Skip navigation

On Eve of Xbox 360 Launch, Doubts Emerge - 27 Nov 2005

On Eve of Xbox 360 Launch, Doubts Emerge

Subscribe to Windows IT Pro:


To ensure that future email messages you receive from WinInfo Daily UPDATE aren't mistakenly blocked by antispam software, be sure to add [email protected] to your list of allowed senders and contacts.


This email newsletter comes to you free and is supported by the following advertiser, which offers products and services in which you might be interested. Please take a moment to visit this advertiser's Web site and show your support for WinInfo Daily UPDATE.


==== Sponsor: ====


FREE Trial, FREE Outlook 2003 & FREE Migration services from Exchange 5.5, 2000, Domino and other mail servers! Is your e-mail Mission Critical? With's Hosted Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, you get the FULL EXCHANGE 2003 SERVER functionality without having to worry about security, reliability, system maintenance or backups. Our platform is continuously monitored to ensure that your Exchange Server is available 100% of the time. Your users can connect from anywhere via Outlook 2003 without any VPN hassles using 128 bit encrypted RPC/HTTPS, as well as via Outlook Web Access, Blackberry Enterprise Server, GoodLink Server, and Wireless ActiveSync. Our web-based Control Panel makes it easy for you to securely manage exchange - from anywhere without a VPN or Terminal Services - and even delegate administration to other users. And with 24x7 Support, you will never have to worry about your Mission Critical E-mail. Call 800-9-MS-EXCH (800-967-3924) or register below to try out our service FREE (before Nov 24th).


In the News
- On Eve of Xbox 360 Launch, Doubts Emerge

==== In the News ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

On Eve of Xbox 360 Launch, Doubts Emerge

At midnight tonight, several thousand consumer electronics retailers will open their doors to eager customers around the United States, offering them a chance to purchase the new Xbox 360 video game console. As a result, the Xbox 360 launch event should prove the most successful Microsoft product launch since the introduction of Windows 95, as potential customers queue up in the cold for their chance to spend hundreds of dollars on an untested and unproven entertainment device. Is this a result of consumer insanity or brilliant marketing? Early looks at the Xbox 360 console suggest it might just be both: Reviews indicate that Microsoft's new video game system is good but not great, with no gotta-have-it game titles. If consumers agree, is Xbox 360 poised for a disastrous 2006?

The prelaunch news about the Xbox 360 isn't encouraging. Of the 18 launch game titles, the majority are sequels to existing games on other systems that offer similar game play and graphics. The lack of new graphics in the Xbox 360 games is surprising because the Xbox 360 is often touted for its HDTV-level graphics capabilities, which should far outstrip the graphics on current systems. Game titles from the PC world, such as "Quake 4" and "Call of Duty 2," have been ported successfully to Xbox 360, on which the graphics of these games are faithful to the PC originals, though brighter looking. However, the Xbox 360 controller has proven less well adapted to the precise action of these first-person shooter games than the mouse and keyboard controls PC gamers use.

According to many reviews, what we're left with is a capable but unexciting console that is far too expensive for most consumers. The Xbox 360 package with the so-called Premium Chrome Finish console costs $399, whereas the stripped-down basic $299 Core System model can't even save games or access certain online services without expensive add-ons such as a hard drive. And although the Xbox 360 can play about a quarter of the first-generation Xbox titles out of the box, the Xbox 360 lacks any truly compelling original content of its own, and what original content there is doesn't visually differentiate this system from previous-generation systems enough to get typical gamers very excited.

So where are the killer games that show off the graphical prowess of the Xbox 360? First-tier games such as Final Fantasy XI, Gears of War, and Unreal Tournament 2007 won't ship until next year. And the most eagerly awaited title of all, Halo 3, is still a mystery: Microsoft and game maker Bungie refuse to discuss the future of the lucrative Halo franchise at this time, noting only that the next Halo title will ship when it's ready. It should have been ready in time for the Xbox 360 launch, methinks. A Halo release in mid-2006 isn't going to excite that many people.

After the euphoria of the Xbox 360 launch and holiday 2005 buying season dies down, Microsoft will find that it no longer has the next-generation game market to itself. Sony and Nintendo are gearing up for the release of their PlayStation 3 and Revolution systems, respectively, and both are trying to carve out market niches where they can beat Microsoft. Sony is the better positioned of the two because of its video game–system dominance over the past decade and the wealth of third-party support it attracts. If Sony is able to outperform the Xbox 360 lineup at the launch of PlayStation 3--a real possibility--Microsoft will have trouble maintaining its lead next year.

Ultimately, video gaming, like any form of entertainment, is about the content. Xbox 360 features the technical chops to outperform the competition, but that was true of its also-ran predecessor as well. It's unclear whether the current crop of content available for Xbox 360 is good enough to turn the console's technical superiority into market leadership. I'll have a lot more to say about this in my exhaustive review of Xbox 360, available by tomorrow on the SuperSite for Windows.

==== Events and Resources ====
(A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows IT Pro: )

Get the Most from Reporting Services
In this free Web seminar, you'll learn about innovative ways to extend your reports, reporting from XML-based data, delivering reports with the new Report Viewer, supercharging reports with SQL Server 2005 CLR stored procedures, and more! Register today:

Free Tools to Stop Internet Attacks
Your network users' negligent or inappropriate activity is often the entry point for Internet criminals to access your systems. In this free Web seminar, you'll learn how to effectively implement policy, user training, and technology to mitigate Internet risks. You will take away free tools to help you analyze threats and create Acceptable-Use Policies (AUPs). Register now at

==== Featured White Paper ====

Learn about the capabilities offered by the integration of Microsoft SMS 2003 and Afaria
In this free white paper, you'll learn about new functionality and benefits of Microsoft SMS specifically targeted to improving management of remote and mobile devices, challenges of managing frontline systems, how the combined solution creates value around the successful use of technology at the front lines of business and more

==== Announcements ====

Windows IT Pro Monthly Online Pass = Quick Answers
Sign up for a Monthly Online Pass and get inside access to ALL the articles, tools, and helpful resources published in Windows IT Pro, including exclusive subscriber-only content. You'll have 24/7 access to a database of more than 9000 Windows articles that will give you all the answers you need, when you need them. BONUS--Includes the latest digital issue of Windows IT Pro. Sign up now for just US$5.95 per month:

==== Contact Us ====

About the newsletter -- [email protected] About technical questions -- About product news -- [email protected] About your subscription -- [email protected] About sponsoring UPDATE -- [email protected]


This email newsletter is brought to you by Windows IT Pro, the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies. Subscribe today!

Manage Your Account
You are subscribed as %%$email%%

You are receiving this email message because you subscribed to this newsletter on our Web site. To unsubscribe, click the unsubscribe link:

View the Windows IT Pro privacy policy at

Windows IT Pro is a division of Penton Media Inc. 221 East 29th Street, Loveland, CO 80538 Attention: Customer Service Department

Copyright 2005, Penton Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.