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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Armchair E3 2011: Microsoft

Not only is this totally armchair E3 in that I've never been to an E3, but I'm not even a 360 user. And hence some might think that I would easily find fault with Microsoft's offering...

But that's really not the case. In fact, I think Microsoft might have the smartest strategy this year. Microsoft managed to sell more units of Kinect than, well most anyone has sold anything and their E3 keynote seems to appropriately position to match that success. The worst thing Microsoft could do is to ride off into the sunset assuming that was the end of the story while planning on the Xbox 360++/720/Full Circle Squared.

Microsoft is, instead, riding on the safe bet that their are several Kinect users out there waiting for new games. There might not be anything particularly bullish going on here, especially since it seems that the non-Kinect announcements include such complete non-surprises as a more Call of Duty (shock!), more Gears of War (no way!) and more Halo (wow! really?).

Short version: if you're a 360 user, and especially a Kinect user, expect more of the same with some additional bells and whistles. There's no need to knock this strategy in general, it worked well for Nintendo for years (another Zelda?? OMG!) and I think Kinect users should be happy that the big M is throwing support behind the product instead of simply cashing the checks.


Steve said...

My sense of this E3 is that, from a hardware perspective, this has been a "less is more" situation. Microsoft's event clearly had less to offer, but go look at the competitors and they are making big mistakes.

Sony will release a portable gaming device when that market has been completely obliterated by the existence of smart phones. Why would all but the hardest of the hard core gamers bother to carry around a separate device these days? The 3DS will be facing a similar fate especially with concerns over eye strain, etc.

As for the Wii-U, Nintendo is desperately trying to play the same bet they managed to win on the Wii. Release a funky new controller and try to sell people on a lesser platform using that. The odds of them repeating that success are near zero especially with more compelling options like Kinect out there.

Microsoft didn't put a lot out there but they also aren't going to lose hugely like their competitors are.

Josh said...

Yeah, I think Microsoft is being pretty smart. It doesn't have a big marketing splash like a new piece of hardware, but the strategy is going to make a lot of Kinect and hardcore gamers happy.