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06.17.10

The ‘New’ Xbox 360 is Dead on Arrival as Microsoft Copies Mistakes, Fixes Nothing, Bribes Journalists

Posted in Hardware, Marketing, Microsoft at 6:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Xbox console

Summary: News from E3 suggests that Microsoft has done nothing substantial to rescue its gaming business, which continues to disappoint

AS E3 starts, Microsoft must show the audience (including journalists) something new. Xbox 360 has been having a crisis and Microsoft’s latest peripheral/gadget for it, Kinect/Natal, is receiving some bad reviews including predictions of doom from Dvorak.

Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox 360 is Doomed to Fail

[...]

This all seems like Microsoft’s answer to the clever Wii controller, with its built-in gyroscopes and accelerometers. But when all is said and done, game consoles were invented with game controllers in mind. The Wiimote is a modernized game controller. The Kinnect is a gimmick, and as gimmicks go, its popularity will be brief, unless the most compelling game in the world arrives built around it. And I do not see that happening.

When it comes to hardware issues, Microsoft is just covering up the problem:

Microsoft fixes Xbox RROD… by removing the red light

[...]

One interesting factoid is the decision to remove the red lights from the console. Effectively making it incapable of showing the dreaded ‘red ring of death’ should your new slim Xbox 360 decide to overheat and crap out on you.

Microsoft removes the symptom, a bit like kicking it under the table or sweeping it under the rug. “Xbox 360 slim can’t red-ring by design,” says another headline:

The absolute impossibility of the red ring isn’t by virtue of the console being failure-proof–that has yet to be determined. It’s because the new console has no red LEDs at all. According to a spec sheet obtained by gaming blog Joystiq, the new console has only green LEDs in the ring on its front.

Another common complaint (leading to a lawsuit even) is the scratching of discs by Xbox 360. Microsoft ‘resolved’ this by warning users, not by actually addressing the issue. As The Register puts it in the headline, “New Xbox 360 said to ‘still scratch discs’”

The crucial point here is that the Xbox currently – and will presumably continue to – come with a sticker warning punters not to move the machine while a disc is spinning. Microsoft acknowledged the problem in 2008, but so few folk feel the need to knock their consoles around while playing games that the issue has affected a relatively small number of people.

“Of course they are not going to fix disc destruction,” Oiaohm explains, “Microsoft gets paid per disc sold.”

A few days ago we showed that Microsoft bribed journalists to increase the likelihood of positive Xbox 360 reviews. Here is spin from IDG:

Is Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Slim Press Giveaway a Bribe?

[...]

It just seemed so very strange, watching everyone clapping, cheering, leaping out of their seats, as if we were all on Oprah, and she’d just announced that everyone in the viewing audience was getting a brand new car. Except this wasn’t Oprah, and we weren’t the “viewing audience.” We were there to absorb and critique Microsoft’s announcements and claims. Is this where we’re headed? Game shows with prize giveaways?

“With all the bribery going on,” explains Chips B Malroy, “expect the reviews of the newer slim Xbox360 to be generally favorable.”

According to AP, shows Malroy, “Microsoft fancied to unveil Kinect, the name of its new Xbox 360 motion-control system, with a lavishly bizarre invite-only Cirque du Soilel performance Sunday night that required attendees to don white satin ponchos.”

“With all the bribery going on expect the reviews of the newer slim Xbox360 to be generally favorable.”
      –Chips B Malroy,
As Malroy puts it, “So is that Wine and Dine, bribery, plus a show as well?”

In summary, Xbox 360 shows that Microsoft is continuing its usual bribery of journalists, who are carefully being selected based on their dispositions. That won’t save Xbox 360, which resolved none of the major issues in a revised model; the issues are being concealed rather than eliminated.

In the words of this new blog post’s headline, “Good bye Microsoft!”

It seems that Microsoft is slowly fading from its dominant position and loosing its monopoly. Only through innovation will Microsoft be able to defend its place but it seems that this is very unlikely. Microsoft has become too big and sluggish. It is time to bid Microsoft good bye and embrace the up and coming alternatives.

It is premature to say “good bye” to Microsoft, but either way, there are other dangers to people’s rights and freedoms in computing. In Techrights we perceive the ACTA, for example, as a danger that impacts more than just technology. We’ll write about it tomorrow. This site depends neither on Novell nor Microsoft as fights for freedom are perpetual, history teaches.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing.”

Edmund Burke

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2 Comments

  1. Will said,

    June 18, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Gravatar

    Wow. Nice group of articles. Other than seeing the announcement of the 360 Slim, I hadn’t paid it much attention. Wanted to wait and see what kinds of problems those models have 6-12 months later.

    Interesting that in the Dvorak article, he gets flamed in the comments for being too old, not understanding video games, being too shortsighted to appreciate the miracle Microsoft is bestowing on the world here, etc, etc. Yet I’ve seen the same sort of cautiously pessimistic attitude on Kinect from many commenters on Kotaku as well, a website dedicated to and frequented by hardcore gamers.

    Sad that they won’t be fixing the disc eating problem. I can’t confirm but I heard once that the difference between the 360 disc munching drive and every other disc drive in the world is a $0.50 piece of rubber that acts as a spacer to prevent that sort of thing. Again, that may not be accurate. In any case, I’m sure Microsoft will enjoy being able to sell multiple copies of the same game to the same user.

    I can see another layer of potential fail here, too: all that jumping around with Kinect is likely to disturb the 360 a little depending on where it is, especially if it’s on its side. May not do anything, but it seems like it might increase the chances of a scratched disk.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    The most telling thing is that Bach and Allard have left.

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