Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Microsoft's Biggest Mistake

I could start writing about Longhorn here, but I'll leave the PC alone (for now).

Microsoft's biggest mistake is... Halo 2. I thought I would write this in the wake of the game's imminent release.

Here's why. The original Halo, created by Bungie, saved the XBox. Without it, the Box would have withered away. Sales for the XBox were initially low, but once Halo was released things started to change. They didn't change that fast, but Microsoft hung on thanks to the game. I've never met a person that owned an XBox that didn't own Halo. In fact, some people only have 1 game for their system: you guessed it, Halo. As popular as Mario and Link are, no game has ever dominated a system quite like this one. Now the Xbox has sold over 10 million consoles, good enough for second this time around. The Gamecube has sold 9 million (essentially the same) while the PS2 has sold over 25 million. That's a huge gap for the XBox or GameCube to make up.

So now we are to the 2004 Holiday buying season. Halo 2 will be released within the week. Analysts are saying this will be the biggest game release ever. Microsoft and Bungie should make huge amounts of revenue in the next few months.

How can this be bad?

Microsoft has been losing money on each console sold. They need the revenues from games to keep going. In this sense, Halo 2 will be a winner. But Microsoft has more than enough money. They've already lost millions on this video game venture, so what's a few more? What Bill Gates is really after is a monopoly of the video game market- something the first XBox will never have.

Microsoft's next generation console, whether its called Xenon or XBox 2, will be coming out during 2005's Holiday Buying Season. That's just one year away. Nintendo's revolution might come out around that time, maybe a little later. Sony's PS3 will come out in 2006 or perhaps even later. This gives MS a head start. They can build the early lead this time, instead of coming in late. This could be all they need, or it could become the next Dreamcast*, only time will tell.

So how do they keep from becoming the next Dreamcast? It all starts with Halo. A few people will buy the new system merely because it is the first next gen system to come out, but almost all of the XBox fans out there want one thing: Xenon's Halo. Without it, the PS3 Hype will be too strong to compete with. And the Hype for the PS3 is already strong- people saying the PS3 will have cell processors capable of 1,000 times the processing power of the PS2 (!)... whatever man- I'll believe it when I see it.

To get to the point- Microsoft desperately needs to make a splash with the XBox 2 and this only happens if they have a game as big as Halo. Why are they wasting Halo 2 on a system that is already doomed? Shouldn't this be the first game to come out on the new system? And I can't see Bungie having 2 separate teams working on different systems. This is THE game for both of MS systems, they need the same team working together to create a quality, continuous experience.

So, in conclusion, MS has a winner here with Halo 2, tons of people will go out and get it. Okay, millions. But if MS really wants to push into the video game market and defeat Sony, they will need to use every resource possible for the next gen console, and it looks like that might have to Halo 3, only 1 year away (apparently (!)).

What do you think? Agree, Disagree? Send a comment or two!

*The Sega Dreamcast came out exactly 1 year before the PS2. The PS2 Hype Machine (as well as pirated games) destroyed the Dreamcast from the start. It never lived up to what it could be.


Blogger The Juice said...

First of all, i agree with this assessment. Unless maybe they have halo 3 out with the xenon or whatever. So to a degree i agree with this post.

Second of all, halo has been overrated from the beginning. You want to know a better game? unreal tournament for dreamcast. Its on an inferior system, and still if it had more exposure, it coulda been the greatest EVER!!!!!(this is for multiplayer gaming by the way)

2:25 PM  
Blogger The Future said...

I agree, it's just that apparently 98% of America doesn't. Not that that makes them right.

Now if my dreamcast ever worked, I could play UT tonight!

8:51 AM  

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