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Microsoft is Just Copying and Playing Catch-up in Consoles

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft at 8:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Photocopy machine

Summary: In gaming consoles — just like in software — Microsoft sells unreliable, faulty, and generally inferior products that merely copy the competition

IN RECENT posts about Xbox 360 we showed [1, 2, 3] that Microsoft resorted to bribing journalists who write about it, probably because it still has problems such a “Red Ring of Death” (RRoD) problem. We wrote about this three times before [1, 2, 3] and Microsoft claims that there is thermal monitoring [1, 2]. This is not actually working effectively (or at all) based on reports that we found last week:

Many video game users are eager to get their hands on the brand new Xbox 360 system and the upcoming Microsoft Kinect. However, it appears that the old Xbox 360 Red ring of death aka “RROD” has shown its ugly self already, and just days after some owners have plugged in their new consoles!

“Xbox 360 red rings of death replaced with red eye of doom,” says this report (one among many [1, 2]) and tips are being given for people whose machines suffer “Red Ring of Death” (it’s still there, just not visible). Some go as far as selling cooling fans for Xbox 360. Shouldn’t ventilation be self-sufficient by now? Apparently not.

As we showed before, Microsoft dodges addressing the issue [1, 2] and the redesign of the unit sometimes does more harm than good. As for the new peripheral, it faces problems and one blogger’s headline asks: “Is Microsoft Kinect Already A Failure?”

There is a serious problem with the price [1, 2, 3], but Microsoft has excuses (contradicted by the pre-selling at that exact cost). Microsoft is making expensive what Nintendo Wii buyers get bundled (for about the same price as the peripheral alone) and there are better things coming from Microsoft’s competitors anyway [1, 2]. Microsoft is still behind:

Playing Catch-Up With Wii

The current generation of consoles were launched at the annual E3 show in 2005. And at this year’s E3, they didn’t showcase any completely new ideas. Instead, they designed new features and peripherals to extend the old model’s lives and broaden their appeal.

Microsoft is just copying others, as usual. It’s safe to guess that next year it will copy 3-D from Sony and Nintendo (we wrote about this last week because it’s still important enough to stay in the headlines [1, 2]).

Watch how Microsoft makes excuses for being behind the rest of the pack [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Microsoft pretends that the present adoption or lack thereof implies future adoption or lack thereof. Microsoft has always been reluctant to move forward, being the monopolist which it is (there is incentive to keep the status quo). Here is how Joystiq put it:

“We’re going to take more of an attitude of seeing what the adoption looks like,” Penello said.

That’s just shameless spin and an excuse for being the only console without 3D. Last week (or around E3) the excuse was that it’s too expensive, not that it’s lacking “demand”. They keep moving the goalposts. Inconsistencies are indicative of dishonesty.

People who are heavy gamers probably know that Microsoft is not at the forefront and it is even being snubbed by game makers [1, 2] because of its greed:

Wondering why Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIV isn’t coming to Xbox 360, or why Cryptic canceled the release of their own MMO, Champions Online, for the Microsoft console? The answer might be as simple as money.

For the time being it seems like Nintendo is the big winner. Why does it matter to Techrights? Because Microsoft has lost literally billions of dollars in this area, which harms Microsoft more than it helps it. As long as Microsoft attacks the freedom of software, its failures are good news to the software industry.

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  1. NotZed said,

    June 29, 2010 at 10:38 am


    “As long as Microsoft attacks the freedom of software, its failures are good news to the software industry.”

    Well, not really when the failures themselves are drawn-out and have other undesirable knock-on effects like market fragmentation and customer’s being ripped off. It lowers the whole tone of the industry and can lead to customer fatigue (think how nintendo milked the console industry dry leading to the US video games crash).

    The kinect camera looks like nice tech, but jesus, they need some better marketing people to run their shows. What a cringe fest of embarrassment try-hard that was (for the most part). I wonder if they’re under budget cuts too which might be a reason but no excuse.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

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