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LordN3R0 Returns!!

Realizing its been a long time since I posted, and it feels like Charley is the only one posting, here is another attempt to return to the blog; but first off, I wanted to find out if anyone is interested in doing an occasional Game Night? I was thinking of doing something like every other week, we can meet someplace and play one of the games from the Top 100 Games that Charlie (I think it was Charlie) posted earlier. If anyone is interested, post a comment here or you can email me at my first name (oren) followed by my last name (ross), and I use the gmail service. (Sorry for doing it that way, damn spammers)

Now for some of my thoughts…

I was recently asked by a business school friend, who is also trying to work with games, “How can Microsoft increase their market share this holiday season?” I found out it was for a business competition, and was surprised that it was so specifically about the video game industry.

I also thought this is a great question, because while Microsoft has been on the market a full year longer than either the Wii or PS3, the Wii is ahead internationally, and closing the gap in the US. The PS3 has been struggling, as many people know, but I think they can still ride the PS2 this holiday season, especially by bundling Guitar Hero with some consoles. With a price drop, or two, next year, Sony can make up a lot of ground in the next 2-3 years. And now, it looks like Sony may be releasing an even lower end PS3 this holiday to compete with the 360. This one will have only a 40 gig hard drive, and apparently no backwards compatibility, which I think is a horrible idea after seeing how ill received the cheaper PS3 did at launch.

So back to Microsoft, they are screwed if they don’t have an aggressive push this season, and gain a dominant hold on the hardcore US market. They need to push 2-3 million in the US by the end of the year to even think they did well, but should aim for 5 if they want to emerge as the market leader by the end of the war. Here are a few of the ideas we came up with, and some of my own. We stayed away from the obvious game bundles, because thats already been done.

Include a Second Controller: Show that the 360 is about playing with other people, give them a free second controller with every console. One of the amazing things about the Wii is the controller attachment rate, which is about 2.2 per a console. The 360 wants people to perceive it as the great connector of people with Xbox Live, why not play with people in the same room? I also think the 360 controller is pretty good; its not the Wiimote, but its way better than the old Xbox one, and I like it more than the PS2, and don’t get me started on the PS3 one, another Sony shame.

Include 3 free months of Xbox Live and some downloads: Give them a few casual games to download on Xbox Live, and even a movie to show off how easy it is to download movies on this system. This can get people interested in the online component, which remains the strength of the console. I have played with the PS3′s online component, and it sucks. The Wii is very simple, and so far only has classic games, and a few interesting channels. But the 360 does it right, easy to control, and pretty well organized. And you don’t need a keyboard and mouse to control it. Apparently this might actually be in the works, but instead will include a few of the downloadable games on a memory card. I still think they should also give the free month of Xbox Live with a free movie download to really get the non-hardcore crowd interested. And also I think they need to figure out how to get the HD-DVD drive in all the 360s, but I have a feeling that wont be for another 2 years.

Drop the price, and raise it the right way: The current cheapest SKU is $20 more than the Wii; it’s time to make it the same. And cut out one of the units, there are 4 different 360s and it is way too confusing for consumers. They should have 2 permanent types; I am thinking the Elite should stay as the top of the line Xbox, but have the same price as the Premium. And the Core which is just the bare bones Xbox, but I do think they should add a small hard drive to it, so the consumers can actually download a movie. Now they can release a seasonal third SKU that they dub the Special Edition Xbox 360, like what they did with the new Halo one, which is disappointing for not including the game. This one should have been a $600-700 bundle; with the console, huge hard drive, extra controller, and then the Limited Edition Version of Halo, something for the ultimate Halo fanboys. Next year, the GTA IV Limited Edition Version!

Maybe if some Microsoft executive read this, they might have a good holiday season and actually make some money for the company; but knowing these huge corporations, it would be implemented 5 years after they read this.

And in case you were wondering, LordN3R0 is my Gamertag on Xbox Live, anyone for some Halo?

3 Comments

  1. Charles wrote:

    I gotta say man, after playing around with my Playstation 3 for a couple of weeks I feel like it’s online service is really not that bad. The design is a bit schizophrenic, with the Playstation Store completely abandoning the look of the ‘Cross Media Bar’, but the fact that I’m not paying for it makes me forgive a lot. Don’t get me wrong, I still play most of my games on my 360, but Sony might catch up in that regard faster than people think. This makes some of Microsoft’s problems more pressing than they realize!

    Also, I look forward to shooting people with you this weekend. My Gamertag is KUZDU.

    Friday, October 5, 2007 at 1:56 pm | Permalink
  2. Oren wrote:

    I still think the Playstation Store sucks. First off, it might work better with a keyboard and mouse, but most people wont want to have to plug that in to surf the store. Secondly, its a mess to find anything and they dont even have 1/4 as much as XBLA. I was looking for free Arcade demos on Playstation, and it took me a while to figure out that they only have like 5 and no section to scroll through them. I do believe Sony is starting to move in the right direction, PSP games is the first smart thing they have done, but at this pace it might be too slow. Microsoft has the online service down so well, its amazing Sony hasn’t copied everything yet. I think Microsoft should be more worried about the Wii taking a huge bite of the pie, especially if WiiWare does as well as the Virtual Console has been doing.

    And here is something to get you excited for fragging this weekend, and no I did not do this.

    Friday, October 5, 2007 at 4:49 pm | Permalink
  3. Charley wrote:

    Yo I’d love to catch everyone and play some games. My gamertag is bluegrass78.

    And next time you organize people for a play-date, Oren, I’ll be there.

    Tuesday, October 9, 2007 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

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