Who needs "Saw" or "Nightmare On Elm Street" when you can get so much more out of what you hear from others at a system launch? Hordes of zombies with only one thing on their minds. Yep it’s the Xbox 360 instead of brains. However the case could be made that some of the throng doesn’t have any brains to speak of either.
Take for instance the individuals who didn’t listen to the internet, the store clerk or any other media outlet by deciding to just show up at launch and cop a system. This thing has been sold out since preorder hoaxes at E3 yet some went out and braved horrible weather in order to be number 167 in line for the store’s 20 units.
Cries of “Microsoft is evil!” and “Artificial Demand To Sell More Systems” have rang out like church bells this morning from non fanboys and the MS loyalists alike. But older gamers know this to be nothing new really. If you want a quick Videogame history lesson then you need go no further to the Xmas where Nintendo strategically released only a quarter of the Goldeneye shipment to desperate N64 owners. Then on December 23rd they shipped a few more. And on January 3rd you couldn’t swing a dead controller without hitting a Goldeneye cart. So the art of demand has been pioneered by others far before the launch of this system. And I don’t think the poor guy at EB, Best Buy or Gamestop has much to do with the lack of systems shipped to each store despite claims on the net to the contrary.
If there is any complaint to be worth it’s merit it’s the movie analogy of paying more money for a sequel. You would think that $11 a ticket would have some think twice about spending money on another cookie cutter hack’em up, however, they still make Friday the 13th movies don’t they? The same can be said of the 360. This is the most expensive console to come out in almost a decade, there is no Core System in my book, and no matter how many elves Microsoft had outsourced this year there seems to be no way on earth they could meet the demand set by the awesome marketing power of Microsoft it’s self.
It’s like going to your fave Cineplex only to see that six theaters are sold out until 2006. But is the 360 one of those movies that has a great opening only to drop off the next week like a particular movie called “Get Rich Or Dye Trying”? Chances are that the 360 is going to be like a Star Wars film. You may not want to see it in the first week of release but darned if you don’t feel that at some point you have to see it to stay on even keel with everyone else. Or at least until you hear about the next big blockbuster.
And that next big release doesn’t seem like it’s coming in the summer of 06 like those trailers said it would. No Sony looks to be on the way to making a bigger mistake than underestimating the need for MP3 support in the Walkman. The Playstation 3 is turning out to be more and more of a movie out of control with no script, an ever increasing budget and the best of them all a continuously moving release date. The only difference is that Sony can’t release this straight to DVD like they did with the Pocketstation.
For as crazy as it sounds Microsoft may have just done the impossible in spite of it’s own mistakes. Releasing a year early may seem like the right idea around E3. And balking at $399 will seem like the days of remembering $1 candy at the concession stand come Xmas or whenever the console sees the light of day.