I was listening to the 360 Nation podcast over the weekend and they discussed the idea of Microsoft entering the handheld market. It got me thinking whether Microsoft could compete with Sony and Nintendo – I don’t think they can.
However I do think they can compete with Apple. As we all know Apple has had over a billion app downloads – while not all of these are game related apps it’s still quite an achievement… no pun intended. Microsoft is just as big a corporation as Apple and would have no problem offering applications based on some of their popular software like Microsoft Word and Excel. But they could also bring some of their software too like Gears of War, Mass Effect (which is already coming to the iPhone) and the granddaddy of them all – Halo.
Microsoft has already established the Zune Marketplace so they’re already halfway there. The only problem is that while the Zune is a competent music player, it just doesn’t have the audience like the iPhone. But If Microsoft rebranded the Zune with the Xbox brand then I’m sure they would see sales soar – as long as there is no way it can red ring. They could even use the same Marketplace as the 360 and offer TV shows, movies, Arcade titles and Community Titles for the system. Maybe your avatar could even show up if you really want them too.
I think this direction would be a much more profitable option for Microsoft as opposed to developing a brand new system from the ground up, getting software developed for it and then trying to convince third-party publishers to develop games for it.
I guess we’ll know in a few days what Microsoft means by “changing the way we look at home entertainment”.