Here Come The Xbox Clones?

from the license-away dept

Apparently, Microsoft is thinking about licensing the core of the Xbox technology so that it can be built into other devices. The article is quite vague (thanks, mostly, to Microsoft being quite vague about it), but the speculation is that they might try to get consumer electronics makers to build Xbox technology into, say, a TV or a DVD player or a DVR device. It’s an interesting strategy, and certainly could make a lot of sense, as they look to battle Sony’s Playstation 3, which looks like it’s going to start out on the pricey side. From Microsoft’s side, it could give them a leg up for the less hard core gamers, who aren’t sure which one to get, but see deals on combined machines.

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Comments on “Here Come The Xbox Clones?”

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dorpus says:

Yeah but What About Sticky Fingers

Since American kids like to play video games while eating their greasy potato chips or candy bars, soaking their ADD-addled brains with sugary sodas, shouldn’t new video game machines be washable? A dishwasher-safe keyboard was just demonstrated at a tech show in Tokyo.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

This would be an interesting idea. I kind of worry about a television with a hard drive included… but perhaps it could have something like a few megs of flash ram instead. Most of these devices need some sort of processor anyway, so the x86 could be doing double service… the most expensive piece might be the graphics card.
And you have to wonder if an embedded x-box could be cracked; then you could have your tv boot linux and run MAME.

Pete Austin says:

A license to lose money?

Typically, console makers have lost money on the sale of the hardware, but recouped it from the sale of software.
“Unfortunately Microsoft is going to probably lose even more money with the new hardware launch as the next generation technology always costs and arm and a leg at the beginning of each cycle.”
I can see why Microsoft would want to offload some of its expected losses on XBox hardware, but not why any other company should cooperate.

Dmitriy says:

Licensing - maybe the time has really come

While I agree with the previous poster’s comments regarding the business model (lose money on hardware, make money on the software) I don’t think the comparison to 3do is valid.
3DO came out before the widespread modder movement and when console gaming was a much smaller industry. In addition to that, the digital convergence movement hadn’t gone mainstream either.
What are the real clone opportunities?
WebTV/Digital Jukebox/Stereo/DVR/Xbox 360 unit
– There was already talk of using the Playstation as a DVR unit. Xbox media center edition is out there. What’s to stop a DVR company from making a true home media convergence unit? DVR + DVD Player + Xbox 360 + Receiver + WebTV
I’m not certain if this is a huge market but if someone could spend $400 for an xbox 360, $400 for a Tivo, $75 for a dvd player (the xbox dvd player wasn’t truly worthy of being a replacement and I don’t think the new version will be either), $200+ for a small receiver and you end up with over $1000.
If someone offered an $750 device that extended the xbox 360’s built in hardware with control of the DVD drive independent of the gaming functions, a receiver, use of the hard drive for dvr functionality and use of the network port for web browing… there is almost no additional hardware cost (only a tuner, mpeg encoder and small amp.) That means software costs can be recouped by large scale production and a $400 cost of the xbox hardware + $100 in extras now has a nice profit margin.
A convergence box like this is only going to be helped by the move to a digital TV format.
High def televisions also make the Web-TV style browing more viable. It was a pain to view such a small resolution on the older units but perhaps its time has come.
The web brower/email convergence now also opens up an arena for an ISP service or a value added service streamed to the xbox.
Why not apply the Yahoo Music Unlimited (which uses the microsoft DRM) to the xbox 360 clone? The USB ports are even there to sync up portable devices and you now have additional license revenue.

Taking someone like Humax or Motorola that already make set-top boxes and giving them a high price high margin device like this would be an easy setll.

Clones may not be a good idea for a pure gaming application but given the wealth of hardware the xbox already has, convergence is almost inevitable.

Ivan Sick says:

Re: Licensing - maybe the time has really come

The unfortunate thing about convergence is that when you put all that stuff together, you have more things that can break. When you have a game console/television/internet appliance/dvr/DVD player/stereo, and one component breaks, you lose multiple functionalities. Hopefully the Xbox/WebTV/stereo will have much higher quality parts than your typical scanner/fax/copier/printer, but shit happens. (I suppose if you can put the whole thing in the dishwasher all problems will be magically solved, right?)

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