May 14, 2005


Originally posted by jane from game girl advance, reBlogged by ts

armistice.jpgA lot of us were disappointed by the Xbox unveiling on Mtv. I didn’t see it, but I’ve read and heard the comments. And most of you also acknowledge that it wasn’t meant for us.

That is absolutely the most important thing to understand about this whole launch: it wasn’t about us. It wasn’t about games. As of yesterday, the console wars are over.

We’re looking at a new dawn rising, friends.

Xbox 360 does not compete with Sony or Nintendo. It is not a gaming console. It is a powerful device to deliver content online and over WiFi. Microsoft’s real competition is Apple, Yahoo, and Google. Apple’s movie-download service. Yahoo’s retail channels. Google’s - well, everything. Heck, throw Comcast and TiVo in there for good measure. The games are merely a means to an end - an “instant-on revenue to support an exponential expansion into the livingroom,” as Eric put it over an IM chat we had.

A reporter recently asked me to comment on how important it was to be first in the console wars. But that’s an irrelevant issue, now. Microsoft has redefined the space on its own terms. It’s not a console war anymore. Microsoft has altered the terms of the conflict to cater to their strengths. It is now a war of integrated systems and services. Sony and Nintendo? They’re still making gaming systems. Fancier ones, but nothing like what Microsoft has in mind for Xbox 360.

This was really driven home to me while at Ryan’s house, checking out his modded Xbox. That thing was a buffed-out media center. We browsed the web, downloaded videos, and watched them. Ryan scrolled through the files on the Xbox as well as the files on his laptop. He had tons of games loaded on, ready to play. Freedom from packaged software. Freedom from wires. Freedom. The Xbox 360 saw this, and understood; it was always a part of their plan, anyways; the hackers got it first, but Microsoft will polish it. Can the PS3 and the Revolution compete? No, not at the stakes Microsoft is playing for.

The reason the unveiling played out the way it did is because they don’t really need to convince us of anything. We’re all just along for the ride. Gamers? We’re small potatoes to Microsoft. A means to an end.

[Really liked Jane’s comments… especially interesting on the same day someone sent me this Flash piece speculating about the coming Microsoft/”Googlezon” wars. That said, if Sony’s as good about content w/ the PS3 as they’re starting to look with the PSP, Microsoft will still have a fight on their hands. The Microsoft XBox party felt like a company trying too hard to be cool, and coming up short - like Bill Gates in a triple-five-soul jacket - Sony and Apple still manage to nail cool on the first try. - ts]