Xbox Archives - Page 8
August 18, 2005
Just when it looked like Microsoft really had all their ducks in a row for the Xbox 360 launch they totally mess it up with confusing (and a bit sleazy) marketing tactics. After following Microsoft for the last 21 years (I actually bought an 80-column card made by them!) it never amazes me the lengths they go to confuse their users. The duel launch of two Xbox 360 systems is pure brilliance ... from a marketing point of view that is.
Yesterday it was revealed yesterday that when the Xbox is released it will come in to "flavors" -- the "Xbox 360 Core" for $299 and the "Xbox 360" for $399. Notice how Microsoft calls the more expensive option just the "Xbox 360" and not "Xbox 360 Deluxe" or something similar. That is classic Marketing 101 for you, call the more expensive option by the product name and the less expensive option something different. That way when the kiddies ask mommy and daddy for an "Xbox 360" and they go online or to the store they will see that the "Xbox 360" costs $399, while the "Xbox 360 Core" costs $299. So if the parents buy the cheaper "Core" version they, of course, will be buying the "wrong" version because little Johnny asked for the "Xbox 360", which is the $399 option. Pretty brilliant calling the console and the more expensive option by the exact same name. Expect a lot of confused parents this holiday season when they try to buy a $299 "Xbox 360" (which is $399, silly parents!)
Next up -- the hard drive, or should I say, the lack of a hard drive. The Xbox 360 hard drive is only included with the more expensive option, the "Core" system only comes with the console itself, the "Xbox 360 Controller" (the wired version, of course), and the HD-AV cable. Plus Microsoft has already told developers "not to count on having a hard drive available" when developing their games. Since the hard drive is only an option you can now look forward to 99% of all Xbox 360 games not to use the hard drive at all (developers always have to create for the lowest common denominator, which is no hard drive).
So why is Microsoft even releasing the hard drive at all? One key reason -- backwards compatibility with the original Xbox. Without a hard drive you won't be able to play original Xbox games on the Xbox 360. But even this issue isn't that clearcut. You see, the Xbox 360 is using a totally different chipset from the original Xbox, so the only way you will be able to play Xbox games on your Xbox 360 is through an "emulation mode". That's right, the Xbox 360 will have to emulate the Xbox in order to play Halo 2. Nice forward thinking Microsoft.
So let's call a spade a spade shall we? The Xbox 360 costs $399, period. Sure there will be a "version" of the Xbox 360 which only costs $299 and has a wired controller, no hard drive, and no backwards capability. So now Microsoft will say in all their ads and PR "The Xbox 360 ... Only $299!" which I guess is technically true, but which version are all the kiddies and "real gamers" going to buy? Ah Microsoft, you are so evil, that is why I love you!
August 4, 2005
High on his orgy of non-stop media coverage, Miami attorney and self-described "anti-game crusader" Jack Thompson has decided to attack Take-Two Interactive once again. Yesterday Jack and a Washington D.C. community group named "Peaceoholics" (you know, because they're addicted to Peaceohol) staged a protest outside Take-Two's Manhattan offices to protest Rockstar's yet-to-be-released game Bully. Bully is, of course, Rockstar's upcoming, highly controversial video game set in a private school for boys.
Yesterday the Peaceoholics, led by activist Ronald Moten, carried signs that said among other things, "Prosecute Rockstar Games. They are felons," and "Stop Bully Now!" Today Peaceoholics released their list of demands for Take-Two Interactive, parent company of Rockstar. These included:
Well, those seem reasonable to me. But it appears that they left out the demands where Take-Two gives everyone in the world a million dollars, free back massages for life, and a brand new car. I mean, how could they forget those?
July 22, 2005
Despite posting a 22% increase in revenue for its "Home & Entertainment" division Microsoft continues to take an operating loss amounting to $179 million, bringing the yearly loss to $391 million. This is down from a loss of $1.2 billion last year, so not too bad, but the Xbox remains a big money loser for Microsoft.
Sure I love the Xbox, and I'm looking forward to the Xbox 360, but you have to wonder just how longer Microsoft is going to keep making a system which is costing them than the GNP of ... Liechtenstein. Okay, maybe it's not costing them that much money. I mean, they just $3.7 billion in the last 90 days. So what's a few billion for a gaming system? And everyone is having a good time?
So thanks Bill for spending all that hard earned money on letting us play Xbox games! I'm looking forward to the Xbox 360, and whatever comes after that. I hope you continue to lose money for a long long time...
June 1, 2005
Okay, I think I finally got over E3 and I'm ready to start posting on a regular basis again. Also now that E3 is over we'll start actually getting "real" gaming news instead of the 37th "news article" about the Xbox 360 MTV special.
So what am I going to write about ... the Xbox 360 of course! First up, it seems that GameStop has actually listed Halo 3 as an upcoming release. Right now it's listed as a "pre-release ETA: 6/1/2006" and at a price of $59.99. I'm sure this is nothing more than a placeholder for now (I still remember when World of Warcraft was listed on the EB Games site for over two years before it actually came out).
Next up, Joystiq has word that the Xbox 360 will launch on November 2, 2005 along with games that have a MSRP of $59.99. Wow, that is expensive. Nearly everyone I know already buys most of their video games used, factor in a $10 price hike across the board and I have a feeling the used video game business is going to really take off ... big time.
Of course, I still remember spending $79.95(!) in 1989(!!) for the Sega Genesis game Sword of Vermilion (which was a piece of crap). And did you know that the original MSRP for Warcraft I was also $79.95! So when you compare the Xbox 360 game prices to those ancient games they're a steal! Damn, I should work for the Microsoft PR department.
And finally, something which has nothing to do with the Xbox 360 at all -- my next podcast. Look for part two of my interview with Will Wright within the next week. Until then ... just 50 more weeks until the next E3!
May 7, 2005
Let's see, if you hold an event where you unveil the Xbox 360 a week before it's to air (in this case the MTV launch party, which was taped a few days ago) you would have to think that someone with a cell phone camera would take a picture of what the new Xbox 360, the hard drive attachment, the new controller, the Live headset, and the EyeToy-like camera ... wouldn't you?
Well, you would be correct. And here it is.
May 2, 2005
Wow, not much going on in the video gaming world. Let's see what I can find which is even a little bit interesting...
Ah, this is semi-cool. Engadget interviewed Bill Gates about the next Xbox, PC media center features, the PSP, and other gaming related items. Of course it is a bit annoying when the interviewer asks Bill a question, which then completely ignores and then just talks about whatever he wants. But it's still an interesting interview.
In other news it appears that Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter is a PS3 fan. Pachter wrote a memo where he stated "We think that many investors have misinterpreted the launch of the Xbox 360 as the beginning of the next generation, and expect rapid sales growth in 2006. In contrast, we expect the launch of Sony's PS3 (expected in late 2006) to mark the beginning of the next cycle, and think that rapid sales growth will not materialize until 2007." Interesting point of view.
Finally, Rockstar released lots of GTA: San Andreas Xbox and PC details. Here's the scoop:
April 25, 2005
Between the images of the Xbox 360 being shown on the ourcolony.net web site and the leaked image of the final design it appears that the leaked image is indeed the final design of the Xbox 360. The images from outcolony.net match up perfectly with the leaked image and now spong.com has a very interesting article detailed Microsoft's attempts to plug the Xbox 360 image leak.
Basically the article details how many gaming publications already had the picture of the Xbox 360 from the "front-on" but could not release the image until May 12. But it seems that somewhere within Europe the image was first leaked and soon after quickly spread over the Internet. They also suspect that someone at MTV may have leaked a second image (pictured above), an actual photograph of the removable 40GB hard drive. The only reason for this speculation is that the press only has access for the "front-on" image so the hard drive image had to come from a different source.
Interestingly enough there is still more for eager Xbox 360 to discover, including the view from the back as well as a view of the controller. But did Microsoft really expect to keep this a secret until May 12 after sending the image to thousands of gaming journalists throughout the world?
April 25, 2005
Computer and Video Games is reporting that around 15 to 20 titles, many of which are new installments in established franchises, will be available during the launch of the Xbox 360.
Some of the new titles reported include Rare's long-awaited and hotly anticipated Perfect Dark Zero, Project Gotham Racing 3, Need For Speed Underground 3, Test Drive, and potentially EA's next Burnout game.
As for Halo 3, don't expect to see that at launch-time, but longtime rumors have speculated that Halo 2.5 may come pre-installed on the hard drive. However, the hard drive will be sold separately by Microsoft rather than being an out-of-the-box feature. Halo 2.5 will most likely have much improved visuals that will support 720p resolution and some new multiplayer levels.
The real questios is just how great can a dozen rushed Xbox 360 title be on launch-day? Anyone remember the Xbox launch title Shrek?
April 23, 2005
According to reliable sources close to different sites around the Internet, this indeed is the final design of the Xbox 360. It actually looks ... quite nice. Very much like an ipod with the smooth curves, and what's interesting is the lack of any controller ports. It seems like the rumors of wireless controllers are indeed true.
Of course, this could just be yet another elaborate hoax, but I don't know. This design seems like it could be the real deal. What do you think?
April 18, 2005
As every single gaming web site reported today GameStop has purchased Electronics Boutique and the new company will be known as GameStop Corp. Combined the two companies will have over 3,200 stores worldwide, about $3.8 billion in annual revenue, and nearly 22% of the total US video game market.
What will be interesting is that this new company will have a huge monopoly on the video game retail business and will pretty much be able to make or break a game release. And when you factor in Wal-Mart, the two companies will combine to control around 50% of the entire US video game retail market. The big get bigger yet again!