I Helped Create The Xbox, But Now It’s Painful To Watch

I Helped Create The Xbox, But Now It’s Painful To Watch

I was a founder of the original Xbox project at Microsoft and gave it its name. Almost 14 years after the painful, pointless and idiotic internal cage-match to get it started and funded, the hard selling of a compelling and lucrative living-room product to Bill (and then Steve as he began to take over), a product that consumers would want and love and demand, I am actually still thrilled to see how far it has come.

I’m thrilled to see how many installed units it has, how it is crushing its original console competitors, how the brand has grown and endured, and especially how great the games have become.

But the past five years, and the last year in particular, have been simply painful to watch. Coasting on past momentum. Failing to innovate and failing to capitalise on innovations like Kinect. Touting strategic and market success when you’re just experiencing your competitor’s stumbling failure (yes, Sony, Nintendo — you are, I’m afraid, stumbling failures). A complete lack of tactical versus strategic understanding of the long game of the living room. It culminated for me in recent coverage of interviews with Yusef Mehdi and Nancy Tellem and reports of the goals of a new LA Xbox studio to create interactive content.

My gripe, my head-smack, is not that the broader content/entertainment business isn’t where you want to go with a living-room-connected device. It absolutely is. Indeed, this was the point of Xbox, that was why it was the Trojan horse for the living room, where we could land and be welcomed by millions of console customers with more hardware and better software and network connectivity than the non-console devices (webtv, cable set-tob-boxes) we had been pursuing. 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.


Xbox’s primary critical problem is the lack of a functional and growing platform ecosystem for small developers to sell digitally-/network-distributed (non-disc) content through to the installed base of Xbox customers, period. Why can’t I write a game for Xbox tomorrow using $US100 worth of tools and my existing Windows laptop and test it on my home Xbox or at my friends’ houses? Why can’t I then distribute it digitally in a decent online store, give up a 30 per cent cut and strike it rich if it’s a great game, like I can for Android, for iPhone, or for iPad? Oh, wait, I can… sort of. Read some of the fine-print at the Xbox registered developer program page (that “membership” would cost you $10,000/year and a lot of paperwork, with Microsoft holding veto power over your game being published), navigate the mess through to learning about XBLA (also costly, paperwork and veto approval) and you may end up learning about a carved off little hard-to-find store with a few thousand stunted games referred to as XBLIG where Microsoft has ceded their veto power (and instead just does nothing to promote your games). This is where indie developers have found they can go in order to not make money on Xbox, despite an installed base of 76 million devices. 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.

Xbox’s secondary critical problem is that the device OS and almost the entire user experience outside the first two levels of the dashboard are creaky, slow, and full-of-shit. From built-in update and storage features to what they have allowed through negligence to appear in games, here are just a few of my favourite confusing and exhausting screens and messages:


Daddy, what’s a Hard Drive? Why do I keep having to choose Hard Drive when I’m playing Kinectimals? Why does Kinectimals take 10 minutes before I can start playing? Can I use the iPad while it’s updating or whatever it’s doing?


Hi, I’m xBox. I’m too dumb to update safely. I’m too dumb to know if more updates or restarts may, may, may, may be needed.


xBox: I’m also too dumb to know if it’s a game or an app. Me: Why should I choose where you put it?

Me: 4MB. Gee, thanks for that info. Wait, what? What are the consequences of being signed out of Xbox Live if I update?


My all-time favourite: each game dreams up an indicator that it uses while writing your save-game data. Saving securely (e.g. atomically) without needing UI sure doesn’t seem like a system-level service Microsoft should have provided for xBox in 2003.

Every time I leave a game, even right after saving in the game, the system presents me with this little scare that I may lose progress. Every. Single. Time.

These messages and many others — impossible Xbox Live sign-in and password recovery, accounting/membership, to name just a few — are made all the worse by the huge amount of time that passes while waiting for content to load. You don’t turn on your Xbox to play a game quickly – it takes multiple minutes to load, flow through its splash screens, and then get you playing. It doesn’t surprise me that most people spend more time watching videos or listening to music on Xbox, because it takes too long to screw around with discs and wait for games to load.

These are the two fronts Microsoft is going to lose on in the living room battle with Android and 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.

Microsoft is living in a naive dream-world. I have heard people still there arguing that the transition of the brand from hardcore gamers to casual users and tv-uses was an intentional and crafted success. It was not. It was an accident of circumstance that Microsoft is neither leveraging nor in control of.

Microsoft is living in a naive dream world.

Xbox was for years the only network-connected HD-ready device already attached to tv’s that had multi-use potential (games, DVD, Netflix) in the household to justify and amortize its high cost of purchase to the family’s bread-winners. The hardcore/soft-tv transition and any lead they feel they have is simply not defensible by licensing other industries’ generic video or music content because those industries will gladly sell and licence the same content to all other players. A single custom studio of 150 employees also can not generate enough content to defensibly satisfy 76M+ customers. Only with quality primary software content from thousands of independent developers can you defend the brand and the product. Only by making the user experience simple, quick and seamless can you defend the brand and the product. The transition they are seeing (87 hours per month of use, more TV/music use than game use) will continue to happen despite their active “strategic” efforts to encourage it and get more Xbox Live subscribers.

Which brings us to…

Apple is already a games competitor broadly, even if Apple-TV isn’t yet a game platform or a console. Mobile generally and iPad specifically have grown the total hours of game play and grown the overall game market. Only in the last 18-24 months has that overall growth turned from a segment-expanding rising tide to a tsunami swamping the console game vendor profit boats hitched to the docks. It is accelerating. Apple, if it chooses to do so, will simply kill Playstation, Wii U and Xbox by introducing an open 30 per cent cut app/game ecosystem for Apple TV. I already make a lot of money on iOS — I will be the first to write apps for Apple TV when I can, and I know I’ll make money. I would for xBox if I could and I knew I would make money. Maybe a “console-capable” Apple TV isn’t $119, maybe it’s $199, and add another $79 for a controller. The current numbers already say a lot, even with Apple TV not already an open console: 5.3M sold units in 2012, 90 per cent year-over-year growth — vs xBox 360 — about 9M units in 2012, 60 per cent YoY decline.

So, because these two critical issues — user experience and indie content — are not nearly in order and I see big investments in future interactive content happening, as well as idiotic moves to limit used games or put harder content protection into place than exists in mobile or tablets — i predict massive failure and losses here. And it makes me sad. Because it just doesn’t have to fail, even though it has been punted around poorly for 5 years. Xbox just 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.

Nat Brown is a former Microsoft engineer, architect and XBox founder who lives in Seattle, WA, and writes and consults on mobile. He blogs at his personal site iLike.code, and you can find him on Twitter @natbro. Republished with permission.


  • This is a brilliant article and I think it encapsulates the gripes that a lot of people are feeling but may not be able to verbalise when it comes to the direction the 360 has gone in. It’s kind of sad to see that the vision I have as the “ideal” future for the Xbox is what people like Nat planned all along, and that they’re just as disappointed as I am to see it not living up to that potential.

  • A good read, But the spectre of Apple in the living room seems to be just that. An immaterial presence that barely makes it’s presence known. Their efforts to this point aren’t a big enough bogeyman to get a fire going under the other players.

      • Indeed. And, unlike Apple right now, Microsoft had zero presence in the living room before the Xbox. Whether or not one thinks that Apple will enter this market (I don’t think it’s likely, given the way it would cannibalise their existing hardware business in a way that the Xbox didn’t do to Microsoft’s PC business), it is undeniable that they could do so – and quite easily – if they wanted to.

        • No-one thought Sony could enter the market either… though the Ken Kutaragi days are over 🙁
          (back when the PlayStation was THE shit!)

    • Didn’t they say similar things about Apple entering the smartphone market? An iPod that is a phone? No way!

  • The xbox crushed its console competition? Funny how there was no mention of critically high failure rates from RROD. But I suppose it’s hard to see much when you’ve got your head up your arse.

    • xbox won overall, but its not so easy working with Microsoft on xbox stuff! Still, they have a joint eco-system with developers for PC platforms, which helps. if you know c# for web or PC applications you could easily cross over.

      sony stumbled by taking a different path, though overall sales caught up quite a bit in the end. the ps4 is likely to be a much more pc style architecture in order to try to attract more developers and less likely to be some very japanese unique architecture that few developers will ever fully use as it was intended.

      the big problem is the game is changing. one thing is that they need to respect indie. its a huge producer of content. tablet devices are driving this, and gaming isn’t even the prime purpose of those devices.

      the consoles need to open up more to developers, and respect them – or die.

    • Yes, my thoughts exactly. Weird since wii won last gen, ps2 won convincingly the gen before, and before that there was only SNES and NES.

      But no, i can see why Microsoft thinks that the world revolves around them…. O_o

  • I was just thinking last ngiht whilst playing a particular game, why on earth do I have to specify a location every single time I save? Have hard drive, pretty sure I want to save to it.

    • Yeah, It’s back to the way it was in 2006/2007! It was all integrated for a few years – now they’re back to their old tricks… if Bill Gates still had some balls, he would have a good old fashioned firing session at Microsoft, to get rid of the all the experts & technicians and replace the whole company with people who actually have technical ability! There are a lot of smart people at Microsoft, no doubt, but they are drowned in ‘call-centre type idiocies.’

      • *Steve Ballmer? And Microsoft technicians are very capable, I blame the lack of thought that gets put into the design process

        • My thought is that MS is so big these days, that there are to many hangers-on in the Corporation. To many PR & “Experts.” It’s the Engineers/ R&D where the real smarts are at.

    • I could be wrong, but do you have a USB drive also in the xbox? I notice when/if I have my profile on USB I aaalways get asked to confirm, pretty annoying when you press A to install and leave room only to come back 20min later and its asking where you want to install it, dont think this happens if no USBs attached.

      • No USB I’m afraid. Although i did have one in ther euntil recently which held my media (shows etc), but one day it just wouldn’t work anymore. Mysterious.

  • I just got a PS3 for xmas and have to say that it seems to have picked the same problems described and multiplied them. It can takes an insane amount of time to update/install or whatever it does before you can play. I miss the 360 in this sense.
    Also the move away from indie developers seems to be strategic, indie games at least used to have some promo on the landing screens, now they’re buried miles in.
    The idea of streaming tv/movies is a joke in Australia, overpriced and limited content – if the media centre on 360 supported a few more codecs it would be much closer to a entertainment machine. One workaround I’ve found is to use unotelly to get a netflix subscription from the U.S.

    Nat- more power to you, sounds like they need you there more than ever.

  • Actually I save everything to my USB – games on the HDD, saves on USB for portability.

    On topic – I love the gripes with the UI. Bit by Bit the UI is becoming a bloated mess that needs to be cleaned and rebuilt for speed and ease of access for Durango. Also can’t agree more with the casual (read: mobile) gaming market. It’s growing and Windows Phone is struggling. They need to bridge the gap and allow easy access for devs and go one better with easy transport of a game between console, pc and phone.

  • Xbox360 is my favourite console this Gen, but everything you are saying is true. There really is a complete LACK of content on XboxLive, especially as whoever is choosing what is published on XBLA does not know the difference between a skinnerbox and an actual game – to them videogames are just ‘Units’. For every 5 to 10 mass produced trash games there’s only 1 or 2 actual games – and waiting week after week and still finding there is nothing worth my money in the Arcade section is extremely depressing. Let alone games that are over 5 years old being sold at full-price – still.
    Also, there has been no weekly sales on Arcade games for months – now, MS has sales on DLC that no-one wanted in the first place! And want to take your HDD to use on your brothers/sisters Xbox360? Wrong! Now, the hundreds of dollars worth of games you bought are now Demos until you log-in with an internet connection they may not have! (how many sisters do you know who have a High-Speed landline instead of having their smartphones connected?).
    Indie Channel -what’s that? Also, I’m sure many people who don’t consistently by a Gold subscription would be perplexed when they cannot use free apps such as Youtube & Internet Explorer (and probably would not even bother with it ever again, either!)

    Developers & Publishers need to be allowed to have there own content portals (not this Microsoft Conglomo mentality). It’s common sense. If I want to play a Bethesda game, select the Bethesda portal. Rockstar (GTA5). Select Rockstar. There’s no way in hell any Developer/Publisher is making any money 2 weeks after release, when the games disappear of the the richtor scale into the depths of XBLA archive, never to be seen again. Many XBLA games I wanted to purchase I’ve forgot all about, until I’m bored stiff and systematically search from A to Z, and remember that they exist! But then seeing that the price is still 1200 ($20) years after release is not going to change that fact… Steam knows this full well and that’s why they rotate their virtual stock – it’s also one of the oldest proverbs in the trade industry. If an item of ANY kind is not known to exist at point-of-sale, how can it sell at all?

    And what Gabe Newell has been saying in talks the last few weeks is revolutionary, and really just straight common sense. Steam knows that making money and greed are two different things. A democratic-virtual-eco-system. Not a dictatorship.

  • What the hell is this article? It claims Sony and Nintendo as failures and then reveals its point is that Xbox is bad at giving Indie game support. Is that really enough to make it a painful experience to look at the xbox? Well, xbla certainly has indie games on it and I can think of a multitude of other things that Microsoft has gotten significantly more wrong in the last 5 years. Is this even written by an actual creator? Why is this only on the Au site if so.

    • WHY HAVEN’T YOU TOLD MICROSOFT ALL OF THIS?! We’ve been wallowing here in our bitterness and endless critique when it was ALL WRONG! You know what’s up guy! Nevermind the barrier to entry for indie games, XBOX has a FEW and that’s fine; we don’t need the billion other games worth playing that are released on steam but never touch the XBLA. Nevermind the size restrictions that stifle development and creativity, leaving ports of certain fantastic games entirely impossible. Nevermind the hidden costs for patching that leaves games like Fez in a broken state. Nevermind the consumer who has to put up with this. You question the person who wrote this (You can find him here: http://kotaku.com/164683/a-brief-history-of-the-xbox) and somehow think you know more about the 360 than a creator does from a creator’s viewpoint.

      What the hell is this post?

  • This was a good read? Seriously?
    “Daddy whats a hard drive?”
    To me this is just nitpicking so people can be like “OMG I HAVE THESE SAME PROBLEMS”
    The fact the person calls nintendo a failure when it kicked bost the PS3 and 360’s ass to then go on to talk about apple(?!?!) just made me laugh.

    • He’s pointing out that the advantages of owning a console are being eroded by the console makers themselves.

      There’s two main advantages for owning a console over a PC for gaming;

      1. A console is cheaper to buy than a gaming PC (after launch).

      2. A console is a simple, no hassles, plug-in-and-play machine.

      Yet, when I want to play Mass Effect 3, I turn on the console, sign in – which takes 30-90 seconds, load up Mass Effect 3, say every single time where I want any progress to be saved, and then wait literally 2 minutes for the game to sign in to EA’s servers, check my downloadable content, check for new downloadable content, and finally load the save before I hit the menu,

      It is LITERALLY quicker for me to start up my PC and get into a game of Starcraft 2.

      • The interesting point to make here, and a contradiction in principle of this article, is that those two advantages are exactly what Nintendo adhere to (I suppose the price point is debateable with the Wii U), but while I abhor forced motion controls and the wii library wasn’t everything is could be, no hassle plug and play is something Nintendo have always done well and done right. They’ve said things to this effect multiple times in the last few years. Ironically it’s the gaming community in general that have endangered this with the Wii U by demanding more connectivity and online services, granted people aren’t asking for the same hoops and sign in crap, but the two so often go hand in hand.

      • One thing that pisses me off, is when you want to Stream files to the Dashboard. You have manually update your media library on Windows Media Player when you add new files to your libraries on your PC. Even though my Libraries and folders are set to ‘monitor’ for new files… the Xbox360 just will not know the new files are there, until it’s updated in Windows Media Player!
        With Media Centre it automatically updates everything, although you have to load the App first! Which is irritating if you only want to check out one or two new files!

        • That’s a detail of how the media server you’re connecting to works. Unlike programs like XBMC that essentially need file system access to your media and then build up a local library by scanning the content, the Xbox’s media streaming uses the UPnP AV protocol, which relies on the server maintaining the library.

          This simplifies the client side, and if you have multiple clients it only requires scanning the media files once. If your server software sucks though (e.g. by not watching for media library changes or running automated scans), then it will give a bad user experience.

          It is a standard protocol though, so you aren’t limited to Microsoft’s backend software here (although servers do need to implement a few MS specific protocol additions for Xboxes to connect though).

          • I know. I was explaining the difference between streaming from the integrated dashboard functions and using Windows Media Centre – 2 ways to stream on Xbox360.
            My point is that the dashboard function should just read the file structure of the PC folders, thus no need for index updating through Windows Media Player.

    • You’re really focusing the nitpicky stuff instead of the failure of the overall Xbox “vision” to come to fruition.

      • The first problem Nat has is with the indie uptake on the xbox, which i couldnt care any less about. You may want that, but as it was said below, im not buying an xbox to play indie marketplace games. I own ZERO.
        The second problem which he goes on about in great length is nitpicking about the warnings in the OS and other issues that are related to console noobs yet says “daddy whats a hard drive” hes advocating an OS that has no warnings alerts then tries to play “kids want to play kinectanimals” at the same time. Its nitpicking at its finest most whingiest. The fact he brought up apple, notorious limiter, just leaves me to scratch my head.
        You may think its a great read, to me however it comes across much like a stand up comedian making ‘funny references’ to make the people laugh going “I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT HE MEANS HES SO FUNNY!”
        Just because YOUR vision or Nats vision of what xbox should or shouldnt be doesnt mean this was a good read.
        Fuck knows i hate the way xbox live is at the moment, ads, layout, load times, but to nitpick on the where to save the file, the updates, the fact that it says ‘game or app’ and supply photos of said nitpicking will tarnish whatever vision hes trying to put into the article.
        That being said, its still better writing than the “diablo 3 ended my marriage” or “im not a gamer cause of sandy hook” article.

  • Look, it’s all just one guys’ opinion; but I do miss the days when Xbox was a pure gaming machine with extra media functions.

    The Xbox Dashboard is just frustrating because I want to have the ability to choose what I can see when I log in. All I care about is the games. As a Gold member I believe I should be able to disable ads and arrange the home screen as I see fit. And the big tile in the middle of the home screen should ALWAYS be the one that plays the currently loaded disc.

    Just my opinion.

    I really do hope the new Xbox lets me do this.

    • If Microsoft expect me to pay for gold next gen I want more than just online multiplayer, which no longer appeals to me. Removing advertisements from my dashboard is just scratching the surface.

  • It is a shame. The xbox has been my preferred gaming platform for a very long time, but the way microsoft keep changing my experience is slowly driving me away.
    Last few dash board changes have made it more of a pain to play games on it. Wading through adverts for movies and TV and then two levels down in the games tab to locate XBLA titles I want to play.
    I dont care about streaming media on my xbox. Its too expensive vs physical media which I can move to almost any device at will.
    As for the suggest direction of the new xbox, well what I’m hearing isn’t the gaming experience that I’m looking forward too. I couldnt be bothered with Diablo 3 due to the ‘always on’ requirement and the posibility that the xbox would require it to play content that I purchased locally with a disc… Madness.
    Right now as it stands, there are a lot of games that I have not played or wish to play again on the 360 to keep me going for a few years with needing to upgrade. Pretty graphics aren’t enough to lure me to the next gen vs quality content..

    I bought the 360 to play Halo 3. When the next installment #5 comes round, I’d be curious to see if I would be motivated to buy a console just be able to play it.
    I guess I’ve lost that loving feeling……
    Besides, there is always steam, pinnacle game profiler and 360 controller….

    • Yeah, I don’t know why all these Corporations bother with all this intensive DRM. They are just wasting their own money as each system will be cracked anyway. It’s logical to have some form of copy protection, so say, we can’t just pop a disc into our PC and burn with Nero. Only certain people are willing to go through the bullshit to crack/copy/search/download a game anyways. When it comes to retro consoles though (10+ years old) it’s a different story (for me).

  • I don’t own an XBOXbut do own a PS3. I think part of the issues is being able to buy an XBOX without a hard drive. Futhermore XBOX gold subscribers should be able to update while their console is off. I have a PS Plus account. It allows for all my new saves to be backed up to the cloud (great if the system crashes). Also it updates the PS3 automatically and updates all games automatically. I have set it to check for updates every night. It will inform me when updates are completed when I fire up the machine. I hope that this will be standard for the new generation.

    • The Xbox360 does allow you to download games & movies and whatnot, when the system is off – not for updates though. Would be great if MS implemented this too, though I think it’s probably to do with some DRM bullshit in the background 😉

  • A great article. As someone who works with Microsoft on a daily basis, I can tell you these problems aren’t just limited to their Interactive Entertainment Business – there are similar issues across their their other business divisions as well. I think that Ballmer has been at the helm too long, and the company needs new leadership. Similar to Tim Cook, he’s more of a caretaker CEO than a tech evangelist like a Bill Gates or a Steve Jobs who actively push new ideas.
    In terms of the Xbox, I don’t think the danger will necessarily be coming from Apple, potentially Steambox and Ouya could be far more damaging if the prove popular with both players and developers.
    Lastly, I have to agree with Awnshegh above about the current UI – far too cluttered and too many ads. It’s in desperate need of a refresh / rebuild.

    • Jay Allard knew where Xbox is at… pity he left. Same as Ken Kutaragi for Sony Computer Entertainment.

      Even though he still had that corporate view. Compared to all the other wankas in suits at MS, he seemed to actually give a f**k about the Xbox as a videogame console & entertainment device. To me he actually looked like he was having a nerdgasm when he was presenting the new 360 at conferences, where as the other idiots looked like they didn’t know the difference between a DVDplayer & a videogame console! 😛

  • I havent played my Xbox for about two years. The only use it gets is when my kids (now 4 and 6) want to play a Kinect game. . . and even then they ALWAYS resort back to Kinect Sports.
    Besides what everyone else is saying, my gripe is the Kinect detection/recognition ‘features’.
    Ive gotten a bunch of Kinect games for the kids over the past couple of years (Pixar Rush, Avengers, some Disneyland game to name a few) and all of them have the same problem!
    My kids just want to jump in and play, but every time they have to go through the player identification thing in the game.
    Or, I get the game going, get through the menus and start the game, then let the kids jump in. But the game stops and want to do the “new player detected” shit. Have to select player profiles and saves. Or theyre not detected, so it doesnt save.
    I spend 15 minutes trying direct them through the menus because if I jump in and do it for them it detects me and switches profiles again.
    Sure, they could just use my profile (which they do for Kinect Sports because its painless like that) but almost every other game insists on player switching/identifications!
    These are suppose to be games for kids. The same age as my kids. But theyre so damn frustrating just to get the game started!

    By the time the game gets started they just dont give a shit.

    • Well said. I forgot about that. Kinect is awesome when it works. Now we rearranged the loungeroom the isnt enough space to use it, so it has been packed away. along with my need to buy the last fable game.

    • “I hate XB360 because it’s a western owned console.”

      I hate the Wii/U because it is a Japan Fanboi console.

      Not really, but that comment seems so Techno-racist.

  • Interesting read, typically sad tale where business mutilates vision, if the xbox had become everything this guy had hoped I’d quite possibly have bought in. Having said that,
    “I’m thrilled to see how many installed units it has, how it is crushing its original console competitors”

  • I agree with most of this. Talk about a load of missed opportunities. They could have so crushed the opposition. Not being able to play video off an external HD – Fail! Having to link to a Windows Media Centre PC (or some other device) for PVR and video playback – Fail! (especially if they want to be the centre of the lounge room as per original visions). Outrageous costs of HD upgrade – Fail! Using Kinect voice for nothing but the bare minimum main nav – Fail! Skype integration never delivered – Fail! Noisy ass DVD drive – Fail! Lack of codec support so that it’s easier to play video off an external hard drive plugged directly into my new TV than it is to use the xbox – Fail!

    Why haven’t they got an app store for xbox for indie developers to sell apps like on mobiles? It’s almost like they want the competition to stay in the game instead of blowing them away.
    I’m still convinced they could have killed Bluray by integrating the HD-DVD drive in the console rather than sort of sitting on the fence and letting Toshiba carry on the fight with the other tech giants for so long on their own. They needed to go all-in.

    This probably comes across fairly negatively but Halo is my favourite game (series) and xbox is my favourite console. It’s a bit like watching your favourite child that is so full of potential running around with a bucket on their head bumping into things. You worry for their future.

    • What? you can play movies off an external hard drive, it just has to be the right format. They do have an indie store but it’s only available in the USA.

  • An interesting article for sure, however I think rather than just the Xbox these are problem of all current gaming systems. For me the PSN downloads incredibly slowly for no apparent reason compared to every other device I have in my house. When this is coupled with the practically non-existant multitasking it means I can’t use my PS3 for an entire day if I need to install a game update. There are plenty of problem with current gen OS that means that it is still possible for another company to jump in and join the race.

  • Sony and Nintendo stumbling failures huh? Xbox “crushed” the competition? Right. Doesn’t start the article off on a good foot when you rush straight in looking like a extreme generalising bigot. Kinda devalues anything intelligent you might say after it.

  • I have never, and will never, buy a console to play indie games. In fact I cant say I know of anyone in my circle that even discusses them, and we are all pretty big gamers. Indie might be a big star for mobile devices, but PC and console gaming will always be about the AAA experience for me. Maybe Im old, but I just dont “get” the indie craze thats always written about, but rarely spoken of at home.

  • He’s spot on about the sheer amount of rigmarole you have to go through just to play a game. Signing in, probably confirming the message that you’re not connected to Live, possibly waiting for a system update, ejecting a disc, putting it away, putting another disc in, pressing Run, often waiting for it to update, legal screens, company logos, load times, press Start, choose a device, press Continue Game, more load times. Or, if you’re starting a new game, two hours’ worth of cut scenes and tutorials. I mean, I know most times it really just adds up to a couple of minutes’ worth of waiting and button pushing, but it’s enough to put me off. Whereas if I go to someone’s house and Red Dead Redemption is already running, I’m keen to jump right in.

    The big advantage of phone games is that the gap between “Hmm, I feel like playing Banana Challenge 2” to actually playing the game is maybe seven seconds and a couple of screen touches. If the next generation could deliver that kind of convenience, I’d be all over it. Shame it won’t happen.

  • He may or may not have a point, but I stopped reading once he started making inane complaints. “Daddy what’s a hard drive” and – god forbid – prompting before performing an update are not problems in the slightest.

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