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Why Microsoft Got Into the Console Business

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the origin-story dept.

Games 257

An anonymous reader writes "Joachim Kempin, former vice president of Windows Sales, has explained how the original Xbox came to be. It turns out it was Sony's fault, simply because the Japanese company wasn't very friendly towards Microsoft, and Microsoft eventually decided they had to 'stop Sony.' Apparently, long before the Xbox was even an idea, Microsoft was trying to collaborate with Sony in a number of areas they thought there was overlap. That collaboration was sought before even Sony had a games console coming to market, and would have focused on products for the entertainment sector."

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I remember a story when I worked at Microsoft... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816389)

About Bill Gates throwing a fit in front of Sony because they refused to put his garbage software on their hardware. Also not that while Xbox is profitable for Microsoft, it is not considered profitable enough.

Re:I remember a story when I worked at Microsoft.. (5, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816461)

Reasons to get into business #32:

Spite.

Linux/Windows/OS X (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816485)

As a long time user of linux, I have to say that I also enjoy Windows for the moments when it is appropriate. Same for OS X. There 3 amazing accomplishments of the human mind. And should be celebrated as such.

Re:Linux/Windows/OS X (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816621)

Same AC here, I changed my mind. i enjoy the software I can run on Windows. The actual OS itself is gross!

Re:Linux/Windows/OS X (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816907)

Never mind, I cancel that comment. For a long time I thought Microsoft is shit but then I actually tried Windows 7. Haven't booted to my Linux partition in ages...

Re:Linux/Windows/OS X (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42817381)

Ha ha ha disregard that I suck cock.

Re:Linux/Windows/OS X (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42817401)

but only after it has been deep in my ass.

Re:Linux/Windows/OS X (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42817577)

Disregard, disregard! Sorry for all my revisions, but I just wanted to clarify that I actually think Windows is a steaming pile of turd, and hate what MS has done to entire industries.

But I still like cock in my ass.

Re:Linux/Windows/OS X (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42817647)

Dammit, I'm confusing myself. I don't use a computer except for my iPhone any more.

The liking cock in my ass is still true.

Re:I remember a story when I worked at Microsoft.. (5, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816497)

Reasons to get into business #32:

Spite.

Unfortunately, that's also the reasonining behind a number of open source projects.

Re:I remember a story when I worked at Microsoft.. (2, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816895)

Call it spite, if you like.

If millions of users need an app, or a functionality, that is only available at prices up to ten thousand dollars per seat - you can expect an open source alternative to spring up, sooner or later.

Yeah, call it spite. Or, you could say, "It's the economy, stupid!"

If it can be demonstrated that people can teach an animal to roll over and play dead, should everyone in the world who wishes to do so have to pay ten, fifty, or maybe a thousand dollars to the guy who figured out how to do so?

I say no.

In the case of Microsoft, they taught computers how to blue screen and play dead. I'm not willing to pay for that privilege, thank you very much. Ditto with Autocad, Dragon Naturally Speaking, and the hundreds of other useful things that a person can do with a computer. My computer serves ME, not some faceless corporation amassing unmeasurable fortunes in offshore accounts.

Open source for the win!

Re:I remember a story when I worked at Microsoft.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816915)

Way to totally not get a fucking joke.

Re:I remember a story when I worked at Microsoft.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42817085)

That's the problem with your average open source zealot, they aren't very good in social matters. That's why there is so much arrogance and hostility towards their own users when questions, bug reports or suggestions arise. It's also the reason that no open source project has ever been successful without the help of a large corporation.

Re:I remember a story when I worked at Microsoft.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816875)

I believe Sony got into the gaming biz cause of Nintendo. History repeats itself.

Re:I remember a story when I worked at Microsoft.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816533)

While xbox has recently had profitable quarters, over all they are still down several billion after two consoles. Sony has made money on all 3 playstations long term.

Re:I remember a story when I worked at Microsoft.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816587)

While xbox has recently had profitable quarters

That started 5 years ago, they've had 20 profitable quarters.

over all they are still down several billion after two consoles.

citation? Lots of people say this but nobody ever seems to back it up with any evidence, I'm genuinely interested to know how much has been spent and made over the life of the 2 xboxes.

Re:I remember a story when I worked at Microsoft.. (3, Informative)

samkass (174571) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817121)

It's true, and I think it first really hit home with most people when Business Insider posted their "Microsoft Operating Profit By Division [businessinsider.com] " chart about 3 years ago. Since then the XBox group has had some profitable quarters and some losses (a big one last spring), but is still down a couple billion. If you're "genuinely interested" in the exact amount, just open Excel and type in the numbers from all of Microsoft's quarterly reports for the last decade to get an exact amount-- the numbers aren't secret.

Re:I remember a story when I worked at Microsoft.. (4, Informative)

strength_of_10_men (967050) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817453)

To be clear, that chart lists "Entertainment and Devices" division, of which Xbox is but one product, the others being Windows Phone, Surface, all MS Hardware, and other things. So it's not quite as easy as saying "xbox is losing money for MS" unless you can actually break that out of the rest of the division.

Re:I remember a story when I worked at Microsoft.. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816537)

Considering the fact that the PS3 couldn't even do background downloading at launch says more about Sony's arrogance than Bill Gates' (if the story is true) temper.

Sony run by idiots, news at 11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816409)

They made their own worst enemy. Again.

Re:Sony run by idiots, news at 11 (3, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816517)

Well, they could've coexisted with the Xbox if the play station 3 didn't cost 599 at launch. Well, there's also the argument that the SDK could've been better, but I tend to think of developers as whiny. Not to mention spoiled considering the Xbox tool chain was directx and the windows kernel running on PowerPC.

Still. The idiocy of Sony wasn't spitting in Billy G's face, it was fucking up the ps3

Re:Sony run by idiots, news at 11 (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817421)

You haven't played any PS3 games lately or actually looked at the sales figures, have you? Just going by what you hear from your friends huh?

How about I just wait a few minutes while you check with them again so you can re-post about how horrible Heavy Rain or Uncharted is or how 1080p/60fps/3D in GT5 isn't an incredible achievement for a console.

Re:Sony run by idiots, news at 11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42817521)

How about I just wait a few minutes while you check with them again so you can re-post about how horrible Heavy Rain or Uncharted is or how 1080p/60fps/3D in GT5 isn't an incredible achievement for a console.

... somebody feels the need to justify his $599 PS3, eh?

Re:Sony run by idiots, news at 11 (4, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817531)

Did I mention graphics? I said SDK. A lot of developers have been bitching about the ps3's SDK. Even if the games look great, that doesn't mean the SDK doesn't suck.

But I'm willing to err on the side of Sony here because the notion that developers are whiny and spoiled is more attractive to me.

Compare to the Super NES Play Station (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816553)

On the other hand, Nintendo made its own worst enemy by dropping out of the "Play Station" (with a space) partnership with Sony to make a CD-ROM drive. The Play Station would have plugged into the clock port on the bottom of the Super NES using the HANDS protocol (Nintendo's version of Blast Processing). The trouble is that HANDS couldn't copy information directly into video memory; instead, it had to be bounced off the CPU's memory, and that couldn't be done full-screen at a solid 30 fps. So Nintendo dumped Sony for Philips CD-i, and Sony began the PS-X (PlayStation Experiment) project to rework what it had left into a stand-alone console.

In the Harry Potter universe, on the other hand, it might be the case that the Play Station accessory for Super NES came out on schedule, which explains Dudley Dursley having a Play Station in mid-1994 rather than the real-world release date of the late third quarter of 1995.

Re:Compare to the Super NES Play Station (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816863)

That's not how I remember it. I remember way back when EGM was a popular magazine in the 16bit days that shortly after Sony prototyped the units, Nintendo left Sony out in the cold due to licensing disagreements. Sony got pissed and vowed revenge Japanese style. Hence, the birth of the PSX.

Re:Compare to the Super NES Play Station (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42817325)

A little from column A, a little from column B.

The GP has a valid point that there were technical issues, but that would've been no problem at all. If nothing else, they could've just sold the successor to the SNES and skipped the add-on concept entirely, partnering with Sony and eliminating a future competitor. If they had, they would have roundly trounced Sega and been the last man standing in the console wars of the early 90's. From there, it's a short, leisurely stroll to complete market dominance keeping everyone else out, permanently. Their stranglehold wouldn't have been broken until the iPhone came out, and Microsoft likely wouldn't have bothered making the Xbox.

But the licensing issues were the real problem. Nintendo and Sega were always tangling over exclusivity rights to various franchises and had numerous battles over individual developers' loyalties. Each of them extracted a huge sum from the developers in "licensing fees" (more like access fees, since the devs couldn't get dev hardware or library specs without paying up). Sony wanted in on the action, and had partnered with Nintendo specifically because Nintendo was as aggressive as a rabid wolverine about the licensing fees. They figured a partnership would afford them a fairly large share of the pie. Sony miscalculated. Late in the partnership, Nintendo let it be known that Sony would NOT be getting much pie, and in fact, might have to pay up to continue the partnership. Sony (rightfully, IMHO) balked.

Re:Compare to the Super NES Play Station (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42817185)

Just a note... there never was such a thing as "Blast Processing." It was marketing spin. Fast scrolling just means you update your horizontal position by larger increments - that doesn't exactly require more intensive processing.

Re:Compare to the Super NES Play Station (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42817341)

In the Harry Potter universe, on the other hand, it might be the case that the Play Station accessory for Super NES came out on schedule, which explains Dudley Dursley having a Play Station in mid-1994 rather than the real-world release date of the late third quarter of 1995.

Please, the story is retarded enough with plot holes galore. Let's not patch yet another hole in swiss cheese, that's even more retarded. Take it for what it is, a fun but just above mediocre kid's story that happened to catch on.

Re:Sony run by idiots, news at 11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42817271)

Ummm.... I think it better to have MS as enemy than to have it as partner - just look at the OSS and compare it with Nokia (as an example)

No news here (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816449)

It was pretty well agreed eight years ago that the living room was a possible avenue for a "Trojan Horse" that would take over as the household computing center and push aside the consumer PC. And Bill Gates was always paranoid about competition, not just established players in personal computing like Apple but also new entrants large and small. That's why MS got into so much trouble with the anti-trust regulators in the '90s. Sony didn't want to make some sweetheart development deal with MS... so what? Sony was big and powerful, and some of the last companies that made the mistake of trying to buddy up to Microsoft were IBM (with the original PC) and Sybase (with SQL Server development for Windows). Jerry Kaplan wrote about his own close encounter with Bill Gates in his book "Startup" (Kaplan demo'd the Go tablet computer for Gates and Jeff Raikes, hoping to interest them in application development; instead, Gates turned around and launched the Pen Windows project. Guess who was put in charge? Yup. Jeff Raikes).

As usual, Steve Jobs got it right... the game console wasn't going to be the centerpiece for consumer technology. It looks so obvious in retrospect.

Re:No news here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816683)

As usual, Steve Jobs got it right... the game console wasn't going to be the centerpiece for consumer technology. It looks so obvious in retrospect.

Yet everybody fears Apple making a move in that realm.

When Steve Jobs said "we can't market x" or "we can't make a b that does c the way we think should be", that was usually code for "we don't have that product now, but you can believe we worked/are working on it".

Oh the irony. (4, Informative)

dadelbunts (1727498) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816481)

Thats hilarious, because the playstation originally came about from sony and nintendo trying to partner up, and nintendo breaking the deal because of arguments about money. Sony was so mad they created the playstation to rival nintendo.

Re:Oh the irony. (5, Informative)

sesshomaru (173381) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817153)

Actually, that's inaccurate:

"Using the same Super Disc technology as the proposed SNES drive, Sony began development on what was to eventually become the PlayStaion. Initially called the Super Disc, it was supposed to be able to play both SNES cartridges and CD-ROMs, of which Sony was to be the 'sole worldwide licenser,' as stated in the contract. Nintendo was now to be at the mercy of Sony, who could manufacture their own CDs, play SNES carts, and play Sony CDs. Needless to say, Nintendo began to get worried."
---- History of the PlayStation [ign.com]

Re:Oh the irony. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42817213)

is it really irony? another poster above mentioned the sony / nintendo deal and followed up with 'history repeats itself'. this is just another example. Conflict is the mother of all history.

Co-operate with Microsoft? (5, Insightful)

Jeremi (14640) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816487)

I think Sony made the right decision there. If Microsoft approached me about "co-operating" I wouldn't touch them with a 10 foot pole. Look how well it worked out for IBM (with MS-DOS and OS/2) or Sun (with Java).

Re:Co-operate with Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816555)

Or Sega :p

Re:Co-operate with Microsoft? (4, Informative)

rwyoder (759998) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816609)

I think Sony made the right decision there. If Microsoft approached me about "co-operating" I wouldn't touch them with a 10 foot pole. Look how well it worked out for IBM (with MS-DOS and OS/2) or Sun (with Java).

Add Robert Metcalfe and 3Com. Here is a video clip from the documentary "Nerds 2.0.1" where he is talking about how M$ f***ed them over: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaCFHuVZAU0&t=4m [youtube.com]

Re:Co-operate with Microsoft? (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817429)

Don't forget Real while you're at it (not that Real is a fantastic company any more or anything)

Re:Co-operate with Microsoft? (1, Insightful)

hairyfish (1653411) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816789)

I'm going to hazard a guess here and say that IBM and Sun are both doing better than you are. Perhaps there is a reason for that?

Re:Co-operate with Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816817)

Especially Sun.

Re:Co-operate with Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816797)

Not that it would matter, because you've clearly never had an idea in your life more complex than what to eat next.

Re:Co-operate with Microsoft? (3, Insightful)

DeathFromSomewhere (940915) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816963)

You guys making this argument really need to start picking better examples.

IBM (with MS-DOS

They defined the PC as we know it including a lot of standards that persist to this day. It was immensely successful and allowed for IBM to dominate the personal computing space for years.

and OS/2)

Was doomed from the start. IBM is equally to blame for its demise, despite the haterade that people on slashdot are drinking.

Sun (with Java)

I seem to remember that involving more lawsuits than any sort of cooperation. In any case Java is currently a very popular language in the enterprise.

Re:Co-operate with Microsoft? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817367)

You guys making this argument really need to start picking better examples.

I have one that is both topical and accurate. Sega worked with Microsoft, I have no idea what they got out of it but I presume it included the promise of some games and probably access to partners to build the Dreamcast. In return Microsoft laughed as Sony murdered the DC with fraudulent specs and built their own console, then sunk massive amounts of money into it in order to remain relevant.

Re:Co-operate with Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42817621)

Or Sendo or Nokia or the people who made the first IE or whomever else MS has friendo'd.

Whether you partner with MS or not, if MS wants to destroy you---and they do want to destroy you, if they're trying to partner with you---you're fucked. Unless you're someone more powerful like Google or Apple. All that matters is whether you go willing, and spend your own money being destroyed, or fight, and let MS finance your destruction.

In other news... (1)

detritus. (46421) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816491)

Microsoft is predicted to get out of entertainment business because it was Microsoft's fault.

http://games.slashdot.org/story/13/01/21/1637209/will-microsoft-sell-off-its-entertainment-division [slashdot.org]

The one thing Microsoft actually does decently and now they may have to sell it off because of Windows 8.

Re:In other news... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817385)

The one thing Microsoft actually does decently and now they may have to sell it off because of Windows 8.

Operating systems are the one thing Microsoft does decently. And by decently I do not mean well, I mean tolerably. The entertainment division may be turning a year to year profit but has it yet actually made a profit?

Man, They Stopped the HELL Out of SONY (0)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816493)

Wouldn't it be funny if all the stupid-ass shit SONY's done over the past decade or so were somehow Microsoft's fault? Like Microsoft operatives infiltrated SONY at all levels of management and sent the company crashing into the ground? I think that'd be funny.

Of course, if Microsoft were competent enough to do that, they wouldn't have actually needed to stop SONY in the first place. Anyway, SONY did a pretty good job of stopping SONY, with or without the involvement of Microsoft operatives.

Re:Man, They Stopped the HELL Out of SONY (4, Insightful)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817089)

Like Microsoft operatives infiltrated SONY at all levels of management and sent the company crashing into the ground? I think that'd be funny.
Of course, if Microsoft were competent enough to do that...

Considering what they've done to Nokia, they definitely seem capable of doing just that.

Embrace... (4, Insightful)

elashish14 (1302231) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816499)

Given MS's strategy of Embrace, Extend, Extinguish, it's obvious Sony made the right choice.

In all honesty, why would any hardware vendor want to tie themselves to a platform over which they have no control? Look at how MS throws around their desktop hardware partners, dictating to them which minimum and maximum hardware requirements the system can have. No doubt they would try to pull the same shenanigans with Sony. And then look at how MS blames its hardware partners for crappy Win8 sales when it's really fault for designing the OS in ways that no consumer ever wanted? And then there's the atrocity that's Windows RT, and how nothing runs on it!! I'm guessing that there isn't a single hardware vendor on the planet that wouldn't love to never have to deal with MS again, were it not for their desktop monopoly... probably even MS itself!

It's not unreasonable that Sony executives made the simple observation: companies that entangle with MS never do well. Seriously - for each and every company that MS has partnered with that's doing decently, you can name 5 that are in the gutter or dead altogether.

At least MS did a better job with the Xbox than they did with WinMo. That's not saying much, but hey, when you're Microsoft, that's really all you've got...

Re:Embrace... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816689)

Given MS's strategy of Embrace, Extend, Extinguish, it's obvious Sony made the right choice.

And what exactly would they 'embrace, extend and extinguish'? They wanted to get into that market, which is why they ended up eventually creating the xbox, if their strategy was to embrace, extend and extinguish then they wouldn't have created the xbox at all.

In all honesty, why would any hardware vendor want to tie themselves to a platform over which they have no control?

Well with Android they do, sure there's the illusion of control but really the control is with google, if you want to deviate you can, but you'll be booted from the OHA and you can either go it alone or wait until the code is released when competitor devices are shipping. You can do your own themes and custom apps just like you can on Windows, but you have no control of the platform.

And then there's the atrocity that's Windows RT, and how nothing runs on it!!

Which is good, people aren't going to adopt it and OEMs sure as hell won't ditch profitable Android devices for it.

And Sony got into the console business... (2)

supersat (639745) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816501)

... because Nintendo screwed them. Nintendo and Sony were jointly developing the CD add-on to the SNES (with Sony also building a combined SNES/CD machine named the Play Station). However, Nintendo dropped a bombshell on Sony at the '91 CES: they were severing their ties with Sony and instead partnering with Phillips to develop their CD technology.

As long as you have enough Rupees (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816589)

However, Nintendo dropped a bombshell on Sony at the '91 CES: they were severing their ties with Sony and instead partnering with Phillips

Are you sure it wasn't a lamp oil-shell or rope-shell? This [youtube.com] is what became of the partnership with Philips.

Xbox Subscription (2, Interesting)

lucm (889690) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816529)

Xbox sucks. One must own a Gold membership (about $5/month) to install many key applications, such as Netflix (for which a paid Netflix subscription is required, of course). And whenever an update is available, refusing to install it immediately will close the Live session, preventing any access to Netflix. This is hugely annoying as those pesky updates frequently happen at the least convenient time.

They really do milk the customers. I bought a 1-year Gold membership but I probably won't renew. Unfortunately the alternative (Playstation) is not that great.

Re:Xbox Subscription (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816633)

Wii? 150 bucks new. Does not do HD, but I personally don't care. Also gets hulu and amazon and has a decent youtube app. Also you can softmod it for homebrew and get wiimc and vlc shares. Also stream movies, music, pictures over wifi from your pc. And you can play some great video games. Hook up a hard drive and you don't even need to leave your couch to put in the dvd. AND no online fees. Plus it's approachable to play videogames with your girlfriend or her parents, even if they are terrible at them. Has a terrible web browser though, but that's what your ipad/phone is for. Seriously, if you don't give a crap about HD, Wii is hands down the most amazing piece of TV machinery ever.

Re:Xbox Subscription (1, Flamebait)

exomondo (1725132) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816703)

One must own a Gold membership (about $5/month)

Holy crap! 5 whole dollars per month?!

Re:Xbox Subscription (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816729)

Imagine if windows charged you 5 dollars a month to use the internet.
Would you like that?

Re:Xbox Subscription (2)

exomondo (1725132) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816745)

Imagine if they charged you $5 per mouse click, how bad would that be!

Re:Xbox Subscription (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817405)

Except you really do have to pay Microsoft to use the internet with the Xbox to do anything other than download sponsored demos or game updates, and meanwhile you have to actively filter some addresses (better to filter URLs) in order to not receive their video advertisements, whether or not you are paying for their service. Video advertisements are offensive no matter how you slice it; either I'm paying for the bandwidth and getting nothing or I'm paying for the bandwidth and the service and still having to see ads.

I have a 360 and don't have a PS3. If I even bother to buy a console in the next generation it will probably be an Ouya, at least I can reasonably expect it to run XBMC

Re:Xbox Subscription (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817611)

Meanwhile? Up until recently you couldn't browse the net on your XBox360 at all, it's not as if they are suddenly charging for browsing, it's that they recently wrote a browser and added it to the already existing XBLG subscription.

XBLG has always been a paid service and they add new features to it, yes the XBox is a locked down platform, why is people are still only just realizing this? 40 million+ people don't care, some of those who don't like it choose PC gaming, those who don't want to pay for XBLG features but are happy with a locked down platform and what is offered by free PSN go with PS3, those who prefer PSN Plus over XBLG (or just Playstation over XBox) pay for PSN Plus on PS3 and a tiny number of people whinge that they can't have everything their way.

I want an xbox and i want it to be cheap and i want it to be free(dom) and open and i want them to provide the xbox live service and i want that to be free too! Seriously just get a PC!

Re:Xbox Subscription (2)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817081)

Agreed - it isn't much of a sacrifice. On that note, please post your banking info so that I can initiate a $5/month transfer into my account. You'll never miss it.

Re:Xbox Subscription (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42817267)

Agreed - it isn't much of a sacrifice.

Not for what you get, no. But if you're too tight for that you could always go the PC route.

Re:Xbox Subscription (1)

lucm (889690) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817629)

Agreed - it isn't much of a sacrifice.

Not for what you get, no. But if you're too tight for that you could always go the PC route.

The issue is not the amount, it's paying a gatekeeper fee. There is absolutely no reason why one should pay just to access a third party service from a console that has already been paid for using an internet connection that is also being paid for. All those apps, including Netflix, should be available without the Gold membership.

It's a racket, plain and simple, and saying that the amount is too small to matter is how they get away with it.

Re:Xbox Subscription (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817091)

Yeah, Bill Gates just wants a taste... just to "wet his beak," as they say...

"You want to use Netflix? Pay me," says he.

Re:Xbox Subscription (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816757)

I sugest you actually do some research about PlayStation Plus. "Not that great" is not what people say about it - it's actually quite excellent.

Re:Xbox Subscription (4, Insightful)

CMontgomery (1238316) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817129)

Microsoft pioneered online gaming for consoles. Before Xbox Live the Playstation network sucked. You had to hold down the square button, a face button, to talk in SOCOM 2-one of the extraordinarily few games to feature voice- and even then only one person could talk at a time. Playstation Online had no friends list, and required you to buy an extra harddrive (and hope you had the right ps2 to install it into).

Then along came Microsoft with Xbox Live. Voice chat in every game, cross games friend list, voice messages, game invites, it was crazy. For years Xbox had, basically, the only choice for online gaming. Ps2 online was crap compared to Xbox.

And you know the thing about all that is? It costs money. $50/year. If you can't pay that you probably should spend more time working and less time buying Xboxes.

As to Netflix, of course the system kicks you off for having different software than the servers. You can't wait a minute for a 20 mb download every few months?

If you own a console, Xbox Live is the best option. Speed, reliability, and even the updates are shorter than any other console. Playstation is getting pretty good (But Oh No! Playstation Plus isn't free either!), but they are always playing catchup.

Re:Xbox Subscription (1)

lucm (889690) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817601)

And you know the thing about all that is? It costs money. $50/year. If you can't pay that you probably should spend more time working and less time buying Xboxes.

This is not how value is calculated. I have no need whatsoever for "xbox friends" or in-game chat. I use my Xbox to play single-player games and watch movies on Netflix. Yet, I have to subsidize YOUR usage of the Xbox network with this $50 membership. Even $1 would still be more than what it's worth to me, especially since I can get Netflix running on a PS3 or a WII or a computer without paying that useless fee.

As to Netflix, of course the system kicks you off for having different software than the servers. You can't wait a minute for a 20 mb download every few months?
 

I was talking about Xbox updates, which have nothing to do with Netflix and should not prevent me from watching a movie on a totally distinct system for which I pay a monthly subscription because I don't want to install right now a bunch of updates I did not ask for. It's made worse because of that $50.
 

Re:Xbox Subscription (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42817671)

This is not how value is calculated. I have no need whatsoever for "xbox friends" or in-game chat. I use my Xbox to play single-player games and watch movies on Netflix. Yet, I have to subsidize YOUR usage of the Xbox network with this $50 membership. Even $1 would still be more than what it's worth to me, especially since I can get Netflix running on a PS3 or a WII or a computer without paying that useless fee.

Sometimes i think sad cunts like you deliberately choose not to exercise freedom of choice to get something they know suits their needs better just so they have something to whinge about.

I was talking about Xbox updates, which have nothing to do with Netflix

And happen like once a year, what an inconvenience.

A: For giveaways at Linuxworld (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816535)

I got mine..

Dreamcast (4, Interesting)

FadedTimes (581715) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816551)

I always thought it was because Sega failed with the Dreamcast. Sega had worked with Microsoft for 2 years for the OS on the Dreamcast. So I assumed Microsoft decided to go on their own with out Sega.

Re:Dreamcast (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816651)

Having owned both a Dreamcast and a first-generation XBox, I was surprised at the similarities. The controller for XBox looked like it was very much patterned off the Sega Dreamcast and some of the earlier games had a very similar look and feel. I had thought that Microsoft basically brought out the XBox as a Dreamcast II, but under their name instead of Sega's.

Re:Dreamcast (3, Interesting)

kamapuaa (555446) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816783)

And word on the streets on the time was that XBox would be DC compatible, as the DC hardware had been reduced to a single chip.

Re:Dreamcast (1)

Saffaya (702234) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817539)

Some games who were made for the DreamCast towards the end of its life were ported to be early titles on the XBOX.
Such as, for example, Gunvalkyrie. It's a pity because we have reports the game was made with online play options on the DreamCast (all models had a modem integrated, ethernet card add-on available), and didn't get it on the XBOX (on-line capabilities weren't available then : Halo CE doesn't have XBLA play).

Re:Dreamcast (4, Informative)

_Ludwig (86077) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817141)

They worked with Sega on an operating system for the Dreamcast, based on Windows CE. According to this list [dcemu.co.uk] , only 48 of the 688 commercially-released DC games used it.

Re:Dreamcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42817303)

It's a myth. The MS Dreamcast team and what eventually became the Xbox team were entirely separate.

Why there got into it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816595)

Because they don't make a single dime off PC games, even though they are all on their OS.

Re:Why there got into it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816693)

Alex, for $100, I would like "what is English?"

Re:Why there got into it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42817511)

I suppose you have not priced Visual Studio. Or are you one of those who promulgate the myth that real development can be done on the crippled free versions.

Mostly have learned their lesson? (2)

hermitdev (2792385) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816685)

I know there are a lot that will disagree, but I honestly feel that MS has at least "mostly" learned their lesson. Sony? leaks customer data like there's no tomorrow. DMCA? Bastards fought tooth and nail for it, then have wantonly violated it with rootkits to "protect" their music CDs. Where's the public outcry on that? Where's anonymous? I could go on, but, I think these very few points suffice. Feel free to add on or disagree.

Re:Mostly have learned their lesson? (2)

kamapuaa (555446) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817099)

The rootkit thing happened like 8 years ago on a few select CDs. It was before there was an Anonymous, and Slashdot still whines about it every time Sony comes up, even peripherally. So it's not like they slipped it in under the radar.

Re:Mostly have learned their lesson? (3, Insightful)

Xtifr (1323) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817245)

Furthermore, it was limited to BMG, and BMG was bought by Sony at just about the same time the kit came out. Sony ended up with the blame for something that clearly had to be planned, designed, and implented before they even came into the picture. It should be referred to as the BMG rootkit, not the Sony rootkit, but who the heck remembers BMG these days?

Not that I want to defend Sony. They've made more than their share of horrible misteps over the last few years, and any lingering respect I might have had for them is long gone. But yeah, I think the rootkit thing gets seriously overblown around here. Heck, Microsoft has completely pwned the entire OS on many people's systems. :)

Why would Microsoft care that Sony... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816759)

Why would Microsoft care that Sony was releasing the Playstation? How was this any different from the N64, or the Sega Saturn being released in the same generation? The article only mention "Microsoft" saying that they had to stop Sony, that's just a comment from one person and I doubt this was the sole motivation or even the motivation for Microsoft to get in that business to begin with.

They wanted to stop Sony from what, creating one of the best console, the Playstation? Hopefully, we'll know more when the full interview is released on Friday. Right now, it just feels like hearsay.

Re:Why would Microsoft care that Sony... (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816815)

It was widely known that Bill gates wanted to 'infiltrate the living room' He didnt want Sony to take over that space before he got a chance to.

Here is why the Xbox was a loss leader. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816957)

Why would Microsoft care that Sony was releasing the Playstation? How was this any different from the N64, or the Sega Saturn being released in the same generation? The article only mention "Microsoft" saying that they had to stop Sony, that's just a comment from one person and I doubt this was the sole motivation or even the motivation for Microsoft to get in that business to begin with.

They wanted to stop Sony from what, creating one of the best console, the Playstation? Hopefully, we'll know more when the full interview is released on Friday. Right now, it just feels like hearsay.

Because they knew it could easily be made to go on the net have a browser, hell even do email if Sony chooses and in doing so completely usurp the new windows media pcs that HP and others were pushing with Microsoft software at the time.

This is the real reason why Microsoft released a console, they knew even back then it was only a matter of time before high speed net devices would compliment cable tv in peoples living rooms.

They are still desperate to get a foot hold in the consumer living room, but Busy-Box and the Linux kernel on smart tvs is kicking their ass in this respect.

Do not be at all surprised if next year a Microsoft branded Smart TV is suddenly announced. This is the only step that could potentially put them into peoples living rooms. I would not at all be shocked if they did the same thing they did with the Xbox and peddled it at a loss just to get a foothold in the market, seeing that they are again about 3-5 years late to the party.

Releasing a competing product to usurp a potential competitor is the only way Microsoft operates, they have never truly created anything new or innovative. Their specialty is taking others ideas and using software dominance as a lever to strip off the competition. This goes all the way back to Lotus, OS2, Netscape, the list is endless and the history of their abuses is well documented, so yes Microsoft saw Sony as a target and Sony was smart enough to tell them to go take a hike.
As much as I hate the assholes at Sony and their minions at the RIAA, I cannot blame the assholes for standing up to the assholes in Redmond.

Get the hell out of my living room Microsoft! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816773)

For the past ten to fifteen years Microsoft has tried in desperation to get into the face of every aspect of the entertainment and communications industry.

There is a very good reason why the Linux kernel runs just about every modern consumer entertainment device on the planet, it is the same reason why Android phones took off. CHOICE

If Sony wants to make a smart tv or game console they want it to do things that your software cannot or is in someway crippled at the software level. Or more to the point like every manufacturer out there they do not want to pay software royalties to Microsoft for everything they make.
What Microsoft is trying desperately to achieve is the complete domination of all digital communications by controlling the software used by all high tech device manufactures.

"what are we doing tonight Brain?"

"same thing as always Sony, trying to control your devices!"

Sony and others are only all too aware of what they are doing with software, unfortunately a majority of the people that have purchased things like smart tvs do not have a clue what is really happening in the software industry. If Microsoft succeeds in the goal of eliminating software and file format choice for the manufactures the industry will tank due to what is in essence extortion from a firm that is a convicted monopolist.

The jerks have already extorted everybody into using fat and ntfs for storage chips on their devices. You cannot bring out a digital camera and use anything other than fat or ntfs, you cannot use a thumbdrive with your smart tv with any other format than fat or ntfs. If this is not unbridled enterprise extortion then I do not know how else to describe it.

It would be really hard for any manufacturer to release devices that used some other file format other than what Microsoft dictates and this somehow needs to change. The sooner Sony, Samsung, LG, Canon, JVC, Panasonic, Toshiba, Nikon etc etc realize that this is a hindrance to the real advancement of their devices and undertake a common solution the better off we will all be.

Re:Get the hell out of my living room Microsoft! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816841)

The jerks have already extorted everybody into using fat and ntfs for storage chips on their devices. You cannot bring out a digital camera and use anything other than fat or ntfs, you cannot use a thumbdrive with your smart tv with any other format than fat or ntfs. If this is not unbridled enterprise extortion then I do not know how else to describe it.

Basic economics. They *could* have gone to the effort of developing their own format, collaborating with all the other device manufacturers to all use the same one and getting it standardized but the more cost-effective measure was to just license one that Microsoft had already created. I don't think you understand capitalist corporations, they don't just spend time and money to create and standardize open formats when it's more cost-effective not to, the lawyer fees alone would cost a small fortune and there is no payoff. Creating a multi-industry collaborative group to build something like that, or to create it alone and give it away to the other industry players is not beneficial when they can just license something that already exists.

PS2s? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816807)

So you mean that the PS2 could have suffered from BSoDs AND never ending Disc Read Errors!? Why wouldn't we want this?

So MIcrosoft's basic premise is (2)

joeflies (529536) | about a year and a half ago | (#42816913)

"Cooperate with us or we will crush you". Geez I wonder why Sony would ever give such a cold shoulder to such a friendly gesture?

Re:So MIcrosoft's basic premise is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42816995)

and the other option besides cooperation or crush for a business would be?

Re:So MIcrosoft's basic premise is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42817093)

Just like the 'spite' argument above too (i.e use spite to start a new business vs. use spite to start an equivalent open source business) -- does the OSS community believe in "cooperate or we will crush you (passive aggressively)" or something different?

Re:So MIcrosoft's basic premise is (1)

countach (534280) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817207)

That's what MS did back then. Everyone lived in fear of them. Now nobody could care less. You're going to crush us? Yeah, whatever.

I don't understand... (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817065)

All Microsoft wanted to do was Embrace Sony.... and after that Extend them into new areas....

There's a third E in that but I don't remember what it stands for...

Re:I don't understand... (2)

CyranoDeBergerac (127210) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817167)

There's a third E in that but I don't remember what it stands for...

I believe the word, as used by Microsoft France, is "enculer".

So cliche (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42817161)

If cant join em, beat em. Or so they tried, and kinda failed.

Playing to their core competance (0)

Xtifr (1323) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817263)

I always assumed it was just a case of Microsoft playing to their core competancy. I mean, all the *NIX geeks i grew up around always referred to MS-based machines as toys. :)

What about MSX? (1)

Dusthead Jr. (937949) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817337)

This little piece of gaming trivia only seem to get barely mention when you read articles about the early history of Metal Gear, but there was a computer/console called MSX and Japan and a few other places. It was Microsoft's (of Japan) attempt to pull a 3DO before 3DO did. Apparently it was successful everywhere but the US. Sony was one of the companies that made a system that ran the OS.

Old news (3, Insightful)

SilenceBE (1439827) | about a year and a half ago | (#42817471)

As described in the book "opening the xbox", it worked on Bill Gates nerves that sony was to powerfull in the living room and it could use its weight to influence what became new standards in the living room. Look at the DVD for example how the ps2 accelerated the adoption of this format. Microsoft dream is about Microsoft everywhere

The same thing happend with blu ray that totally destroyed microsoft hd dvd push. The xbox never has been about gaming and I'm even sure that for the next xbox the focus will be also bigger on non gaming capabilities.

The irony of the whole thing is that the xbox seriously weakend their windows platform as it weakened the argument "I need windows because I want to game"

So, blame Sony because MS had a tantrum? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42817519)

The two situations are so different. Sony was a hardware developer, and put a lot of time and money into a project that Nintendo pulled out of at the last minute. They took all the time and money they had put into the development, and made their own console.

Microsoft wanted to put windows on the goddamn Playstation. Sony, for incredibly good reasons, said no, (if MS made the OS for the Playstation, I would not be using it; as it is, I avoid the Xbox like a plague). Microsoft had a tantrum, and they only view companies two ways:

1) companies that work with them, which will soon enough be completely subsumed and submissive to them, also, they will take the blame if the product doesn't make enough money, and

2) companies they are going to use their monopolistic power to put out of business, even if they weren't in the same field to begin with. They tried their damnest to make the PS3 a flop, and failed miserably.

Who in their right mind would want to have anything to do with MS?

Super! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42817553)

So MS enters an industry, purposefully destroys the competition, and leaves the entire industry in ruins, with nobody competing to sell the best product but only to stop the others. I'm surprised that MS gets as much credit as it does around here.

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