The Danger of Ports

What do Quake 4, Gun, Burnout Revenge, Tony Hawk American Wasteland, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2006, The Godfather, Elderscrolls IV: Oblivion, Peter Jackson’s King Kong, Final Fantasy XI, Madden NFL 06, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, and Call of Duty 2 have in common? Well, obviously, they’re all coming out for the Xbox 360. They’ve also all come out for pretty much every other system known to man, from the PC to the Playstation 2 and Gamecube. And, oh yeah, the original Xbox as well. On average, they also cost ten dollars more than any of their port counterparts. No offense, Microsoft, but I call bad strategy on this one.

Sure, the Xbox 360 has some games coming its way (or that have already been released) that are completely original, such as Kameo and the much-hyped Perfect Dark Zero. The problem, though, is that when you remove the ports from the list, there are very few original and 360-specific games that can’t be had anywhere else. When you’re selling an entire, and expensive, system, this is a critical element that can not be ignored. Especially when I can play the same games on the much cheaper Xbox sold by the same company that I already own!

Ultimately, the 360 seems to be falling into the same trap that Sony’s PSP has fallen into; that of harnessing the power of the system to take games from other consoles and place it on their flagship. It might look good on paper and the game developers might be big fans of the idea, but those two facts do not make good business. The further we get into the launch of the 360, the more the entire experience seems to have been rushed. Having a few more titles under the belt that were made specifically and exclusively for the 360 would certainly have done wonders to help with that perspective.

Bottom line – The 360 needs system defining games and experiences and it needs it now. The one positive aspect of being so severely short-supplied on launch is that you’re not dealing with that large of an install base yet. Take advantage of that and make the gaming experience of the second round of buyers significantly better than that of the first.

What do Quake 4, Gun, Burnout Revenge, Tony Hawk American Wasteland, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2006, The Godfather, Elderscrolls IV: Oblivion, Peter Jackson’s King Kong, Final Fantasy XI, Madden NFL 06, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, and Call of Duty 2 have in common? Well, obviously, they’re all coming out for the Xbox 360. They’ve also all come out for pretty much every other system known to man, from the PC to the Playstation 2 and Gamecube. And, oh yeah, the original Xbox as well. On average, they also cost ten dollars more than any of their port counterparts. No offense, Microsoft, but I call bad strategy on this one.

Sure, the Xbox 360 has some games coming its way (or that have already been released) that are completely original, such as Kameo and the much-hyped Perfect Dark Zero. The problem, though, is that when you remove the ports from the list, there are very few original and 360-specific games that can’t be had anywhere else. When you’re selling an entire, and expensive, system, this is a critical element that can not be ignored. Especially when I can play the same games on the much cheaper Xbox sold by the same company that I already own!

Ultimately, the 360 seems to be falling into the same trap that Sony’s PSP has fallen into; that of harnessing the power of the system to take games from other consoles and place it on their flagship. It might look good on paper and the game developers might be big fans of the idea, but those two facts do not make good business. The further we get into the launch of the 360, the more the entire experience seems to have been rushed. Having a few more titles under the belt that were made specifically and exclusively for the 360 would certainly have done wonders to help with that perspective.

Bottom line – The 360 needs system defining games and experiences and it needs it now. The one positive aspect of being so severely short-supplied on launch is that you’re not dealing with that large of an install base yet. Take advantage of that and make the gaming experience of the second round of buyers significantly better than that of the first.

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