Home > Microsoft > Ballmer: Xbox ‘can take Sony’ Ballmer: Xbox ‘can take Sony’ Eugenia Loli 2004-07-14 Microsoft 51 Comments Although much has been made of the challenges Microsoft faces in readying the next version of Windows, CEO Steve Ballmer said that “big bets” like Longhorn are not a reason for concern. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 51 Comments 2004-07-14 7:28 pm It really wasnt about Xbox but more about MS and how its doing in general. Though for the average consumer Xbox is the only thing they probably care about. As far as the Xbox goes, I seem to remember reading that they are losing money, not to mention there one popular game is only Halo. However, they are a new player and the console market has typically been a 3 way race (ala nintendo versus sega versus sony). In fact it used to be only Nintendo versus Sega, but then Sony came and blew both out of the water. Sega died and Nintendo incorporated some of there games. the thing is the ps2 was actually good when xbox entered so microsoft will have a harder time than when sony did coming in, since sonys was the better console compared to snes and genesis/segacd. If they get more developers they will survive, right now they need more market penetration in the asia countries, its more popular in america then in asia. That and developers developers developers ;-). As far as nintendo dying I think they are becoming more like the niche market like Apple. They wont die but they wont have the same power they weilded during the NES/SNES era. 2004-07-14 7:40 pm Didnt the XBOX division loss $2 BILLION!!! Geez if M$ didnt have their desktop monopoly, they’d be dead. 2004-07-14 7:49 pm “Geez if M$ didnt have their desktop monopoly, they’d be dead.” But they do, so it doesn’t really matter. I think it’s a bit early to decide who will win in the next generation of consoles. Personally, I hope Nintendo wins 🙂 2004-07-14 7:52 pm I got the Xbox because it outputs some games in High Def and it had a HDD and good online support. The graphics are becomming good enough that it will be difficult to tell the difference between consoles in the next generation. They’ll all support HDTV 720p antialiased/aniso filtering bla bla My point? MS had a technological advantage with Xbox, that’s not going to pull their weight in the next gen battles. It boils down to brand respect, something that MS loses with each lawsuit and IE/Windows security alert. That’s not to mention the fact that a large chunk of the planet doesn’t want an American company getting any richer. 2004-07-14 7:57 pm Maybe sales will go up when Doom3/HL 2 are relased for the xbox. 2004-07-14 7:59 pm I have a PlayStation 2 and an XBox and if a game comes out for both I buy the XBox version because of the superior graphics and the load times which are a pain on the PS 2. I do wish they’d have more games made just for the console, but as long as companies make a version for PS 2 and XBox I’ll be happy buying the XBox version. 2004-07-14 8:02 pm I keep reading on sites like Slashdot and even here that M$ is in trouble in the gaming world ’cause the Xbox isn’t generating a profit. Keep in mind that it costs around $600-700 to build each unit for the Xbox alone. Sony in 2001 said the PS2 cost them $1500 per unit. Gaming consoles are ALWAYS sold at a loss. Sega is a prime example of this. Sega had to pull out of the console market in 2001, but not because of their Dreamcast. The Dreamcast was considered a failure in the US, but it was only supported by Sega from Sept. 9th, 1999 to February 2001. Sega was losing money because of the lack of games and accessories being purchased for the Dreamcast. And since they had a previous debt from the Sega Saturn debacle, they were forced change to being a software company. M$’s Xbox is a successful console. Sony has sold around 30 million units, which does make them the market leader – but they aren’t profitting from the console. The Big 3 (Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony) are profitting from game licensing and sales of the accessories for their respective consoles. The next round of the “Console Wars” ought to be interesting though, I really don’t think the PlayStation-3 Cell Concept will be popular. Sega is a fitting example of how add-ons don’t work. Anyone heard of the Sega 32X, Sega CD, and Jaguar CD? Even Nintendo’s 64DD failed in Japan, and given the history of console add-ons in the US – couldn’t be brought to market here. 2004-07-14 8:05 pm You really think it doesn’t matter? The day Sony or any other decides to sue them, they will have a very hardtime justfying: yes, we are using the money we’re earning with the desktop business to finance the xbox, but no, this is not leveraging our position of monopoly on the desktop to force our entry on the game console market. No, no Sir, we swear! 2004-07-14 8:38 pm XBox is only better than the PS2 because it’s two years younger. It BETTER be better. Personally, I think Sony has the best hardware and third-party relationships in the business. The ideal outcome would be for PS3 to be the standard console with SEGA, Nintendo, and MS acting as third parties for software. SEGA has already gone that route, and Nintendo is almost to that point. I don’t expect MS to go that way because they have this monopoly fetish – they feel the need to control every aspect of whatever they do. 2004-07-14 8:42 pm totally agree. microsoft/nintendo/sony do not rely their incomes on selling consoles, but game licensing. What makes u think Sony and Microsoft are buying hot game software companies? my bet is on sony still though nintendo is gonna be the next sega as the pokemon dynasty is over (finally!)…too bad, I think nintendo is the most innovative company out of the three. 2004-07-14 8:48 pm I’ve got an XBox..got it about 2 years ago and also recently got a GameCube. Back then it was definitely the wrong decision because of the sheer amount of games for PS2, but on the other hand the XBox, in theory, does have a better graphics engine. My girlfriend’s favorite game of all time is Mario Cart on the N64, so we got that for the gamecube. Ghost Recon and Halo are two good games for the XBox. All in all, I wish I would have got a PS2, but lately I don’t even really play many console games, last night my girlfriend and I have been playing quake3 on the lan…she sure gets frustrated with that since I’ve been playing FPS since the Wolfenstein days;) 2004-07-14 8:50 pm lost 4 billion last year. they are hurting much worse than ms. the console price war that is in full swing is hurting sony much worse than ms. add to that a modest world wide recession just passed and fewer consumers bought fancy sony electronics. and to top it off, sonys pc business is being destroyed by lower price rivals. sony is in a world of hurt. read your game mags, but also read some business news too. 2004-07-14 8:55 pm The Xbox Next and PS3 could get blindsided by Nintendo’s new ‘Revolution’ machine 2004-07-14 9:02 pm The fact is that american company’s are cheaper in the states than foreign products, in other country’s that changes so in fact an xbox is quite expensive That’s not the fact at all, depending on the product. If American companies were cheaper in the States than foreign products, we wouldn’t have lost such huge market share in electronics to southeast Asia, and we wouldn’t have lost such huge market share in textiles to products made in Latin America or Chine, etc. Some years ago I walked into the store and saw that American-made bedsheets cost twice as much as Chinese-made bedsheets. TWICE AS MUCH. Maybe if you compare us to Europe, you’re correct. But Europe is hardly “the world”. 2004-07-14 9:04 pm Nintendo’s systems have never been sold for a loss, though the GameCube was sold at about cost (a first for Nintendo). nintendo is gonna be the next sega as the pokemon dynasty is over (finally!)…too bad, I think nintendo is the most innovative company out of the three. Nintendo’s always been the most profitable video game company — even without Pokemon (which is still thriving in both the US and Japan, despite its more subdued popularity now). While Microsoft’s lost money on the Xbox division overall and Sony’s made only a decent showing, Nintendo’s been raking in money hand over fist. If they go software-only, it’ll not be because of monetary reasons. 2004-07-14 9:12 pm well, nintendo isn’t making any money on gamecube harware. but still, the company isn’t losing money here. at the time when sega pulled out of the console manufacturing market, they were practically bankrupt. nintendo on the other hand, has very deep pockets since the nes/snes days. don’t expect them to give up soon 2004-07-14 9:22 pm “Sony has sold around 30 million units” They sold 60 million like 8 months ago… It’s definitely time to update your stats… My guess is it’s around 9=80 million now. Hell, update… you probably just made that up… Sony had already sold 20 million when the XBox had only sold 1 million. 2004-07-14 10:10 pm sony is not losing money in their Playstation division. Its just about the only profitable part of their company. So you can be sure they will be protecting it with all they are worth. I would like Sony to return to making high quality home entertainment systems though. Not to say they shouldn’t make PSXs, but they should be just as forceful in their home electronics division. 2004-07-14 10:12 pm An employee at a gamestop told me last week that Nintendo was going to merge with the Xbox part of MS. He said the announcement should come out soon. I wonder if he was full of it or not. What’s interesting is that nintendo and ms’s hardware specs are very similar… 2004-07-14 10:20 pm First, Sony is actually making money (very little, but still) on consoles now – they have enough volume to keep it at a low price and still not lose money. Second, in an effort to lose less money, MS will not incorporate a hard drive into the next Xbox (which, incidentally, will use PowerPC and ATI chips). This seems to indicate that the Xbox2 will not be backward compatible. This could play against MS. As far as Nintendo is concerned, they will fight tooth and nail to keep their handheld dominance. This should be an interesting couple of years for the game industry! 2004-07-14 10:31 pm GAMES ! I bought a NGC one year ago. Because, it got the kind of game I like. There are some games I like on PS2 but my favourites one are on NGC. Never games were that worth on Xbox for my taste. Things start to change but it is not yet at PS2/NGC level. The funny thing is that my brother and some of his friends bought used Xbox-es nine months ago. There were so easy to mod. And downloading pirate games thought the net is really easy too. Modded Xbox are also very good at multi-media system. You can play MP3, DivX, DVD, GamesOnHardDisk, etc … 2004-07-14 10:38 pm >>An employee at a gamestop told me last week that Nintendo >>was going to merge with the Xbox part of MS. He said the >>announcement should come out soon. you are the victim of this gamestop guy’s either wishful thinking or just plain stupidity. this is what xbox/ps2 fanboys say when Nintendo games are too “kiddy” for them but they secretly wish they could play mario on their xbox/ps2. nintendo has stated multiple times that when they quit making hardware, theyll will be out of the gaming business. MS wont buy them, nintendo isnt merging with anyone. theyre 2nd place worldwide and they are more profitable than sony and microsoft’s respective gaming divisions (separately, combined MS would still pull the numbers into the red). 2004-07-14 10:46 pm If M$ and Sony depend of game sales for profit then they are lost here in Brazil (and most of second and third-world countries). All the people here buy a Playstation or X-box with mod-chips for US$300 and then any game for only US$ 3… 2004-07-14 10:46 pm “Maybe sales will go up when Doom3/HL 2 are relased for the xbox.” That would be interesting but those are both PC Games. They may be ported to Xbox farther down the road, but the initial releases will be for PC only according to Id and Valve respectively. 2004-07-14 10:55 pm … but I’m still buying PS3 in march to replace my PS2. PS2 is a really nice gap filling feature for me as Linux user. 2004-07-14 10:59 pm That would be interesting but those are both PC Games. They may be ported to Xbox farther down the road, but the initial releases will be for PC only according to Id and Valve respectively. Pretty sure that Doom3 is already comfirmed for XBox, and as I recall slightly ahead of the PC (but that’s a little fuzzy in my mind). 2004-07-14 11:15 pm I think you’re going to have a hard time buying a PS3 in march since they will haven’t even been displayed in public by then. E3 2005 (which is MAY) is the supposed first public showing, but it won’t be for sale then 2004-07-14 11:49 pm Xbox is sort of nice, the gamepad is good and it has more raw power than other consoles (well, to give an example: Doom3 won’t come for PS2 simply because it is not possible to port it for that slow hardware). Microsoft has done some good r&d with Xbox, gudos for them 2004-07-15 12:00 am Microsoft is notorious for poor quality because that’s what happens when there is a monopoly, but in the video game industry there is more competition, hence better quality products. 2004-07-15 1:15 am “Keep in mind that it costs around $600-700 to build each unit for the Xbox alone. Sony in 2001 said the PS2 cost them $1500 per unit.” Good God, why in the world would it cost MS $600-700 to build an Xbox? I can build a PC with those specs for <$150.00 with off the shelf parts. In quantity those things should be much cheaper. 2004-07-15 1:19 am “Pretty sure that Doom3 is already comfirmed for XBox, and as I recall slightly ahead of the PC (but that’s a little fuzzy in my mind).” Well, it is done for the PC. http://www.idsoftware.com/firstweb/business/press/index.php?date=20… No mention of xbox or anything in there that I saw. 2004-07-15 1:43 am Yes, Doom 3 for the Xbox is at E3, and, yes, we got to play it. One of the biggest lines at E3 can be found at the Activision booth, because Activision and id Software have a small theater set where up to four people at a time can play the Xbox version of the eagerly awaited first-person shooter Doom 3. From a Gamespot article. 2004-07-15 4:03 am “Microsoft is notorious for poor quality because that’s what happens when there is a monopoly, but in the video game industry there is more competition, hence better quality products.” Yup… MS is kicking ass and taking names on the game world. I quit buying games for all of the other platforms over a year ago. I have missed nearly nothing because of it. 2004-07-15 4:15 am Well If we go back 8-9 months before, I would definitly say that Xbox doesnt stand a change against Sony. things have changed though, Xbox is getting more attention now, a while ago for everybody it was a joke but now everybody considers it. If you look at the latest games on both platform Xbox cleary outperforms PS2. PS2 has a very good developer support, which shows it doesnt really matter if you have the powerful hardware as long as you have the best companies developing your machine, but Xbox is getting those developers too now. The reason i like PS is because they have games like GT4, FF Series, Tekken… No platform has these games but Xbox started making their own flag carrying games too, Halo and Riddick for example. So I see Xbox’s future. Nintendo is a big/old player, they can not compete with newcomers, they have to change some things. Sony came and got the first place, Xbox came and got the second place. I wonder if they can do some thing with revelution but as I see from press, they are trying to play the game according to their rules but they are not in the position of deciding themselves. 2004-07-15 4:24 am IGn and others have already speculated that nintendo may use the same hardware as xbox .. so they both can put even more pressure on sony that way. Xbox demographic is very different to nintendo and would be a perfect match for both companies.. the only thing stopping this is each companies egos not practical or profit issues. Xbox has the best games atm Rallisport 2, Full spectrum warrior, pgr2, top spin, crimson skies, rb63.. there are so many games that arent for pc (rb63 is differnet for pc!)(yet). Hl2 and doom3 will be after the pc version.. but doom3 has coop online for xbox live! This will not be supported on PC I wonder what exclusives HL2 for xbox will have (MS pays them money for such things like ID). Xbox owns the game scene atm .. it owns the mind share.. i dunno if sony is really winning anymore. Does installed base really count when we are about to skip to the next generation, or only mind share? 2004-07-15 4:34 am And the reason is backwards compatability. PS3 will be backwards compatable all the way to the original PS, and the rumor I heard is that Revolution will play Gamecube games, DS games (the next generation nintendo handheld), and its own native games, along with all gameboy games by means of a adaptor. The Xbox 2 will have no backwards compatability, because they’re dumping x86 hardware for ppc. This is probably where the gamespot guy’s confusion is from. Since the Xbox 2 will be using similar hardware to nintendo’s next generation system, why not guess that they might be the same thing. Also, if history is any indicator, whatever company gets the most supported games from Square will probably do the best. 2004-07-15 4:35 am I cant wait for them to release it. They are number 3 in the rankings of game consoles (outside America ofcourse). They used to be number 4, but sega pulled out of the market . With their ill-designed controllers and DVDRom drives that break at the drop of a hat, i cant wait for them to RTM* these boxes! * RTM – Released To Media 2004-07-15 4:40 am > Microsoft is notorious for poor quality because that’s what > happens when there is a monopoly, but in the video game > industry there is more competition, hence better quality > products. They dont have a monopoly on the webserver market, yet their webservers are really bad and are prone to being attacked by worms and other vulnerabilities that the dominate player and local monopoly, Apache, doesnt face. It just doesnt make sense, does it? If you could have a complete monopoly and not suffer the frequent attacks that other monopolies, like the Windows OS franchise, does routinely. Perhaps it isnt because the product is so popular. Maybe it is because it is just that bad. FYI: * Netcraft stats of webserver popularity: Apache: 67.22 Microsoft: 21.35 2004-07-15 4:52 am Xbox owns the game scene atm .. it owns the mind share.. Not really. With ten times as many consoles, a much higher sales volumes for games, and still more exclusive titles than its competitors, Sony reigns on the console game market, whether you look at the worldwide market or only the North American one. Don’t get me wrong, I kinda like the Xbox. I’ve got one, and if there’s a game that’s available for both the PS2 and the Xbox, I’m more inclined to buy the Xbox game because the hardware is more powerful. But Sony has won this round. We’ll see how well the Xbox2 fares against the PS3 and the next Nintendo console. 2004-07-15 5:09 am With ten times as many consoles Okay, I checked and it’s not quite that high (more like 4 times). However, the software-to-hardware sales ratio for PS2 is more than 12-to-1, which is unprecedented. And that’s where they make the real money. 2004-07-15 5:34 am yeah by going that route not only does xbox lose backward compatibility but also the cost advantages of pc parts. 2004-07-15 6:56 am HAHAH PS3 with next generation cell processor (unproven new design) will either make the PS3 start around 400-500 dollars USD and still selling at a lost, or it will sell for 300 and sell for even a bigger lost. Cell technology will not be cheap. NO NEW TECHNOLOGY DESIGN HAS EVER BEEN CHEAP FROM THE START. PS2 games…hmm never liked any of them. The only thing anyone ever tells me to get PS2 over xbox is for GTA and GT3. Well I dont like either game, so screw it. I love Halo, Ninja Gaiden, DOA series, Mech Assault and a host of other xbox games. Halo 2 is in my shopping list, the next DOA is in pre-order, Doom3 is on the horizon, what more would I want. Theres nothing for me on ps2. Xbox Live vs PS2 online numbers? The only ps2 game online I can think of is socom (that is popular). Theres a host of xbox live games and theres LOTS of people playing there (although I’m not one of them because I modded my xbox, but at this current price, I might buy a second for xbox live). Give me a good reason why i should get PS2 over xbox right now. As for the next generation, I don’t care because neither is proven and neither is shown public yet. 2004-07-15 10:23 am About the only console-games I care for are RPGs, and sony owns that market. 2004-07-15 10:31 am Too bad Ballmer-dude doesn’t know he’ll be up against a worldwide network of PS3s sharing processing cycles in the first free-participating cluster. With 50 Bill $ (all punds intended) in the bank, you’d have to aim at losing to fail to create a descent console. But it’s not just the machine, it’s the games, the developers (noone wants to be locked in by M$$oft -they first develop a tittle and then they disallow any tranfer of the tittle to another console!- Well.. Monopoly anyone? 2004-07-15 11:39 am I heard Sony chose not to add Cell technology to the PS3, well if the PS3 does have Cell I can imagine it’ll be atleast $1000US and thats about $1250 AUS. I remember when the PS2 came out here it was like $700. Xbox came out here 600$ and quickly went to 329$. Anyway at the moment I think the Xbox is the best console on the market largely because of its Online gaming which is much better than Sony’s. I will be definatly be looking forward to the next generation consoles. I’m interested in if any consoles will have a OS built in like Palm OS or something like the BeIA for internet surfing. 2004-07-15 12:31 pm Well, it’s clear that you prefer the xbox…but the global game market doesn’t. You might not like the PS2 games, but the fact remains that the console still has more exclusives, and that its software-to-hardware ratio remains higher. Take it from someone who works in the games industry (and who owns one of each): xbox did okay, PS2 still reigns supreme. 2004-07-15 2:41 pm Overall PS2 Games are better, ie: less games ported from the PC world and more innovative ones. Strictly and Technically speaking XBOX is better because it has more raw power more sorage capacity and so. So what? the only real advantage in the real world is not better graphics (which are not so great, simply less jaggy) nor more CPU power, (consoles doesn’t require that much), no my dear friends, the real advantage of the X-Box lies in it’s loading times, and MS promotion which is simple: we will conquer the market, we are invincible coz we got cash. Only god knows what’s going to happen in the future, Sony can flop the PS3, Sony sell the console as it is, and doesn’t leave any room for third party customization addons without a hefty licence… and of course do not talk about the users using the console for anything else that Sony’s strict rules. Look what’s happening to them on the MP3 player market, they have lost the plot because they do not want the user using anything on the device that is not Sony’s. Believe it or not, MS is clever than Sony at this respect. Some people has been saying that Sony sells the consoles at a loss. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. How naive! It maybe on 2001 at the release time, it is not one year later and now it is pure profit. 2004-07-15 3:00 pm Actually, IIS6 has had only a couple of security issues…. but why state what is happening now when you can bash Microsoft. 2004-07-15 4:20 pm “yeah by going that route not only does xbox lose backward compatibility but also the cost advantages of pc parts.” Uhm, i’m wondering in which extend that’s really true. Radeons run in Macs (PPC) and PCs (x86). Don’t you think that when you buy any of these in mass numbers, you’ll get a discount? And backwards compatibility has been a problem in the past? The quality (more specific: graphics, gameplay, performance) did improve; quality is an aspect what gamers care about. The games for N64 and PS were portable as they ran on a MIPS. N64 and PS are still incompatible while both using (non-standard) MIPS. N64 and SNES were incompatible. SNES and NES were incompatible. Many gamers bought it all anyway. I doubt most gamers actually know whats inside their consoles, or really care much about backwards compatibility. They want quality (e.g. good performance, neat graphics, better gameplay). 2004-07-17 4:43 am “Only god knows what’s going to happen in the future, Sony can flop the PS3, Sony sell the console as it is, and doesn’t leave any room for third party customization addons without a hefty licence… and of course do not talk about the users using the console for anything else that Sony’s strict rules. Look what’s happening to them on the MP3 player market, they have lost the plot because they do not want the user using anything on the device that is not Sony’s. Believe it or not, MS is clever than Sony at this respect. ” so true, sony is screwing their brilliant industrial design by limiting the consumers’ basic rights to choose. just look at the Clie, great design, so what, it’s gone (japan only)! I remember my friend’s VAIO which can’t even has its case openned without special key from the Sony Store! 2004-07-19 12:52 am Steve Ballmer is notorious for talking out of his a$$. He’s nothing more than a motivator with no technical knowledge of his product… a true salesman.