5/13/05 10:12 pm - molrak - Commercial Programming
Last night, MTV devoted at least 30 minutes of their 'valuable' programming to the launch of the next generation Xbox, called Xbox 360. While I admit that this move may have elevated the quality of MTV's programming for the evening, something still rubs me the wrong way about this whole ordeal.
Let's be realistic--the hardware is usually moot. You could stuff a game system into a rotting Tauntaun and gamers would still buy it, and even write online about how their rotting corpse has more maggots than their best friends'. As long as the controller is usable, people don't care about the hardware. The PS2 arguably has the worst graphics of any of the current generation consoles, and it certainly had the least developer-friendly SDK, yet it's still the best selling console, by a fairly wide margin.
What intelligent, non-fan boy gamers care about is having fun games to play. While the Xbox has had some enjoyable games, it hasn't really had that killer game or application to make it stand above the others. The closest the Xbox has had to an exclusive is Knights of the Old Republic, and even it made the journey to the PC only a few months after. Supposedly developer support will be better for X360, but I still don't a Final Fantasy (or any sort of rpg franchise of that caliber) headed the Xbox's way. Their in-house software product has been almost entirely derivative and uninspired. The only killer application the Xbox has really had is its Live online content, which is a good step above Sony and Nintendo's varying levels of online support.
But even if the Xbox 360 becomes the best thing since the NES, why should I, a person who already has a disposition to dislike Microsoft, give a rat's ass what their console will look like? Sure, it's coming out early, but early is still 6 months away. Besides, the Dreamcast beat the PS2 by a year, and the Dreamcast had a far superior catalog to back it up than the Xbox 360 probably will (although realistically, EA killed the Dreamcast before Sony did). Microsoft still hasn't found a way to emulate Xbox1 games on the Xbox2, and unless they add a chip to the design, I would guess they're not going to be able to make it compatible with their old library. Nintendo's Revolution will have backward compatibility, and I'm not sure if there's an official line on the PS3.
But after all that, the question I still come back to is simple: why do should I care? Is this just a case where the media will show anything, for the right amount of money? Or am I missing some greater part of the picture? Microsoft says the want to make the Xbox360 your media hub in the living room, and it may have a better slate of games than the original. But I've got to tell you, the PSP would work a hell of a lot better as a media hub for me, provided I actually could afford one and then was able to buy enough memory for the damn thing.