There are things that jump into our lives for seemingly seconds and then leave. What comes to mind quickly are the one hit wonders in the music industry, they come with much flare and flash, make you believe that they'd be around for a least a few years, and before you know it, like a shooting star that zaps across the evening sky with amazing speeds and and eye-blinding light, they're gone. And then there are those things that first you're skeptical about, you hesitantly place your gaze in their direction because you're not too sure what they're up to. Then overtime, they amaze you, surprise you and cunningly convince you that truly, they'll not only be around to stay, but intend on being the best at what they do, all while keeping the competition on their toes. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you a company that came on the scene and has changed the gaming industry forever. A company that many thought would not survive the wrath of Sony and the Playstation brand, but yet still has endured. A company who's motto seems to be "by any means necessary". Microsoft and the Xbox 360 have become a force to be reckoned with. Let's rewind back to the original Xbox shall we?
By the time the original Xbox came on the scene on November 15th, 2001, Sony's PS2 was already a mainstay in households across the globe, but especially overflowing in North America. PS2 had all the major exclusives, massive brand recognition, and no matter what Microsoft did, they just could not take hold of much market share. Although the Xbox was more powerful than PS2, that didn't mean much to gamers who trusted Sony's brand and saw no reason to give the competition a closer look. In fact, many argue that if if were not for Halo, the original Xbox would have been a ghost. The title sold approximately 8 million copies and ended up being the best selling title of the Xbox, indeed there was light at the end of the tunnel....
The Redmond giant was never able to crack Sony's experience-hardened armor; and overtime the PS2 went on to sell 140 million units globally and even to this day is selling like hot cakes. Over 2,000 games were released for the great console and it's deemed industry wide as by far the most successful piece of hardware to ever grace the gaming industry. Microsoft knew they had done little damage to Sony with the Xbox, but as stated earlier, the company saw light at the end of the tunnel.
So what's a company who's desperately trying to get a foothold in the gaming industry do, when everyone is anticipating its competitor's device? Get its console out before anyone else does, and try its best to gain a foothold. That's exactly what Microsoft did.
To much fanfare, Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 in November of 2005, one full year before the PS3 and Nintendo Wii, and although the company has paid a massive cost because of faulty hardware (RROD), the year's headstart allowed them to sell millions of consoles to excited customers while Sony looked on unafraid.
Unafraid, but worried; we're now closing 2009, and Microsoft is still in the lead by a few million units. The PS3 has lost weight both in body and price which led to the system being the best selling console globally for months. But the big surprise came this month in America, when the latest NPD results showed that the Xbox 360 which has been out a year before the PS3, and has yet to receive a face-lift, outsold the it by 100,000 units for the month of November, even after Sony has been delivering a stellar ad campaign effort. This is proof that if anything, Microsoft's Xbox 360 has been a success, a monstrous force to be reckoned with. And if all goes well, there's no stopping them.
Next stop, Xbox 720.
12/12/09 Ernice Gilbert