The Xbox 360 is a great console – or at least it was, according to one of the Xbox brand’s founding fathers. The past 5 years have been unkind says engineer Nat Brown, as he’s watched Microsoft essentially squander away the Xbox’s potential – something he says has been “painful to watch.”
“..the past 5 years, and the last year in particular,” he says ”have been simply painful to watch. Coasting on past momentum. Failing to innovate and failing to capitalize on innovations like Kinect.
He says that Microsoft’s focus on the Xbox becoming an entertainment hub has diluted its focus on what matters; games. That’s not to say that he thinks that taking over the living room is a bad idea; quite the opposite. It needs more games – and an easier way for smaller developers to make games for the system – which, considering XNA’s recent shelving, is exactly the opposite if what’s happening.
"No, more and better content was always the point and the plan. My gripe is that, as usual, Microsoft has jumped its own shark and is out stomping through the weeds planning and talking about far-flung future strategies in interactive television and original programming partnerships with big dying media companies when their core product, their home town is on fire, their soldiers, their developers, are tired and deserting, and their supply-lines are broken.
"Xbox’s primary critical problem is the lack of a functional and growing platform ecosystem for small developers to sell digitally-/network-distributed (non-disc) content through to the installed base of Xbox customers, period.
"Why can’t I write a game for Xbox tomorrow using $100 worth of tools and my existing Windows laptop and test it on my home Xbox or at my friends’ houses? Why can’t I then distribute it digitally in a decent online store, give up a 30% cut and strike it rich if it’s a great game, like I can for Android, for iPhone, or for iPad?"
In conclusion, Brown says that "Microsoft is living in a naive dream-world," adding that "Xbox just needs somebody with a brain and focus to get the product in order tactically before romping forward to continue the long-term strategic promise of an Xbox in every living room, connected to every screen."
You can read his entire rant, titled “Stupid, Stupid Xbox” here.