Backstage: The next iPod competitor is… Xbox 360? | iLounge Backstage

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Backstage: The next iPod competitor is… Xbox 360?

imageOnce in a rare while, we use Backstage to talk about interesting rumors that are circulating in the industry, and today’s going to be one of those occasions. For the news purists out there, we’ll say up front: none of this is confirmed, and it may all just be idle gossip, so we’ll have to see for ourselves.

We’ve been hearing for months that Microsoft’s new game console (once known as Xenon, now dubbed Xbox 360) was going to come in two or more flavors, and that at least one of them is going to include a hard disk for storage. Last we heard, Microsoft was planning to manufacture around 80% of their machines with the hard disk, and 20% without. The 20% will be sold for the plausible price of $299, while the other 80% will sell for the “uh oh, that reminds me of Sega’s Saturn” price of $399. If your local store just happens to be sold out of the $299 model you saw in the newspaper, you can always buy the $399 one. In our book, that would be bait-and-switch, only taken to a new height.

But… what if the $399 model came with something you might actually not mind having? Like, a portable hard disk (or flash drive) that’s also a portable digital music player? Made by a company that’s increasingly desperate to get people interested in its mostly ignored MSN Music store. And the drive would also be sold separately, for say, $100-150, quite possibly in various capacities and at different price points.

And what if you sidestepped the media by debuting the whole digital music player thing on a worldwide MTV presentation on May 12 and 13? And convinced MTV to “provide ongoing in-depth coverage of the next-generation Xbox highlighting the latest news, product details and previews of hot next-generation games”? That would be pretty sneaky, and a good way to manuever your way around jaded video game journalists who aren’t as excited about the Xbox 360 as Microsoft is.

Again, this is a rumor. But it makes a lot of sense - unlike that picture above, which is supposed to be the Xbox 360’s new logo, and amply demonstrates the fallacy of using focus groups to make important decisions.

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Comments

1

So, is it a games console or a media player?

And what’s with the weird logo?? At least Xbox had a big X… what is this supposed to be?

Bah… don’t need one…

Posted by Peskat in Greece on April 14, 2005 at 5:03 PM (CDT)

2

At $299, it’s a games console. At $399, it’s a games console with a portable music/data storage device. Create playlists of songs and play them back during games. Etc.

Other rumors suggest the portable drive will include WebTV and/or an Xbox 1 emulator, as the standard Xbox 360 will not be backwards compatible.

Yeah, the logo sucks, doesn’t it?

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on April 14, 2005 at 7:47 PM (CDT)

3

Wouldn’t 100 bucks for a portable music player be amazingly cheap for something substantial.  The XBox has something over 5 gigs, but most of that wasn’t necessary.  With music, it may be, and 100 bucks seems cheap.  Hmm…

~Dan

Posted by papayaninja on April 15, 2005 at 7:56 PM (CDT)

4

Sorry about the extra post.  The price that seems cheap doesn’t even count the WebTV or emulator.

Posted by papayaninja on April 15, 2005 at 7:58 PM (CDT)

5

I won’t touch any console that has Microsoft’s name on it. I don’t care if it come with an MP3 player. I already have TWO full-sized iPods. And at $399?!? I could BUY a brand new computer with a 17” flat screen included. What do I need another set-top brick for?

Good luck hocking a $400 home game console to the masses. I smell an Atari Jaguar debacle redux!

Posted by FallN in New York, NY on April 30, 2005 at 5:29 PM (CDT)

6

Sounds like a great Idea, I already have an I-pod but a flash or jump drive that size would be nice. Btw FallN what kind of horrible computer are you planning to buy with $400? that barely coveres my PC’s Proccessor, and with the hardware and developing costs of all 3 systems, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are all looking to launch around the $400 mark. If Xbox 360 fails because of the price so would all three, People will shell out $400 for it, people payed $300 for the other systems this gen.

Posted by Twasi on May 4, 2005 at 9:37 PM (CDT)

7

bah… who needs an xbox360. ofcourse they will try get ipod compatibility on it, theyre already working on psp compatibility. but then again all it prolly will be able to do is play the music from the ipod onto the xbox360. i rather get a PS3, much more chances of it running itunes and allowing u to play and or save ACC format music on it… remember M$ is stuck with WMA

Posted by Striker_Fox on July 3, 2005 at 3:21 PM (CDT)

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