More thoughts about the xbox 360, have lessons been learned?

I've been thinking about the xbox 360 a lot more since the announcements from Sony PS3 and Nintendo's Revolution. Everyones talking about how they all compare but I've been thinking about the experiment and maybe mistakes of Xbox.

Microsoft I feel, really learned a lot of lessons during the xbox generation. Xbox really bombed in the Eastern markets because it was too big and looked like a hummer sitting next to a smart car when compared to a new PS2. Xbox 360 is still large bit its smooth looking and can fit under and besides your TV. Lessons learned.

Xbox live costs money. Xlink Kai and Xbox connect are all free to use and actually provide a better service complete with private rooms and chat over voice over ip and usb keyboard. So what did Microsoft learn? Create a Xbox live which is free out of the box and provide a better service for those who pay. What Microsoft did not learn? Decentralised networks where all the logical and IQ is on the edges, tends to be where xlink are going – Microsoft is going the opposite way.

Big mistake by Microsoft is having no next generation DVD Drive, HD-DVD or Blu-Ray needs to be added. But Microsoft did learn there lesson from Xbox DVD playback, to watch DVDs on the xbox you needed to buy a 30 pound remote. Thankfully DVD playback is at least built in and ready to go from day one.

I hear that Xbox 360 will not support USB keyboards for game playing, sounds like Microsoft have not learned there lesson from Xbox. Having USB connections on the Xbox was good because developers could allow for mouse input. Having USB on every port also meant USB could be used for alternative inputs. Yeah webcams but maybe microphones, who knows what else. Having that in Xbox 360 would be cool. However, Microsoft have not. Oh well.

Ok the biggest lesson, Xbox media centre! Microsoft have copied everything xbox media centre and the xbox extender kit and put it all into xbox 360. Internet access will be combined involved in everything and I'm sure everything that is available in instant messenger (video, audio via sip) will be there allowing you to talk to people online. HDTV is going to be there from day one which is cool so Windows media 10 content i'm sure will be there too. I guess it will be DRM aware too – hummm shame. I dont know how much detail Microsoft has considered for example they say you will be able to access your media on your pc to watch content but how? WIll you need Windows Media centre or some other application? Or will they learn the lesson and use SMB? Or hell use the XBMS protocol? hummm maybe not. Will it support all codecs and formats under the sun like xbox media centre? Will it support content from external sources like all the ipTV shows on the net? Or will you be stuck with the usual boring mass media content? Its too early to know for sure.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.