Creator of original Xbox finds Microsoft's recent Xbox strategy 'painful to watch'
While the Xbox 360 has been super-successful in the last few years and has been responsible for quite a few innovations in making game consoles more than just game machines, Nat Brown –one of the engineers behind the original Xbox, and the one who claims to have named it– has found Microsoft’s strategy for the last five years, 2012 in particular, “painful to watch.”
The reason for this, Brown writes on his blog, is due to the company’s push to make the 360 into a living room media center, a push that placed far too much emphasis on the multimedia experience instead of what made the console a hit in the first place: the gaming experience. He accuses the company of “coasting on past momentum” and “failing to innovate and failing to capitalize on innovations like Kinect.”
Brown makes it clear that he’s not against greater connectivity with the living room, just against how far Microsoft has taken it at gaming’s expense. “No, more and better content was always the point and the plan. My gripe is that, as usual, Microsoft has jumped its own shark and is out stomping through the weeds planning and talking about far-flung future strategies in interactive television and original programming partnerships with big dying media companies when their core product, their home town is on fire, their soldiers, their developers, are tired and deserting, and their supply-lines are broken.”
In particular, Brown believes that a lack of a “functional and growing” digital platform system for smaller developers has been “Xbox's primary critical problem”. Noting the $10,000 required to register as an Xbox developer, he criticizes Microsoft for lacking an indie-friendly platform in the vein of the super-friendly iOS. “Microsoft, you are idiotic to have ceded not just indie game developers but also a generation of loyal kids and teens to making games for other people's mobile devices," he says.
Not only is Brown disappointed with the treatment of indie developers, he’s also mad with user interface of the Xbox Dashboard, calling it “creaky, slow, and full-of-s***.” He goes on to say, “These are the 2 fronts Microsoft is going to lose on in the living room battle with Android 38, iOS. It's not going to be based on whether they have (a more expensive) Netflix, whether they have original TV/video content or interactive kids television shows which integrate with Kinect. They will lose unless these two things are sorted out well and quickly.”
In conclusion, Brown brutally states that “Microsoft is living in a naive dream-world" and “needs somebody with a brain and focus to get the product in order tactically before romping forward to continue the long-term strategic promise of an Xbox in every living room, connected to every screen.”
Source: Nat Brown "Stupid, Stupid Xbox"
A writer, journalist, and aspiring storyteller, Peter Grimm has been gaming since the days of the Nintendo 64, and reporting on the goings-on in the World of Gaming since late 2011. His base of writing operations is located within the void between Here and There, or so he would have you think.
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