Nat Brown, one of the founders of Microsoft’s Xbox project, posted a long and excellent rant on the Xbox’s shortcomings. He believes that there are major issues with the system’s user experience and the company’s relationship with independent developers. He believes that these issues are why the Xbox is, “going to lose on in the living room battle with Android & iOS.” I highly recommend giving it a read. Here’s an excerpt:
So, because these two critical issues — user expereince and indie content — are not nearly in order and I see big investments in future interactive content happening, as well as idiotic moves to limit used games or put harder content protection into place than exists in mobile or tablets — i predict massive failure and losses here. And it makes me sad. Because it just doesn’t have to fail, even though it has been punted around poorly for 5 years. xBox just needs somebody with a brain and focus to get the product in order tactically before romping forward to continue the long-term strategic promise of an xBox in every living room, connected to every screen.
I’d love to hear your take on Brown’s argument. While I agree that iOS offers a generally superior user experience than Xbox, I was surprised to see him stress the importance of indie content. While I love and appreciate indie games, so many people — both within the business and consumers in general — pay more attention to the Call of Duties, Maddens, etc. I’m thrilled when developers like Giant Sparrow (The Unfinished Swan) and thatgamecompany (Journey) succeed, but I’m also not sure how big a part companies like that play in determining the future of the industry. Sometimes I get the (sad) feeling that people that write about games care exponentially more about indie developers than Joe Gamer does.
Kindly share your thoughts on Nat Brown’s post when you have a chance.