The Future of Console Gaming
|part 3/page 1|
Part 3 - X-Box
I apologize for the long overdue nature of the rest of this article. Unfortunately events have conspired to effect my delay. The first and biggest problem that I've had is that every time I would get near to having this third segment completed, something totally unexpected would happen. Thus, significantly changing my theories on what would happen next. For instance, the SNK situation... Who would have been able to predict back at the beginning of the year that the company would get bought out, have most of the important fighting game staff jump ship for Capcom, and then have the remains become a Pachinco company!?! Or Game.Com which looked like it was doing well last Christmas in the "toys grandparents buy" department, just piff away over the last year.
Originally I was planning to cover the backgrounds of a large number of companies in this segment but due to issues that have come up while putting together the research I needed, I have decided to restrict the topic of this part to only one company.
Microsoft... Let's get into the fray right off and talk about X-Box. Just what's up with this modern day marvel which according to many PC gamers on the street is going to be akin to the second coming of Christ? Well, while I don't think that's going to be the case, I do think the system will do well in its market segment. It's pretty hard to be objectionable about anything Microsoft does these days. Everyone has an opinion, and they can't be swayed. On the net we call a situation like this a "holy war" because both sides are firm in their beliefs, will defend their point(s) to death, and are absolutely certain beyond a doubt that the other side is wrong. No matter what.
The bottom line here is simple. Microsoft wants to increase its profits, and make more money for its shareholders. The X-Box is the next step in their efforts. In order for all of this to work though, the X-Box has to be successful. In fact, not only successful, it has to become a "standard" in the market. Microsoft will be making their money first off of gaming software sales, then internet subscriptions, and then application subscriptions. The end goal being that you will hopefully use the X-Box as your videogame machine, cable TV box (akin to WebTV), family computer, and more. Don't be surprised when DVD functionality gets added along with possible TV buffering (akin to Tivo) features. I also wouldn't be surprised to see companies like AOL/Time Warner start offering X-Boxes at a steep discount to their cable customers as a "cable plus" system.
If this works, this insulates Microsoft even further from potential government intervention, and also helps them to exclude other competitors from their market. Let's face it, when was the last time you ever heard someone TELL Nintendo or Sega that they had to allow their competitors games to be played on their systems? If Microsoft doesn't want to license someone's product on their system, oh well. MS would be beyond the OS market at that point since they wouldn't be running on an OS as we know it. The end goal being that if you want a desktop on your X-Box, you can just subscribe to one via MSN where you can also access subscriptions for Word, Excel, etc... and drive space isn't an issue because you'll use Microsoft's remote file storage systems. If anything Microsoft has learned well from Sega and AOL about how to set these things up. And as far as MS stating that the system wouldn't have a keyboard... does it have an ports on it? Is one of those a USB port? You do the math.
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