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J. Allard Predicts Disappointment at 360 Launch

Zonk posted about 9 years ago | from the inevitable dept.

XBox (Games) 125

Eurogamer has an interview with J. Allard about the 360's imminent launch. Among other things, he admits that some people will be let down by the console supplies when it goes retail in Europe. From the article: "We decided we're going to take a little bit of heat on allocations, frankly, in all the territories rather than take a lot of heat in one or two territories. So, we're not saying Europe comes four months later, we're saying Europe comes now, but with that combining it with the physics properties of the silicon means we're going to have some disappointment in terms of what we can provide to retail and ultimately to the consumers this year, but that's okay, because we want to get the market started. We want to get started on a worldwide basis, we want to do the right thing for gamers, for our publishers and for consumers."

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Bullshit (-1, Flamebait)

AlexMax2742 (602517) | about 9 years ago | (#13759542)

This is the same PS2 horseshit launch all over again.

Re:Bullshit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13759683)

Lynn-ucks likes teh butt seks.

More dissapointment for publishers (1)

CuriousForge (914635) | about 9 years ago | (#13759555)

The fact that consumers won't be able to get their hands on this immediatly is secondary to reaction they will get from publishers with an innability to quickly ramp install base and help them get some ROI in Q4

Re:More dissapointment for publishers (3, Interesting)

ivan256 (17499) | about 9 years ago | (#13761477)

If we were talking about any other company but Microsoft you probably would have a point. Microsoft, however, seems to know the magic word that keeps developers coming back for more every time the folks up in Redmond decide to sick it to them. It's uncanny. If any other company treated third party developers the way Microsoft does (And I'm talking on all platforms here, Whatever version of Windows you can think of counts), they wouldn't have any developers left.

It's funny, because the third party developers are the only thing keeping people on Windows. In the business world, people buy the platform their application runs on. Until recently (the last 12 years or so) that was SCO UNIX, VMS, DOS, OS/2, DG/UX, Digital UNIX, or HP/UX. End users didn't care which. They bought the one their application ran on. Now application vendors are under the false assumption that if they don't write for Windows, nobody will buy their product. At this rate, that may end up being true... even for Xbox.

Re:More dissapointment for publishers (5, Interesting)

@madeus (24818) | about 9 years ago | (#13763194)

Microsoft, however, seems to know the magic word that keeps developers coming back for more every time the folks up in Redmond decide to sick it to them. It's uncanny. If any other company treated third party developers the way Microsoft does (And I'm talking on all platforms here, Whatever version of Windows you can think of counts), they wouldn't have any developers left.

As much fun as most /.'ers have Microsoft-bashing at every available opportunity, that's just not true. As a games company there is nothing to suggest they treat their developers no worse than the competition, in fact probably a lot better than competitors Sony and Nintendo (who have both spectacularly shafted developers).

Microsoft make significant effort in providing SDK's and development resources (knowledge bases, code samples, easy to use libraries) to developers, they are also pretty up front about their plans for the console - if you are sceptical compare them to Sony or Nintendo who are being at best very elusive about their consoles, and in Sony's case telling outright lies about it (just as they did with the PS2).

It's true I find Apple's information a lot more useful (probably knowledge base aside, but it's the developer documentation I'm usually most interested in), but at the same time I find Sun's information a lot worse (it's wonderful if all you care about is re-writing all your existing applications in the latest version of Java - otherwise it's enough to make you want to never develop anything that runs on Solaris, on purpose, just to spite them). In this respect MS are not The Great Evil, they are doing a perfectly competent job.

As much as I prefer Mac OS X (or even just any Unix system) for 'Serious Applications', there are a whole bunch of things (games development particularly) that are a lot easier to do on Windows than any other platform due to the libraries, SDK's and documentation provided by the vendor.

In the business world, people buy the platform their application runs on.

That's true for a comparatively small set of specialist software (on the server side, at utilities companies (power/telco/etc), and for things like financial traders) but not for the vast majority of systems, which are traditional (very dull) desktops.

They run Windows because they always have, everybody else does, and MS Office (particularly Outlook) runs on it - and because it also runs a bunch of other applications they also use (be that Sage, Visio, Visual Studio, MS Project, or whatever floats their boat).

It's a collection of reasons, and if one application on it's own stops being available, people will either stop using it and switch, or if it's really vital to their business, they will by a additional systems dedicated to running it only for those that really need it (and either give those people X11 software on their Windows system so they can access it, or just give them a second desktop).

Now application vendors are under the false assumption that if they don't write for Windows, nobody will buy their product.

That's essentially true though, because if they don't write for Windows most there customers will just switch to an alternate product, rather than switch OS on all their systems (because that would require switching all their other applications too, and IT staff with new skill sets and putting up with lost productivity and additional expenditure of switching to a new system).

If their product is the only one in the market - or is regarded as best by a significant margin - they will have the option to survive for a time with a much smaller user base (though this is almost certainly just a long, protracted death as they won't be able to put enough resources into new development to stay competitive in the long run).

That's the best case likely scenario though, if there is reasonable competition then they will simply die very quickly (probably within 5 years) as everyone jumps ship. It's a lot easier to switch a single application vendor than switch all your desktops, your server infrastructure, your IS/IT staff and all your other software.

Re:More dissapointment for publishers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13763425)

After years of console development on a large number of platforms I can say:

You're an idiot.

Please shutup in the future.

Re:More dissapointment for publishers (1)

@madeus (24818) | about 9 years ago | (#13763535)

.After years of console development on a large number of platforms I can say:

You're an idiot.

Please shutup in the future.


How marvellously refuted. I'm convinced by your persuasive argument that my own years of experience of using Microsoft development tools (as much as I prefer Cocoa) has been some sort of bizarre dream.

Yeah, Microsoft and there stupid XNA [microsoft.com] and directx [microsoft.com] is so much less easier to use than manually optimising for individual vendors unique hardware, even when (like Sony [1]) they dick you around over specs and access to the hardware.

[1] Oh, I know we said it's was going to run 300 Mhz and that your units run at that speed, but you can only use 200 Mhz of that or we won't release it, and no you can't have a UMD burner, you'll just have to send it to us hope your game doesn't have horrible loading issues that you don't have enough time to resolve before release.

I bet you hated the Dreamcast and it's stupid SDK's (including Win CE kits) too! Easy to develop platforms are for noobs huh?

Re:More dissapointment for publishers (1)

ivan256 (17499) | about 9 years ago | (#13763823)

As a games company there is nothing to suggest they treat their developers no worse than the competition

That may be true, but not making nearly enough consoles (which effectifely caps your developers sales) and seemingly being okay with that is pretty bad.

What I was talking about regarding Microsoft and their developers had nothing do do with documentation or programability, or quality of the platform... It's that if you write a successful application, you're practically guaranteed to have Microsoft come out with their own version that works better because of access to special Microsoft only hooks in the OS. It's dangerous to write innovative software for windows if you like being in business and you're not already a huge company.

That's true for a comparatively small set of specialist software (on the server side, at utilities companies (power/telco/etc), and for things like financial traders) but not for the vast majority of systems, which are traditional (very dull) desktops.

Not only is this a recent occurance, but it's also probably wrong. If you add up all the machines that run banking, insurance, manufacturing, point-of-sale, automotive, or CRM software, you'd have the vast majority of business computers. These are all applications that have no good reason to run on Windows, because they're so specialized that customers would buy them regardless of what platform they run on. People make a big stink about needing Office, but most people just plain don't create documents. The only killer Office app for 90% of workers is Excel, and there are capable spreadsheets on practically every platform.

That's essentially true though, because if they don't write for Windows most there customers will just switch to an alternate product, rather than switch OS on all their systems

That's starting to be true now, but remember that it's only recently that Microsoft has a stranglehold on the business desktop. 10-12 years ago if you saw a Windows box in a business setting it was probably there to run a serial terminal emulation package to hook into the company's UNIX box. This is the developer magic I'm talking about. Microsoft got to where they are because they got all these app developers to port. It's not the other way around.

It's only been 10 years since most of these applications ran on thin clients. The users didn't need access to anything but this one application and still don't. It was under protest that most end users moved away from the thin clients (dumb terminals mostly) to full PCs that cost more, and broke more easily. They had to switch though, because their app moved to windows.

It's a lot easier to switch a single application vendor than switch all your desktops, your server infrastructure, your IS/IT staff and all your other software.

No kidding, but it happened in the last decade. Everybody switched their desktops to Windows 9x+. The server side isn't finished yet. Microsoft is just finishing up getting into the server side in a serious way, but slowly they've managed to convince companies to throw away their infrastructure for Windows.

What a weird interview! (4, Interesting)

Dr. Spork (142693) | about 9 years ago | (#13759567)

Allard was basically saying, the whole time, that the won't make nearly enough units and that there will be problems and that the first games will suck and that the press should not descend on them like vultures. Talk about anti-hype! But I think what's important for MS is that they have their marketing machine in gear before PS3 launches (surely with its own set of troubles), and I expect they will.

Re:What a weird interview! (1)

xerxesVII (707232) | about 9 years ago | (#13759689)

Maybe he just realized that some of that Nintendo modesty is the flavor of PR that he wants to try this week. However, he realized that there's already been way too much trumpet-blowing to convincingly pull off that stunt. So now he's going to shift all the way back through neutral into reverse and talk about how the 360 will not be all that it could be.

It could happen.

What's The Point? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13759603)

Reading all the console forums it is clear the 360 is as dead as the Dreamcast was at this time before launch.

Except for the very same people who bought Dreamcasts who all think things are going great.

Bizzare.

Microsoft has more important battles to focus on. They need to find some face saving way of admitting defeat and move on.

Well, I tried to RTFA (4, Insightful)

adamwright (536224) | about 9 years ago | (#13759609)

And got as far as...
"We moved the Halo 2 date out to November, and people said 'oh, I expected it in April, this is a travesty, it's disastrous!' No, it's the best game that's ever been created, and we were glad that we waited and didn't rush it out"

"It's the best game that's ever been created"? I'm sorry, but your credibility just dropped to 0. I've played it, and it's a good game, but I can name 10 games I certainly enjoyed more off the top of my head (Hmm, Zelda : OOT, Goldeneye, WoW, Ico, SM 64, KOTOR just to pick some at random). I doubt you'll find any actual game critics who would name it in their top 5, let alone their favorite ever game (we are *not* counting single platform "unbiased" magazines/fansites that only cover Xbox). Hell, the rather unreliable Gamerankings doesn't even have it in their top 10.

The best PR requires at least a modicum of truth. Total out and out bullshit makes you look like an idiot Mr Allard, and I stopped reading your interview right there.

Re:Well, I tried to RTFA (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13759679)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6456214/ [msn.com]

"If independent sales figures show that Microsoft topped or exceeded $125 million in sales, then "Halo 2" would definitely count among the top five best-selling games in history for first-day sales, said David Riley, senior manager with The NPD Group."

Re:Well, I tried to RTFA (4, Insightful)

ajservo (708572) | about 9 years ago | (#13759729)

Just 'cause it's a good selling game doesn't make it a good game.

After playing "Enter the Matrix" for 2 weeks, I was ready to return it and IT made a ton of money as well.

There's tons of good games that sold VERY poorly.

Re:Well, I tried to RTFA (2, Insightful)

Keeper (56691) | about 9 years ago | (#13759809)

"Best" is a subjective comment. You can no more say that he is correct than he is incorrect in labeling a game as such, because your opinion is different than his.

Re:Well, I tried to RTFA (1)

oGMo (379) | about 9 years ago | (#13759830)

Just 'cause it's a good selling game doesn't make it a good game.

Especially if it's the only game your platform's got. ;-)

Re:Well, I tried to RTFA (1)

Saige (53303) | about 9 years ago | (#13759918)

But were there a ton of people still playing Enter the Matrix a year later?

There are still hundreds of thousands of people that play Halo 2 over live every week, and it's been nearly a year. While that doesn't make it the best game ever, it does suggest that it's definitely a really good game.

Re:Well, I tried to RTFA (0)

falcon5768 (629591) | about 9 years ago | (#13760166)

no it just means its got a high replay value, which while a factor is not what would make a good game great.

I dont play Final Fantasy VI anymore, but that is one of the best games I ever played, many people would considered the original Super Mario Brothers up there too.

Milllions of people play WoW and thousands FFXI even after 4 years, still I wouldnt considered either of them better than say Sonic the Hedgehog, even though they have extreamly high replay value. Heck people still play Quake, and im not talking about arena im talking about the original nail gun quake.

Honestly HaloII was Halo I to me, both FPS that have been overdone.

Re:Well, I tried to RTFA (1)

unclethursday (664807) | about 9 years ago | (#13762935)

There are still hundreds of thousands of people that play Halo 2 over live every week, and it's been nearly a year. While that doesn't make it the best game ever, it does suggest that it's definitely a really good game.

Or, that the rest of what's on Xbox Live doesn't have the mass draw appeal of Halo 2, nor the already tried and true strategies and other such that people have built up over the past 10 months.

This seems to be more of the case. Other games come out, they get a little XBL hype... then people go back to what they know and can pwn at: Halo 2.

Halo 2 is a very simple FPS to get into. This is good. It has a slow pace to it. This is not good to me. It had exploits that people used ALL THE TIME, many of which Bungie knew about a year before release (hey, some of these walls aren't solid!), and it took them until 8 freaking months after release to fix them (and maybe brought about new exploits, who knows... I haven't played it since, oh, around February). This is BAD. They had to release a quick patch to fix a 480p HUD problem and unlock the hidden map because they made the way to unlock it so screwed up that people would rather break the game than do it. This is good that they released that patch early... but bad that they let that ship.

Halo 2 is certainly not the best single player, nor multiplayer game on the Xbox. It is just the one that has so many idiotic people behind it 24/7, that it remains the most popular game on the Xbox and XBL.

Re:Well, I tried to RTFA (2, Informative)

Slothy (17409) | about 9 years ago | (#13761168)

I think it's safe to say that there is a big group of people out there who would say that Halo 2 is the best game ever. Just like you have your own game that you think is the best.

J Allard is welcome to his own opinion on what the best is, and you are welcome to yours. He is not "wrong", any more than I am "wrong" in thinking the color blue is great!

MOD PARENT UP (1)

AlexMax2742 (602517) | about 9 years ago | (#13762672)

Thank you for bringing a shred of sanity to Slashdot.

Re:Well, I tried to RTFA (3, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 9 years ago | (#13762830)

Except he's a marketing guy and would call Halo 2 the best game ever even if he hated every minute of it.

Re:Well, I tried to RTFA (0)

IpalindromeI (515070) | about 9 years ago | (#13766724)

Please. Everyone knows that green is the best color ever created.

Re:Well, I tried to RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13759706)

On top of that, it's very obvious that Halo2 WAS rushed out to make the holiday sales. Either that or Bungie wanted all of their normal maps to load after the geometry, creating pop-in even on the simplest objects in every scene?

Re:Well, I tried to RTFA (2, Interesting)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about 9 years ago | (#13760250)

"best" is a subjective term. Who says he's not telling the truth? If I said that Marathon is the best FPS game ever, would I be telling the truth? Even if you like Goldeneye better?

I think you need to work on your reading comprehension skills. He didn't say anything "incorrect" or "untruthful."

Re:Well, I tried to RTFA (1)

triso (67491) | about 9 years ago | (#13760363)

...but with that combining it with the physics properties of the silicon means we're going to have some disappointment in terms of what we can provide to retail...
Can someone translate this gibberish for me? Is he trying to say there will be a shortage of units or is he trying to say that the computing power will not be as impressive as the hype promises?

Re:Well, I tried to RTFA (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | about 9 years ago | (#13761130)

Do you really think that Goldeneye is a better game?

So, if a publisher came out with Goldeneye tomorrow, you would go buy it? Or, would you think, "Oh my god, that looks like crap, and it plays like crap!" Personally, the first thing I would say is, "What? No on-line multi-player?"

He didn't say, "The best game at the time of it's release."

Really...go play Goldeneye. Don't sit there and remember how much fun it WAS, judge it for what it IS.

Re:Well, I tried to RTFA (2, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about 9 years ago | (#13761171)

halo2 wasnt even best game at it's release... which surely is what the ms rep was saying anyways - that it was the best game ever at release.

it doesn't have the best plot.. it doesn't have the best action.. it doesn't have the best multiplayer(no network coop either)..

worth the wait? nothing is 'worth' the wait - not with games anyways, with release dates slipping and so forth the better question is: is it worth the money at the time of release? I don't think halo 2 is worth buying, lot's of pc fps's are better in just about every department(farcry for example, even with it's god awful annoying mutants).

Re:Well, I tried to RTFA (1)

Trepalium (109107) | about 9 years ago | (#13762424)

Add the three magic words "for the X-box" to the end of the statement he made, and it's probably true. In that context, Halo 2 was the greatest game ever since the original Halo.

Re:Well, I tried to RTFA (1)

fbjon (692006) | about 9 years ago | (#13765340)

For the X-box? Aha, so this is like the new "...in Japan!" thing?

Let's try:

DNF will be out in 2009 ... for the X-box!
Daikatana was the greatest game ever ... for the X-box!

Yeah, I think it kind of works... Mum, I found a new meme!

Nice Headline (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13759638)

You go with "J. Allard Predicts Disappointment at 360 Launch" instead of something closer to what the article contends such as "J. Allard Predicts Supply Disappointment at 360 Launch". News, this is not...

Re:Nice Headline (3, Funny)

vcv (526771) | about 9 years ago | (#13759906)

You must be new here

J. Allard Predicts Supply Disappointment at 360 La (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13761394)


The slashdot headline has a finite amount of space.

It's the same as the comment subject limit.

Observe what happened when I tried your suggestion.

I predict disappointment for J Allard at 360 launc (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13759666)

Even though I have given up attempting to understand the purchasing habits of 'Normal' people, I honestly suspect that Microsoft is putting themselves into a horrible position with the Xbox 360. Microsoft is releasing their system too early (the XBox only launched 4 years ago), they system (and accessories) cost way too much, and the first generation of games (even by Microsoft's own admission) are not of next generation quality.

Even though it is by no means a scientific measure, I have talked to many XBox owners and it doesn't sound too peachy for Microsoft; most of them say that they think the 360 is cool but they have no plans to purchase one. The most common comment I have heard from XBox owners is that the XBox already produces 'good enough' graphics and it isn't worth $500 to upgrade their system.

Re:I predict disappointment for J Allard at 360 la (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | about 9 years ago | (#13761547)

Technically xbox 360 is the first ever "rushed" console. M$ can rush windows OS out the door and get some hotfixes later. But I am curious to see how this console holds up assuming people really don't want to do console firmware upgrades.

Re:I predict disappointment for J Allard at 360 la (2)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 9 years ago | (#13762867)

I would call the Nintendo DS rushed as well. The firmware is far from perfect (switching off the system after changing conigurations?!? not able to remap the buttons in GBA emulation?) and outside Japan the launch lineup was awful with an N64 port as the flagship title (not a problem for me since I had no N64 but a problem for the rest). Some Sega consoles were rushed, too, I think.

Re:I predict disappointment for J Allard at 360 la (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13764143)

GBA is not emulated, it's native. The system contains the same processor that the GBA houses (it's used as a second coprocessor in DS games). You can't remap the GBA buttons on a GBA, so there's no real reason to expect to be able to on the DS. That being said, I do wish that X & Y had been mapped to L & R.

The common shutdowns are irritating, but no huge deal as it takes so little time for the thing to boot up.

But at least we're not having to deal with random firmware updates in order to play new games (I don't know if the games update the firmware themselves, or you have to update the firmware to play games -- I don't have, and don't desire a PSP, as it sounds like an unstable piece of garbage from a distance).

Re:I predict disappointment for J Allard at 360 la (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 9 years ago | (#13765453)

The output screen can be changed and while it might be difficult with the current design they could easily have made the DS able to remap the keys if they were designing the GBA mode with that in mind. Personally I'd like to use Y and B instead of B and A, easier to reach.

wait for it ..... weeee haaave MARKETING SPEAK! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13759699)

"combining it with the physics properties of the silicon"

What the fuck does this mean? It's not english, it seems to be random buzzwords and science terms thrown together in a fashion that "sounds smart" without actually BEING smart. "physics properties of the silicon"? "All your base are belong to us"? Imagine a world where marketing boobs pretend to be able to read instead of abusing the language. Just imagine it.

Re:wait for it ..... weeee haaave MARKETING SPEAK! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13759745)

meaning you can make only so many chips (out of silicon) in a set ammount of time. there will not be an unlimited number of consoles ready by release date.

Re:wait for it ..... weeee haaave MARKETING SPEAK! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13759818)

what you said is english - his bullshit isn't. He could have said, the challenges of putting out enough physical products, and getting enough chips from our vendors. He didn't instead trucating the blather by using the cute term that means something on the microsoft campus - but dick-all elsewhere.

Re:wait for it ..... weeee haaave MARKETING SPEAK! (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 9 years ago | (#13762872)

Marketing should always be read in Advocatus Diaboli mode. Perhaps he's saying ithe 60 will exhibit an unusually large failure rate.

Re:wait for it ..... weeee haaave MARKETING SPEAK! (2, Funny)

fwitness (195565) | about 9 years ago | (#13761419)

Call it misspoken. If he had said, "the phyical properties of silicon" then he would have been correct. He's even smarter than I. I knew that lead (Pb), for example, has the physical property of being a solid at room temperature. Unbeknownst to me, silicon (Si) apparently has the physical property of resisting MS game console production.

Thank god fanboys (Fb) have an electrochemical weakness which causes them to be attracted to all things new and shiny.

Re:wait for it ..... weeee haaave MARKETING SPEAK! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13763884)

It's all in the chemical equations:

      Fb + Nc = Le
(Fanboy) (New Console) (Liquid Explosion)

For some odd reason.... (1)

Bega (684994) | about 9 years ago | (#13762788)

...that quote reminds me somehow remotely of something else [imdb.com] ...

Didn't compute for me either (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about 9 years ago | (#13763121)

After all, the chips are supposed to be developed by now, and I don't expect them to change much over the lifetime of the console. Except maybe for some bugfixes that come with a firmware update.
Thus, claiming that the "physics properties of the silicon" will lead to initial disappointment is not very credible.

Re:Didn't compute for me either (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13763320)

I would disagree. I would expect at least one die shrink if not two during the 4-5 year product life span. I don't have much use for marketing speak in general, and less for MS marketing giberish in particular, but the "physical properties" blather from Mr. Allard just sounds to me like a non-chip guy trying to talk chip-speak. They're trying to ship 2 million or so of these things by Christmas? That's 2 million 90nm brand new 165-million-transistor CPUs, 2 million 90nm brand new 232-million-transistor GPUs (with a 105-million transistor on-package memory), and 8-16 million 700Mhz GDDR3 memories (depending on the config they use to get to 512MB), not to mention 2 million of whatever else is on this thing. (source: http:/// [http] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xbox_360/> No doubt they are in yield hell right now, trying to push the process to get the performance they need without dissapating more watts than your average kitchen oven. I'm sure "the properties of physics" are kicking their ass all over the place at the moment. Good luck.

Yeah Right. (5, Insightful)

voxel (70407) | about 9 years ago | (#13759741)

I wouldn't doubt they do this on purpose. There is probably some historical, mathematical or even emotional reasoning to limiting the distribution on launch.

Lower supply, increase demand. Those who said "I'll wait a month or two to buy an XBox360", are now thinking, "Oh man, if I don't buy it NOW, I may not get it for a long time, I better get in line today for one".

They could even be completely lying, say supply is "Low", but don't provide any real numbers as to what "Low" means, and then get people lining up and "Low" could mean "Have enough for everyone", now they have a much nicer launch, plus they can say "Sold out!" which drives people even more to want one.

Tell someone they can't have it, or may not be able to get it, and all the sudden their wallet is open. Say we have over-stock on XBox360's, and people take their time getting to the store for one.

Re:Yeah Right. (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 9 years ago | (#13764032)

It does occur to me that this will not be the first console where supply is unable to meet demand. And it certainly makes it sound more popular when people are extremely desperate to get hold of one.

Re:Yeah Right. (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 9 years ago | (#13766098)

"I wouldn't doubt they do this on purpose. There is probably some historical, mathematical or even emotional reasoning to limiting the distribution on launch."

You're mostly right, this is a strategy that has worked wonders for many, many companies in the past. Usually this happens when there is no direct competition for the product -- whether because of innovation, branding, or product timing. Whether it's Cabbage Patch Dolls, Collectible Card Games, or gaming consoles, artificially induced scarcity works well for the bottom line when there is no competition.

Where you are a bit off is that lowered supply does not increase demand. Instead, it increases the price at which the units can sell -- those that REALLY want it will pay the early adopter premium. Later, when more inventory is rolled out, the prices drop to a level where most of the market is comfortable buying the product.

Re:Yeah Right. (2, Insightful)

voxel (70407) | about 9 years ago | (#13766403)

I believe it does increase immediete demand. Those who were going to wait to buy one will buy one NOW. All the extra hype generated because "So many other people want this thing, they don't have enough supply" causes those who were on the fence about getting one may jump on the bandwagon and say I want one now too. Couple that with the "You can't have one!", ever so simple reverse psychology and the wallet, or purse opens.

I don't know how many people this accounts for, but I'm sure its some significant percentage (1% to 3% of purchases).

I know one thing for sure, I've fallen for it in the past.. tell me I probably can't get something, all the sudden I am out looking for it even though I may not of really wanted it.

Re:Yeah Right. (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 9 years ago | (#13766987)

Check wikipedia for some microeconomics info. A lot of what is really affecting your increased demand is not low supply; it is marketing.

Re:Yeah Right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13766606)

Where you are a bit off is that lowered supply does not increase demand.

That sounds great and all, but you're forgetting that this isn't pure economics. This is the real world with real people buying real products based on real emotional responses to real marketing. It's all about manipulation of the customer/consumer, and it has very little to do with economics, especially "pure" economics.

Lowered supply doesn't increase demand based on rational thought, but it does increase demand based on "I want one and if I don't get it now someone else will get it first and I won't be the first one on the block to have one and I'll have to catch up to the Joneses later oh no my world will end." This is something pure economics has always left out. This is the main reason pure economic theory is never adequate for describing any market anywhere. It leaves out the very element the market is based on - people. It's especially inadequate for video game systems, where the early-adopter mentality permeates the entire market.

Well... (1, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | about 9 years ago | (#13759762)

The games look good. Really good... But... To me it feels like the original Xbox all over again. Not to say the original Xbox was fun, but I didn't run out to buy it til it was $149. I feel the same about the new Xbox360 because even though I really want to play the "The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion" (it just look so damn awesome visually) I don't think it's currently worth the money to be the first to buy it before the holiday.

Maybe quarter2 will be good time to buy and I think many people feel the same way with the wait and see attitude. I don't think this means failure of the xbox, but i think many people are either waiting for a price drop in the console or what Sondy and Nintendo show us first and then make a decision on which console to get.

Re:Well... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13759890)

"The games look good. Really good... "

Tell us you're joking...

Unless you think 'really good' means 'really shiny'...

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13760638)

After seeing the PD0 stuff, and how Microsoft(along with countless other companies) are rushing to get games out for easy first next-gen game cash, I agree.

Plus I have to question how well they run, you know something is up when the DOA creator is claming and bragging about being able to do 40 FPS when the others are only managing 30 FPS.

Oh well, I don't buy consoles on launch and usually wait a few years. It seems that last gen most first batch systems had some sort of defects, which seem to take 3-5 revisions before the main problems are fixed. Someone I know gave me their Xbox and got a new one because of random, yet too frequent disk read errors(they installed no mod chips, no funky mis-use stuff; sometimes it works, some times it cries "this isn't an Xbox disk, please blah blah whaaa whaaa etc").

Re:Well... (1, Interesting)

ivan256 (17499) | about 9 years ago | (#13761381)

even though I really want to play the "The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion"

You know it's shipping simultainlously for the PC, and that it has what could arguably be called it's most important feature (The construction kit and the ability to load third party modules created with the kit) on the PC exclusively, right?

Of course if it's like TES3, the other important feature that will be PC only is the ability to patch.

Re:Well... (0)

fortunate_monk (921451) | about 9 years ago | (#13762519)

"To me it feels like the original Xbox all over again." And remember the drive problems the Xbox had in its first two incarnations. I was all hot to buy a 360 until a friend of mine reminded me of this. Instead I think I will wait a bit and see what the overall experience seems to be like for those who bought the first run. With Microsoft's record of pushing out products before they are truly complete I say it will be wise to wait. Elder Scrolls IV will be just as much fun in six months. Until then there is always Tuxcart.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13766707)

The drives will most likely swap out for when the HD-DVD (or possible BluRay if HD-DVD gets pummeled before MS releases it) drives are released for the 360...

Re:Well... (1)

AlexMax2742 (602517) | about 9 years ago | (#13762695)

Good plan. I didn't wait as long as you did, (I got mine at 199), but a good rule of thumb with buying video game systems is to wait until they drop in price and have a decent library of games. I made the mistake of buying my Gamecube almost at launch (I was a Nintendo fanboy once, though my posting history certainly doesn't reflect that). It's now collecting dust, since the library just didn't pan out like I had expected it to.

Moral of the story? Wait.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13766696)

If I waited, I would've missed out on countless Halo LAN parties. Of course, I don't see any Halo-equivalents for the 360 any time soon but you get my point.

Re:Well... (1)

metamatic (202216) | about 9 years ago | (#13764375)

Yeah, it'll be like the original Xbox. If you want to buy one the week it's released you might have trouble--but if you wait a month or two, the stores will have boxes of unwanted Xboxes piled high, and will be offering all kinds of bundles and deals.

Interview w/out the fat (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13759763)

I've taken the liberty of shortening his answers considerably.

Eurogamer: What was the hardest part of getting to where you are now? The hardware or the software?
J Allard: Both.

Eurogamer: How many units do you think there will be available for launch?
J Allard: No comment.

Eurogamer: Has the launch proved harder than you expected?
J Allard: No.

Eurogamer: Are you worried that this is going to overshadow your message because the media's going to talk about lack of stock?
J Allard: I hope not.

Eurogamer: Can you be specific on the launch line-up, because it's still kind of ambiguous what games you're going to launch with the console.
J Allard: The ones that are done!

Eurogamer: Can I press you on that? Can you say with conviction which ones?
J Allard: No.

Eurogamer: What are you hoping for?
J Allard: All three of the first party titles to be there on day one.

Eurogamer: Are you saying these three key titles might not be ready for launch?
J Allard: Yes.

Eurogamer: Does that keep you up at night, the fact that you know you can't guarantee these three key titles from you, and other key titles from other publishers might not be there for launch?
J Allard: No.
Eurogamer: Would you risk putting a game out that was almost finished?
J Allard: It's up to the publishers, you know, it's happened before.

Eurogamer: Do you feel X05 was a success?
J Allard: Yes.

Eurogamer: Can you tell us a little more about Xbox Live Arcade?
J Allard: We're going to have 15-20 games this holiday.

Eurogamer: Can you list any of those?
J Allard: No.

Eurogamer: It'd be nice to see some retro titles on other systems, available on Live Arcade maybe?
J Allard: Maybe.

Eurogamer: What about the Xbox Live Market Place stuff? It's intriguing...
J Allard: It is intriguing.

Eurogamer: Is this very much a publisher lead thing, or is Microsoft Games Studios going to be doing experimental stuff as well?
J Allard: Both.

Re:Interview w/out the fat (1)

Strell (877448) | about 9 years ago | (#13763036)

Eurogamer: Can you be specific on the launch line-up, because it's still kind of ambiguous what games you're going to launch with the console.
J Allard: The ones that are done!


ROFLMAO

Re:Interview w/out the fat (1)

PhoenixOne (674466) | about 9 years ago | (#13765283)

Thank you for saving me all that time. Can I hire you for the next "Dog and Pony" show I have to go to?

I predicted this (1)

yagu (721525) | about 9 years ago | (#13759800)

I posted on this a while back, and predicted a shortage, especially in the upcoming holiday season. I thought, and still think, this could be somewhat artificial so Microsoft can roll it out under way-too-high prices under the auspices of "rare" goods (anyone remember the Cabbage Patch Dolls?).

So, they create an artificial shortage, whip up crazed demand, sell way over price through the holiday season with the additional wallop of great sales afterwards from all of the parents who weren't able to get the box for their kids, but promised they'd get it for them as soon as they became available. Good marketing... turns my stomach a bit.

Re:I predicted this (2, Interesting)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | about 9 years ago | (#13760120)

Yet when Sony does this same trick, the unwashed masses beleive there really is a shortage and falls for it.

Re:I predicted this (1)

cornface (900179) | about 9 years ago | (#13760652)

I posted on this a while back, and predicted a shortage, especially in the upcoming holiday season. I thought, and still think, this could be somewhat artificial so Microsoft can roll it out under way-too-high prices under the auspices of "rare" goods (anyone remember the Cabbage Patch Dolls?).

If the unwashed slashbot wisdom is true and the consoles are sold as loss leaders to drive game sales, where the actual profits are, what possible reason would there be to artificially restrict the number of consoles sold? Your Cabbage Patch analogy would only hold if Coleco was selling the dolls at a significant loss and counting on the sales of tiny pants to pull them into profits...in which case it would be just as silly as thinking MS is going to artificially restrict their one chance at toppling Sony to squeeze a scant few extra spacebucks out of Joe Consumer.

They have six months to a year (depending on region) to build a market before Sony comes beating down the door. If there are grubby hands desiring a 360, you can be assured Microsoft will be doing their best to fill them.

Re:I predicted this (1)

ivan256 (17499) | about 9 years ago | (#13761417)

If the unwashed slashbot wisdom is true and the consoles are sold as loss leaders to drive game sales [...]

That's a big if. We know they sold the Xbox at a loss, but it would be a stretch to say it was a "loss leader," since they didn't have a chance in hell at making up the loss through games and accessory sales. The pile of cash they burned is mind-boggling. You've got to assume, though, that they're in this to make money in the long run. If the Xbox losses were tolerable to get them into the console market, then presumably they've got to turn a profit this time. That means they can't possibly be allowing a 360 out the door for less than the manufacturing cost minus the profits from the sale of two games. If the parent to your comment is right, maybe they're selling the unit at a profit for now, and won't undercut until the PS3 comes out.

You can build a damned lot of machine for $400 in quantities of 1 million+, especially when it doesn't have to be upgradeable.

As for the conventional wisdom, I'd bet you couldn't find proof that any recent consoles sold at an initial loss, other than the Saturn, the Dreamcast and the Xbox.

Re:I predicted this (1)

BenjyD (316700) | about 9 years ago | (#13762999)

It's better to give the impression of rarity, driving pre-orders and making the console seem more special and desirable. Then make a few statements about last-minute rushed production or something and actually deliver lots of Xboxes. Every console seems to do it - "only a few PSPs in stock" seem to appear all over the place here in the UK.

Re:I predicted this (1)

Hexxon (151978) | about 9 years ago | (#13761365)

Sony tried the same thing with the PSP and obviously it didn't work.

Re:I predicted this (1)

llevity (776014) | about 9 years ago | (#13764577)

Not to steal thunder from your "prediction", but you don't exactly have to be a prophet to predict a new major console is going to suffer from shortages, especially when it's coming out near the holiday season.

Odd word choice... (2, Interesting)

yammosk (861527) | about 9 years ago | (#13760032)

We want to get started on a worldwide basis, we want to do the right thing for gamers, for our publishers and for consumers.

Anyone else find it odd that Mr. Allard separates the two and thus implies that they are not the same thing? Not a sermon, just a thought.

Re:Odd word choice... (1)

rtaylor (70602) | about 9 years ago | (#13760155)

Perhaps he was thinking that gamers are the kids and consumers are their parents?

It doesn't fit with the people I know who have purchased the console, but oh well.

Re:Odd word choice... (3, Insightful)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about 9 years ago | (#13760268)

Maybe "gamer" is the person who plays the game, and "consumer" is the person who buys the game... not always the same person. If my grandma bought me Halo 2 as a christmas gift, she would be a Microsoft consumer even if she never plays the game.

Offtopid reply to your .sig (0, Offtopic)

jmacleod9975 (636205) | about 9 years ago | (#13763808)

Saying "I think" is redundant. If you hate "I, for one", you probaby can't like that too much either. Maybe you were making a joke?

Re:Odd word choice... (1)

Mr_44 (18214) | about 9 years ago | (#13761432)

He could be making a distinction between "hardcore" gamers and "casual" gamers. (God, I hate that terminology... it's just so corny!)

Or maybe he's just being redundant and not really paying attention to what he's saying.

Silicon in short supply (3, Funny)

cgenman (325138) | about 9 years ago | (#13760039)

Power PC chips? In short supply?

I'm glad to see Microsoft continues to follow in Apple's footsteps.

Worldwide release? (1)

ActionGaz (785164) | about 9 years ago | (#13760778)

Nice for some more confirmation that Australia and New Zealand are at the arse end of the world. We get to wait until "early 2006". Clearly that's not going to be January or they'd just release it in December, so I'm betting we're going to have to wait at least four months after the US as usual.

Re:Worldwide release? (0, Flamebait)

cornface (900179) | about 9 years ago | (#13761156)

Nice for some more confirmation that Australia and New Zealand are at the arse end of the world. We get to wait until "early 2006". Clearly that's not going to be January or they'd just release it in December, so I'm betting we're going to have to wait at least four months after the US as usual.

The day that sheep and kangaroos start playing video games is the day that anyone in the video game industry starts caring.

Re:Worldwide release? (1)

Yakman (22964) | about 9 years ago | (#13762274)

Maybe that will mean some of the delayed games are at least out by then :) If I get one, I'll wait for the initial scrambling to blow over and get one once the prices start dropping - probably by mid-2006.

So if you want it this year... (5, Funny)

mildness (579534) | about 9 years ago | (#13760892)

...lube up to get bundle-fucked.

Thanks MS. Yet again.

Bill

Re:So if you want it this year... (1)

AlexMax2742 (602517) | about 9 years ago | (#13762657)

And how is this unique to Microsoft when the PSP did the same damn thing?

Man, you guys are really desporate. How's that "Xbox is a failure" rhetoric you guys repeat to yourself every night working out?

Re:So if you want it this year... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13763487)

Except the PSP didn't sell out at launch ...

Re:So if you want it this year... (0)

mildness (579534) | about 9 years ago | (#13763798)

I didn't have to buy a bundle when I picked up my PSP the first day. And, I will be buying both an Xbox and a PS3 and selling the one that collects dust. So, AlexMax, you are the one coming off as a desporate fan boy.

Good luck with that,

Bill

Not surprised (1)

shoptroll (544006) | about 9 years ago | (#13761004)

Isn't this true for every M$ product? Look at what happened to Longhorn... Instead of something new, we get a neutered package. M$ hypes and promises like mad up till it's time to push something out the door, and then everything starts to come unglued.

M$ (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13762711)

true for every M$ product? Look

Stop

Ehh... misleading title (1)

billybob (18401) | about 9 years ago | (#13761179)

Just from the title, it sounds like he's saying the system is going to suck. No, not so.... the only disapointment that's going to come of it is the lack of quantity early on. But I thought that's what all these expensive ass "bundles" were supposed to be about, so that only people who really really wanted one would be able to afford it. Frankly it pisses me off because you know the people selling them are set to make a ton of money. And I can already imagine how much they're going to go for on eBay.

I really want a 360 but I'm not willing to pay $800 for one... who knows how long I will have to wait. Oh well..

Re:Ehh... misleading title (3, Interesting)

ivan256 (17499) | about 9 years ago | (#13761433)

From the interview, it sounded to me like the disappointment was going to be the lack of games when it comes out. The disappointment in quantites is probably going to be on his end when he sees the initial sales figures.

I know dozens of gamers (including myself), and lots of Xbox owners. I know *one* person planning to buy a 360 on release day. Everybody else is either waiting for some good games to come out, or expecting a price drop when the PS3 comes out, and is planning to wait until then.

If you really want one that badly, I expect you won't have too much trouble walking into a Wal-Mart on the 22nd and picking one up.

We want your money (0, Troll)

gullevek (174152) | about 9 years ago | (#13761192)

we don't care what you think of our product. It will suck, yes. We lied to you in what we can provied, we lied, but who gives a shit about it. We make it look so cool, that you will give us your money. And then, we launch the second extended version, and we will get your money again. Ain't that cool.
Damn, no toilet paper, I'll just use this 100$ bills here ... flush them, I get 100 more from you tomorrow.

At least Europe... (1)

trawg (308495) | about 9 years ago | (#13761397)

...has a release date! Australia is still being told "early 2006".

Re:At least Europe... (1)

psergiu (67614) | about 9 years ago | (#13764080)

Those Aussies are so lucky. The original Xbox has not yet been launched in Romania (Eastern Europe). When i asked half year ago a microsoft Romania sales rep about the availability of the Xbox he told me that even at the HQ they didn't received one. The playstations otoh had only a month delay. So everyone here bought PS2s.

eBay? (1)

thebdj (768618) | about 9 years ago | (#13763613)

So does this mean when the shortage hits just in time for X-Mas, they'll all show up on eBay for like $1000 a piece? I mean seriously, I can envision them costing that much when the parent who has the spoiled brat child HAS to get this for them.

Paranoid comment of the day: What would keep M$ from secretly selling these on eBay for an extra $200 or $300 to all those people struck by the shortage...

360 Has bigger problems - Blu-Ray... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13764280)

MS has promised that 360 would be able to play HD DVD's when they came out - betting the farm on the HD-DVD format. Now that Sony has garnered most of the major Hollywood studio support with Blu-Ray, consumers now have even more reason to ditch the 360 in favor of the PS3 (which will have a Blu-Ray drive).

Re:360 Has bigger problems - Blu-Ray... (1)

phxbadash (883828) | about 9 years ago | (#13765687)

Sorry, but MS never said anything of the sort.

Can you say... (1)

CaseM (746707) | about 9 years ago | (#13764384)

...hype to get more people eager to get one?

Do some research (1)

faloi (738831) | about 9 years ago | (#13764448)

We want to get started on a worldwide basis, we want to do the right thing for gamers, for our publishers and for consumers."

The right thing for gamers and consumers isn't to release something with a shortage of available machines. Part of me wonders if it's an artificial shortage... Hype it up, make people want it, then make sure everybody knows there aren't enough of them to go around world-wide. Hope that the people on the fence will rush out to get it, just in case there aren't many of them available. But then, I'm cynical.

The right thing for everybody would be to accurately scope the demand for your product, and make sure you can meet that demand. If you have enough systems to guarantee Pepsi can give out 120+ a day, chances are you can tap some sort of reserve for the parts. Get them to everybody, stop talking about the massive shortage you expect.

Hell, I'm ALREADY disappointed myself (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 9 years ago | (#13765095)

I'm a big fan of the original Xbox, but I will not be buying an Xbox 360 at launch (may not buy one ever, if they don't get their shit together):

  • No hard drive standard = no designer support for hard drive
  • Their one-and-only MMORPG (slated for a distant December 2006 release, no less) will be in 480p with no support for voice chat. What exactly is the point of this, anyway? If I wanted to chat on an MMORPG with a clunky keyboard, I could do it *now* on my PC, with much higher resolution than 480p.
  • Crappy lineup of launch titles (and it looks like they may actually only have a handful of the one's they had originally indicated)

No soup for you, Microsoft.

-Eric

High Demand and Marketing (1)

Puhase (911920) | about 9 years ago | (#13765966)

I was just wondering if anyone out there had read "Jennifer Government" by Max Barry http://www.maxbarry.com/jennifergovernment/ [maxbarry.com] . In that book, Nike released like 2 or three pairs of their new shoe line in order to drum up insane demand and charger whatever they want. Then, when they flood the market they stage shootings in order to display the lengths people are going to go to get them. Now I'm not saying M$ is going to go out and get some hired guns, but this cycle of fiddling with supply in order to bring demand to a boil could definatly spiral out of control. Playing with people's material wants and needs can lead to some seriously unexpected consequences. And on a less serious note, what do you expect from X-Box factories in Mexico?

Release Precedence (0, Troll)

mattboy (922108) | about 9 years ago | (#13766532)

You guys are all forgetting one thing. The Xbox360 will have a WORLD WIDE RELEASE within weeks of each other!!! No other company has EVER done that with a video game console. The idea and magnitude of doing this is crazy. You guys don't remember how long it took for the PS2 to finally hit US shores, while we were all drooling over it. Microsoft is setting a huge precedence here, whether you want and Xbox360 or a PS3. Do you think that Sony can wait 6 months before releasing in the US? Not a chance. With all these stupid conspiracy theories going around, you guys forget what this means for the industry as a whole. So thank you Microsoft for kicking Sony's butt into high gear so that I can have a PS3 sooner.
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