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XBox (Games)

Next Console Generation Defined By Software, Not Hardware 177

Fast Company recent spoke with Microsoft exec Shane Kim about Natal and the future of the Xbox 360. Kim said they're very interested in continuing to build out support for social networking and digital distribution, and he also made some interesting remarks about their long term plans. Quoting: "It really has much more to do with ... the innovation and longevity that will be created when Project Natal is added to that mix and the value and the entertainment options that we continue to expand on Xbox Live. The 'next generation' will be defined by software and services, not hardware. In the past we would always get this question: 'Hey, there's a new console launch every five years and you're coming up on that time for Xbox, right?' That's the old treadmill way of thinking. Before you had things that were very obvious, from a hardware standpoint — pushing more pixels, the move from 2-D to 3-D, 3-D to HD, etc. We got a very powerful piece of hardware in Xbox 360. I am confident that we have more headroom available, in terms of developers and creators figuring out how to get more out of the system. So I worry less about new hardware having to enable us to move to a different level of graphics. It's much more about the experiences that you are going to deliver."

Comment The author failed to make the right point (Score 1) 676

I see Jaron is taking a lot of heat for his views. That's OK, he pretty much predicted he would, but I think some folks are throwing the baby out with the bathwater in dismissing the entire article as "mere flamebait" with nothing interesting to say. The fact is, Jaron has a point, though perhaps not the point he actually made. The real point is that innovation needs both fuel and focus to truly thrive.

That fuel can take many forms, of course, but a steady paycheck (and all the qualities of life it enables) remains one of the most reliable forms of fuel yet devised. It's not a bad way of providing focus, either. In a functional commercial organization, you have very specific vision and directives for everyone to follow and the fact that developers don't need to go elsewhere to find ways of paying their mortgage means they can devote themselves exclusively to the task(s) at hand. Contrast this with the general directive to "do whatever floats your boat" in the open source world (modulo whatever organizational goals the thought-leaders may be trying to set) and the fact that, with regrettably few exceptions, its developers still need to put 40+ hours a week into making money some other way. The fact that innovation still occurs in spite of this is highly admirable, but it's definitely like rolling a marble uphill by comparison.

Another point that Jaron failed to make is that the open source world resists change, largely due to the sheer number of opinions on which direction to go in or what constitutes a good or bad idea. In order to topple an existing paradigm, you need to conform to the 10X rule and that's hard. In a closed system, all that it takes to effect change is for one person in a position of authority to say "do it!" and, within reason, it will be done. Even Linus Torvalds saying "do it!" doesn't mean it will get done in the Linux world unless he does it himself, and there's only so much one person can do. Contrast this with the commercial world, where you can have hundreds (if not thousands) of people working in concert on a single goal. Whether the goal is the "wrong" or "right" goal is academic (and largely in the eye of the beholder) - you get on board or you look for another job. Should it subsequently transpire that your goals were wrong, well, all you've wasted is some time and money. If they were right, however, then you've just created something innovative which will have a significant impact on the world at large.

The open source community spends a lot of time arguing itself to a standstill, by comparison, and that's hardly conducive to innovation, which is perhaps the point that Jaron should have made.

Comment Brought us Flash? (Score 1) 346

"Macromedia, Inc., the same people that brought you Flash, have done it again"

Actually, all macromedia did was BUY futuresplash
animator from FutureSplash Inc because it was a
very great, much easier to use compeditor to their
shockwave offering if you just wanted to do simple
good looking animation. I can remember being forced
to use the original product under protest, then
actually not minding having to use windows for a few
weeks because it was actually a fun to use product.

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