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Microsoft to Enter Handheld Market?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the banner-day-for-portable-gamers dept.

Portables (Games) 177

eldavojohn wrote to mention that, via Joystiq, he read an article over at BusinessWeek that indicates Microsoft may be working on a portable media device. The article states that, if they are, they're not just going after the iPod. The plan would include a way to leverage a powerful part of the Microsoft empire: games. From the article: "Microsoft would probably use the Xbox brand to market the gadget. 'I think the brand is an opportunity,' Moore says. True, perhaps, but also risky. If the new device comes with the Xbox brand, most consumers will view it as a game player, like Sony's PlayStation Portable. That might limit its appeal, since the portable gaming market is much smaller than the one for digital media." A funny comment, considering the success of the DS.

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A Third Portable? (5, Informative)

Excors (807434) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568957)

This subject was on Gamasutra a short while ago: A Third Portable? [gamasutra.com]

Last week Gamasutra asked our professional audience, "What hardware capabilities and software would be needed for a third company to create a competitive rival to the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, and which companies might be capable of doing so? Should they try?"

[...] Of the cited companies who might possibly compete in this area, Apple and Microsoft were by far the most mentioned, with many readers citing Xbox Live and iTunes as superior distribution mediums.

Re:A Third Portable? (2, Interesting)

flynt (248848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569135)

For me, the main point of this should be to interface with Windows Media Center. I still have to go through a two or three step process to get recorded TV onto my iPod. I guess I don't see much point to such a device, but maybe someone would.

I have the name of the device... (1)

2names (531755) | more than 8 years ago | (#14570608)

Microsoft XPort

Re:A Third Portable? (1)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14570661)

Fourth portable. The DS is -not- the new version of the Game Boy, nor is it the Game Boy's replacement.

I can see it now. (5, Funny)

Musteval (817324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568969)

XBox Portable. Only two cubic feet. Weighs less than twenty pounds. A whopping megabyte of RAM.

Inevitable (1)

UltimaOmegaOblivion (946937) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569004)

This was bound to happen. Microsoft jumped on the console badwagon, and now they jump on the handheld bandwagon. Much like most other handhelds that tryed to compete against Nintendo, this may fail...

Re:I can see it now. (1)

minginqunt (225413) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569035)

No Gigabit wireless. Larger than an an iPod Pico. Lame.

Re:I can see it now. (2, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569054)

Damn. You beat me to it. I was going to joke that it will weigh in at 10 pounds (it's an uber-convenient luggable!), take full size DVDs, have a 17" screen, and will be marketed by Microsoft as the next step in "Portable" (*cough*) entertainment. Millions of fan-boys will line up outside Best Buy for days for a fleeting chance to grab one. Instead, they'll be laughed at by the counter-person because there weren't enough units in stock to supply more than the first three people in line. Yet Microsoft will continue to hype it as more important than Windows 95, and the future of entertainment. Sound pretty close? :-P

Re:I can see it now. (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569107)

I'll only be impressed if they somehow manage to get the battery efficiency better than the Sega Nomad (which they won't).

Re:I can see it now. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14569124)

You've got it all wrong, the portable will be regular size, it's just going to take three lantern batteries.

Re:I can see it now. (1)

freakmn (712872) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569954)

Is that how it provides the heat of three lanterns? That does sounds nice, as the winters here can get cold.

Slashdot investigate Microsoft game strategy (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569145)

1) Make game console
2) ???
3) - profit!

Re:Slashdot investigate Microsoft game strategy (2, Funny)

databyss (586137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569963)

I think in this case its:

1) Profit!
2) ????
3) Make Game Console!

Re:Slashdot investigate Microsoft game strategy (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 8 years ago | (#14570026)

lol :D:D:D:D

Your was way more innovative. I have mod points but I can't use them since I've posted a comment myself =P

Re:I can see it now. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14569182)

LOLolol!!!!!1eleven XBox is hueg, amirite?

Re:I can see it now. (3, Funny)

lylum (659581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569197)

>A whopping megabyte of RAM.

You mean 640kb.... after all that is enough.

Re:I can see it now. (1)

darthservo (942083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569358)

You forgot to mention that it could also be used as a portable handwarmer, obtaining a temperature of 108 degrees Fahrenheit within seconds.

Re:I can see it now. (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569582)

And $300

Re:I can see it now. (1)

pmjordan (745016) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569622)

Nonono, not 'XBox portable'! Surely they'll call it the YBoy!

Now, don't ask me what the hell a ZBoz would be.

~phil

They are having lots of porting problems... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14568988)

...with the WinCE TBSOD (Tiny Blue Screen of Death).

Go for it (5, Funny)

minginqunt (225413) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568990)

I mean, it worked out so well for Sony. They'd be mad not to go for it.

1. Release desirable, powerful handheld games console.
2. Subsidize it up the bottom.
3. Fail to release any games other than pointless ports of console games I already own.
4. ???
5. FAIL TO PROFIT!!!

By the way, the '???' there was caused by my playing a spot of Mario Kart DS. I really should focus more when bleating at Slashdot.

Re:Go for it (4, Insightful)

clontzman (325677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569235)

Fail to release any games other than pointless ports of console games I already own.
...

By the way, the '???' there was caused by my playing a spot of Mario Kart DS


In other words, the flagship game for the DS is a port of a console game you probably own on four other platforms already? ;-)

Re:Go for it (1)

minginqunt (225413) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569323)

Heh. I call that irony.

Still, Mario Kart with wireless internet play rocks my world, boyo.

Re:Go for it (1)

JonnyCalcutta (524825) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569722)

And GTA is the second best thing I can do in the palm of my hand.

Re:Go for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14570235)

How can a blind guy play GTA?

Re:Go for it (1)

Nicolasd (875160) | more than 8 years ago | (#14570384)

I fail to see where MK DS is a port of another game... A sequel yes... but not a port !

Re:Go for it (1)

Suddenly_Dead (656421) | more than 8 years ago | (#14570533)

It's not a pointless port ;)

It may be successful, but (5, Insightful)

szembek (948327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568994)

At the same time the mp3 player market and video game market are completely different. While somebody who buys a portable game system might use built in mp3 player functionality, somebody looking for an mp3 player would not be interested in the overhead of a gaming system.

Re:It may be successful, but (1)

geekee (591277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569950)

"At the same time the mp3 player market and video game market are completely different. While somebody who buys a portable game system might use built in mp3 player functionality, somebody looking for an mp3 player would not be interested in the overhead of a gaming system."

Yes. In fact I'm always annoyed that my PC can play games. I wish it would only play mp3's. All that overhead is so annoying. The iPod will never play video either.

Alternate Uses (4, Funny)

vjmurphy (190266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569003)

Not only will it be able to play games, music and movies, but like its larger sibling, it will also be a portable heater.

Re:Alternate Uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14569300)

It's cold here, I wouldn't mind a portable heater.

Mabey they could advertise that during winter?

Re:Alternate Uses (1)

apoc06 (853263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14570005)

lol @ portable heater.

dont forget the external battery pack the size of a nintendo ds itself.

XBOX Handheld (5, Funny)

th1ckasabr1ck (752151) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569016)

I'm pretty sure it's just going to be a laptop.

Re:XBOX Handheld (1)

theManInTheYellowHat (451261) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569502)

I'm pretty sure it's just going to be a laptop.
Considering the Bill Gates dream, wouldn't that be a TabletPC?

Re:XBOX Handheld (1)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569542)

What are the chances that I'll be able to play Zork or Rogue?

Actually, I'd probably buy it for Angband...

Re:XBOX Handheld (1)

RESPAWN (153636) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569856)

Or a slightly modified Oqo [oqo.com] .

Now this I could live with (2, Interesting)

casualsax3 (875131) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569076)

I never understood why Microsoft entered into the crowded, mature console market to begin with. I always thought it would have made more sense to go after Nintendo with their portable monopoly, back when the sub par GBA was the only game in town. Imagine what Microsoft could have done if they had launched a competing portable around the same time the Xbox came about. They would have crushed the GBA - no backlight, no FPU, only 2 face buttons. Instead they waited, and now they've got to face off against the GBA SP/Micro, the DS, AND the PSP. Why can't Microsoft pioneer something for once, instead of playing catchup?

Re:Now this I could live with (1)

idonthack (883680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569297)

Microsoft has never pioneered, and probably never will. Every market they have success in, they waited until it was apparently profitable, and then bought or shoved out the nearest competitor.

Re:Now this I could live with (3, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569397)

I never understood why Microsoft entered into the crowded, mature console market to begin with.

Living room domination. It has little to do with winning the console market and more to do with getting into living rooms. Mind-share now, markets later.

Re:Now this I could live with (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14569475)

What surprises me is that Microsoft decided to make any hardware at all. Why didn't they just offer the Live service on all existing consoles, leveraging their enormous pre-established MSN server network and making money hand over fist, instead of losing a cool $4B with under-utilized, ugly, and notably unpopular hardware?

Live is the only thing they've done right so far, and its the part they make the most profit on too. Not sure what this whole "hardware" thing it about still.

Re:Now this I could live with (1)

apoc06 (853263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14570598)

"Why can't Microsoft pioneer something for once, instead of playing catchup?"

good question... seems to be the entire corporate mantra as of late.

i guess that MS was trying to do something like that with the x360, but they rushed to market instead of pioneering something extraordinary.

Excellent (1)

UltimaOmegaOblivion (946937) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569084)

Great, I can't wait to pay 300 bucks to buy a system, only to find out MS made Sony's mistake and only inculded 1 analog stick. And then, they will port Halo but they won't even adjust the controls, so you will have to rely on a stick that isn't there to aim. And after 10 minutes of shooting straight in front of me, the lack of a heat sink will burn my hands into oblivion.

Their last portable... (3, Interesting)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569087)

When their big push was portable music players a large percentage of their own employees used iPods. Even an executive said the iPod was better then what their hardware partners offered. If they can't get their own employees to use their portable products why would anyone else? Let's see if they repeat their last failure.

Repition of history... (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569128)

The funny thing is, instead of employees all having iPods this time around they may find most employees stick with the DS over a portable Microsoft gaming console.

Foiled again!

Re:Their last portable... (1)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 8 years ago | (#14570385)

From the article I read, it seems that a move into the portable device market stems more from the failure of Microsoft's hardware partners to produce something that can compete with the iPod rather than a desire to take on Nintendo and Sony at another level. I think this makes more sense since Microsoft probably views Apple as more of a threat to their overall corporate strategy than Sony or Nintendo. They probably would view gaming functionality as something that would differentiate such a device from the iPod rather than the primary function of the device.

Playing catchup again. (1)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569091)

For a company that has more money than most countries, I find them rather dull. Vista is boring, XBox 2 is blah, and this portable strikes me as dull. It just seems like MS has kinda faded in the background while newer more innovative companies have stolen the spotlight. When I hear MS, I just yawn.

http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

Re:Playing catchup again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14570133)

What do you use as an OS, Dr. DOS?

Unless I can do everything from a command prompt it isn't an OS H^H^H^H^H!!!!!!!

This could work (2, Insightful)

the computer guy nex (916959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569115)

What if Microsoft made a handheld gaming machine that only played games from Xbox Live Marketplace? What if they removed in-store purchasing of games alltogether?

They would use the same business model for the 360 (buy a card at Best Buy, enter the code and download games). They could offer demos of each (same as the 360) and have all of the same competitive high score/leaderboard functions.

The only way Microsoft would successfully enter the handheld market would be NOT to clone the PSP (which is a POS anyway).

Re:This could work (1)

DorkusMasterus (931246) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569412)

See, now that would be cool, but you'd have to (at least initially) bundle the handheld with the 360 console. That way, people would be all about downloading the content. I'd TOTALLY buy a handheld that could play geometry wars or gauntlet and all the mini-games stuff that live is shilling. Seriously, that would be a good idea, and I would buy it. It would be very much in line with their "commitment to making Live an example" in the industry. I say go for it, Gates!

Re:This could work (2, Interesting)

CheechBG (247105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569436)

You automatically assume that everyone in America (or the world) who would purchase one of these has a high-speed internet connection. In the real world, that doesn't happen.

Plus, this would eat into the profit margins of the big retail stores. They will never allow that to happen.

Re:This could work (1)

oGMo (379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569514)

What if Microsoft made a handheld gaming machine that only played games from Xbox Live Marketplace? What if they removed in-store purchasing of games alltogether?

Then all the stores who, you know, sell actual consoles and games, would hate them. No more game sales. No more used game sales. If I were EB/Gamestop, I'd be hard pressed to promote such a system. And without that, you just lost a huge portion of the market.

They would use the same business model for the 360 (buy a card at Best Buy, enter the code and download games). They could offer demos of each (same as the 360) and have all of the same competitive high score/leaderboard functions.

Except no one needs Live to do these things. Many PSP games already have highscore tracking functions (Infected, PQ, Twisted Metal, Wipeout, etc.), and I don't have to pay to subscribe to them.

Paying for a console, a game, and then the ability to play it, is nice for Microsoft's bottom line, but it's terrible for the gamer. Especially one on a limited budget. Or a kid's parents.

The only way Microsoft would successfully enter the handheld market would be NOT to clone the PSP (which is a POS anyway).

Ah, parrot the party line. I hope they're paying you well over there to troll like this. The PSP is a beautiful piece of hardware, with a solid and growing lineup (see my collection [ign.com] for a list of many of them, still missing about 5), and some great additional functionality (movies, music, web).

Since the PSP has recently been catching up again [slashdot.org] , Microsoft could do much worse than have something as successful as the PSP.

Such as the X360.

Need more in 1 product (1)

TheDoctorWho (858166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569125)

Neeps to play MP3s and games. DS doesn't do that. PSP is too expensive.

It's not enough that they burn down a customer's h (2, Funny)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569144)

It's not enough that they burned down a customer's house [twoop.com] ... now they are going to set a customer on fire directly! I guess this is just part of their secret strategy to scare people away from game consoles and back into PC gaming...

Do Less (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569208)

I think that microsoft should try to narrow what it does instead of trying to do everything that it can. By narrowing it's views, the products it produces will be better.

Re:Do Less (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569376)

They can't help themselves. They want to rule the world.

Re:Do Less (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569407)

Rome had the same problem. Guess which two groups are going to share the same fate?

Re:Do Less (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14569577)

A 1000 years of dominance?

Clearly though, it is a good idea for Microsoft to change their practice, I mean it isn't like they are successful in making money or anything.

Re:Do Less (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569702)

Xbox is produced at a loss. All the research I've read states that the sales on games are not successfully closing the gap made by offering the console for less than it costs to produce.

Sure, MS can afford to do this, but it's not helping or anything.

this pig could fly.... (3, Interesting)

Churla (936633) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569218)

Leveraging Xbox live as a networking system to game against others, put in all the PsP goodies like local wireless access.
Slap a derivative of Windows Mobile on it for the OS so you also have a PDA capable device. And make it look and feel like other OS products people know (windows and media center)
Give it a touchscreen to nudge in on the PDA market futher.
Enough storage capacity out of the box to be a small MP3 jukebox of viable portable drive.

Not to mention the ways to integrate it and tie it in as the device which moves between your media center, xbox, and windows machine.... Lots of possibilities to leverage work they've done in other areas.

Re:this pig could fly.... (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569868)

So basically they should release a PDA running windows PocketPC .. but actually make games for it .

Re:this pig could fly.... (1)

RESPAWN (153636) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569998)

Kind of like what Tapwave [tapwave.com] tried to do with their Zodiac product. (Note, Tapwave's site isn't coming up for some reason, so here's a review [brighthand.com] of the Zodiac.)

ObQuestion (0, Troll)

blackjackshellac (849713) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569220)

But will it support ogg vorbis?

Someone had to ask.

One thing at a time please! (1, Interesting)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569221)

Microsoft already has too much on it's plate (in order of ideal importance):

1) Windows XP SP3
2) Windows Vista
3) Getting a decent Xbox 360 library developed
4) Body Vests for staff that are specced to survive a Ballmer rant
5) Windows Blackcomb this decade.

If MS enters a new market, it's going to fall apart. MS is having to go all out to get Vista off this late, they'll have to push harder to get Blackcomb out this decade. And neither the Xbox 360 or Vista seem to be offering all that much as an incentive to upgrade. MS has too much other stuff they need to fix first.

Re:One thing at a time please! (1)

the computer guy nex (916959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569391)

"3) Getting a decent Xbox 360 library developed"

What are they going to do, finish games for 3rd party developers for them?

The 360 already has a solid release lineup (PGR3, COD2, PDZ, Kameo all receiving 85+% composite scores at rating sites - almost unheard of for launch titles) with some major titles about to hit the market (Saint's Row, Elder Scrolls, Fight Night R3).

Re:One thing at a time please! (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569576)

What are they going to do, finish games for 3rd party developers for them?

Starting on another console and doubling how much work they have to do to secure games developer committments is going to hurt them heavily. I know they don't make the games, but they have to go out there and sell the 360 vs. the PS3. And if the 360 is tied to HD-DVD, which will fail, that could be hard.

Re:One thing at a time please! (1)

idonthack (883680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569505)

According to Wikipedia, Blackcomb is scheduled for a 2011 release, although that will definitely be pushed back.

Re:One thing at a time please! (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569760)

Blackcomb is the real next-gen OS. It's supposed to be largely rebuilt. If it was coming out now, it'd be very seriously dominant. But by 2011, it'll be where Vista is now: trying to sprint to get within sight of it's competitors.

Re:One thing at a time please! (1)

thaerin (937575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14570420)

1) Windows XP SP3
2) Windows Vista


I'm sure we all wish Microsoft had their priorities in that order but recent news http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/01/19/204 5204 [slashdot.org] seems to indicate otherwise. Alas, they care more about their next money making scam, err "product cycle" (i.e. Vista) than fixing their current offerings. I can understand their wanting to move into this market, after all, they feel as if they need to be everything to everybody.

Merging technology (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569236)

If they could merge a PDA, with an improved media player, and a game system, I would be quite happy. Then again, my pocket PC already plays all of my music, has games available, and runs third party programs. So what's so special about those other hand helds?

-Rick

Close to reality methinks (2, Informative)

leather_helmet (887398) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569258)

Rumors and speculation about a MS handheld were floating around at last years E3. I believe they may go for a 'media' device that will offer a sizeable internal HD and the ability to play games, music, video, productivity tools (email, 'office' type services etc.), internet browsing...

An 'all in one' device

Possible designs (4, Interesting)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569267)

Here are a few possible designs:

xbox [yafro.com]
xbox [pipex.com]
joke [estarland.com]
xbox [aeropause.com]

And, a portable gamecube:
gamecube [btconnect.com]

It will not be a gaming platform (1)

thammoud (193905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569277)

I believe that Microsoft will launch a mobile device that will serve as a mobile phone and a media device. They have the mobile OS, the media software. All they will need is a killer design and an Itunes like website.

Reference design. Maybe. Product? Doubtful. (2, Interesting)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569285)

I can't see them pissing off a whole bunch of media player mfgs who already have product on the market by going head to head with them. I can see them doing a reference design like they did with a cell phone.

Re:Reference design. Maybe. Product? Doubtful. (1)

zulux (112259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569594)

I can't see them pissing off a whole bunch of media player mfgs who already have product on the market by going head to head with them.

Microsoft will betray anybody.

Remember Sega?

Sega "teamed" with Microsoft to bring a Windows CE based console to market to replace Sega's inhouse development platform.

Now we have the Xbox and no Sega.

Remember SGI?

SGI "teamed" with Microsoft to bring a new display technology (Ferenheit) to replace SGI's OpenGL.

Now we have DirectX and no SGI.

Remember Digital?

Digital "temed" with Microsoft to bring NT to the Alpha - Microsoft pilfered Digitals employees and improved NT by copying Digital's operating system.

Now we have XP and no Digital.

Microsoft will use a "partner" to gain insight into a market, and then turn and crush them.

Re:Reference design. Maybe. Product? Doubtful. (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14570491)

I think you need to better understand the differences between causality and correlation. It's a lot easier to blame Microsoft for one's failures than it is to blame one's self.

Lat time I looked, both Sega and SGI were still open for business.

I come... FROM THE FUTURE! (4, Funny)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569307)

November 2nd, 2006
Microsoft Unveils New Portable Gaming Station
via Reuters

In the wake of the success of both Sony's PS3 and Nintendo's Revolution and dwindling XBox 360 numbers, Microsoft has stepped up to the plate to challenge both companies in another gaming market: handhelds.

In an MTV2 event held yesterday, Micrsoft revealed their "XBox Z", the tentatively named portable gaming station. "We aim to do it all," a spokesman commented. "The XBox Z, known internally as the ZBox, will be a one-size-fits all handheld device, capable of playing anything, from video to music to games."

The unit, which is a bit smaller than a regular computer keyboard, weighs in at about two pounds. Controls are made up of four analog control sticks and six buttons, as well as three buttons on each shoulder. When asked about how gamers are supposed to use four analog sticks with only two thumbs, the spokesman replied "They'll think of something."

A 5" LCD screen sits in the middle and slightly up, amidst the controls. The unit takes regular sized CDs and will also support the new HD-DVD format, playing anything from XBox games to CDs to DVDs. Mentioned briefly was an attachment to play turntable-style records, to pull in the music enthusiast crowd.

Initial accessories were also announced at the unveiling. A small packpack, used to hold the system and its three required power sources, will be offered in various colors, as well as a clear mesh form. A utility-like belt will be used to hold various media to play in the device.

When asked about battery life and size, the Microsoft spokesman replied "I'll admit, right now it's a bit of a drainer, with a large size. We're working on the battery life, and expect to have it last two hours on 16 AA batteries. As for the large size, we're looking into shrinking it, but complete hard drives are hard to replace. Besides, gamers will be able to show their handheld with pride, belittling the other so called 'gaming handhelds'."

No release date was announced, though Microsoft plans to use "Bringing gaming to a new dimension" as their slogan.

More information is expected by the end of the month, as long as the Korean-Canadian war does not interfere with ongoing plans.

oh boy .. hang on tight GP2X .. (1)

torpor (458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569325)

.. its gonna be a rough ride.

seriously though, i'll never write software for Microsoft, ever. i have all the hardware i need, and it all runs linux.

no thanks, Microsoft!

(GP2X rocks, yo!)

Playing original Xbox Games? (1)

tbcpp (797625) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569337)

If they made it so that you could somehow rip your Xbox games onto it, that would be a killer device. Halo on a handheld with wifi. Killer app right there.

Sounds like an op for different "bundles" (1)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569369)

An easy solution to get it viewed as a game player and a iPod killer would be to have different bundles (which sounds like XBox 360). Different bundles would be sold in different parts of the store, one looking like an mp3/video player, other looking like a video game player. Let's hope they don't slaughter the idea though like they did with XBox 360 (which I think is taking advantage of the fact that $400 is too much, and selling a $300 version with much more then $100 worth of retail stuff stripped out). I can see them selling an mp3 player version for $300 that needs a $200 upgrade to play games, a game version for $300 that requires a $200 hardrive addon to store any siginificant amount of music, and a "mega version" that costs like $400 with the abilities of both. Also kind of like Creative's sound card variants for gamers and mp3 players.

Risky at best (3, Insightful)

BillLeeLee (629420) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569461)

This same question came up in a forum I frequent, and just like I said there, I'd wonder if Microsoft really wants to fight a two front war in the console and handheld markets. I think they should focus on achieving profits with the XBox 360 before they create another potential money sink.

Of course, they could just say "Look how much of a success Sony has had in just over a year of entering the market!" Well, depending on whose numbers you trust, Sony's PSP could be a good example of a true challenger to the king of the handheld world. By some accounts Sony owns roughly 25% of the market. I think that 25% is only compared to the market it shares with the Nintendo DS, because I don't think the PSP owns 25% of the global handheld market when you consider all the people who still have the older Gameboy Advances, SPs, etc., which numbers in the tens of millions.

Also, there is still the Japanese market. As the last two Microsoft console launches there have shown, reception by the Japanese was lackluster at best. I think for a true challenger to Sony and Nintendo, a Microsoft handheld would really have to succeed in Japan. Sure, many people will say "But Europe and the Americas are Microsoft's main market," but I think this is a limited view. Microsoft does see Japan as a market it must penetrate successfully, which is why they began courting more Japanese companies to create games that cater more to the Japanese people.

Also, Japan is a significant market for games. Over there, the Nintendo DS sold 4 million units in 2005, twice that of the PSP for the same year. If you look at the sales charts for the past several months, every week was basically 6 - 7 DS games in the top 10 sales chart. On the other hand, it was incredibly rare to see a PSP game crack the top 10 of the chart.

And that is also something that Microsoft should learn from. The PSP sells well in the States and Europe probably because it is seen as cooler, more stylish, and it has more capabilities than the admittedly plain-jane DS. However, in my very humble opinion, its game selection is more limited than the DS's. Microsoft could really make an impact if they deliver with a steady stream of good, quality games and not rely on whatever other features their handheld would have (i.e. Sony's UMDs being more popular than the actual games).

Microsoft should also learn that having the most powerful parts does not make a system inherently better than another. At its core, the PSP is more powerful than the DS (dual MIPS 300 MHz processors (locked at 200 Mhz max), more powerful graphics engine), but the DS, at least in Japan, has sold more. Why? Even with a relatively weaker system, the games being developed for it are fun and appealing to more than just the 18-35 demographic. That's why games like the Brain Training games have been so successful and continue to stay on the charts.

Microsoft can make this work, but they might have to shift some of their views.

Re:Risky at best (1)

j.bellone (684938) | more than 8 years ago | (#14570230)

Microsoft should also learn that having the most powerful parts does not make a system inherently better than another. At its core, the PSP is more powerful than the DS (dual MIPS 300 MHz processors (locked at 200 Mhz max), more powerful graphics engine), but the DS, at least in Japan, has sold more. Why? Even with a relatively weaker system, the games being developed for it are fun and appealing to more than just the 18-35 demographic. That's why games like the Brain Training games have been so successful and continue to stay on the charts.

But this is not totally Sony's fault. You also need to take in the factor that Nintendo's system supports a wide library of their previous games, so people are able to easily upgrade to the DS without worrying about losing all of their favorite titles from the GBA. Even though there are more developers currently on this system, that is the major reason why this system is selling more. Its the same boat in why the Playstation 2 outsold the Xbox and Gamecube combined worldwide. They had the games from Playstation, and the developers to back them. The PSP is a great system, and I believe the developers will start to flock there. But until original content starts to spring up (e.g. not the stuff from the PS2 because the systems are vastly similar) the DS is still going to sell.

Re:Risky at best (1)

masamax (543884) | more than 8 years ago | (#14570298)

DS is obviously more popular as a game player, but the PSP has advantages that the DS can't match, and more versatility than you can shake a stick at.

Besides, can you think of a time when Nintendo WASN'T on top of the portable market? They have destroyed all their competition before it ever got off the ground. PSP is well off the ground now, and here to stay, and the fact that they can do that in a market as dominated as the handheld market was is a feat unto itself. The PSP has put Sony's foot in the door, so how can anyone claim Sony has failed when they have achieved more than any other company in the last 20 years?

If they were smart (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569486)

If they were smart, they would hold off a lot longer to learn more about the market. Sony supposedly did their homework before launching the PSP and look where that's gotten them. Sony at least had the benefit of being the #1 console system at the time of the PSP launch so it was the logical next step.

They should spend more time trying to sell XBox360's and the up-and coming XBox720 before they consider starting work on the XBrick.

About time (2, Insightful)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569656)

I mean, both Nintendo and Sony have a handheld game platform, why not Microsoft?

Microsoft both has a Mobile version of Windows AND partnerships with mobile platform makers. To make a mobile Xbox platform simply means taking some existing PocketPC device and making it more gaming centric. They even ported DirectX to the mobile platform so there is at least a 3d graphics library to leverage.

Whether or not it will compete well against the dominant Nintendo remains to be seen. The PSP has been struggling to gain acceptance, but then again, Sony struggled to gain dominance over Nintendo's game consoles and succeeded. Microsoft may have learned how Sony failed with the PSP and NOT make those same mistakes.

Both Sony and MS has to realize though that the kinds of games that makes their console platforms popular (sports and multiplayer 3rd person shooters) don't make a handheld system popular. People that like Nintendo Gameboys like puzzle games, RPGs and platformers, as well as novelty games that feature touch screen or card readers, not sports or 3rd person shooters. To compete well against Nintendo means to recognize the types of games that make the Gameboys popular and catering to that audience, rather then simply porting successful game console titles to handheld versions.

It would be interesting to see what MS could come up with. Hopefully they might recognize the idea that by bringing gaming into their existing Pocket PC market, while maintaining PDA like functionality, they could both revamp the PDA industry (make boring PDA's entertaining) and offer something more then a simple time waster (bring functionality to handheld game platforms).

Re:About time (1)

j.bellone (684938) | more than 8 years ago | (#14570143)

Both Sony and MS has to realize though that the kinds of games that makes their console platforms popular (sports and multiplayer 3rd person shooters) don't make a handheld system popular. People that like Nintendo Gameboys like puzzle games, RPGs and platformers, as well as novelty games that feature touch screen or card readers, not sports or 3rd person shooters.

This is true, but Sony is not the only company making games for the PSP (even though it may seem like it). There have been a lot of companies simply porting games over from the PS2 because the hardware is similar, and that is precisely why you are seeing the vast majority of the above games. Its not because Sony is pushing for these games (even though SOCOM is on there) its because the developers haven't hit the system yet.

I don't understand why everyone is bashing the PSP; Nintendo has the leverage in this market, and they also have the installed userbase. If their system can play the old GB/GBA games than they already have hundreds of games ready to be played, and the people can safely upgrade their systems without worry. Sony doesn't have this, and they are fighting to get developers to move to their platform to create original content for the system. There is a reason that the DS is selling more, and its not because the games are better; Its because it has a bigger library of games, and more developers. This is the same reason why the Playstation 2 has sold the vast number of units worldwide, because it played a good portion of the original Playstation games.

I don't think Microsoft would target their "handheld" at gaming, at least, not at first. It would not make sense. What would make sense, though, is to go after the iPod market with a Windows Mobile device. It would not take much to redesign a PDA into a better media device, allow it to syncronize with the X360, Vista, and XPMCE. They are already launching the media service with MTV, which was a good play on their part.

The iPod is a brand not a good piece of hardware. My 4G iPod (less than 9 months old) is sitting here frozen right now and has been doing this for the past three months. The only thing Apple has going for them is the brand, and the fake veil of the iPod being the best player out there (which is not true, its merely a mediocre player). But that's brand loyalty for you.

Even though Microsoft has done some dumb things in the past, I believe we need someone to challenge Apple and force them to get their hardware up to par with everyone else. Creative may have some crappy UI and Software (where Apple really excels, and I am not disputing that) but their players are technically better in most ways than the iPod.

In America... (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569684)

Portable devices that do many things don't ever do very well in the marketplace. Look at the PDA or the market for the "universal remote control."

The jury is still out on whether or not a video iPod will be successful. That's about as close to multifunction as people will put up with. Please don't provide Apple's video downloads as proof of "success". Most people will try something a few times and it's tough to argue we've passed through the try-out stage yet.

I would love to hear from people in other parts of the world if all-in-one devices are more desirable than single purpose devices.

Pass (1)

HunterZ (20035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569715)

I'd be highly skeptical of any Microsoft handheld... It's just going to be too DRM-laden to be interesting.

Portable with a hard drive? (1)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569726)

It seems to me that if they could fit an iPod-sized hard drive into a portable game system, they could actually make some good innovations in gameplay as well. And if was interoperable with Xbox Live, so you could download games straight to the HD through an Xbox 360 or PC connector, it would be even cooler. Imagine a huge library of small, indy games available on the cheap for download to a portable system... not too shabby! And if you could download even your purchased games to the HD, it would save you from lugging around a bunch of little game carts with the system!

Imagine the horror... (2, Funny)

CaptSnuffy (843104) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569794)

...of Xbox Live players being released into the wild.

Oh, the humanity!

A funny comment considering the success of the DS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14569797)

IIRC Nintendo has sold a total of ~13Million DSes worldwide over the life of the product.

Apple sold over 14 Million iPods last quarter alone.

Do the math.

Linux Alternative (1)

Drasil (580067) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569824)

I'd prefer one of these [gbax.com] .

They're going to make one of their own?!? (1)

Warlock7 (531656) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569843)

Rather than leave it to third party hardware companies to do it for them?

If this comes to fruition, how much are they willing to lose per unit, like the XBox and the XBox 360?

What to name it... (1)

ReverendLoki (663861) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569861)

The problem: This theoretical handheld needs to appeal to both the gamer market and those looking for a portable media player, a crossover that none have yet to master. So far, every attempt has been seen as belonging decidedly to one market or the other (such as the PSP), or has simply failed altogether. Should also capitalize on Microsoft's X-Box name for brand awareness, but shouldn't be tied to it to prevent pigeonholing.

The solution: Hello, x-Pod!

Worst Idea Ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14569926)

Microsoft has already entered a market where they were outmatched by their competition in both quality of product and brand recognition (the PS2 may have been technically inferior but contained a far larger and more diverse library), entering into the handheld market (while still not being successful in the home market) would be a blunder on another level.

The main problems are that it would divert resources away from their main platform (the XBox 360 currently) and could damage the brand name if (more likely when) Nintendo runs them out of the market; suppose they name it something like the XBox GO if (when) it fails people will be saying how the XBox GO sucked, and that the XBox GO was too expensive (and this will hurt the XBox Brand). This is why Nintendo names every system differently, in particular why the Nintendo DS was the Nintendo DS rather than the Gameboy DS.

Microsoft already in the handheld market (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 8 years ago | (#14570216)

for example: Dell Axim X51v [dell.com]

How will I carry my Laptop Around... (1)

ebcdic1 (95830) | more than 8 years ago | (#14570234)

With this thing strapped to my back

MS just wants to kill off competitors... (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 8 years ago | (#14570332)

namely Sony, they figure, hey the first time they entered the console market with the original Xbox, it ended up killing Sega and their Dreamcast - so they figure, hey the hell why not again, this time maybe we'll get lucky and kill off Sony...

The thing is, Sega was/is hardware and games only, when Sony on the other hand, is damn near as big if not (dare I say it) bigger than the unholy Microsoft Empire. So what, MS has Windows, Xbox, and MS Office - Sony makes super high end TV's, computer hardware (such as the Vaio line, the world could be running on Linux - if a few of the distros would make it nice and shiny and more user friendly than even Windows or OS X), the Playstation line of consoles, and the fact that where as Warner Bros, Paramount, Universal, and Tristar used to be in the intro to damn near every movie made that Americans watched, now half the movies I see commercials/pre-views for are by Sony.

Point being: Sony aint goin away anytime soon, if MS killed any of the companies by releasing a handheld of their own, it would be Nintendo, which most closely resembles Sega before they took a dive...

Jobs and the MS iPod response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14570415)

Interesting, a few days ago Steve Jobs said that MS will have to make his own iPod version.

Market Saturation (1)

cualexander (576700) | more than 8 years ago | (#14570501)

I think the portable device market is becoming far too saturated at the moment. Look at all the portable devices.

1.)Multimedia Cellphones that play video, music and games.

2.)Ipod and other mp3 players play video and music.

3.)Handheld Videogame systems-Gameboy, DS, PSP. PSP plays videos and music.

4.)PDAs-plays videos, music and games.

The race has already been won as far as music goes for the iPod. Why should I buy any new product when the iPod is already out, and proven its popularity and has thousands of cool accessories(not that I really care, but think about the mainstream populace, especially females). Especially the iTunes store. As more and more people buy songs from iTunes, it basically eliminates possibility of competing products. I've probably spent at least $200 in iTunes, do you think I'm going to throw all that away to jump ships to the Microsoft camp? No way.

Aside from the gee-whiz thats cool feature factor that may appeal to some tech nuts out there, I can hardly forsee any new feature that Microsoft could come up with to improve upon the existing devices.

The way I see it, the portable device market is already way too saturated with cool gadgets that are expensive and ultimately don't do much. I think the trend these days is going toward simplicity in tech rather than all these crazy features. People get tired of learning how to use all these crazy things and spending lots of money on them.

So tell me what device they could possibly come up with that would trump the iPod or the current lineup of PocketPCs?

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