05.09.10

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Suffers Another Blow, Delay, Downtime, and Antitrust Lawsuit

Posted in Antitrust, Courtroom, Deception, Hardware, Microsoft at 8:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bye, Halo

Summary: Bungie’s goodbye, “Game Room” setbacks, Datel’s lawsuit against Microsoft, and a general lesson about Microsoft’s treatment of its so-called ‘partners’

Xbox — just like many of Microsoft’s product lines (except Office and Windows) — is about illusion and rarely about reality. In reality, Xbox 360 is one of the worst-selling consoles in modern days and Microsoft has already lost billions of dollars on it. But wait. It gets worse.

Microsoft is known for its legal (or illegal) aggression and here is a new example of Microsoft shutting down a product/project using legal threats:

In other news that’s sure to excite hardcore PC gamers, MechWarrior 4 has finally been re-released by fan community MekTek.net. MekTek.net received permission to air the out of print game for free some time ago from developers Smith & Tinker, who licensed the MechWarrior rights from Microsoft, but Microsoft had initially stymied the project with legal threats.

As we showed back in April, Microsoft is said to be shunning companies that ‘dare’ to support platforms like GNU/Linux (platforms other than Microsoft’s). It’s a form of retaliation that’s intended to suppress cross-platform computer games. Microsoft is totally obsessed with total control, as we shall illustrate again later on.

“Bye” from Bungie and “Halo”

Microsoft has had many problems with gaming companies. FASA Interactive, a former Microsoft partner, says that Microsoft “destroys” partners; Bungie knows that very well [1, 2] and for quite some time now Bungie has complained about what Microsoft’s culture did to harm creativity. Bungie was very unhappy, despite the relative success of Halo.

“Bungie jumps from Microsoft to Activision,” says The Independent.

While Activision Blizzard look set to lose one set of award winning developers in the shape of Infinity Ward following recent troubles, they appear to be gaining another having signed an exclusive 10-year publishing deal with Bungie Studios.

“Bungie severs ties with Microsoft, signs big Activision deal,” claims Microsoft Nick and IDG worries about Halo. One of its writers asks: “What’s Next for Halo?”

Two of the biggest names in video games, Activision and Bungie, announced an exclusive 10-year development deal last week, stunning Halo fans and leaving Microsoft’s golden video game franchise at a crossroads.

This is also covered in [1, 2] (among other places/Web sites that we omit as there are too many) and Microsoft’s booster Brier Dudley talks to Bungie’s chief in order to paint a positive picture (for Microsoft, of course). It is worth mentioning those technical Halo problems which we mentioned in recent weeks because they are said to be resolved (long overdue).

“Game Room” Delayed, Layoffs Named

In other Xbox news we have:

i. New Microsoft Game Room Games Delayed Until ‘Further Notice’

Microsoft’s Game Room hasn’t had the smoothest rollout — first a lot of users reported having problems even loading it up when it launched in late March, then we learned the regular schedule of weekly new game releases wouldn’t kick in until late April. Now we’re at late April…and it looks like we’re going to keep waiting a little longer. Xbox Live European editor Dan Maher has tweeted that new Game Room games have been delayed for the time being.

ii. Microsoft: Game Room Updates Delayed Till Further Notice

Microsoft’s Europe Xbox Live editor, Daniel Maher, announced via Twitter today that any further Game Room updates have been delayed “until further notice” without any reason for the delay. Later in the day Major Nelson also tweeted that they are working on bringing additional Game Room titles “as soon as possible” but didn’t provide any further information on the delays.

It turns out that layoffs are part of the problem. Here is an interview with Krome Studios about Game Room. Microsoft too suffered a wave of layoffs and right now it sends many more jobs abroad. It turns out that not much entrepreneurship has emerged in Seattle following Microsoft’s layoffs. Microsoft doesn’t care about Seattle where it avoids paying tax.

Datel

As we noted at the top, Microsoft is ruthless when it comes to companies that support Microsoft. The egocentricity of Microsoft led to a desire for a monopoly on hardware (typical thing for Apple).

Datel’s antitrust complaint against Microsoft is going ahead, further contributing to legal trouble that Microsoft already has. Coverage about Datel includes:

Datel Given Green Light In Xbox 360 Antitrust Lawsuit

A UK-based maker of Xbox 360 accessories has been given permission to go ahead with an anti-trust lawsuit Microsoft after the software maker decided to stop supporting third-party accessories for its games console.

The Federal Court of California, presided over by Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte, said Datel Design & Development had every right to pursue the anti-trust charges it has filed against Microsoft, but asked it to amend one of its claims which accuses Microsoft off monopolising the Xbox Live market.

We have already covered this case last week [1, 2] and previously in:

Yes, this is how Microsoft treats ‘partners’ like Datel. Why is anyone supporting or augmenting Microsoft products in the first place? rPath, please pay attention.

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