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Ballmer Justifies 360's Costs

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the best-things-in-life-aren't-free dept.

Microsoft 104

Next Generation follows up on news last week of the enormous financial burden the 360's launch has placed on Microsoft. CEO Steve Ballmer sent around an email discussing the company's bright outlook with the new console. From the article: "While Xbox 360 hardware itself is the most prominent area of videogame-related investment, Ballmer indicated that further development of Xbox Live is also integral to the success of the platform and its respective division, saying, "We must execute our Live strategy with speed and precision." Relatedly, Live's downtime yesterday has resulted in an underwhelming feature addition: messaging.

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Speed and Precision (5, Funny)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255762)

"We must execute our Live strategy with speed and precision."

a. Speed
b. Precision

You know the rules, Steve. You pick one or the other.

Re:Speed and Precision (1)

HoosierPeschke (887362) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255835)

They chose speed with the system [slashdot.org] ... and according to the the Arstechnica article, precision isn't a priority either. So I think he'll opt for C, the open ended option that wasn't in the prepared speech. [arstechnica.com]

It's amazing that there was a whole day of down time just to add text messaging.

Re:Speed and Precision (3, Interesting)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255857)

I think he understands that, your just missing the rule:

a. Speed
b. Precision
c. Low Cost

You can pick two but cannot have all three. From what they've been spending, it seems obvious they choose the first two. I more or less think they done a good job of it (except let me download from the marketplace in the background while I'm watching TV!!!!!) I use my 360 as a Media Center Extender to watch TV, movies, internet radio, etc, etc but the damn thing cannot yet begin a download from XBox live and keep that going in the background while I switch to the media center to watch TV! Really my only complaint, but VERY annoying.

Re: I think you're missing the joke (1)

TimeZone (658837) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256755)

I believe the OP was referencing The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle [wikipedia.org] which states that you cannot accurately know both a particle's momentum and its position. With a little liberty, one could take speed=momentum and precision=position.

I guess this is one of those jokes that's not funny if you have to explain it. Aw hell, it's not all that funny even if you get it right away, though I did chuckle a bit.

TZ

Re:Speed and Precision (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257049)

Not just no background DLs, but no queing or simultaneous downloading. Very primative.

Re:Speed and Precision (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15260782)

Yes, but this is Microsoft and the rules are different. You hope for 1 of the 3.

You must not be following Vista's development. (3, Funny)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255866)

Microsoft has chosen to forge a bold, third path: (C) None of the above.

Re:You must not be following Vista's development. (1)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255951)

Indeed, and it might get even worse [smh.com.au] . (or better, depending on whether you want Vista to be a success or not)

From the article:
Researchers at Gartner said in a report Tuesday that they believe Windows Vista won't be broadly available until sometime between March and June of 2007. Gartner is basing its projections on the progress the Redmond company has made in getting test versions of Vista out the door. In a statement on Tuesday, Microsoft said it disagreed with Gartner's views and was still on track to meet its revised released schedule.

Re:Speed and Precision (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255869)

"We must execute our Live strategy with speed and precision."
Heh, doesn't precision [wikipedia.org] just mean making the same error everytime, anyway? Still, of course, as you said, it's hard to combine it with speed.

Re:Speed and Precision (1)

hesiod (111176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256042)

> doesn't precision just mean making the same error everytime [...] it's hard to combine it with speed

Naw, as long as the errors execute quickly...

Re:Speed and Precision (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256094)

Naw, as long as the errors execute quickly...
OK, you have a point. You could disregard the input completely, and output, say, zero, every time. I guess that would make for high precision and it sure is about the fastest you could ever do.

Re:Speed and Precision (1)

hesiod (111176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256236)

> You could disregard the input completely, and output, say, zero, every time

And since the answer is always the same (100% reliability!) you can forego the output altogether. I think you have stumbled onto a new paradigm in high-speed, high-reliability computing!

Re:Speed and Precision (2, Funny)

HiredMan (5546) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256895)


Obj. Simpsons:

Homer:[] Kids, there's three ways to do things. The right way, the wrong way, and the Max Power way!
Bart: Isn't that the wrong way?
Homer: Yeah, but faster!

http://www.snpp.com/episodes/AABF09 [snpp.com]

Maybe Steve should change his name...

=tkk

He can do both... (2, Funny)

Shark (78448) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256144)

You should have seen the speed of that chair... The deadly precision with which it hit that wall!

Re:He can do both... (1)

Zebadias (861722) | more than 8 years ago | (#15260724)

Wall is not really a hard target to hit!

It's 2 of 3 and he's got the third... (1)

the_skywise (189793) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256201)

You can have it fast, cheap or done right.

You may pick 2 of the 3.

He's picking fast and done right and screw the amount of cash it'll take.

MS vista for gamers? (2, Insightful)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255791)

From the article:

"The software giant also plans on releasing the gaming-focused Vista operating system to the public in January 2007."

Since when is MS Vista focused on gamers?

Re:MS vista for gamers? (1)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255824)

I think he means they are going to release yet another flavour of Vista "MS Windows Vista - gamers", alongside the other 7 flavours of Vista that are planned.

Re:MS vista for gamers? (2, Funny)

9mm Censor (705379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255827)

Sinces M1CR05oF7 W1ND0WZ V1574 GAMERZ EDITION.

Re:MS vista for gamers? (1)

MHQ13 (207877) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255831)

DirectX 10.

Re:MS vista for gamers? (1)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255867)

DX10.

DX10 (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15255868)

Well.. MS Vista doesn't really contain any benefits for gamers, in any way.

However, MS Vista does contain DirectX 10-- and as far as has been announced so far, DirectX 10 will only be available for MS Vista. Before long, DirectX 10 is going to be required to play any new video games. So if you want to keep playing video games and get all the features and whatnot, you are going to have to upgrade to Vista. So you just have to learn to think like Microsoft. The way you probably think, "focused on gamers" means "designed to appeal to gamers and make gamers want to buy it". The way Microsoft thinks, "focused on gamers" means "we will be forcing gamers to buy it".

In other words, Vista is "focused at gamers" the same way a sniper rifle might be "focused at" someone unexpectedly running across the White House lawn.

Re:DX10 (2, Insightful)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256027)

It'll be the game developers who will decide if gamers are "forced" to upgrade to Vista not MS. DirectX10 is just a new tool MS is providing to game developers. It will be up to the developers to make a business decision if the new tool offers enough performance gains, ease of use, new functionality, etc to make forcing an upgrade to Vista worth while. If game developers choose to write games for older versions of DirectX, they will still play fine on Vista.

Re:DX10 - OpenGL (2, Interesting)

S3D (745318) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256105)

It's my opinion that DX10 may actaully make OpenGL more attractive for games. With huge installed Win XP base, any DX10 game not sponsored by MS had to be released for DX9 too. All new features of DX10, like unified shader will probaly supported by OpenGL as well. So with OpenGL you will be able to use one 3d engine for XP and Vista, instead of two. And it's officialy confirmed that OpenGL will not be crippled on Vista. Of cause MS answer to it will be to promote unified XBOX 360/Vista DevKit, but I doubt MS will be able to lure developers to drop XP at all. And even if it do for big and fat, like EA, indie would step in, and they already using OpenGL mostly.

Transgaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15256874)

I realize it's not likely to happen, but what would make me laugh long and hard is if Wine/Cedega/Transgaming et al mean that in a year or two, Linux and OS X will be able to play DirectX 10 games, but XP won't.

Re:DX10 - OpenGL (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257072)

Interesting idea, except that most articles I've seen mention that DirectX9 will be installed side by side on Vista, so I expect game companies will just focus on DX9 for the meanwhile.

Re:DX10 - OpenGL (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257342)

That's not how it's worked in the past, DirectX has just always been backwards compatible (for varying values of compatible. DirectX 5 stuff using D3D frequently fails to run on DX8 or 9.)

Re:DX10 - OpenGL (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 8 years ago | (#15260932)

It would be brilliant to see DirectX usurped by an open standard - then it might be more likely a game is ported to the Mac/Linux. Unfortunately all the major engine/middleware/tools are built for DirectX so chances are the games companies will largely stick to DX9 until most people have Vista. And if they can afford it, they may have optional features that exploit DX10 in the meantime.

Re:DX10 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15256440)

Before long, DirectX 10 is going to be required to play any new video games. So if you want to keep playing video games and get all the features and whatnot, you are going to have to upgrade to Vista.
Uh, no.

First of all, Sony is definitely not using DX. As recently as March, Sony PS2 games were the top sellers:
http://www.gamespot.com/news/6147802.html?sid=6147 802&sid=6147802 [gamespot.com]

10 games on that list are PS2. 6 of the top 10 are PS2. The XBox 360 has only 4 games on the list, but they are all in the top 11.

I only found one source for these numbers, so they may be suspect:
http://forum.pcvsconsole.com/viewthread.php?tid=11 067&page=5 [pcvsconsole.com]
March 2006 US Console Sales
PS2 = 273,000
Xbox 360 = 192,000
Xbox = 83,000
GameCube = 63,000

Sony is doing just fine, and they are definitely not using DX.

As far as PC games go, DX has always been the biggest API, for obvious reasons: market share. If DX10 is tied to Vista, then that is no longer a compelling reason. What market share is Vista going to have at launch time, especially given that it is missing Christmas 2006, and all the bad press?

Game developers are going to face a choice:
- Develop for DX10, and target Vista alone.
- Develop two engines, one for DX9 and one for DX10. Target both Vista and XP, but double your development costs and support problems.
- Develop for DX9 or OpenGL. Target both Vista and XP, and possibly Mac OS X (if you use OGL).

I expect we'll see a couple high profile DX10 games that try to get everyone excited. The rest of the industry is going to going with the largest market share, and avoid DX10 until Vista is a significant market (25-50%).

Re:DX10 (1)

Ajehals (947354) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256489)

Vista is "focused at gamers" the same way a sniper rifle might be "focused at" someone unexpectedly running across the White House lawn.

I love that analogy, its scarily accurate!

Shame it'l be attributed to AC when quoted!

Competing with themselves (2, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256758)

However, MS Vista does contain DirectX 10-- and as far as has been announced so far, DirectX 10 will only be available for MS Vista. Before long, DirectX 10 is going to be required to play any new video games.

So here's a question - rather than get Vista, why not simply buy a 360? All of the games that are going to get the most benefit out of Direct X 10 are also going to be on the 360. Probably first!! Between Vista and a new video card, it really seems a gamer would be better off with a 360.

Microsoft has the unfortunate situation where they are competeing with themselves, success of the 360 can diminish much of the market for one of the few truly enhanced features of vista that is left.

Re:Competing with themselves (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257420)

So here's a question - rather than get Vista, why not simply buy a 360?

The answer is still just as simple as it was when the question was "why not get an Xbox" or for that matter "why not get a Playstation" or what have you.

That answer is still flexibility. For instance, even though Halo PC was a complete bugfest, that's still where I chose to play it, because it meant I could use mouse and keyboard and map my keys however I want. Typically, console games give you none of that.

360 can use a mouse and keyboard (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15259638)

The 360 supports a mouse and keyboard as well, and presumably you can use the in-game control chaning features to alter the setup.

The answer is different when you throw in a $200 OS into the mix, whereas before with the XBox chances were your PC was about as powerful or perhaps a little more so. The 360 is more ahead of the curve in that regard. And of course not many games were all that high in resolution, where 720p is starting to get pretty decent if you have a good display.

With every step Microsoft takes the balance in that question changes to favor the answer being "get the console".

Re:DX10 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15260372)

Yeah but until Vista sells enough copies to make it worth game developers time to write DX10 only games and completely ignore everybody else we probably don't have much to worry about :P

So lets see. First thing that needs to happen is millions of people are going to need to upgrade their PC's big time.

Re:MS vista for gamers? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15255879)

"Since when is MS Vista focused on gamers?"

Microsoft is starting to get pc developers to write new titles exclusively for Vista.

Basically Plan B now that things are going so badly for the 360.

PC gaming for Microsoft is like the fat chick who you know you can always call on Friday nights that no one wants(PC developers) but you swore you'd never call again and now that you've gotten rejected badly in public twice(Xbox,Xbox 360) at the local singles club(console marketplace) you are home dialing her number again...

Re:MS vista for gamers? (1)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255884)

DirectX10 which will ship with Vista is supposed to add some features but mostly make big improvements in simplicity and performance of the DirectX engine for game developers. I'm not a game developer though so cannot say if in reality its the best thing since sliced bread, a bunch of hot air, or somewhere in between.

Re:MS vista for gamers? (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255912)

Since when is MS Vista focused on gamers?

Well... Ever since you needed a top of the line gaming rig just to run Vista with all the desktop effects on.

Re:MS vista for gamers? (1)

mikeisme77 (938209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256178)

The Vista "Ultimate Edition" is focused on gamers as it features "game optimization" tools or some such nonesense. It's also supposed to be the version with the most digital rights management/"hardest" to pirate.

Re:MS vista for gamers? (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15260763)

From the moment they have replaced Hearts with DNF.

Metaphors... (3, Insightful)

Kuukai (865890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255863)

Microsoft has always said that the console race is a marathon, not a sprint. However, this initial costly sprint remains important during a period when the company boasts the only next generation system on the market.

A marathon where you're bleeding money for most of the race. Sure hope another company doesn't zip past you on a bicycle [folklore.org] or something.

Re:Metaphors... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15255937)

"Microsoft has always said that the console race is a marathon, not a sprint. However, this initial costly sprint remains important during a period when the company boasts the only next generation system on the market. "

Translation:

Microsoft sees no end to the GIANT PUBLIC ASS-REAMING SONY IS GIVING THEM.

Microsoft has so gotten use to ASS-REAMING in the console market they are doing it to themselves now without Sony even being around...

Re:Metaphors... (1)

OglinTatas (710589) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256856)

"A marathon where you're bleeding money for most of the race"

If each sale of a console costs Microsoft money, it is our duty to buy one and get gnu/linux or *BSD running on it.

Linux on 360 project [free60.org]

Re:Metaphors... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15257357)

Methinks you don't understand economics.

Re:Metaphors... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15257071)

The sad truth (that Microsoft doesn't get) is that the "Console War" really is a sprint. Right now, third parties are making decisions on which games are going to be on which platform 12-24 months from now; they look at the XBox 360's sales numbers, estimate the userbase (at the time the game will release) and determine whether there is a buisness case to make the game exclusive (or to even bother porting the game to the system). In spite of whether fanboys want to admit it or not, the low sales numbers (even if they're simply Microsoft's fault) are making Developers question their support for the 360.

The unfortunate portion of this is that it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy; companies will see the low sales numbers and predict failure for the XBox 360 and they'll remove all exclusive support, without exclusive games choose the PS3 or Revolution for their gaming system of choice, with lower system sales companies feel that they have made the correct decision in not supporting the 'dying' platform (and they stop even porting games to the system), all system sales stop as there are no games being produced (and the system is now dead).

I don't know what the "magic number" is, but in the past most companies looked for 10 million units sold in 12 months (worldwide) and 4 million units in the target region; at the rate the 360 is moving, they'll be lucky to sell 6 million units world wide and 3 million in the states (not good for long term development).

Semi-OT: Ballmer pictures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15255878)

Is it just me or does he always look extremely angry in every recent picture of him speaking at a press conference/trade show?

Xbox Live as a money maker is not going to happen (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15255927)

In this console generation's cycle. Why do I say that? Because it's widely and publicly known within the industry that the iTMS' profit margins are razor thin. The store drives sales of the hardware, which is where Apple is making their money. Now tell me, in the next three to five years does anyone see Microsoft making content delivery on Xbox Live at the level of success that the iTMS has had? Can they negotiate with ABC in order to get Lost delivered to 360s? Pixar movies? It goes the other way around. In order for Microsoft to reap the rewards of Live they need people to buy a 360 in order to just use Live. Charging $2.50 for a horse skin is not going to do that.

Likewise, I find it interesting that to this date MS refuse to state how many Live subscribers and users they have. They always issue press releases with non specific, skewed numbers to celebrate success. And Halo 2 continues to be the top game on Live. Not a 360 title.

Re:Xbox Live as a money maker is not going to happ (1)

E-Rock (84950) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255979)

The content provider sets their price, not MS. Blame Bethesda software for the stupid horse armor.

Re:Xbox Live as a money maker is not going to happ (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15256037)

Even going by Microsoft's own inflated marketing numbers, the first Xbox had less than seven percent of owners signed up for the service.

Just to put that in perspective, Sony who didn't see the need focus heavily on online gaming last gen had more people playing online with just one of their games, SOCOM, than the entire subscriber base of Microsoft's online service. What a humiliation.

Microsoft's online service is a vastly reduced long time dream of Microsoft that goes back to the days of the Internet taking off outside of the academic world. They dreamed of creating their own Microsoft Network where they acted as the gatekeeper and collected a toll on every access to the network. They have been trying to implement that dream for years in one form or another. And all of them have failed.

The final nail in the coffin for Microsoft's dreams of taxing online access is the free and much better services that are coming out from Sony and Nintendo this year. Microsoft will be forced to drop the fees to zero for playing online if they want to avoid being reduced to an industry joke.

If things had gone as planned for Microsoft, the Xbox would have become so successful that other manufactures would have started making their own versions and Microsoft would have been able to get out of the expensive and risky hardware market and allowed to just sit back and rake in the cash on people who are now moved from the open pc hardware to the locked down Microsoft exclusive hardware that can only run Microsoft's software or software approved by Microsoft. The realization of the 'Windows Everywhere' mantra from a decade ago.

So much for that plan.

Re:Xbox Live as a money maker is not going to happ (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15257606)

The final nail in the coffin for Microsoft's dreams of taxing online access is the free and much better services that are coming out from Sony and Nintendo this year.

How do you know they are much better if they haven't even come out yet?

Re:Xbox Live as a money maker is not going to happ (1)

Quixotic (505) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257671)

Sony who didn't see the need focus heavily on online gaming last gen had more people playing online with just one of their games, SOCOM, than the entire subscriber base of Microsoft's online service.


while that may be true... Sony's online service is free, whereas Microsoft's service is paid.

Re:Xbox Live as a money maker is not going to happ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15259470)

hey, it's the local sony shill! hi again!

Re:Xbox Live as a money maker is not going to happ (2, Insightful)

radish (98371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256568)

Halo 2 continues to be the top game on Live. Not a 360 title.

Hardly surprising, there are what - 22 million Xbox units out there compared with maybe 4 million 360s? What surprises me is how many 360 titles ARE in the overall top 10.

Likewise, I find it interesting that to this date MS refuse to state how many Live subscribers and users they have
Some facts from Microsoft [gamerscoreblog.com] :

  • This quarter, we shipped 1.7 million Xbox 360 consoles, bringing our cumulative sales to date to 3.2 million consoles with 1.8 million in North America, 1.1 million in Europe and 300,000 in the rest of the world.
  • Attach rates on the Xbox Live service remain strong, with more than half of all Xbox 360 consoles sold connected to the service either via Silver or Gold tier memberships.
  • Gamers have downloaded 10 million pieces of digital content from Xbox Live Marketplace in less than five months. Over 4 million downloads have been made from Xbox Live Arcade since launch.

So there you have it. 4 million consoles (let's be generous, the figures are a little old), and "more than half" are connected to Live. So 2+ million on the 360 alone. I seem to remember the Live attach rate for Xbox 1 being around 10%, so figure another couple of million there. Plus there's been 10 million downloads (5 per user on average) and 4 million game downloads (2 per user). The download-to-sale ratio for XBLA is also very high (can't find the quote right now) - something like 30%. For me the success of XBLA is huge, and not as significant for MS as for the indy game developers who now have a very large paying audience.

I see a lot of positives here.

Re:Xbox Live as a money maker is not going to happ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15256649)

Fucking pathetic.

Everyone knows that the 360 has sold only 1.7 million units worldwide.

100k in Japan
1.1 million in the US - and we can even break this number down into month by month sales
500k in Europe

With a 100k or so from the various minor territories.

Trying to use inflated ship numbers as actual sales numbers didn't help the first Xbox and it isn't going to help the 360.

shipped != sold, connected != subscribed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15256724)

EOP

Re:Xbox Live as a money maker is not going to happ (1)

ShibaInu (694434) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257131)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the "Silver" membership was free? And they are boastng about the "Silver" attach rate? How many Silver accounts are just folks that had Xbox, then upgraded to the 360?

Re:Xbox Live as a money maker is not going to happ (2, Insightful)

Keeper (56691) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256606)

Likewise, I find it interesting that to this date MS refuse to state how many Live subscribers and users they have.

If you're looking for specific numbers accurate down to single digits, you aren't going to find it -- no company is that specific; specific information gives too much away to compeditors. They occasionally release figures when they hit milestones, and release general information about the service in their quarterly reports.

They always issue press releases with non specific, skewed numbers to celebrate success.

It's statistics. What, you expect them to intentionally select a set of numbers that make them look bad? Would you even consider a set of numbers that look good to be anything but skewed?

And Halo 2 continues to be the top game on Live. Not a 360 title.

Duh. Halo 2 sold more copies on it's first day of release than the number of Xbox 360's sold to date. Imagine that ... the most popular game on a console that has an install base of over 20 million is played more often than the most popular game on a console with an install base of 3.2 million.

Good grief... (0, Offtopic)

Parham (892904) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255936)

Microsoft is in the business of entering markets it knows it shouldn't enter. Stick with what you know... operating systems. The original article states that Microsoft posted an operating loss of $388 million from their Xbox 360 production, but that this loss will bring "long term rewards". Didn't the Xbox experience similar losses? $388 is a lot of money which could be used hiring and training programmers to get Vista out of the door. Why does Microsoft feel it needs to stick its head into every single niche of every single sector? As if they didn't have enough troubles already with their own OS, they want to waste money competing against Google search, Google maps, Playstation, and Nintendo. They're bullying people at their own expense and they need someone to look at them and tell them what they're doing wrong, because they can't do it themselves.

Re:Good grief... (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255984)

If they don't compete in the right markets they'll easily become outdated and post very slow growth outlook. They want to dominate all computing platforms. That includes the internet. In the future that will mean the multimedia living room. If they don't fight for the entertainment center in your home you'll eventually have a fat computer running another OS.

Taking losses in all these niches fits with their business goals, believe it or not. It's their goals that need fixing as much as their methods.

Re:Good grief... (1)

EnderWiggnz (39214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258513)

msft is already posting slow growth.

Re:Good grief... (1)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15260811)

Oh is it?? [microsoftmonitor.com]

Re:Good grief... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256000)

Since when did MS even know Operating Systems?

Stick to Office Suites.

Re:Good grief... (2, Insightful)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256012)

It minimises their risk. Instead of putting all their eggs in one basket, they spread them around, and since they are Microsoft, they'll usually have at least some degree of success in every market they're in. Income from multiple sources is a sign of a healthy business.

The Xbox was a mighty success considering it was their first attempt at that market. They beat Nintendo easily and they were pretty much on-par with Sony. I'm talking in terms of units/games sales, not how good games were, by the way.

Re:Good grief... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15256282)

They beat Nintendo easily and they were pretty much on-par with Sony. I'm talking in terms of units/games sales, not how good games were, by the way.

More importantly, you're sure not talking about profits. Nintendo actually makes money from the console business. Saying that someone who doesn't "beat them easily" is pretty silly.

Maybe Microsoft really have laid the foundations for ONE DAY doing better than Nintendo or Sony in this business but they're certainly not there yet.

Re:Good grief... (1)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256315)

Good point, but isn't laying those foundations the most important part? Putting themselves ahead in units sold sounds like some damn good foundations to me!

I hope Nintendo comes through and takes the lead because I think they're the best games company out of the three, but it does seem unlikely.

Re:Good grief... (3, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256345)

Except thats totally wrong. They got blown out of the water by Sony, and lost to Nintendo in 2 out of 3 markets (only winning in the US). In total, they ended up about on par with nintendo, while losing 3 billion over the lifetime of the product. Thats not a success, if I owned MS stock I'd be wanting the people in charge fired.

Re:Good grief... (1)

Jace of Fuse! (72042) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257989)

In total, they ended up about on par with nintendo

Actually, they lost their ass to Nintendo. "On Par" has absolutely nothing to do with Market Share. It has everything to do with Profit Margin, and in that area Nintendo took a nice healthy shit all over Microsoft then wiped their ass with Sony.

Yeah, but Nintendo actually made money (1)

Alphager (957739) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257738)

Even though Nintendo does not dominate the market for consoles (handheld-consoles are another playingfield) the way Sony & MS do, Nintendo makes the most money/customer.

Re:Good grief... (1, Insightful)

badasscat (563442) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256252)

Didn't the Xbox experience similar losses?

The Xbox lost $4 billion over its lifespan (and counting - some of those new losses are still attributable to the original).

What MS seems to have forgotten is their original predictions (and you can still do a Google search and find these quotes) were for an "investment" of around $2 billion, followed by sustained profitability by the 3rd year of the Xbox's life.

They also were aiming for Xbox 360 profitability from day one (again, Google "xbox 360 profit"). So for them to now say "oh, we expected this, and it's all for the good of the future" is at best revisionist on their part, and at worst outright denial.

The fact of the matter is they are billions of dollars behind where they initially predicted they'd be. They're more than $2 billion further in the hole than they ever wanted to be and they're three years behind on their profit forecasts, with no guarantee that it will ever turn around. Assuming a relatively modest prediction of a $500 million profit per year, they're now close to $4 billion (and counting) behind their initial predictions, and really $5 billion in the hole all told. That's assuming they would have been close to $1 billion up at this point, rather than $4 billion in the red.

$4-$5 billion isn't chump change even for MS.

All MS has done is a major land grab. They've proven that you can grab market share provided you just pump a huge wad of cash into the industry. I don't think that's news to anyone. But that's only the first step in building a business and I'm sure that, whatever their public statements, internally they realize that this is not all going according to plan at this point. They may have bitten off more than they can chew - if they *never* turn a profit (and remember, they need to turn $4 billion worth of profits from now on to have even broken even overall), then what exactly was the point?

(You can say they denied Sony market dominance, or whatever, but to what end? Should MS be sticking its nose into every single random and unrelated market just to keep another player from being dominant? Are they going to get into cleaning products next and go head to head with Proctor & Gamble? Are they going to take on Wal-Mart with a bunch of MS-branded superstores? I mean, there does come a point at which it just gets stupid.)

MS has the cash to keep up this charade as long as they want. I don't think anybody expects a quick exit. But at some point, there will come a day of reckoning, when MS finally has to look at what's working and what's not company-wide, and if the entertainment division is still losing money hand over fist on that day, then heads will roll and shops will be closed up.

Re:Good grief... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15256370)

"They also were aiming for Xbox 360 profitability from day one "

Hmm, this isn't true. If you are talking about just the 360 in isolation, Microsoft talked about the 360 going green at the two year mark. But that was back before E3 last year and the year long trainwreck the 360 has gone through.

Those estimates for profitability were made on the assumption of huge numbers of people paying for the online service and certainly didn't include the horrendous expense of having to eat the losses of having to give thousands and thousands of people more than one 360 from the manufacturing and hardware defects. With Sony and Nintendo coming out with free online gaming, Microsoft's hopes of generating huge amounts of cash from online play are pretty much over.

Everything else I agree with what you are saying. I think as soon as Ballmer is ousted there is going to be some major house cleaning where Microsoft refocuses on their core markets and products that are under direct assault. The Xbox project will almost certainly be jettisoned with some remnants of the project being migrated over to the Vista gaming part of the company.

Re:Good grief... (1)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258095)

Microsoft makes over a billion dollars in CASH (not revenue) PER MONTH. Investing 4 billion to enter a new market is not much.

Re:Good grief... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258542)

I dunno, I use Microsoft hardware all the time and (other than the Xbox 360) I don't use a single Microsoft operating system unless I'm forced to at all. Frankly, I think their hardware products are better quality than their software products. But maybe that's just me.

Re:Good grief... (1)

demon (1039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15259554)

Sure, their hardware's okay - because they don't make it, it's all contracted out to third parties. The Xbox and Xbox360 in particular - Microsoft brings in outside talent to do the design, then contracts with outside parties to do the manufacturing. They just get to put their brand on it.

360 is a decent machine, still needs work (3, Interesting)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255992)

I had a 360 for about a week, took it back, and got a ps2 (for a specific game, plus some cash in the pocket). First of all, they did a great job with the dashboard, it looks slick and you can customize it. The achievements, gamerscore, and interaction with other gamers are genius. Geometry wars and burnout were some of the funnest I've had playing games ever. Downloading demos was genius as well, I had as much fun downloading and trying new games as I did playing ones I paid for.

So why did I take it back? Well, perhaps I wouldn't have if street fighter II was out already and Oblivion wasn't such a bugfest (and runs suprisingly slow at times for a 360 game). The machine is noticibly loud (I even took it back and got another and it was still loud). If I had an enclosed cabinet, this wouldn't have mattered as much. The future announced games didn't hold much interest to me. But the biggest factor was that the 360 sucks as a media center, and it couldn't replace my hacked xbox with Xbox Media Center. Lack of divx support and video only available to MS XP Media Center Edition killed it as a media center. My TV only has a couple componenet video inputs, so my decision was to keep the xbox and take back the 360.

What MS needs to do is quiet down the console (they are already taking steps towards this with a smaller chip), add divx support (and FLAC tag support, but that doesn't have as wide an appeal as divx), remove the "XP media center" lock-in for videos (they are taking steps towards this, but we will see what they actually do), improve the media features in general (better media player features), and add more games to xbox live (porting abandonware would be cheap and make a killer system IMO).

Re:360 is a decent machine, still needs work (1)

Nananine (967931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256124)

Not just abandonware... they need to really update their backwards compatability list. Some of their top-flight Xbox games like Soul Calibur II are still incompatible. Meanwhile Barbie Horse Adventure was in the initial list of 200 that WAS.

Re:360 is a decent machine, still needs work (5, Informative)

Osty (16825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256854)

Just some nitpicking:

Well, perhaps I wouldn't have if street fighter II was out already and Oblivion wasn't such a bugfest (and runs suprisingly slow at times for a 360 game).

While Oblivion does have its share of bugs, the only slowness I noticed was after playing for a while and letting the game cache get fragmented. There's a work-around to clear the cache by holding down any button on the controller when you start the game (hold it through the BethSoft logo. Once the 2K logo displays, you can let go). Not the best solution, but it is a solution. I'm right there with you, wishing for SFII. What ever happened to shipping it in March?

The machine is noticibly loud (I even took it back and got another and it was still loud).

You should clarify that the DVD-ROM is loud when it's spinning at full speed. The machine itself (fan noise) is very quiet, and the DVD-ROM is also quiet while watching DVDs. There's not a whole lot you can do about drive speed when it's running that quickly (the 360 DVD-ROM is something like 16x, compared to the 4x in the Xbox or PS2).

But the biggest factor was that the 360 sucks as a media center, and it couldn't replace my hacked xbox with Xbox Media Center. Lack of divx support and video only available to MS XP Media Center Edition killed it as a media center. My TV only has a couple componenet video inputs, so my decision was to keep the xbox and take back the 360

You're dinging the 360 for not doing something it never claimed to do. The 360 is a Media Center Extender. In other words, it's completely dependent on a Windows Media Center PC to feed it media. It sounds like you want the 360 to be a stand-alone media player (or mostly stand-alone, while occassionally pulling media from the network).

As for having limited component video inputs, get yourself a mux. I'm preferential to Audio Authority's 1154A [audioauthority.com] , but you don't need to spend > $200 on a mux. You can find decent ones (minus auto-switching, audio format conversion, and the cool rack-friendly form-factor) for less than $50. You do realize the PS2 can do component output, right? The graphics will still look PS2-bad, but the color and sharpness will be better (and if you have a game that can support 480p, like GT4, you can only do that over component).

add more games to xbox live (porting abandonware would be cheap and make a killer system IMO).

There is no such thing as "abandonware", legally. Either the games are released to the public domain, or they're not (or they're released under a license that makes it possible to port them without legal troubles). "Abandonware" games that are still technically under copyright cannot be ported without proper consent. The question is, who gives that consent? How do you get permission to port a game that's been out of print for 15 years, and the original developer/publisher has been out of business for 10? Who currently owns the property? You have to track down the series of sales of IP until you hopefully find the right company you need to deal with. This is painful.

I do agree Microsoft needs to add more games to XBLA, but I don't think that's really going to be a problem for them. I think we're just in the lull before the storm right now, having not had any new XBLA games since Jewel Quest. Prepare to be bombarded (good thing I just finished up Oblivion, so I'll be ready to play some new arcade games)!.

Re:360 is a decent machine, still needs work (2, Informative)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257589)

"While Oblivion does have its share of bugs, the only slowness I noticed was after playing for a while and letting the game cache get fragmented."

What about the dirty disk errors that pop up at random? (the oblivion tech forum is rampant with them, so I know it wasn't just the two machines I tried). Yah, I know how to clear the cache, but have you tried riding a horse? The loading every 3 seconds is unbearable. And the fact that with a PC with similar specs to the 360 gets farther grass draw distance is perplexing.

"You should clarify that the DVD-ROM is loud when it's spinning at full speed. The machine itself (fan noise) is very quiet"

I disagree, the fan noise is very noticable (it is an annoying whirling sound) when playing some games. I can somewhat forgive the DVD noise, but why couldn't they have included a 60gig drive (not much more expensive than a 20) so some games parts could be loaded onto it? (perhaps the batch was bad, as the two xboxes were from the same shipping batch, but I doubt it). The PC version of oblivion loads twice as fast. I hope the PS3 doesn't make the same mistake and allows games to be loaded onto the hard drive.

"You're dinging the 360 for not doing something it never claimed to do."

From the MS 360 website: "But Xbox 360 is also the center of your digital entertainment world." This is a hard feat to achieve if it supports only MS formats (plus mp3) and doesn't support the most popular format for digital video.

The problem is that the 360 doesn't even correctly extend MS Media Center formats. You can get divx to play with MS Media Center, but it will not extend it to the 360. The only explanation is they disabled it on purpose.

"As for having limited component video inputs, get yourself a mux. I'm preferential to Audio Authority's 1154A, but you don't need to spend > $200 on a mux. You can find decent ones (minus auto-switching, audio format conversion, and the cool rack-friendly form-factor) for less than $50. You do realize the PS2 can do component output, right? The graphics will still look PS2-bad, but the color and sharpness will be better (and if you have a game that can support 480p, like GT4, you can only do that over component)."

Thanks, that is my next investment. I got the PS2 for romance of the three kingdoms, which still uses SNES era graphics, so I figured component would be moot.

"Who currently owns the property? You have to track down the series of sales of IP until you hopefully find the right company you need to deal with. This is painful."

This is very true, but I know a decent amount of people would be willing to shell out $5 for betrayal at krondor with the original soundtrack, with perhaps an updated color palate. And I'm sure there are some other 32 bit games that would get a lot of downloads that would not be hard to convert, but you are right, you have all the liscensing problems.

The thing is, I downloaded outpost kaloki (sp?), geometry wars, and zuma. and thought "what a great idea this is aweseome". A week later I was done with these games, and nothing else on live interests me, and 360 live has been out almost a year.

I did not outright dismiss the 360, but once live has a good deal more of games, they switch to the smaller processer (early 2007 I believe), and some more games are out I'll probably pick one up. divx support and the ability to load games onto the hard drive would be a dealbreaker for me.

Re:360 is a decent machine, still needs work (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258051)

What about the dirty disk errors that pop up at random? (the oblivion tech forum is rampant with them, so I know it wasn't just the two machines I tried). Yah, I know how to clear the cache, but have you tried riding a horse? The loading every 3 seconds is unbearable. And the fact that with a PC with similar specs to the 360 gets farther grass draw distance is perplexing.

I must be extremely lucky. After > 100 hours of Oblivion on the 360, completing all achievements, I've never once run into a dirty disk error. I've also not run into any of the more heinous quest-blocking bugs. I have had a few freezes, but those have come after extended play sessions without stopping to clear the cache. I'm not saying Oblivion isn't buggy. Far from it. The game is a bugfest. I'm just saying that every bug I've run into could be traced right back to their shitty cache management, and a bit of preventative maintenance would keep them from happening.

I disagree, the fan noise is very noticable (it is an annoying whirling sound) when playing some games. I can somewhat forgive the DVD noise, but why couldn't they have included a 60gig drive (not much more expensive than a 20) so some games parts could be loaded onto it? (perhaps the batch was bad, as the two xboxes were from the same shipping batch, but I doubt it). The PC version of oblivion loads twice as fast. I hope the PS3 doesn't make the same mistake and allows games to be loaded onto the hard drive.

Either I have a better console (not likely, as mine was built in early december and would qualify as a "launch" console), I have bad hearing (also not likely), or you had a bad console (sadly, likely). I keep my 360 in my "component rack" (a set of Ikea metal shelves) near the TV. My couch sits a good 8+ feet away. I can distinctly hear the DVD-ROM spinning while playing a game. I can't hear any fan noise at all unless I get within a foot or two of the console. What fan noise I can hear at that distance is easily drowned out by drive noice. I'm not saying that it's ideal to have such a loud drive, just that the noise most people attribute to fans is really the DVD drive.

As for loading games on the hard drive, did you not see the complaints about Final Fantasy XI's installation? Console games should not need installation. They should certainly not need a 4 hour long installation. The 360 hard drive does provide 4GB of space for games to use as cache, just like the original Xbox did. And just like on the original Xbox, every developer but BethSoft is fine with that. Bethsoft just can't stop corrupting their cache (Morrowing on Xbox suffered from the same cache corruption as Oblivion, but had no easy way of clearing the cache). If I had to install games, I'd rather just play on a PC.

From the MS 360 website: "But Xbox 360 is also the center of your digital entertainment world." This is a hard feat to achieve if it supports only MS formats (plus mp3) and doesn't support the most popular format for digital video.

Over-zealous advertising. An extender can't be "the center of your digital entertainment world" by definition -- the "center" would be the media center PC feeding the extender. I do think it's crap that the 360 can't play DivX videos or other codecs, but I assume this is a limitation of being an extender. The video is decompressed on the extender, not the media center, so the extender would need to have the codecs. I don't know what the licensing fees would be to include a bunch of codecs like DivX, but if it costs more than a couple dollars total I can see that easily getting cut. Maybe we'll be able to download codec packs through the Marketplace some day?

Thanks, that is my next investment. I got the PS2 for romance of the three kingdoms, which still uses SNES era graphics, so I figured component would be moot.

I remember the first time I switched my old NES from RF to composite, and my SNES from composite to S-Video. Just because the graphics are "primitive" doesn't mean they wouldn't benefit from the extra clarity of a better connection technology. In fact, the graphics may even look better with more vibrant colors. Then again, I feed all of my components through muxes to my TV, so it's easier for me to hook up the PS2 using component than not.

Side-note: My home theater is set up like so: PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360, DVD player into the AA1154A mux. 1154A and cable box into my receiver's 2x1 component mux. Receiver into my TV, thus requiring only a single component input on the TV. I've since branched out, with an upconverting DVD player using HDMI for video (still goes through the mux for audio) and a PC using my TV's analog VGA input. Some day I'll get an HDMI/DVI mux and run my PC, DVD, and cable box into that, and then I'll be able to bring my Gamecube back online (out of the entertainment center for now due to lack of inputs).

This is very true, but I know a decent amount of people would be willing to shell out $5 for betrayal at krondor with the original soundtrack, with perhaps an updated color palate. And I'm sure there are some other 32 bit games that would get a lot of downloads that would not be hard to convert, but you are right, you have all the liscensing problems.

Contact your favorite indie developer and propose the idea, or see if you can do it yourself (GarageGames builds XBLA games now, and I wouldn't be surprised to see support for XBLA showing up in their engines like Torque 2D). Microsoft generally just publishes games. I don't think they've actually developed any in-house.

The thing is, I downloaded outpost kaloki (sp?), geometry wars, and zuma. and thought "what a great idea this is aweseome". A week later I was done with these games, and nothing else on live interests me, and 360 live has been out almost a year.

Just as a clarification, the 360 (and thus, 360 Live) has only been out for 6 months (or not even -- it'll be six months later this month). Like I said before, I believe we're in the calm before a storm. E3's going to hit, and you're going to see a ton of demos and videos on Live. I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of arcade games showing up, too (like the long-awaited SFII, or Mortal Kombat, or any of the tens of others that have been anounced but not yet released in the past couple months).

Re:360 is a decent machine, still needs work (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258503)

(porting abandonware would be cheap and make a killer system IMO).

"Abandonware" is just an excuse for copyright infringement. There's no law (or moral justification, IMO) that says that just because a product isn't being sold anymore it's legal to make and distribute however many copies you want.

Sure, right now, companies like Electronic Arts aren't that keen on worrying about all the disk image copies of F-117 for Commodore 64 floating around, but you can bet your ass that if a company like Microsoft tried to put that game on Xbox Live Arcade, they'd be digging up ownership records as quick as possible and calling in their lawyers.

Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15256022)

It's either waste zillions on the Xbox, or we pay you a dividend. And I would rather blitz the cash on something that gets me into lots of entertainment shows where scantily clad ladies wander about, and I get to hire a few.

Kudos to MS (3, Insightful)

i am kman (972584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256075)

At least MS recognizes they can't live on keyboards and mice alone and the future of computing for the masses will not be driven by PCs, but by game consoles, TVs, iPods, cars, and many other non-PC based that integrate into everyday life.

It's all about the user experience, not the keyboard.

But it still remains to be seen how well MS competes in a world dominated by primarily device-driven devices - particularly since this seems almost the exact opposite of their business model and strengths.

Despite widespread rumors on the internets, (1, Funny)

underwhelm (53409) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256097)

I had nothing to do with the new feature.

Strange... (2, Insightful)

Aphrika (756248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256152)

When you're sat on a $40 billion slush fund, I didn't think you had to justify making a loss. I mean, the money's there to be spent taking the company into new markets, right?

So what M$ and Ballmer did was exactly right. Heck, I bet Sony'd love a $40 billion slush fund right now, then they could offset PS3 losses against it. In fact, any company would love to do this - all to often you hear about a single product bombing and taking a whole company with it...

Re:Strange... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15256727)

I don't think you know how fast 40 billion can go in the business world.

Let's look at Microsoft's second fiscal quarter, ending December 31, 2002 (I know, it's far back, but I this source [tribuneindia.com] has all the info I need for this example).

Net profit: 2.28 billion
Revenue: 7.78 billion

This means that they had 5.5 billion in expenses during 3 months, or about 22 billion in that year. (Assuming all quarters were equal, which they weren't.) If Microsoft didn't have any revenue, their 40 billion dries up in 2 years. In a business the size of Microsoft, this is not a very long time to make decisions that will adjust you to the new situation.

Re:Strange... (1)

ChildeRoland (949144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15259610)

Revenues don't tend to just "dry up" like that for a company that big. Even if they started losing money, they would not necessarily lose all revenue. Plus, they could most likely reduce a lot of expenses if necessary.

Re:Strange... (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258732)

But isn't this how Sony likes to play?

Sony dumps a bunch of money into chip fabs so that they don't have to line the pocket of any hardware manufactures, and then makes it back on the hardware once they've brought production costs down. Despite all the claims to the contrary, Sony does not expect to lose money on the hardware in the long run.

But his strongest justification is.... (2, Funny)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256179)

"I love this X-Box, YYYEEEAAHHH!!!!" *throws chair*

Turn XBox-Live into a moneymaker! (2, Interesting)

romrunning (963198) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256251)

A solution to start making serious money would be to port the games available in MAME32 to run on the XBox. This would involve offering a nominal fee to every owner of each old ROM, setting up a good team to write the emulator code, and figure out the pricing scheme (hint: make it really low). I still have fun with Elevator Action, Double Dragon, and the like, so I think there's definitely a market; I also wouldn't think twice about investing $20-50 in a collection of the oldies that I liked. I've already purchased SmashTV in the "Coin-Op Classics" section, and I'm waiting for SF2:Hyper to finally get released. More of these games would make me happy, especially if some were graphically updated to be shown in full HD glory.

Re:Turn XBox-Live into a moneymaker! (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 8 years ago | (#15260301)

A solution to start making serious money would be to port the games available in MAME32 to run on the XBox. This would involve offering a nominal fee to every owner of each old ROM, setting up a good team to write the emulator code, and figure out the pricing scheme (hint: make it really low). I still have fun with Elevator Action, Double Dragon, and the like, so I think there's definitely a market; I also wouldn't think twice about investing $20-50 in a collection of the oldies that I liked. I've already purchased SmashTV in the "Coin-Op Classics" section, and I'm waiting for SF2:Hyper to finally get released. More of these games would make me happy, especially if some were graphically updated to be shown in full HD glory.

The fallacy your running on is that
1- everyone is like you and likes old arcade games
2- that everyone is willing to pay for them
3- that online live subscribers will make a significant portion of the 360 audience.

As the xbox has shown few people want to be online. This fact is due to a skill difference factor as well as the fear of griefers and just the lack of time to get good enough to have fun there. There is a market for it but it isn't that significant. The whole dependency on live to lead the xbox to profitability will fail because MS is operating under the same fallcies.

Quote from Mr. Ballmer (1)

pigs,3different1s (949056) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256299)

Quote from Mr. Ballmer:

Gulfstream Jets don't grow on trees, you know!

Downtime NOT just for messaging (3, Informative)

radish (98371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256386)

Relatedly, Live's downtime yesterday has resulted in an underwhelming feature addition: messaging.

This is a myth. Microsoft have said repeatedly that the downtime was not for any specific new features but to prepare the various systems (Xbox Live, xbox.com, forums, etc) for future upgrades and the onslaught of E3 (masses of trailers, demos, etc). The messaging addon is nice, but you can't seriously believe they took down the entire network for a day to add a feature like that.

I can understand the 13 year olds on the forums not understanding the need for downtime for infrastructure upgrades and rework, but I'd expect a little more from the /. crowd.

Re:Downtime NOT just for messaging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15256459)

Microsoft appears to be desperately scrambling to add anything they can to give the impression of value to their system now that Nintendo has their wildly successful free online service and Sony is just a few months away from releasing what sounds to be a free and amazing online service.

Microsoft better be getting ready to announce that they are changing to a free service or they are going to be left in the dust by Nintendo and Sony. And they better be prepared to compensate all the people who wasted money just play online over the past six months or so with their 360s.

To paraphrase the great Unknown (1)

Mille Mots (865955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256655)

I can understand the 13 year olds on the forums not understanding the need for downtime for infrastructure upgrades and rework, but I'd expect a little more from the /. crowd.

Nobody ever went broke overestimating the stupidity of /.'ers. Or, uh, something like that.

(It's a joke, people, laugh a little)

--
This sig is on the Red List

Re:Downtime NOT just for messaging (1)

Saige (53303) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257086)

It's Microsoft, and this is Slashdot - a place where readers will make up random stuff to bash Microsoft with, so manipulating the facts is child's play in comparison. After all, there was much bashing when it was announced that the 360 was going to have a new processor design in the future, even though every other console in history has done the same things.

People don't let truth and reality get in the way here.

Re:Downtime NOT just for messaging (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257315)

I can understand the 13 year olds on the forums not understanding the need for downtime for infrastructure upgrades and rework, but I'd expect a little more from the /. crowd.

Or, you know, they could have testing servers, and get the new stuff working on those, and then flip 'em over. With a halfway intelligent architecture it could be done totally invisibly.

Downtime can be avoided (1)

Alphager (957739) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257834)

There are several companies who show it. Take Guildwars for example. They sometimes have 3 different Versions of the Client&Servers online. The whole downtime for the first year was NINE HOURS.

Re:Downtime NOT just for messaging (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15257887)


I can understand the 13 year olds on the forums not understanding the need for downtime for infrastructure upgrades and rework, but I'd expect a little more from the /. crowd.
Sorry dude, there are plenty of people here who admin large server farms with >99% uptime. Seamlessly re-number a /20, no problem. See the look on the fanboi's face when he realizes that those 13 year olds were right, priceless.

Re:Downtime NOT just for messaging (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 8 years ago | (#15260584)

I can understand the 13 year olds on the forums not understanding the need for downtime for infrastructure upgrades and rework, but I'd expect a little more from the /. crowd.
 
Sorry, I got confused, were you talking about two different groups?

Everybody is saying basically microsoft should do (1)

majortom1981 (949402) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256579)

The funniest thing that I am seeing is that a lot of people are saying that microsoft should do a lot of the things that Nintendo is doing but yet people are saying that Nintendo will fail ?

Re:Everybody is saying basically microsoft should (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258747)

I've seen comments where people were confused about what Nintendo is doing, but I haven't seen any say that Nintendo was going to fail in this next generation. Most seem to be taking a wait and see position.
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