I just saw an article on Edge saying the Microsoft are testing a build of IE9 for the Xbox 360. This lead me to think, maybe Microsoft’s home media hub strategy is working quite well. The infiltrated our homes as a pure gaming device, not having spent much on making the console a media centre apart from video playback from (DVD and DivX) and music playback.
Keeping things simple at the start meant that the X-Box 360 was (and still is) substantially cheaper than it’s Rival the PS3, which meant it got higher market saturation. Now that they have built up a large install base they have started adding features like Streaming Video and now a browser.
Compare and contrast this with Sony’s strategy of releasing a super expensive console with everything built into it, by gradually adding features Microsoft have sneakily put a media hub into the homes of gamers, and can now negotiate better deals with content providers as they have a large install base.
I own both a 360 and a PS3 and I’ll admit that the only thing I use the PS3 for it media playback (And playing Final Fantasy XIII, but that’s a different story, I initially bought the console because FF13 wasn’t going to coming out on the 360).
Now the X-Box Costs so little and Microsoft are even talking about releasing it as a subscription service ($99 for the console with a 24 month contract), it will probably live on past the release of the next version of the X-Box and continue making them money as a media hub for people who use it to consume media rather than just play games. Then when people upgrade they can take whatever media features they want with them, I doubt MS will reduce the feature set with the Next-Box 360 they’ve already got the licensing agreements, and a revenue stream.
I think it’s possible that Microsoft and Sony had a Tortoise/Hare race going with this generation of the console war, and it’s looking like Microsoft’s Tortoise strategy has has beaten Sony’s Hare brained plans…