07.05.10

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Early Eulogies to Xbox 360 (Gloomy Forecast, Poor Preorder Numbers, Bungie Leaves)

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft at 7:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The mummy

Summary: A roundup of news about Xbox 360 and the new controller which hasn’t yet arrived or shown much demand

THE Xbox 360′s reality becomes more evident as the weeks go by. Maybe the Xbox 360 will be the next “KIN”-like victim of tough competition; the death of Original Xbox Live was mentioned here in April and questions are still being raised about it. Video games are not as profitable as they used to be, so participation in this area becomes less attractive over time.

DFC says that Xbox 360 will suffer a fall in sales.

DFC Intelligence, the analysis firm, has estimated that Xbox 360 is likely to lose its demands shortly. In the upcoming months, it is going to lose its market to rivals, added DFC.

This is also covered in:

i. Microsoft Xbox 360 Set To Decline Says Analyst Firm

Industry Market Analyst DFC Intelligence has issued a note saying that Microsoft’s flagship gaming console, the Xbox 360, has already passed its peak and is set to weaken over the next few years.

The brief, Gamasutra reports, says that Kinect, the newly announced peripheral, will have a neglible impact on the sales of the Xbox before adding that “The Xbox 360 has some good years left, but the platform is clearly on the downside of its lifecycle”.

ii. Analyst: Xbox 360 ‘Clearly On The Downside Of Its Lifecycle’

But despite its efforts to move beyond its core gamer demographic, Microsoft will struggle to make its console relevant to the mass market, as the Xbox 360 moves into its fifth year, according to one analyst.

iii. Has the Xbox 360 hit the ‘downside’ of its lifecycle?

DFC Intelligence believes the Xbox 360 may have “some” good years left, but estimates the console is on the “downside” of its lifecycle – despite the advent of Microsoft’s Kinect platform.

iv. Kinect will struggle to hit mass market

Microsoft may struggle to take the Xbox 360 to the mass market level and it’s likely that Kinect, the new Xbox controller, may have a “negligible impact” – that’s according to market analysts DFC Intelligence.

That last one talks about Kinect (formerly “Natal”). It was hyped up rather aggressively by Microsoft (marketing costs a lot of money), but Microsoft Kinect pre-orders are said to be disappointing:

Microsoft might have made a major mistake by pricing the Microsoft Kinect as high as $149, a price that means that the peripheral could well carry a suggested retail price of around £129.99 in the UK.

[...]

He added that pre-orders, at least for Shopto, are currently very low.

“High Kinect Price Leads To Low Pre-Orders,” says the headline of another article:

The Kinect has garnered mixed reviews since it was fully unveiled at E3. Fudzilla reports that the biggest issue the motion-capture peripheral faces may be due to its high price tag. The Kinect is set to retail for $149, although Microsoft is adamant that the price could change before launch.

There are claims of a 2-player limit, which would harm the gameplay. The lack of a price tag is also a problem (only specifications are known) and “Kinect will struggle to hit mass market,” says this news headline:

Microsoft may struggle to take the Xbox 360 to the mass market level and it’s likely that Kinect, the new Xbox controller, may have a “negligible impact” – that’s according to market analysts DFC Intelligence.

One Web site asks, “Is the Xbox 360 In Its Death Throes? ”

Microsoft has made it clear that they believe Kinect to be the shot in the arm the Xbox 360 needs to remain relevant for another half-decade. Market research firm DFC Intelligence disagrees, and believes that the Xbox’s best days are behind it, and Microsoft has hitched its gaming wagon to an old and dying horse.

There are many doubts about the project due to lost leadership [1, 2, 3]. Greenberg is still on board with ‘damage control’ for Milo, but the bad press keeps coming. “Crackdown 2 Soundtrack Confirmed By Microsoft Is Terrible,” says this one Web site and even Microsoft’s marketing people cannot stick to one position on Milo, which is embarrassing.

Conflicting reports from Microsoft PR

One site accuses Microsoft of bribing people who write and it asks: “Does GameStop Promote Microsoft Over Sony?”

Microsoft is into giving gifts. Just ask anyone who goes to any trade shows or anyone who has worked for a GameStop or EB in the past decade or so. I was working at an EB when the first Xbox launched and to help promote it, Microsoft reps handed a ton of goodies to EB managers and assistant managers at the annual company meeting. Just recently, when I was down to GameStop, the employees were talking about their upcoming meeting in July, and they all fully expect to get preferential treatment from the big M$.

Microsoft’s bribing of journalists for positive Xbox 360 coverage is a subject we wrote about last month [1, 2, 3].

Another site ridicules Microsoft for just playing catch-up by copying competitors and Bungie is officially leaving Microsoft after telling the world that Microsoft was a suppressor of creativity. This was expected and it's not quite the exception, either.

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