Sure... (2)

El Torico (732160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37936904)

I bought my Playstation because I believed I would become more self actualised (whatever the heck that means.)

So, you were waiting for Maslow's Quest to be released too? I guess the developers just couldn't code "peak experiences".

Re:Sure... (1)

tomstockmail (2056752) | more than 2 years ago | (#37936918)

If you're not playing Uncharted 3 right now then you don't own a Playstation 3.

Re:Sure... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937432)

I don' t buy games, I get them via blockbuster, much cheaper than buying.

Re:Sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37939130)

Not sure what Uncharted is but I'm sure enjoying Dark Souls...

Re:Sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37937028)

You didn't buy a Playstation because you wanted to conquer worlds?

Re:Sure... (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937488)

So are you using the same desktop you were when the Playstation was released or have you replaced that one with newer hardware?

Re:Sure... (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938010)

That is why I only had an Atari 2600. Computers are so much better than video game consoles. :)

Computers vs. consoles (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37939792)

Computers are so much better than video game consoles. :)

I agree with you, except in one case: when you have friends over. Not a lot of PC game developers anticipate a situation with a gaming PC hooked up to a TV and four USB gamepads.

Re:Computers vs. consoles (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 2 years ago | (#37939894)

True, but that won't happen with me these days. ;)

Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37936764)

Microsoft got in to gaming because it's profitable. $200 10 year old hard drives are pretty profitable too.

There, now that I've written your entire article for you, can I have your ad revenue?

Re:Money (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37936838)

Not for them it ain't. They only make quarterly profits, Xbox is not paid for, 360 might pay that debt back but it is pretty doubtful.

Re:Money (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937238)

And don't forget that the Xbox has helped to cripple PC gaming, which is one of the main reasons for people to upgrade their PC and buy a new version of Windows.

All in all the Xbox has been a disaster; I'm amused to see Microsoft tying their loss-making search engine to their loss-maknig console and hoping it will suddenly make money.

Re:Money (1)

Cragen (697038) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937644)

Interesting idea. Main reason I have a pc is gaming. (Well, I also have an xbox360 but wouldn't have bought if the kids were so adamant. Now that they are in college, I don't play it much.) Not a social fellow so the tablets and smartphones are useless. Fortunately, the wife agrees with all the above (or all bets would be off).

Branching out == nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37936880)

Microsoft has always been about acquiring new products and new marketplaces. From buying the companies that made the software we now know as Microsoft Office to making hardware, MS has never shied away from an opportunity to become bigger and make more money.

Reverse It (1)

rwv (1636355) | more than 2 years ago | (#37936902)

By the end of the year, Microsoft is expected to unveil an updated Xbox Live design that is more in line with the look of Windows phones and the forthcoming Windows 8.'

If I were them, I'd unveil a new Windows 8 that looks more like XBox Live. I don't own an XBox, but from what I understand the online support from Microsoft for XBox is better than what is offered by Sony for PS3 and Nintendo for Wii. I do actually own those two systems and have generally found the online support to be pretty terrible.

Re:Reverse It (1)

ThinkWeak (958195) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937130)

I don't own an XBox, but from what I understand the online support from Microsoft for XBox is better than what is offered by Sony for PS3 and Nintendo for Wii. I do actually own those two systems and have generally found the online support to be pretty terrible.

It's true, you get what you pay for. I've paid for the Live membership for over 5 years and I've been very happy with it. It's easy, they keep it fresh, and the added indie game section is a nice touch. I'll be interested to see what the live TV offering is going to be and I'm also hopeful they'll incorporate Skype with Kinect. The camera on the Kinect doesn't appear to capture the most crisp picture, but it's decent enough to get the point across.

Re:Reverse It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37940596)

My 360 sees more time watching Netflix or ESPN3 than playing games. Hitting this market was a huge win (and wise) for MS. The move is a primer thus far.... they have brought the concepts to market and now people are much more comfortable with "connected" devices that can run the gambit as far as media is concerned.

Re:Reverse It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37937634)

Well at the very least it can't possibly make their xbox 'appstore' any worse, so let's hope they finally make it decent.

Re:Reverse It (0)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37939206)

Most people would disagree with you which is why the Wii has a huge lead over the 360 everywhere and globally the PS3 right on the 360's ass with only a couple or few million less units despite launching a year later, being initially more expensive, the hacking issues, etc.

The 360 is all about milking the customer. No included wifi so you can buy a pricey adapter, can't use a standard HD, got to buy a expensive proprietary add-on. If you're a developer and want to give something away then forget about it. To play games online or do anything really it's $60 a year. The system has no browser to ensure your chances of getting anything for free are minimised and instead they expect you to pay to access facebook or twitter through their system.

The 360 is the computer MS always wanted. They're in full control and will butt hurt you if you don't like paying for everything. I'm completely happy with my free online services through the Wii and 3DS but for $60 a year the 360 damn well better have better online services.

Xbox Live Indie Games (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37939848)

If you're a developer and want to give something away then forget about it.

This is just as true on the other platforms. Neither Wii nor PS3 has promotional free games to my knowledge, or even any approved indie scene to speak of. At least Microsoft has Xbox Live Indie Games in select markets.

No included wifi so you can buy a pricey adapter

This was fixed in the Xbox 360 S revision.

Re:Xbox Live Indie Games (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37940276)

Valve complained that they can give away additional content for their games on the PS3 but not the Xbox. I'm not terribly sure about the Wii but I got Zelda Four Swords for free the other week as did anyone else that wants it.

Re:Reverse It (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 2 years ago | (#37939870)

The latest 360 systems have built-in wi-fi, incidentally (not that it makes that much difference in your point).

If you think the online services of the other two consoles are anywhere close to Xbox Live, then you probably don't have enough experience contrasting the services to make a reasonable comparison. You'll have to trust me that most of my friends, while not exactly ecstatic about paying $60 a year for Live really don't consider it enough of a deterrent, considering how slick and seamless the service is to use (in fact, was just having fun with some 5-player GoW co-op with some co-workers last night).

Lest you think me an MS fanboy, I own all three consoles, and really wish Sony (apparently completely incompetent at creating and managing a network) and Nintendo (who isn't really even trying online) would give Microsoft some serious competition in the console online space. Otherwise, it gives MS carte blanche to do whatever they want to in their little walled garden, such as not allowing Valve to give free DLC packs for owners of its games. Very short-sighted of them, IMO, because otherwise they could probably have worked out a deal to get a small piece of all the microtransactions that are flowing through Team Fortress 2 right now.

Re:Reverse It (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37940332)

That may very well be but what I have works well enough for me. The only issue with the Wii is the friends codes which are non-existant on the 3DS. You just jump online and find a match and network connectivity seems fine. Other than that I use the systems (minus the 3DS though) for web browsing which is quite nice to do away from the desktop sometimes and I just can't do that on the 360.

Again I would hope it's infinitely better since it's not free but for what I want I don't think it is. I would assume that's the case for most people too as there are more people who own another system than own a 360. Oddly enough the one thing that MS does allow in their walled garden that probably puts a lot of people off from online gaming (which is an issue on the PS3 too) is the foul mouthed kids. I'm not terribly surprised a lot of people rather not spend their free time being 'pwned' by a 12 year old calling them nigger faggot.

Re:Reverse It (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#37940046)

The wii has sold more consoles yes, but that is in spite of, not because of, Nintendo's online offerings (which is what GP was talking about.) You can download some small games, you can through great effort play with some voiceless strangers online for a few games. Anything else that nintendo online offers your smartphone does better.

Re:Reverse It (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37940350)

Arguably the voicelessness is a bonus. But I will agree that the Wii didn't sell because of it's lack of online capability. I think it shows more that people aren't that bothered about online play. If they want to browse the web or use netflix they can do that on the Wii and i do think most people rather not be verbally abused by young kids so they're put off by online gaming.

Re:Reverse It (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37940122)

The 360 is all about milking the customer. No included wifi so you can buy a pricey adapter,

Or use the built in ethernet port. Saves money for those of us that don't see the need for wireless.

can't use a standard HD, got to buy a expensive proprietary add-on

Oh yes, the expensive proprietary add-on otherwise known as a HDMI cable. Bought mine from a supermarket for 1.5GBP (under US$3). Only the first generation of Xbox360 consoles lacked a HDMI port, and you have to remember that when they were released very few people had a HD TV, and those that did mostly had component connections

To play games online or do anything really it's $60 a year.

Well I'd consider offline play, patch and game demo downloads as something, but XBox live does improve things. If you're paying retail price for your xbox live subscription, you didn't look hard enough, there are regular discounts right on the dashboard!

The system has no browser to ensure your chances of getting anything for free are minimised and instead they expect you to pay to access facebook or twitter through their system.

I bought my Xbox 360 to play games on. Browsing on the TV sucks, and as you make comment on owning a Wii and 3DS, you know how rubbish the browsers that they come with are. You may not know so I'll mention it, but the one on the PS3 is shit too.

I'm completely happy with my free online services through the Wii and 3DS but for $60 a year the 360 damn well better have better online services.

Xbox live does have better online services than the Wii and 3DS, and they regularly add more features. What Nintendo provide is great for a free service, but it can't compete with the money MS put behind Live.

I'm not knocking Nintendo, I bought my Wii and DS on launch day and still use them (well, not the DS that much). You're right that the XBox is a much more expensive option, but get your facts straight on what you do get for the money.

Bullshit (1)

mrops (927562) | more than 2 years ago | (#37939946)

Microsoft saw what the hacker community is doing with the original xbox and great stuff like XBMC, they put that in Xbox360. They did not see any writing on the wall, as always they were smart in realizing the potential of what the hacker community bought to the xbox, bought that to 360. They did the exact same with Indie games on xbox 360 as people on the original xbox were writing indie games. They just capitalized on what the consumer wanted. A smart thing to do, but I would give credit to the innovators and original xbox hacking community.

I did not RTFA.

Apple and Google (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#37936962)

should consider working together on a home game unit. They have more in common than they think.

Re:Apple and Google (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938224)

Yes they have their hatred of Microsoft in common. Something which is matched only by their hatred for each other. Steve Jobs would turn in his grave if Apple hooked up with Google again after the whole iPhone/Android thing.

force bing on people (?) (1)

Tyrannosaur (2485772) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937040)

This would be the only way I would use bing, but honestly I probably wouldn't mind. Xboxes are for gaming. When they do other things fine. And ok I'll just use whatever search comes with it. Actual good move by M$.

Why? Their competitors all sell commodities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37937134)

Operating systems and word processors, etc. have become commodities - products that sell for little more than the marginal cost to produce another copy.

And the marginal cost to produce a copy of software is about zero.

Which is why Microsoft is so hung up about vendor lock-in and crushing Linux - they're utterly doomed if they don't do those things. It's also why Google scares the living piss out of them.

So Microsoft is utterly desperate for other ways to make money.

Re:Why? Their competitors all sell commodities (1)

dskzero (960168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37939908)

I think it's safe to say that this particular AC has no idea about what he's babbling about.

Re:Why? Their competitors all sell commodities (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 2 years ago | (#37940422)

Which is why Microsoft is so hung up about vendor lock-in and crushing Linux

With a market share of less than 1%, and a trend line as flat as the Kansas prairies, what is there left to crush?

Windows (4, Insightful)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937164)

Too bad Microsoft hasn't REALLY embraced gaming, they're just competing with Sony for console hardware.

Windows 7 is still extremely naive about handling games. There should be options in the OS to disable the windows key when full-screen applications are running, windows should be MUCH better about recognizing games, Games For Windows Live is a JOKE (this I especially don't understand, Xbox Live is actually very impressive, and it should be EASIER to provide that kind of service on a PC. Gamespy has been doing it for FREE for years, but MS continually just releases a crap of DRM they call GFWL with no "features" a gamer would ever possibly use).

Re:Windows (1)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | more than 2 years ago | (#37941042)

It's not just games, although games are where it comes out most. Windows doesn't understand what to do with monitors and full-screen applications, up to and including its own desktop.

I have a two-screen setup. They're cheap, but let's not get picky. The one on the left is 1024x768, a trashy little thing I've had for years. The one on the right is 1360x768, a repurposed LCD TV. (Don't get me started on its problems.) Let's say I'm playing some old game, which wants to run at 4:3. Windows, naively, puts that on my 16:9, because it doesn't think about what it's doing, and it's not configurable. Does it make intelligent use of the remaining screen real-estate? No, apparently Windows thinks the graphics card would be overtaxed adding, say, a widget bar to the side of a mis-scaled app.

Let's say I want to switch contexts to the other monitor. I don't need to see the hidden desktop. Should be simple, right? No, as soon as the fullscreen app loses focus, Windows does the funky chicken. (I've seen at least one game that manages to display full-screen without this, so I assume it's bad or legacy programming, but let's be real--Windows could override this behavior if they'd thought about it.

There's no reason why you couldn't generalize an application container (Desktop, fullscreen app, desktop with widgets, widget sidebar, etc) and divide up your screens to accomodate as many as possible, with special keys to control it and low-level compositing to help you control your GUI. But Windows doesn't innovate, and they don't think. Multiple-monitor setups have existed for ages, but they're not a commercially viable target demographic, I guess.

Capitalism? (1)

pmgarvey (2497652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937330)

Because they want to make money, by selling people things? Bear with me, but my theory is they think they can make consoles at a cheaper price than people will be willing to pay for them. So crazy it just might be true.

Re:Capitalism? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937594)

Bear with me, but my theory is they think they can make consoles at a cheaper price than people will be willing to pay for them. So crazy it just might be true.

That would be more convincing if the Xbox hadn't been a financial boondoggle. They may 'make consoles at a cheaper price than people are willing to pay for them' right now, but they'll take a long time to pay off the debts incurred in reaching that point and will soon have to blow another truckload of cash developing the next generation.

Re:Capitalism? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937992)

Yup, I'm not convinced they've actually turned a profit yet from the XBox line. If they're tying it to Bing and their long line of CE/Mobile abominations, I'm pretty sure they're in the red.

OS and Office are still doing a good job of funding their delusions, mind.

Re:Capitalism? (1)

MHolmesIV (253236) | more than 2 years ago | (#37940630)

Um, according to the financial statements for FY11, the E&D business (which includes the CE/Mobile "abominations") made $1.3billion in profit on revenue of $8.9billion. This puts it around 125 on the fortune 500 in terms of profit, and about 275 in terms of just revenue, and solidly in the black. If this were any other company it would be considered a ridiculous success. (Amazon took 8 years to make a profit of $73 million, and now, at 16 years old, is making a profit of a third of the E&D division)

DirectX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37937378)

Microsoft got into the console market because they wanted to maintain and increase the number of developers hooked on DirectX.

End of story. Everything else was a "So, where do we go now" afterthought.

Re:DirectX (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938252)

Microsoft got into the console market because they wanted to maintain and increase the number of developers hooked on DirectX.

End of story. Everything else was a "So, where do we go now" afterthought.

Oh please. Do you expect me to believe that it was originally envisioned as the DriectXBox? Or that they didn't really have any other plan beyond buying off the shelf components and slapping them together in an ugly case? That the billions in losses that even today still haven't been made up weren't part of some grand scheme?

Sony was why. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37937504)

They heard Sony planning for Linux on PS2 and threw something together quickly, which is what most of Xbox was, "pretty quickly", hence its huge size.
But it was too late, PS2 had taken a huge chunk of the market despite their efforts.
Meanwhile, Sony never really done much with Linux anyway. It was left in a bit of a state, and the community pretty much was the only thing keeping it going.

Then they decided to release 360 early rather than let the original stagnate any longer.
Sorta worked, for a while, but I believe both consoles are battling it out for the silver.
They certainly made a dent in the market though, and it will be there to stay for a while.
And again, Sony pretty much never done anything with Linux on PS3 this time either. Then eventually officially killing it off after some talks of hacking instead of stealthily releasing updates to nuke whatever it was that was broken again. Leaked keys, rage, lawsuits, revenge, explosion, fixes and free stuff.

Maybe PS4 will finally be the day Linux makes it as a 1st class citizen on the console. One day... one day Linux, one day you will be loved.

more people plug it into their TVs?? (1)

Justtaint (301311) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937602)

The article states "Ten years later, the Xbox 360 is the best-selling video-game system of its generation in the United States, where more people plug it into their TVs than either Sony's PlayStation 3 or Nintendo's Wii (emphasis mine), and it's making Microsoft a contender in the fierce battle to serve up entertainment on demand, especially from Internet video services. "
 
  That makes for a nice story but the Wii has worldwide sales of almost 90M compared to the Xbox 360's 55-57M. If you take into account the poor reliability of the 360 relative to both the PS3 (which is neck and neck in total sales) and the Wii, it's easily third in consoles currently in use.

Re:more people plug it into their TVs?? (1)

cornface (900179) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938128)

The article said "plug into TVs" not "dump in box behind TV."

Re:more people plug it into their TVs?? (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938168)

best-selling video-game system of its generation in the United States, where more people plug it into their TVs than either Sony's PlayStation 3 or Nintendo's Wii

Emphasis mine. You listed worldwide numbers. It doesn't change your argument, based on wikipedia's source, but I thought it was important to look at the actual claim.

wiki [wikipedia.org]

Re:more people plug it into their TVs?? (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938292)

It's a shame you didn't also bold the five words before the part you did bold. The part that said "in the United States". So your worldwide comparison is irrelevant compared to the part YOU decided to quote.

Why? Consumer products are a threat to their core (5, Interesting)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937748)

The last thing Microsoft wants is for people to find out or realize that you can do "computery" things without a computer running one of their operating systems. It's why they had shills in the late 80's early 90's saying: "Hey, don't buy an Amiga or ST, because you'll need to bring home work from the office and those machines don't use the "industry standard" software".

Or when Microsoft bought WebTV, which allowed people to send e-mail, use USENET, IRC chat, and view webpages on a consumer oriented piece of hardware that hooked up to the TV and didn't run Windows, and then let it languish.

Sega, Sony and Nintendo probably scared Microsoft silly when their hardware became capable of running PC style games without being cut down so much Sega's netlink and Sony's prototype PSone modem probably gave them the impetus for entering the market. "If we don't enter their makret, they'll eventually enter ours and make game consoles that people can use to browse the net." Sony's use of Linux tools for developing probably gave them fits as well.

And think of the PS2...acknowledged capable of running Linux from the start, with a slot for a hard drive and networking, and USB ports. Microsoft knew that Cony could do some kind of "web kiosk" software for the PS2 any time they wanted to, or worse, do a general release of the Linux kit. SCEE apparently had a "Live" version of the distro in the Linux kit that they tested out. Let's also not forget the Japan only release of the BBN software which let Japanese PS2 owners do a lot of stuff that we Americans only got to do upon release of the PS3.

Then came the PS3...which at one time, ran Linux out of the box, all you needed was install media. And there was at one time a plan to install it by default on all PS3's alongside GameOS. The PS3 also does media, and has a built in web browser, and support for downloadable apps (though Sony didn't add an "app" section to the PSN store till recently). That thing was Microsoft's worst nightmare come to life. Who needs Windows to play complex games? Who needs Windows just to visit facebook.

So Microsoft has to stay in the market just to keep Sony and/or Nintendo off balance enough to prevent them from getting any more ideas.

Re:Why? Consumer products are a threat to their co (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37940298)

Well it hasn't worked too well. Instead of Sony, Apple has shown consumers that they don't need a PC to do computery things, and what's more, they've shown the world that you can deliver custom applications to any computery device if you just provide developers with a cheap API.

Microsoft may have been right with the Xbox but they were wrong to neglect WinMo so badly for so long.

Bob (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937860)

Now Microsoft is linking Xbox 360, its most successful consumer-focused brand, with others that have not been as well received.

Can't wait for MS Bob w/ avatars on XBox!

Pretty obvious to everyone but Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37938380)

Everyone knows Microsoft wants that living room spot. What else is new? However, Seamus Blackley had to fight to convince Microsoft that the xbox was the way to go ahead. It seems as if most of Microsoft's success stories tend to happen despite itself.

Alterior motives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37938390)

MS may have wanted to enter a new market with their console, but it could also be seen as a desperate move to keep their customers. Don't forget that MS had monopoly control of the gaming market through their desktop OS dominance prior to the consoles opening the market.

Halo kept the Xbox from obscurity (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938498)

Twas the game Halo that pulled the Xbox from a race to
the bottom with the Game Cube. PS2'ers looking down waiting
to see which one folded first.

Being a PS2'er I remember when Xbox started being talked about
in a positive way, just before the release of Halo 2.

Now Xbox is manipulating game producers for perks, Being a PC
"Call of Duty" player watching as microsoft claims CoD as their own.

Seriously home media is fine but it's the games that sell the system.

I have a PS3,, the last version that was backwards comparable with PS2.
Right now I only use it for the occasional Netflix, but I bought it for the games.

Failed Attempt at Establishing Another Monopoly (2)

tbannist (230135) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938686)

I can tell you what Microsoft was telling business about the Xbox when they were rolling it out. I was at one of their "digital home" shows for businesses, where they were trying to convince the attendees that everyone would soon have 3 or 4 Xboxes in their houses which they could use a networked PVR/gaming systems.

The presentation was pathetic with obvious Microsoft employee "shills" in the audience who lobbed softball questions to the presenters. Even worse the "networked" PVR demo was faked, they hid an extra computer to feed video to their "remote" TV in the "bedroom". It was, overall, a pretty disgusting bit of charlatanism.

The point, of course, is that it was pretty obvious to anyone who cared to know exactly why Microsoft got into the Xbox business, they were hoping to shore up the Windows monopoly by producing a gaming console that they could eventually parlay into a monopoly on digital homes. They needed to do this to prevent anyone else from establishing domination in this arena, imagine if Linux became the standard for consumer appliances, it could potentially erode the Windows desktop monopoly.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, all the digital home stuff was way too early, they didn't actually have viable products to back it up at the time, and Nintendo and then Apple stole their thunder with the Wii, and iPhone and the iPad respectively. They've been trying for a very long time to figure out how to use the Xbox 360 to expand the reach of their monopolies without tipping their hand to the regulators. Now that the regulatory period is over, they no longer have to worry about making blatantly anticompetitive moves.

They already HAD a gaming business. (2)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938764)

seriously. ms sidewinder controllers and their forcefeedback controllers were _the_ best. they also dipped into game publishing before xbox - AND in the late '90s pc gaming became _the_ platform for high class gaming(which it still is) - on microsoft os, which despite everything made it possible to have pretty much random hardware and things would just work(compare that to early '90s pc gaming where if a game didn't support your soundcard you were fucked so you were better off just staying with blaster clones and other "standard" parts).

Because MS doesn't like free and open computers (0)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37939286)

Microsoft benefitted entirely by IBM's more open system and they used to get the monopoly they have now but that they're the dominant one they want a lock-tight system and everyone's pretty much decided desktops will go away. The idea of set-top boxes have been pushed for so long and failed. MS realises its consoles that will become the set top box.

So they got into gaming and they're making something that is expensive and locked down from the beginning so there are no expectations that you can have any sort of freedom like you have on your desktop. The MS fanboys are lapping it up too. I prefer to stay with the much cheaper and open PC gaming.

Acticle is a total load. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37940570)

Microsoft did nothing except sell a bunch of Xboxes. They positioned themselves for nothing. I particularly love the bit where it says:
  "Crucially, Microsoft also leveraged its networking experience, adding an Ethernet port to every Xbox as standard".
Awesome.

To extend... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#37940758)

Let me guess: to extend and extinguish them... isn't it? Isn't it?
<duck>
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