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, 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 5 years, and the last year in particular, have been simply painful to watch. Coasting on past momentum. Failing to innovate and failing to capitalize on innovations like Kinect. Touting strategic and market success when youre just experiencing your competitors stumbling failure (yes, Sony, Nintendo you are, Im 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 coverage1 of interviews with Yusef Mehdi and Nancy Tellem and reports of the goals of a new LA xBox studio to create interactive content.
Which brings us to
Apple is already a games competitor broadly, even if Apple-TV isnt 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 18-24mo 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%-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 Ill make money. I would for xBox if I could and I knew I would make money. Maybe a console-capable Apple-TV isnt $99, maybe its $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% year-over-year growth vs. xBox 360 about 9M units in 2012, 60% YoY decline.Nat Brown
Much more in the blog post, another delicious opinion regarding the state of the traditional console industry -- and how Apple is always there, watching, waiting.... Remember what Gabe said not too long ago about the AppleTV? How interesting we get another opinion that's focused on the game console and not the PC.
UPDATE: Added TechCrunch article of deliciousness.