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Microsoft Games Entertainment

Will Microsoft Sell Off Its Entertainment Division? 404

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-it-all dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Forbes analyst Adam Hartung has predicted that Microsoft will sell off its entertainment division, which includes Xbox, in the coming years. He even goes so far as to list Sony or Barnes & Noble as potential buyers. Lets forget how crazy this sounds for a moment and focus on the reasons why Hartung believes such a sale will happen. It basically comes down to Windows 8, and how poorly it is selling. Combine that with falling sales of PCs, the Surface RT tablet not doing so great, the era of more than one PC in the home disappearing, and Microsoft has a big problem. The problem not only stems from the PC market not growing, but because Microsoft relies so heavily on Windows and Office for revenue. With that in mind, Hartung believes Steve Ballmer will do anything and everything to save Windows, including ditching entertainment and therefore Xbox."
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Will Microsoft Sell Off Its Entertainment Division?

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  • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Monday January 21, 2013 @01:19PM (#42648407) Journal

    I've not understood MS's strategy around gaming for years now. Don't get me wrong, I owned an original Xbox and liked it, I own a 360 now and like it a lot - but I've never understood why MS would choose to move into the console market.

    I'd have thought that there's much more of an incentive for them to make Windows work as a gaming platform. After all, what's one of the biggest reasons that people shy away from switching OSes? The games. Running modern commercial games consistently and in a relatively hassle-free manner is - and has for quite a long time - been one of the things you can do on Windows that you just can't do on other OSes.

    So they launch the original Xbox which is basically - at launch at least - the console that runs games you'd otherwise have expected to be focussed on the PC (Halo and Knights of the Old Republic were both from genres that the PC utterly dominated at the time). Then the 360 comes along and - for quite a long time - if the only reason you stick with Windows is gaming... then why not just buy a 360?

    And then as we get to the late-cycle point where PC gaming really starts to outstrip what the consoles can do (even on a bargain-bucket PC), they go and foul it all up with Windows 8.

    It's like MS is determined to take one of its biggest advantages in the OS market and hammer it into oblivion.

    They make periodic efforts to "get serious" about the PC as a gaming platform, but these tend to be inconsistent, badly thought through and horribly unsuccessful. Games for Windows Live, anybody? With Valve looking at the PC gaming market in a distinctly predatory manner, MS should be seriously worried.

    And while it's not such a major matter, they've also made some really odd choices with their internally developed games. First they shut down the Flight Simulator series - a brand with immense loyalty from its enthusiast following - abandoning the market to competitors. Then they try to come back with Flight - a free-to-play-pay-to-actually-do-anything monstrosity that discards the series's historic strengths.

    Selling off their entertainment division? At the point where they're finally making a profit from console gaming? It would fit...

  • Steve Ballmer (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ClaraBow (212734) on Monday January 21, 2013 @01:22PM (#42648457)
    I'm just a lowly user, but I predict that the next big move that MS makes is to get rid of Steve Ballmer. And the second big move that MS is going to make is release Windows 8 Pro Classic -- which will simply be Windows 8 without Metro bolted on! They have no choice if they want to keep their business customers happy!
  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Monday January 21, 2013 @01:29PM (#42648535) Homepage Journal

    "When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered."

    -- Martin Luther King, Jr., April 4, 1967

  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday January 21, 2013 @01:37PM (#42648625) Homepage
    Games is one of the serious reasons why people won't upgrade their OS though. Because you never know which games are going to stop working when you upgrade your operating system. A lot of games stopped working when you went from DOS to Win95, from Win98 to Win XP/2K and From XP to Vista/7. Games tend to use all kinds of tricks to run at the highest speed possible, as well as for DRM, and often those tricks don't work on the next version of the operating system. Removing games from Windows actually gives people a lot more freedom to upgrade their system when a new OS comes out.
  • by Stone316 (629009) on Monday January 21, 2013 @01:40PM (#42648665) Journal

    Why on earth would they sell that off? Makes absolutely no sense. This type of reporting is totally and utterly a pile of crap. Must be a slow news day and this guy has an article quota to keep.

  • by Shemmie (909181) on Monday January 21, 2013 @02:37PM (#42649287)

    Well, as I understand it, the 360 did well in the 'longer haul' of this generation. While the clear winner was the Wii, it has effectively been dead for a couple of years, with the 360 making leads over the PS3 in Europe and I believe, the US?

    So... if Microsoft see the 720 as being 'potentially a success' on its own two legs, what would MS do? Given recent history, they'd find a way of jamming Metro into it, somehow. I can see the 720 as being some Windows RT inspired device, aimed at being to your living room what your WP8 is when you're mobile, your Windows Surface device when you're semi-mobile, and your Windows 8 desktop when you're at a desk.

    The fact that WP8, Surface and Windows 8 are clearly failing (miserably, in the case of WP8 and Surface) is unlikely to deter MS - Ballmer has been one of the most stubborn CEO's in recent history. His strategy to keep doing the wrong thing, no matter what sales, user feedback, OEM feedback might say is quite remarkable. Zune will succeed! Oh. Well, WP7 will succeed! Oh... er... XNA is doing well in the indie market, let's scrap it! .Net's entrenched in business and enterprise, let's suggest it's second class now! Let's buy Skype and just screw it in to everything we do! Let's do the Surface hardware on our own, our OEM partners will be fully supportive!

    I seriously believe a Magic 8 Ball running Microsoft would do a better job, as decisions made entirely by random would have a better chance of sometimes being successful.

    If Ballmer continues on this route, either MS will win massively in the long run (by being such an incredible visionary that he blind-sided the entire technology market, and all his ideas thus far have been part of some master plan), or (seemingly more likely) he will run them into the ground, until there's nothing left but a software company looking for a buy out.

    And I'm fairly pro-Microsoft. For /., I'd actually be a fan boi.

  • by llZENll (545605) on Monday January 21, 2013 @02:39PM (#42649317)

    Windows is dying, office is dead, quit trying to force them! Zune is dead, and windows phone is in the ICU, Microsoft's only somewhat healthy division with a possible future is entertainment, why in the hell would they sell it?

    If I were Microsoft, I would launch a new console immediately, featuring kick ass hardware with no dvd/bluray drive and all software is downloaded with a 30% royalty rate, good bye publisher distribution! The current xbox live gold would become free, and a new tier of xbox live would add a free video streaming library like netflix, AND HERE IS THE BIG ONE, a free video GAME library that works like netflix, you can only check out a certain number of games at a time and their save state is wiped when the game is returned. The only games in the this library are older and lower tier ones, much like the netflix movie library.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday January 21, 2013 @03:08PM (#42649649) Journal

    Oh not only is it THAT retarded but it makes one of the oldest. fucking. mistakes. on Slashdot, the kind of shit we expect from noobs NOT from TFA. Say it with my boys and girls, correlation does NOT equal causation!

    And who in the fuck is listening to those fucking retards in the press that think we are going back to one PC? because as a retailer that sells PCs and services I'd like to bitchslap him/her for being so fucking stupid. that is NOT why sales are down, its the exact opposite in that everybody has too many computers with even the poorest people i know having 2 or 3 of the things!

    For those that want the actual FACTS from somebody down in the trenches its REALLY fucking simple, the mid 90s through mid 00s? THAT was a bubble, that was NOT the natural state of the market. Look at the sales from before as well as the sales after and you have a perfect bell curve. The reason WHY you saw a bubble blown in PC sales is because you had AMD and Intel dueling in the MHz wars and thanks to how incredibly easy it is to take advantage of a faster single core a PC you bought 2 years previously would struggle to run the latest stuff and by 3 years it couldn't run shit that had been released. I went from a 300MHz to 733MHz, 1100MHz, and finally 2200MHz, all in less than 4 years. That's a more than 7 fold increase in speed folks.

    But then a funny thing happened that ironically we are seeing play out all over again in ARM and that is both AMD and Intel ran headfirst into a thermal and power wall, chips were hitting close to 140w TDP and were requiring bigger and bigger coolers, with Intel it was a big enough problem that they had to keep the P3 in mobile because between the power sucking and all the fans it took to keep the damned things from melting you could count the battery life of a P4 laptop in fricking minutes....so what to do? Simple instead of constantly ramping up the MHz ramp up the cores and sell multicores to the masses! Brilliant!

    But it turned out for the chip makers and companies like MSFT that had gotten fat and lazy and had convinced themselves and Wall Street that like the real estate bubble the PC sales bubble would continue that it turned out this plan was TOO brilliant because we PC retailers noticed a curious little fact, once you got to dual cores, which gave you one core for foreground and one for background processing? With the vast majority you saw diminishing returns REAL fucking quickly, with the average user not able to tell the difference between a dual, triple, or quad, much less a hexa or octo by the way they acted, why? Because they just couldn't come up with enough useful work to feed the chips. Hell myself and my two boys are fricking PC gamers which traditionally required pretty damned quick PC turnover, during the bubble I was building a new PC every year and a half and building the boys new ones every 2 years, now? Me and the oldest have nearly 3 year old hexacores that have more cores idle than being used a good 90% of the time and the youngest who is the MMO player in the family is so happy with the fast Athlon triple that I loaned him while his quad was waiting for a part he told me just keep the quad, the triple was more than he needed.

    So it is NOT that "the PC is dying" or that anybody is trading their fricking laptops or desktops for some dinky ass smartphone, its the simple fact that for nearly 6 years PCs have been insanely overpowered so people see no need to buy a new one when they can't stress the old. Most of my business and home users simply had me install Win 7 when it came out rather than buy a new Win 7 PC, why? Because what I was selling on the LOW end 5 years ago, we are talking the cheapest new builds I had, were fricking Phenom I triples and quads with 4GB of RAM and 500GB HDDs! What normal user is gonna be able to max out a Phenom I triple? Heck I have an engineer customer that runs the latest Solidworks with extremely complex robot models on a Phenom I triple and he's quite happy with the performance.

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.

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