The End May Be Near for Microsoft's Entertainment Division
by, 07-21-2010 at 03:58 PM (4744 Views)
I guess if I had to pick which of the big 3, Iíve supported the most this generation; Iíd probably have to pick Microsoft. Even so, Iím not sure you could consider me a Microsoft fanboy. But ever since E3, Iíve had to reassess my support for the big M and the more Iíve thought about it, the more I realize Iíve probably thrown my support for the wrong company.
My intent here is not to become a Microsoft basher. Even with my current disappointment in the direction of the company, and my realization of what I think is soon to come; I still spend most of my gaming time on the 360 these days. Unfortunately I think the Microsoft gaming division may be living on borrowed time.
This became even more clear recently with the news 1 vs. 100 would not be coming back for a 3rd season. Keep in mind that Microsoft poured a ton of time and money into building a pretty unique experience in 1 vs. 100. A venture that was considered successful since on any given night youíd have a minimum of 10,000 players playing. I wouldnít attribute 1 vs. 100 as being the sole reason that Xbox Live reached the 20,000,000 ďgold subscribersĒ milestone, but Iíd say it was part of the reason at least. So why cancel a unique feature that Microsoft could use as an example of something that could only be done over XBL?
Keep in mind that Microsoft is betting the farm on Kinect, and that 1 vs. 100 seemed to fit Microsoftís push to enter the casual gaming market. When Microsoft unveiled ďNatalĒ last year, they even used 1 vs. 100 to help promote it. So I donít think itís a huge stretch to think that Kinect may be the straw that breaks the camelís back.
Microsoft has a history of dropping support for products without notice. So what am I talking about? How about the original Xbox, Wireless adapter, Xbox Vision Camera, The Kin cell phone, Windows Mobile platform, Pocket PC and the Courier Tablet? I donít think itís that big of a stretch to think if Kinect flops, which all indications are that it will, the Microsoft folds their entertainment division and walks away.
So what does Microsoft have to offer its core users in the coming year? Halo Reach and Gears of War 3. What happened to this yearís Summer of Arcade? Whereís this yearís Shadow Complex? Then you look at MSís lack of marketing of critically acclaimed titles. Alan Wake, which Iíve yet to find one person complain about, has sold poorly with about 88,000 units sold to date. Iím not sure Iíve seen any marketing of Alan Wake, since Microsoft was too busy hyping Kinect. According to Cheapy Dís CAG cast last week, Amazon is currently tallying a whopping 34 pre-orders for Kinect. If that isnít a complete bust already, I donít know what is.
So Microsoft has basically turned its back on its core audience, and decided to target a different demographic. They have no new console on the horizon, no new exclusive core titles outside of the already mentioned sequels and are cutting features from their service for god knows what reason. Am I just paranoid, or does it looks like the Microsoft Games division is on the brink of a major collapse?