Microsoft's 5 Great Xbox 360 Successes
- Achievements - We have loved Achievements pretty much from the first time we played an Xbox 360 back in November 2005 and the first one popped up. Sure, they are just make believe points that don't mean anything, but man is it satisfying when they pop. Well designed Achievements can get you to play games in different ways and try new things you'd never thing of otherwise. Achievements can also motivate you to keep playing, or re-playing games, long after you'd normally be done with them, and that is always a good thing. I know there are some rather vocal opponents of Achievements (probably have Gamerscore envy ...) but you can't deny the impact Achievements have had on gaming over the last 7 years. They were interesting enough that Sony and Blizzard and Steam have directly copied them, so Microsoft must have done something right when it came up with Achievements.
- Xbox 360 Slim - The Xbox 360 Slim, replacing the original Xbox 360 model in Summer 2010, is a great system redesign that basically fixed all of the problems with the original model. The old Xbox 360 "Fat" was loud, big, didn't have Wi-Fi built in, and was prone to overheating and breaking. The Xbox 360 Slim is quiet, everyone gets Wi-Fi, is more reliable by a long shot, and the aesthetic design is sleek and just great looking. We also have to admit we're big fans of the power up and eject button sound effects the Slim system makes - and they're even better on the Halo Reach, Gears of War 3, Modern Warfare 3, or Kinect Star Wars special edition systems. We like pretty much everything about the Xbox 360 Slim and it is undoubtedly the best system to carry the Xbox brand name yet.
- Kinect - Yeah, some folks probably think Kinect deserves to be on the bad side of this list, but it was definitely a win for Microsoft for a number of reasons. You can't deny its success - it has sold 18+ million at last count and has brought new people to gaming, which is always a good thing. And, say what you want, but it hasn't really impacted hardcore gaming on Xbox 360 at all. Casual and family friendly games can coexist with core games just fine. What we like most about Kinect, though, is that it is different. Microsoft didn't just sit back and deliver a high-definition copy of the same experience you could get with Nintendo's Wii (like a certain other company did ...), they instead thought out of the box and came up with something completely new and unique. Is it the best control method ever? Not by a long shot. But when Kinect works it can be incredibly fun and is absolutely unique and fresh.
- The Ever Evolving Dashboard - The Xbox 360 dashboard of today is vastly different from what the system launched with in 2005. Not just because boatloads of new features have been added to it, but the actual navigation on the system is completely different and it has changed multiple times. It is almost like getting a fresh new system every 12-18 months. By contrast, the PS3's XMB has stayed the same for the last 6 years and is feeling rather out of date at this point. The Xbox 360 feature set has greatly expanded over the years as well, adding Netflix and ESPN apps and most recently introducing a ton of additional video apps among other things. Videogame systems didn't used to be like this. It used to be that you would buy a system and that was what you got for the next 4-5 or however many years. The Xbox 360 has greatly changed and evolved over the years and is undoubtedly a much better system today than it was when it launched. Considering how long this generation has lasted, and how long it still has to go yet, change is good.
- Xbox Live Arcade - Arguably the best feature on the Xbox 360 from day one has been the Xbox Live Arcade. The Xbox Live Arcade offers affordably priced smaller scale games each and every week and the quality of the games is often times the same or better than the titles released at retail. There are remakes and rereleases of older games along with brand new original titles. Priced anywhere from $5 to $20 each you'll find fighters, racing games, shoot-em-ups, FPS, platforming games, board games, action games, RPGs, and much more. You could easily buy an Xbox 360, ignore retail disc-based games entirely and only play XBLA, and you would have more than enough great games to keep you entertained.
Continued on Page 2 with Microsoft's 5 Epic Xbox 360 Failures ...