Saturday, September 13, 2008

Troubling Times Are Ahead for the Xbox 360 Core Gamer

It’s no secret that – despite the overall low quality of many of the shovelware “casual” releases clogging up the Wii’s current library – these games sell well regardless. When half-hearted affairs like Carnival Games and Deca Sports outsell original, critically acclaimed software such as Zack and Wicki and Fire Emblem, you know there’s a problem.

Microsoft, sadly enough, seems to want a bite out of this casual market as well. During the summer they announced that Xbox Live will be given a visual downgrade in order to make it more user friendly. Also, they blatantly ripped off Nintendo’s Mii idea with “Avatars”, which, um, are basically the same as Mii’s (cute little people that you use as your online persona).

Not only that, the big M recently announced that they’re going to be closing up Ensemble Studios after their upcoming RTS, Halo Wars, is released. It’s rumored that the reason for this is to focus more on kid and mass market-oriented affair ala the Nintendo Wii. Could Lionhead Studios (of Fable fame) get the boot next?

Add this to the fact that Microsoft is also rumored to have a motion sensor controller (again, not unlike the Wii) prepared right in time for this year’s holiday season, and you have a reason to be worried. Could the core Xbox 360 gamers be forgotten about in favor of a mass-market “casual” audience? You know, the kind that eat up any software that requires no effort whatsoever?

The game market is going down a frightening path right now, and I don’t see the situation improving anytime soon. I’m already feeling nostalgic for the Playstation 2-generation…


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At 4:40 PM, Blogger FUNNYMAN said...

I was starting to think you were severely ill because of your absence. It is nice to see you blogging again.

At 11:14 PM, Blogger Ross said...

Thanks for the feedback. I'm happy to see that you're still blogging. There's always people on here that you get to know, you read their blogs, and then they disappear into thin air. Next time I'm on hiatus I'll try to let everyone know beforehand.

At 1:18 AM, Blogger B Smith said...

Somehow, I don't think that Microsoft will completely ignore the audience that has given them the sales that they have enjoyed so far. I don't think bloating the 360 library with crapware like what might be found on the Wii is a good idea, (though perhaps a few minigame collections/party games wouldn't be horrible), but I don't think adding more casual titles will put much of a dent in the ridiculously huge number of great hardcore and core games that are out for the system. My backlog is already insane.

That being said, I'm not especially happy with the closing of Ensemble, and should casual games ever actually become such a focus that it cuts off hardcore gamers from getting decent games... yeah that would be a disaster.

At 12:02 PM, Blogger FUNNYMAN said...

I have no interest in Avatar. I just don't get it.

At 9:59 AM, Blogger DEITRIX said...

PS3 Home will probably be the best of all... Maybe.


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