Christmas gifts & paradigm shifts

It’s Christmas morning – between this and the end of Hanukkah, the presents have been flowing a plenty around iLounge HQ, and at least speaking for myself, there have been a couple of big non-iPod surprises.

Out: Sirius Satellite Radio. Despite my continued interest in one of the radio’s channels – Howard 100 – I turned down gift renewals of my current two Sirius subscriptions because there just wasn’t enough else there to keep me interested for the price. Unless there’s a major price drop in 2007 to spur subscriptions, I think I’m giving up on satellite radio for the time being; some smart new ideas (paid podcasts of content, iTunes sales of past shows) are going to be needed to offset subscription costs and make this format more viable.

In: PlayStation 3. I had no idea that I’d wind up with one of these, and honestly would not have bought one for myself – the price is really just insane, and with exclusive titles bleeding off left and right (Virtua Fighter 5 to Xbox 360 and Dragon Quest 9 to Nintendo DS this past week), we’re now taking bets as to whether the PS3 will sell 10 million units by the end of calendar year 2007. (My bet: Despite the poor decisions made to date, Sony can’t afford not to have this happen, and will do what it takes.) Though the games I’m most interested in aren’t yet available (VF5, Virtua Tennis 3), and the games that are out are also crazy expensive ($60 each? No.), for now, I’m glad to have Ridge Racer 7, Resistance, and Fight Night 3 to play with.

One really positive note on the PS3: Though it’s loaded up with way too many license agreements – guys, it’s time to find some better lawyers – Sony’s download service for the system is otherwise easy to use, and packed with lots of free demos, most for PS3 but also some for the PSP. Hook up the console, and within 15 minutes, you can start loading the hard disk up with all sorts of cool high-def games to play, or transfer a LocoRoco demo to your PSP. I was impressed, and have to concede that even though Sony’s hardware isn’t priced right, a major problem, it now has the basics of the big picture (console, portable, online) infrastructure in place to win the interactive entertainment battle. But then, Nintendo is quite well-poised, too, and the only big piece Microsoft lacks is a portable Xbox. Hmmmm….

What sorts of non-iPod gifts did you guys get? What do you think?

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