Nat Brown, one of the founding members of the Xbox team within Microsoft, absolutely eviscerates the current direction of the product:
My gripe is that, as usual, Microsoft has jumped its own shark and is out stomping through the weeds planning and talking about far-flung future strategies in interactive television and original programming partnerships with big dying media companies when their core product, their home town is on fire, their soldiers, their developers, are tired and deserting, and their supply-lines are broken.
Microsoft is living in a naive dream-world. I have heard people still there arguing that the transition of the brand from hardcore gamers to casual users and tv-uses was an intentional and crafted success. It was not. It was an accident of circumstance that Microsoft is neither leveraging nor in control of.
Apple, if it chooses to do so, will simply kill Playstation, Wii-U and xBox by introducing an open 30%-cut app/game ecosystem for Apple-TV. I already make a lot of money on iOS – I will be the first to write apps for Apple-TV when I can, and I know I’ll make money.
Read the whole thing. My sense is that Brown is dead-on. Microsoft “won” that last round of the console wars, but that may actually hurt and not help them. Because what they think most users will want is actually just an illusion — a reflection of the past.
The next Xbox sounds like a great power gamer machine, but what if the real competition is not the Playstation or the Wii-U, but the as-yet-untapped Apple TV running iOS games?
I was an Xbox fan for a long time — I owned three different models until I finally got fed up with all the quirks of the software (some of which Brown addresses in his post) and threw the thing out the window. The new Xbox should have been released at least two years ago. Microsoft rested on their laurels for too long. Now they have to hope Apple doesn’t release an SDK for the Apple TV before they unveil the new Xbox.
I can’t agree with the claim that Apple could instantly corner the gaming market by putting games on the next Apple TV. Current and Next-Gen gaming is at a level that requires dedicated GPU hardware and intensive processing power. The Apple TV (like most Apple hardware) is a device designed to be sleek and sexy. This means no fans or vents for cooling.
In addition they want a device with a small footprint on your entertainment center, meaning no room for high performance hardware. While Apple could easily capture the casual gamers that Microsoft never anticipated, Apple would be hard pressed to crack the core gamer market.
Factor in the fact that thanks to achievements and tenure on Xbox Live, many core gamers will stay with Microsoft for the rest of their time as a gamer. While I do agree with the original author on many aspects, especially regarding how the console manufacturers have turned their backs on the studios that helped make them successful in the first place.
If all else fails we can all just get the Steam console
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