The trouble with Microsoft stories is that once you've had a couple, you might as well round off the hat-trick.
So: two words. Xbox sales. They're not, er, very good. They're not very good in Japan, where the box's habit of scratching DVDs has failed to endear it to the naturally MS-sceptic populace. They're not very good in Europe, where the price increment over the PS2 -- much cooler, tons more software, oodles more buzz, a third cheaper -- leaves everyone cold. And now the rumour has it that they're not very good in the US, where the initial burst of expensively procured enthusiasm has been replaced with general apathy. Companies aren't putting so much effort into writing software for the thing and there's much more excitement about the Nintendo GameCube.
Not a good position for MS: they'll have to get the cost of the box down, redesign the case so it doesn't look like a whale and find something it can do that the PS2 can't. Of course, Sony is doing much the same -- it's already most of the way through a major cost-reduction exercise on the PS2, has its online stuff churning away and has lots of experience in keeping a gaming product line hot and steaming.
Oh dear. How sad.
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