Microsoft’s Xbox 360 suffers from confused launch, lack of original games

“Has there ever been as confused a launch as the Xbox 360? Microsoft offers gamers two different choices. One has a hard drive, component display cable and a wireless controller. The other is a stripped-down model that lacks a hard drive, has a composite cable and a fixed-line controller,” Ed Lin writes for Forbes. “Want the one with the hard drive but don’t want (or need) the wireless controller or component cable? Tough. Buy the composite cable and wired controller separately. On top of this enforced ‘freedom’ of choice, retailers took it another step and offered pre-orders on systems bundled with games, accessories and even pre-paid game rentals.”

“The confusion may be intentional. Microsoft likely hoped to cover up its lack of original games available at launch… Ridge Racer 6? Project Gotham Racing 3? Do developers (and Microsoft) lack so much faith in the new system that they have to recycle repetitious-by-nature racing games? How embarrassing is it that The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has been delayed to some point in 2006? How embarrassing is it that the advertising blitz for that game had already begun before the delay was announced? It doesn’t matter how many different faceplates a gamer can slap onto the front of a system,” Lin writes. “If anything, the Xbox 360 is aptly named: Microsoft is trying to give gamers the spin.”

Full article here.

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35 Comments

  1. Yea… Microsoft is going to have a hard time selling the XBOX 360. Wait a minute, you can’t buy one ANYWHERE. I guess consumers don’t care about the confusion and are willing to pay up to $1200 for one of these systems. Microsoft is going to take the lead in the video game console market.

  2. Saw one in action at the Best Buy the other day–some random WWII first-person shooter. The graphics were amazing, but weren’t quite as amazing as I’d hoped, given the HD output. But still, an impressive-looking machine.

  3. Oh Boy, Oh Boy. You really are delusional.

    Microsoft will NOT lead the video games market. They have major problems with the 360. I should know – I was involved in trying to get Microsoft to design a better airflow system for the CPU’s. Three G5 chips are not going to be cooled effectively by standard PC fans. Look at the G5 and look at the time and effort gone into cooling those beasts… annd they still get warm.

    This is the beginning of a MAJOR issue for Microsoft. I envisage a total product recall because of terrible heat issues.

    Plus, the 360 has no new games. Like the article says, who want version 3, 4, 5 or 6 of a game you already have?

    Xbox 360, making customers spin in circles…

  4. I always thought Microsoft decided to use the “360” bit to disguise the fact that it’s actually the Xbox 2, which just sounds so far behind “PlayStation 3”.

    It’s also a possibility that the Xbox name it’s another play off OS X, kind of how XP (“eXPerience” – is that a stretch, or what?) was.

  5. Frankly, I don’t quite understand why this article is appearing here in the first place, but either way, it’s a pretty poorly written article. I’m surprised that MDN doesn’t call out the ignorance of the author and their lack or research in writing this article, oh wait, that would be too fair. There are some actually well-written articles out there detailing the reasons behind the problems that the XBox is supposed to be suffering as described in this article, and that it really isn’t Microsoft’s fault, but I don’t expect those positive articles to appear on this website. FUD!

  6. I read a report last week where Steve Ballmer was speaking about the XBox 360 and HD DVD in the same sentence. The XBox 360 has NO digital HD connection such as HDMI or DVI and it only has a DVD-ROM drive, if they’re not trying to mislead buyers then i’m the Pope.

    The choice is simple. Wait for the PS3. It has 2 x HDMI, BluRay HD video and probably much more besides.

  7. to “nothing…” you are correct this has nothing to do with Apple, but then there is no news about Apple but iPod sales. And that is played over and over and over. MDN always makes a practice of going out of its way to display any negative story about Microsoft…thinking that this is going to make more people buy Apple products. What a game platform and iPod have in common I have not idea.

  8. Re: Jamie

    You are right. Many product demos shown via video podcasts mentioned that heat, and the resultant fan noise, was going to be an issue with these machines. In their eagerness to beat the PS3 launch, XBox machines may have been introduced without much consideration for the noise. After all the initial “shock and awe” of whatever games are available, count on a rising noise of discontent (pun intended) on the “jet engine” noise these boxes make. Also, they apparently need a lot of ventilation so one can’t “hide” them away in some corner.

  9. Xbox 360 was rushed to the market for Christmas. Now we can wait and see if the gamble will pay off. Personally, I think with all the problems they are having most intelligent people will wait for PS 3. But, on the other hand, Christmas does weird things to people. There’s gonna be a lot of frustrated kids on Christmas morning with their $600 (!!!!) machines crashing constantly. But hey, it’s MS, they’re used to it.

  10. Xbox, PS3= PowerPC processors. PowerPC=heat. XBox already has problems with this. I bet Sony is battling this and may be why have not announced when they will introduce them.

    Steve Jobs=Wise man. Dump the PowerPC, heat and noise and let others learn the hard way!

    MW: Products. Many more “Cool” products coming from Apple!

  11. I’m not sure why people go to such incredible lengths to defend or attack one console or another when all of them have some unique features. Games were one of the biggest differences between the 2nd/4th (NES, SNES, N64. Gamecube)/last generation systems. Nintendo had, as usual, the slew of unique characters (even in third party games like EA SSX ontour you get extra characters from the Mario cult), Sony had backwards compatibility with all the Playstation games on the PS2. Microsoft acquired Bungie and had Halo.

    In the days of cartridges and the early optical media years it wasn’t uncommon for someone to purchase a system purely for one or two games. as the cost of games was extremely high. The one hit wonder days are through and major houses are now producing products for all three major platforms and some minor ones. With games looking and playing almost identically what edge does Microsoft have? Bill Gates stated that Microsoft was being beaten by Sony in the gaming market and the Xbox 360 gave them a chance to come ahead. This is why Microsoft is going to get a temporary boost (not because Bill Gates said so, but because of the release date).

    Of course the Xbox 360 has problems. It was pushed through the launch gates faster than a racehorse on steroids. Will some of them fall and be euthanized in the living room…uhm..Yep! However, the Xbox 360 is a relatively good system by most accounts and is the only available Next Gen console. Backwards compatibility for their system wasn’t that much of a priority.

    There are about 200 games listed as Backwards compatible if you buy the HD version of the 360. Sure, you can play Barbie’s adventures in Legoland; but you can’t play some other apparently less popular titles. Of course that doesn’t matter at all if you are entering the Next Gen arena with only one flagship game from your last console (ok two if you count Halo 2).

    So what is the Xbox 360 in terms of Gaming future? It’s a decent console backed with enough money to stick around and fueled with new games that, while the will be available for the PS3 and probably Revolution, are the only available versions of those games. It’s also a good accessory for Windows media center pc’s and it can play files from ipods and psps. Is it the be all end all of consoles? Obviously not, but it’s a contender.

    If Microsoft hopes to unseat Sony they have no chance in the world. The PS3 will be completely backwards compatible with all existing titles. But you don’t want existing titles because they look bad right? Well.. PS1 and xbox titles looked better on next gen consoles so there’s no reason that won’t happen w/ the next gen from Sony. Ah..but there’s still that one trump card…behind Ninetendo, Microsoft has the monopoly on what is becoming a lucrative franchise…can your PS3 play Halo 4 Inverted? Master Chief even makes cameo appearences in Final Fight or some kind of next gen streetfighter…although he’s a female in this version (apparently).

    There is no major shift in game console preference in the console wars. Each still retains the prior advantages with the Revolution coming out with far-backwards compatibility (Super Mario Brothers and other NES titles) on possibly less competitive hardware, MS owning Halo and having a head start, and Sony having their entire back catalog and what looks to be the best hardware advantage of all the systems.

    Exactly two things seem to be happening. First, Microsoft is creeping ahead at the top end of second w/ 3.73 gearing while everyone else is riding the end of second in 4.10’s and waiting to hit that sweet torque in third to go shooting past the xbox. Second, gamers are starting to purchase more than one type of console and their is a growing base of people who ‘hate Microsoft, but love the xbox’.

    Sure, some of them crash and I’d stay away from the first releases or even the first 360 version; but if the Xbox was made by Bungie instead of Microsoft would it have any element of ‘uncool’ to it?

  12. I also liked the story I saw on breakdowns of the cost of the Xbox 2, showing that in all likelihood Microsoft is once again either breaking even on the cheap model, or losing money (as much as $100) on the high-end model.

    In a great quote, the head of the Xbox division said essentially it’ll get cheaper to make as they sell more. It’s the classic – “sure, we’re losing money on them, but we make it up in volume!”

  13. We should be cheering on xBox and Playstation. It would be good for the Mac to get gaming off PCs and onto game boxes. Mac will never catch up with PCs when it comes to gaming so why not just have a platform separate from the two that is better than both? It would help even the playing field for Macs.

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