The Bigger Picture: Xbox 360

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,microsoft.public.xbox,microsoft.public.xbox.games,microsoft.public.xbox.live,uk.games.video.xbox (More info?)

http://www.next-gen.biz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=623&Itemid=2The Bigger Picture: Xbox 360by Owain BennallackSomeone, somewhere, probably still believes Microsoft got into console gamesfor the kudos of putting out Halo. Good for them. The world needs believers,and every time you say 'Xbox is a Trojan Horse', a fairy dies.The rest of us long ago decided that Microsoft's Xbox play is a strategy toensure that in the face of the escalating power and utility of gamesconsoles, the software giant can try to win in the living room the ubiquityfor its operating system it has long enjoyed in the office and the PC den -or at the very least not lose it to a rival without contention. Microsoft'sbest case scenario? Xbox laying the foundations for a Microsoft-ownedmultimedia hub at the centre of our increasingly networked lives.It might seem fanciful, even paranoid, to see a Windows-killer in the shapeof a games console, but perhaps not to anyone who pondered Sony's visionwhen it revealed PlayStation 2. By definition, threats to the status quocome from outside. Apple is subverting hi fi manufacturers and musicdistributors with iTunes and iPod. Netscape and its web-browser had a decentcrack at frightening Gates and company for a while - until Microsoft sat onthem. Some would say Google presents the same threat today. And let's notforget IBM, whose towering strength in the mainframe market suddenly seemedprehistoric when PCs began spreading beneath its feet. It's hardly a lessonMicrosoft will have forgotten.The Windows platform is Microsoft's lifeblood: maintaining its dominance isall important. The Linux desktop and server threat is the best documented,but similar fights also rage on personal organisers, and on wireless andsmart phones.The critical difference between those skirmishes and Microsoft's clash withSony - aside from entertainment taking centre stage - is that in games,Microsoft had to build a machine, rather than simply leverage its software.Xbox's originators noticed the PC platform had everything required to make akiller games console, but Microsoft wasn't in the business of making PCs.Circumstances forced Microsoft to assume a mantle more familiar to its oldadversary, Apple, and design, build, sell - and pay for - the Xbox, and itssuccessor. This is not Microsoft's DNA, however necessary the operation.Hardware underplayedIt's surely no coincidence that the industry positioning of thesecond-generation Xbox has underplayed the hardware. Whereas Sony'sPlayStation 3 launch put the Cell chip on a 40-foot high screen, Microsoft'sXbox 360 E3 event reduced Xbox 360's silicon to bullet points. Microsoftwould rather highlight its software and services as the winning componentsof its platform.XNA, the development framework that now encompasses all Windows consumerdevices, is touted as the most fully-featured, integrated, and supportiveenvironment in which to create games. On the tenth anniversary of DirectX -and considering that API's ultimate triumph against a sceptical and evenhostile ecology of game developers, publishers, and hardware vendors -Microsoft has every reason to spotlight its mature 'virtual platform' oftools and technology. Sony's ongoing predilection for esoteric gameshardware plays into its hands on this score (something perhaps acknowledgedby the Japanese company's recent purchase of UK games dev tool specialist,SN Systems).At the other end of the value chain is Xbox Live. Well-thought out, evolved,and popular with consumers and developers, Xbox Live gives Microsoft an edgewhen it comes to 'the connected platform' of multiplayer gaming andcommunity. The challenge this next generation is to win more support: at theleast, downloadable content must be joined by episodic content, andMicrosoft will want to see full games delivery and some sort of virtual eBayfor interactive content too. A further prize would be a truly establishedcommunity of Live-centric discussions and alliances, made up of tens ofmillions of Xbox owners. The greatest ambition - which may lie beyond thisgeneration - must be the delivery of non-game content: videos, music, andeven broadcast TV.Sony is already exploring that route with PSP, but its handheld has a USP -portability - absent from the TV-based games machines. Xbox 360 andPlayStation 3 must compete directly with established devices, from cableboxes to PVRs. Establishing community and trust is thus key for both Sonyand Microsoft; they need their users to actively prefer to consume non-gamescontent through their games machines, if their bigger ambitions are to berealised.We've barely talked about games. Make no mistake - the quality andinnovation of the rival console's games remains of utmost importance.Microsoft cannot take the fight to Sony without interactive entertainment ofthe highest quality. If every must-have title is on PlayStation 3,Microsoft's Live meeting place will have all the appeal of an emptynightclub with the lights up.Middle groundBut Microsoft's strengths and strategy can't hope to take that middle groundin this generation, certainly not in the early years. Sony's decade-longhistory of hosting great games from a plethora of the world's leadingdevelopers and publishers gives it immense momentum. But look beyond that -below, to the XNA game development platform, and arching over it, to thenetworked uber-platform of Live - and the Sony versus Microsoft struggleseems much more even.And it's these areas that are surely of supreme importance to Microsoft -the raison d'être of its Xbox ambition. If, in 2010, the leading nextgeneration console had a Windows-based development environment and operatingsystem underlying it, and a Microsoft-controlled (and tithed) digitaldistribution network sitting on top, would it really matter to Microsoft ifa Sony or Nintendo badge were on the front?Making hardware is likely a short-term play - owning the de facto standardsoftware that powers the hardware is the point. Microsoft can't allowanother company to make a land grab that threatens its dominance as theplatform for software in the living room, no more than it can in ITdepartments.Xbox 360 isn't life and death for Microsoft: it's much more important thanthat.
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More about bigger picture xbox
  1. Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,microsoft.public.xbox,microsoft.public.xbox.games,microsoft.public.xbox.live,uk.games.video.xbox (More info?)

    Formatting is your friend.
  2. Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,microsoft.public.xbox,microsoft.public.xbox.games,microsoft.public.xbox.live,uk.games.video.xbox (More info?)

    Highlander wrote:
    > http://www.next-gen.biz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=623&Itemid=2The Bigger Picture: Xbox 360by Owain BennallackSomeone, somewhere, probably still believes Microsoft got into console gamesfor the kudos of putting out Halo. Good for them. The world needs believers,and every time you say 'Xbox is a Trojan Horse', a fairy dies.The rest of us long ago decided that Microsoft's Xbox play is a strategy toensure that in the face of the escalating power and utility of gamesconsoles, the software giant can try to win in the living room the ubiquityfor its operating system it has long enjoyed in the office and the PC den -or at the very least not lose it to a rival without contention. Microsoft'sbest case scenario? Xbox laying the foundations for a Microsoft-ownedmultimedia hub at the centre of our increasingly networked lives.It might seem fanciful, even paranoid, to see a Windows-killer in the shapeof a games console, but perhaps not to anyone who pondered Sony's visi
    onwhen it revealed PlayStation 2. By definition, threats to the status quocome from outside. Apple is subverting hi fi manufacturers and musicdistributors with iTunes and iPod. Netscape and its web-browser had a decentcrack at frightening Gates and company for a while - until Microsoft sat onthem. Some would say Google presents the same threat today. And let's notforget IBM, whose towering strength in the mainframe market suddenly seemedprehistoric when PCs began spreading beneath its feet. It's hardly a lessonMicrosoft will have forgotten.The Windows platform is Microsoft's lifeblood: maintaining its dominance isall important. The Linux desktop and server threat is the best documented,but similar fights also rage on personal organisers, and on wireless andsmart phones.The critical difference between those skirmishes and Microsoft's clash withSony - aside from entertainment taking centre stage - is that in games,Microsoft had to build a machine, rather than simply leverage it
    s software.Xbox's originators noticed the PC platform had everything required to make akiller games console, but Microsoft wasn't in the business of making PCs.Circumstances forced Microsoft to assume a mantle more familiar to its oldadversary, Apple, and design, build, sell - and pay for - the Xbox, and itssuccessor. This is not Microsoft's DNA, however necessary the operation.Hardware underplayedIt's surely no coincidence that the industry positioning of thesecond-generation Xbox has underplayed the hardware. Whereas Sony'sPlayStation 3 launch put the Cell chip on a 40-foot high screen, Microsoft'sXbox 360 E3 event reduced Xbox 360's silicon to bullet points. Microsoftwould rather highlight its software and services as the winning componentsof its platform.XNA, the development framework that now encompasses all Windows consumerdevices, is touted as the most fully-featured, integrated, and supportiveenvironment in which to create games. On the tenth anniversary of DirectX -a
    nd considering that API's ultimate triumph against a sceptical and evenhostile ecology of game developers, publishers, and hardware vendors -Microsoft has every reason to spotlight its mature 'virtual platform' oftools and technology. Sony's ongoing predilection for esoteric gameshardware plays into its hands on this score (something perhaps acknowledgedby the Japanese company's recent purchase of UK games dev tool specialist,SN Systems).At the other end of the value chain is Xbox Live. Well-thought out, evolved,and popular with consumers and developers, Xbox Live gives Microsoft an edgewhen it comes to 'the connected platform' of multiplayer gaming andcommunity. The challenge this next generation is to win more support: at theleast, downloadable content must be joined by episodic content, andMicrosoft will want to see full games delivery and some sort of virtual eBayfor interactive content too. A further prize would be a truly establishedcommunity of Live-centric discussions
    and alliances, made up of tens ofmillions of Xbox owners. The greatest ambition - which may lie beyond thisgeneration - must be the delivery of non-game content: videos, music, andeven broadcast TV.Sony is already exploring that route with PSP, but its handheld has a USP -portability - absent from the TV-based games machines. Xbox 360 andPlayStation 3 must compete directly with established devices, from cableboxes to PVRs. Establishing community and trust is thus key for both Sonyand Microsoft; they need their users to actively prefer to consume non-gamescontent through their games machines, if their bigger ambitions are to berealised.We've barely talked about games. Make no mistake - the quality andinnovation of the rival console's games remains of utmost importance.Microsoft cannot take the fight to Sony without interactive entertainment ofthe highest quality. If every must-have title is on PlayStation 3,Microsoft's Live meeting place will have all the appeal of an emptyni
    ghtclub with the lights up.Middle groundBut Microsoft's strengths and strategy can't hope to take that middle groundin this generation, certainly not in the early years. Sony's decade-longhistory of hosting great games from a plethora of the world's leadingdevelopers and publishers gives it immense momentum. But look beyond that -below, to the XNA game development platform, and arching over it, to thenetworked uber-platform of Live - and the Sony versus Microsoft struggleseems much more even.And it's these areas that are surely of supreme importance to Microsoft -the raison d'être of its Xbox ambition. If, in 2010, the leading nextgeneration console had a Windows-based development environment and operatingsystem underlying it, and a Microsoft-controlled (and tithed) digitaldistribution network sitting on top, would it really matter to Microsoft ifa Sony or Nintendo badge were on the front?Making hardware is likely a short-term play - owning the de facto standardsoftware that
    powers the hardware is the point. Microsoft can't allowanother company to make a land grab that threatens its dominance as theplatform for software in the living room, no more than it can in ITdepartments.Xbox 360 isn't life and death for Microsoft: it's much more important thanthat.
    >

    *yawn*

    Thanks for spamming 6 day old new GAYlander.

    --
    -------------------------------------------------------
    --------------------THIS WEEKS CD PLAY-----------------
    -------------------------------------------------------
    --------------- Renaissance - the Classics ------------
    -------------------------------------------------------
  3. Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,microsoft.public.xbox,microsoft.public.xbox.games,microsoft.public.xbox.live,uk.games.video.xbox (More info?)

    "ScoopeX" <scoopex@xboxlive360.co.uk> wrote in message
    news:j%yJe.13101$SA5.3058@fe05.buzzardnews.com...
    > Highlander wrote:
    >>
    >> http://www.next-gen.biz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=623&Itemid=2The
    >> Bigger <snip>>
    >
    > *yawn*
    >
    > Thanks for spamming 6 day old new GAYlander.

    Weren't you Xenon's "date" a week ago?
  4. Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,microsoft.public.xbox,microsoft.public.xbox.games,microsoft.public.xbox.live,uk.games.video.xbox (More info?)

    Simply put,

    Way to much text.
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