Xbox Founder Nat Brown on Why Consoles Will Lose

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 DutiesMaddens, 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.


Author: RPadTV

11 thoughts on “Xbox Founder Nat Brown on Why Consoles Will Lose”

  1. This guy hits the nail on the head with his critique about the Xbox OS interface. How long have I been saying that with each passing update to the dashboard, the interface keeps getting worse and worse.

    Now, here’s one of the grandaddies of the Xbox coming out and saying what I’ve known all along. Hooray for vindication! (Not to be confused with Vindicator from Alpha Flight… that guy sucks).

    Seriously, though, I really wouldn’t mind going back to the original “blades” system interface. At least back then I could find everything easily.


    1. Vindicator > Puck

      A Canadian superhero with an ironic hockey puck name?!? Ouch.

      Microsoft could use the equivalent of a Jony Ive or Matias Duarte. Actually, all three major console companies would be better off with someone like that.

      1. I just looked at Peter Dinklage’s filmography, I have never seen anything he has ever acted in,

      2. For shame! Most people know him from Game of Thrones and love him in it. The Station Agent is a fantastic film too. I also enjoyed his cameo on Entourage.

      3. I, too, have no idea who the hell Peter Dinklage is. I don’t have HBO. I don’t watch Game of Thrones (although I have heard about it because it is damn near everywhere) and I’ve never seen Entourage.

        If anyone is going to play Puck in a movie (which is a really bad idea in the first place), then it should be like a younger version of Danny Devito.


  2. I think he’s plugging indie because during the next gen there will eventually if not at launch be consoles that will not play a disc. Then the consoles have to justify digital pricing in comparison to iOS, steambox and to a lesser extent android.

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