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News write-up trashes XBOX! (1 Viewer)

Morgan Jolley

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The comparison between the X-Box and the PSX should also state that the PSX had Final Fantasy, the main reason the PSX did anywhere near as well as it did in Japan. The X-Box has no such game, nor anything representing a somewhat equal magnitude.
Why can't you just think of the X-Box as itself and keep from comparing it to anything else? A lot of consoles didn't launch with half a billion dollar advertising budgets and the amount of capabilities that this has compared to its competition. The X-Box truly stands out as itself and is incomparable to any other previous consoles.
 

Camp

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Mark,
I'm with you. I think the Xbox controller is very comfortable.
Gary,
I think most of us would be very surprised if the Xbox cost less than the PS2 to produce. Obviously, this is a topic where neither side can produce substantial evidence (unless you want to commit a little corporate espionage).
I'm not going to claim to know the cost of production for any console but I'd be surprised if the PS2's cost isn't significantly lower than that of the Xbox. Hell, just the fact that PS2 has been out for a year making money (and thus eating away at star-up investments) makes a huge difference. I wouldn't be surprised if Sony is close to making a small profit on the hardware by now.
 

Gary King

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Camp,
Remember that Sony has spent about $2b building fabs for the EE and GS.
But, even ignoring the *huge* start-up investments that were involved, the GS is also on the older .18u process (early SCPH-10000 and 15000 systems were produced on the worse .25u process), making it a larger die than the NV2A (.15u), despite having fewer transistors. It also has quite a bit of added complexity due to embedding DRAM (as opposed to SRAM) on the die.
There are also differences in RAM price, main CPU price, labor costs, etc. I doub that there is much difference between the manufacturing costs of each console at all. Both companies are probably losing ~$150/console.
 

Jeff Kleist

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Will it be harder to lower the price on X-Box than PS2? YES- Parts are mostly from other companies, and they don't own the chip plants, the HD, nothing but the OS in there.
Will XBox be a hit in Japan?IFFY, Console is too large, as they say in the article, no solid, exclusive support from Japanese manufacturers is hurting it. I forsee a sleeker, more compact XBox for Japan soon enough when they figure it out.
Will MS throw money at it until is succeeds? Yup
 

Matty B

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The result: a game console that’s expensive to manufacture, a bulky, awkward controller that few seem to like and an underwhelming lineup of launch games. This doesn’t mean the Xbox won’t ultimately prevail. It means that Bill Gates has made a large and potentially expensive bet.

Uh, no it's not, and uh, no he hasn't. If this author had his head any place but his ass he would actually contact someone at MS and find out that they outsourced the manufcaturing of the Xbox to Flextronics. So they haven't made a costly gamble at all. Factories were not built to produce the xbox, and Microsoft isn't paying for the hardware, Flextronics is, they don't even get paid until 30 days after the product ships. Microsoft is losing $110 per X-Box, which is less than what Sony is losing. Sony has factories dedicated to the PS2 and loses around $200 per PS2 that they sell. This is easily made up in software licensing fees though, why the console market is such a hot market. The X-Box will be a tremendous success, it's going to be the upmarket console that the 3DO wished that it could have been. The time wasn't right for 3DO, and I don't even know that in a down market the X-Box will be the SMASH hit that MS is predicting. This is all outlined in an article in the latest Wired Magazine. They want to get the price of the Xbox down to $100 as soon as possible. Beat that Sony.
 

DaveF

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I'm surprised by the strongly negative reaction to the article. I read it yesterday, and I thought it was fairly even. The writer gave high praise to Halo, strong praise for Abe's Odyssey, and panned a couple games for poor animation (Shrek) or dull gameplay. And all the initial reports about the XBOX controller were that it totally sucked. People might be changing their minds, but until recently, that was the consensus.
He then commented on the Microsoftian attitude and approach to software carrying over to the hardware -- something that has been echoed on the web over the years. But he also commented positively about a turn around towared developer support, something else I've seen echoed.
He also discussed the business risks MS undertakes with this endeavor. And the hardware costs is a risk to them; outsourcing fabrication or not. And outsourcing just means that you pay another company to do the work, instead of doing it in house. The financial burden and risk of fabricating the XBOX is upon MS, and this is substantial.
In the end, the purchasing recommendation was even-handed: if you've preorderded, stick with it; otherwise, wait and see; and if you're not hardcore, wait a year for prices to drop.
Given the dead-end, abandonware we've seen over the years (Sega CD drive thingy, the 32x thingy, Atari Jaguar, 3DO, Sega Dreamcast) it's reasonable for the average consumer to want to buy something they expect to survive the marketplace.
Not a perfect article, but reasonable, IMO.
 

James D S

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Michael,
If the truth is somewhere in the middle, we stand to gain a whole lot.
Another great article.
 

Brad Grenz

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Microsoft isn't paying for the hardware, Flextronics is, they don't even get paid until 30 days after the product ships.
Flextronics is a contractor. They certainly aren't going to take loses on each Xbox produced. And Flextronics isn't fabbing the Celeron, GPU or MCP. The GPU/northbridge has, what, 90 million transistors? I doubt it's easy to get those running at 250 Mhz. Microsoft is farming everything out to companies who are going to make a profit. Sony produces everthing themselves (or in cooperation with Toshiba), and despite the cost of building billion-dollar plants this will save them money in the long run. Sony doesn't have to go around making other companies money. For every Xbox produced Flextronix, Intel, nVidia, TMSC all make money at Microsoft's expense. I gurantee Sony loses less money. If you're going to factor in the cost of Sony's new facilities you should also factor in the cost of the new Flextronix plant in Mexico, the cost to operate an Intel fab, the cost associated with ramping up for Xbox GPU production for TMSC. The counter is that those costs are relected in the per unit cost to MS. But this is, more or less, the same for Sony. You build a plant that operates for a long time and eventually you make up the cost of building that plant and start making money. The only difference is everybody in the Sony chain is owned by Sony.
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Brad Grenz
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