Xbox 360 Launch

The Xbox 360 is now available. Microsoft released the original Xbox about a year after the Sony Play Station 2, and probably lost a lot of customers because of it (on the other hand, if they’d released a year earlier, they wouldn’t have had Halo). To this day, Sony has dominated the game console market. This time around, it’s Microsoft that’s first out of the gates.

I haven’t played with a 360, or even seen one in person, but that’s not going to stop me from commenting. First of all, it looks like Microsoft has made a lot of nice improvements over the previous generation. The case is smaller, the controller is more comfortable, graphics are better, and you can connect with other players online for free.

So, what are the draw backs? First and foremost is price. If you want to play your old Xbox games, or do anything cool with the thing, you’ll need to get the model with the hard drive which runs $400. Microsoft’s early release may turn out to haunt them too. The PS2, original Xbox, and Game Cube still seem to have some play time in them. At this point, I’d rather pick up a PS2 for $150 because the graphics really aren’t half bad, and the PS2 has a huge selection of good games available.

Maybe I’m missing something, but I just don’t see the innovation. Sure, the graphics are prettier, but are the games more fun? Last time around, Sony and Microsoft were able to capitalize on the included DVD player at a time when most people were buying their first DVD player. I haven’t heard anything about the media center features of the new Xbox. Maybe they’ll be enough to draw more customers, but maybe not.

Personally, I’m going to wait and see. I am getting pretty fed up with fighting with my computer just to get it to play games. Consoles do have a huge attraction in that respect, especially if you can buy a nice gaming console for less than $200. I might even consider giving up on PC gaming and switch to Linux. With the money I save, I could probably afford two of the next generation consoles, but if I had to choose today those two would be the Sony Play Station 3 and the Nintendo Revolution.