I’ve been the biggest Microsoft/XBox booster for the past five years, but I’ve just let my XBox Live Gold membership lapse and I have no plans to renew it any time soon. For the multi-platform title releases, I’ll buy them for the Playstation 3 from now on. If a new Halo title comes out in the future, I’ll probably buy it, but I’m pretty much done with the XBox 360.
Why? It’s become clear through recent articles just how badly Microsoft has ripped off the public with both the original XBox and the XBox 360.
When Microsoft started selling the XBox 360 in December 2005, I wasn’t going to buy it on the launch day. I was really happy and satisfied with the original XBox. I figured with so many of those consoles around, there would be some quality games available for it over the next two years. After all, Sony supported their consoles for many years after a new product was launched. That was a bad assumption on my part. The games for the original XBox dried up faster than a prune. The Guardian UK exposes the real reason for this in their multi-part interview with former XBox honcho Peter Moore. It’s a fascinating interview just for Moore’s insight into his experiences with Dreamcast, the XBox, and his new job at EA Sports.
Moore reveals that the hard drive was the reason Microsoft abandoned the original XBox: “The hard drive in every Xbox killed us; we we’re still selling it at $199 and the hard drive was like $70. That’s why we prematurely left the original Xbox, because the more we were selling – there was still great demand – it was killing us, and there was no way to bring the price down. So in the end we determined at around the 25 million unit mark that we just needed to slow this thing down and just not sell any more, and move to the 360 as quickly as we possibly could. And to this day people still believe we left the Xbox too early but it was purely for financial purposes.”
Wow, that is a stunning admission! I always wondered why the original XBox was dropped like a hot potato. Here’s why Sony deserves more trust than Microsoft. When Sony says PS3 is going to have a 10-year cycle, their past behavior supporting the PS One and PS2 consoles seems to back this up. The PS2 is still being sold (and sales are good) two years after the launch of the PS3 in 2006. God of War 2 was a SCEA produced title that was released for the PS2 in 2007. With the powerful capabilities of the PS3 hardware, which software developers are starting to tap into with this next wave of game releases, I believe the PS3 has long-lasting potential.
What really infuriated me was Moore’s admission combined with the Microsoft manufacturing scandal that Dean Takahashi exposed on VentureBeat. Takahashi’s article exposes the factors that led into the Red Ring of Death. Microsoft knew of internal defects produced by the assembly line for the XBox 360, but did nothing to stop it. They were entirely focused on beating Sony to the market with their console and did not want to halt production to find and fix the defects. The results of that poor decision led to more than $1 billion in losses for Microsoft. I’ve gotten off easy with just one RRoD incident, other consumers have suffered through the RRoD multiple times. Some of these people remain die-hard XBox boosters! Sorry, I’m out, I just don’t want to support this bad behavior with any more money.
Sony has had its own share of problems, mostly in the software arena. They didn’t understand how to do online, they didn’t have anything to match XBox achievements, and their initial release of exclusive games weren’t very desirable. Now with a revamped game store and PS3 trophies, things are changing. Today marks the release of Wipeout HD, a really good exclusive game for only $20. Later in 2009 we’ll have Resistance 2 and Little Big Planet. Playstation Home looks to be pretty cool. Next year, KillZone 2, Infamous, and (most of all) DC Universe Online look very promising. I won’t have to look at those stupid new XBox avatars all the time, what a relief. Nuff said.