Malik  (5/17/05) 

Microsoft Ready to Battle

The news I've been waiting for has been announced by Microsoft at their usual pre-E3 press conference. This is something that truly matters to me, despite the weird wording Microsoft used; The XBox 360 will be backwards compatible. You can see the details at Gamespot, but Microsoft is simply doing what was expected. While they chose their words in a way in which most would scratch their heads, the XBox 360 being backwards compatible with "top-selling XBox games" seems to just say, to me, that Microsoft is just trying to make XBox games sound more important than they really are. I don't think Microsoft would go through the hassle of actually picking and choosing select titles to work on the 360. That would be way too much hassle when their make the 360's OS. No. It just means that Microsoft is making XBox games sound more impressive by calling them "top-selling". I mean would you expect them to say something like "the 360 can play both the top-selling and the crap-tacular titles"? No. That would be admitting that there are some really bad games.

Also, it looks like Microsoft and Square Enix have finally worked out a deal. FFXI will be available on the 360. This simply means that not only is Microsoft more poised to take over the Japanese game market, but also that they are ready to do something that far too few console makers usually do; admit to the US audience that they know that RPGs are important. I mean when PS2 and when PSX both launched, Sony kept trying to keep all mention of RPGs out of the US. On the other hand, Microsoft is not just ready to fight for dominance of the next generation, but they are actually picking their battles with more skill and tact than other developers have done in the past.

To further fuel their fire, Microsoft is also saying that around 40+ games should be available within the first 3 months of the 360's life. Now that is something that no other console maker has been able to pull off before. If this is true, and if the usual 10-20% of launch titles are fun, then Microsoft will easily have the best American launch for a new console, ever.

In the end, what this all means is that Microsoft will not only be trying to take dominance in the next generation. No...they are also make some serious plans to back up this ambition. While I don't want to sound like a Microsoft fanboy, I can say, without a doubt, that this could be a great time to be a geek when PS3 finally launches. I mean Microsoft is pulling out all of their guns, and it will probably culminate with the release of the PS3. As I always say, competition is what drives a fun and exciting game environment, and unlike how Sony became lazy when the PS2 launched ahead of everyone, Microsoft sees the threat on the horizon and are ready to blow us all away.