Microsoft Considers Making New Xbox Much Less Appealing

from the what-are-they-thinking? dept

One of the cardinal rules of developing a computing (or gaming) platform is nurturing a community of developers who will make lots of software (or games) for that platform. Microsoft is no stranger to this concept; in fact it’s one of the secrets to their success. So what’s going on with the forthcoming Xbox 360? An exec says that Microsoft hasn’t decided whether to make it compatible with its predecessor. He cites “technical issues,” specifically a new CPU and graphics processor. You’d think they would have either known better or sorted this issue out already. Incompatibility would render tons of games obsolete, and possibly worse, could alienate developers who will have to decide whether to develop exclusively for the new console (a much more expensive proposition than the previous version) or for both (even more expensive). And we all know what happens when you scare off developers. On the other hand, Sony made the very successful PS2 backward compatible and says it will do likewise with the PS3. If Microsoft doesn’t spend whatever it costs to ensure compatibility, they could be facing much bigger costs (or losses) down the road when trying keep up with the competition.

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Comments on “Microsoft Considers Making New Xbox Much Less Appealing”

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Mark says:

backwards compatibility

Bottom line, this is about bucks. Microsoft can build a cheaper box if it’s not backwards-compatible. There is some concern about losing gamers if it’s not (I know, I’ve worked at MGS and heard the arguments), but that’s a hypothetical scenario, and the number of customers they’d lose by that decision isn’t easily forecasted. On the other hand, the amount of money they’d save by not building in hardware emulation is quite easy to figure. So when you pitch it in those terms — “we’ll definitely save X dollars, but we might lose Y, give or take Z,” the argument in favor of saving the money is going to seem rhetorically more powerful even if it’s incorrect.

Personally I think it’s a mistake (and not just because I have a library of old Xbox games I don’t want to discard). But, right or wrong, we won’t know the full impact for several months after launch, when the PS3 comes into play and the market makes its decision.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: backwards compatibility

It isn?t about saving $3.00 a unit on the production of the consol? it is about an upgrade path?

It is the same reason a new iPod won?t work on any Mac OS other than X?. Jobs wants to sell more copies of OS X? so he cripples the Mac version of the iPod, to encourage people to upgrade to OS X.

Bill wants you to buy a new copy of all of the games you already own? the way he does that, is to make sure all your old games are useless.

The question isn?t ?Are we going to save $3.00 a consol, at the cost of X number of customers? the question is ?How much can we screw our customers before they become Sony?s customers??

bob says:


I own and Xbox and wanted to get a PS2 as well. The xbox died and the PS2 money went to replace the xbox so the stack of games wouldn’t need to be replaced.
If the PS3 IS backward compatible and the new xbox ISN’T, my games are worthless anyway.
I can tell you my dollars will be going to the system with the largest library available.

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