How the Xbox 360 Excelled and Failed at Delivering the Goods
It has been many years since this current generation of consoles (for the sake of this article, the Wii for Nintendo) was released and has since sat on the market for quite a while now. We are finally entering into the realm of each major console maker releasing their next generation of consoles, with Nintendo ahead of the pack by about a year with the Wii U. This means that a lot of the talk in 2013 when it comes to the world of gaming is going to revolve around the recently-released Wii U as well as the upcoming PS4 and Xbox 720. That also means that this year will be the year that we see the PS3, Wii and Xbox 360 wind down and take a backseat to their successors in the coming months.
With this time upon us, now is as good of a time as ever to take a look at the successes and failures of these systems; the good and the bad. First up is Microsoft’s Xbox 360.
Success — The Xbox 360 established a few pretty big franchises like the Gears of War games or continued with ones like the Halo series. These games not only appealed to hardcore gamers but also had widespread appeal and permeated into pop culture. The Xbox 360 picked up where the Xbox left off in taking the shooter genre and making it immensely popular across multiple demographics. On top of that, the Xbox 360’s dashboard and media offerings were ahead of the curve and simple to use. Stuff like Netflix and streaming media off of a computer became commonplace with the Xbox 360 and only became easier with time. On top of that, they introduced Xbox Live Arcade and sold some really incredible indie games, giving them a broader market.
Failures — Xbox Live is still a pay service for some reason and offers very little in the way of benefits to consumers. When the PlayStation Network caught up with streaming applications it became confusing that Xbox Live still cost around the cost of a new retail game for a year’s worth of a service that others offered for free. Netflix became available on everything, from rival consoles to DVD players, televisions and set-top boxes, making Netflix on XBL behind a pay window seem like a crass idea. They seemed to embrace digital distribution and then never went full force on it, making a half-assed effort overall. The biggest offense of the Xbox 360 was probably including a standard DVD drive and opting to sell an optional HD DVD drive while the PS3 was a bit more expensive, but included a great Blu-Ray player.
Actually, the biggest offense is the shoddy workmanship. If you have owned less than three Xbox 360’s since launch consider yourself very, very lucky.
Overall — The Xbox 360 was a successful system that introduced some really great ideas for being an entire home entertainment center, but was still charging premium prices for a service that didn’t offer much to consumers. They worked to push ahead with how they delivered games, but only smaller games, failing on the bigger level. Worst of all was the hardware, being behind-the-times when it came to formats and just the general failure rate. Once that original one goes out of warranty and they won’t fix your system for free anymore the nightmares begin; you have all of those games and no more system, so you need to replace it.