Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
14 November 2005
Xbox 360 Launch: Flop
I'm calling it. The Xbox 360 launch will be a dud.

Before I explain, a confession: Despite my animosity toward Microsoft, I wished I could play Halo when it first came out. Having now played it, its solid mediocrity consoles me in my shame. But the point is, at the time I felt a pang of jealousy that I was stuck with my crappy PlayStation 2.

Now, back to the Xbox 360. Where is its Halo? Its Dead or Alive 3? Its Project Gotham Racing? There is nothing on this new box that makes people go WOW! quite like those three games did in 2001. (Sure, PGR3 is there at launch, but is making jaws drop like the original?)

I've still got my launch-day PlayStation 2 that I bought in 2000, and you know what? Nothing on the Xbox 360 makes me jealous. Nothing.

Just look, these Xbox 360 exclusives are terrible.
  • Kameo - No one cares about "morph-into-monster" action. Really.
  • Perfect Dark Zero - Only N64 fanboys really give a rip about this, which is why they had to sexualize poor Miss Dark.
  • Ridge Racer 6 - I love that series, don't get me wrong, but it's not going to sell systems.
  • Condemned - Tracking down serial killers is sure to be a hit with the little kiddies.
  • Amped 3 - I'm still waiting to meet someone who actually remembers, much less loved, the first two.
And perhaps I'm just stuck on 20th Century English, but when exactly did "exclusive" fail to mean "not divided or shared among others"? This use of "Xbox 360 Exclusive" for Call of Duty 2, a game already released for Windows, strikes me as a shade dishonest. I know what they mean: console exclusive. It's still misleading.

Finally, I just want to point out this awful, awful tripe on Kameo's page over at
Experience next-generation gaming: Transcending the common gaming aesthetic with greater cinematic appeal, Kameo represents the cutting-edge graphics and gameplay expected of next-generation gaming on Xbox 360. The game boasts stunning battlefield experiences where you'll experience thousands of simultaneous enemies with independent artificial intelligence, as well as exciting special effects, high-quality voiceover, and high-definition visuals.
Does this really sell games?

Update: This Next Generation analysis seems similarly pessimistic about the launch games.

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--Matt Matthews at 21:14
Comment [ 11 ]

Comments on this post:

Personally, nothing in the XBox launch list interests me. However, I have to admit it's an impressive launch based on the number of solid titles available, compared to, say, the PS2 launch. If I was a sports game or driving game fan, I'd feel pretty good about it.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14 November, 2005 23:14  

I whole heartidly agree with the feeling of apathy, I stated this earlier in a comment if anyone cares to read that book..

I notice of that list of games most of them are based on franchise games that are huge, but lackluster in innovation or creation. (Madden, NHL, NFSP, ect.) Until they release another Jet Grind, Ninja Gaiden, or Fable, I'm pretty much gonna ignore the system in entirely.

By Anonymous Eternal, at 15 November, 2005 04:23  

I find the fact that DOA4 is missing the launch to be infinitely amusing due the fact that it was the only game that I was even marginally interested in. Thanks for saving me 400 bucks, Itagaki-San.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15 November, 2005 07:34  

Sure, there are sport game people. I myself like a bit of Madden. But does anyone play basketball games? Or is it just that I'm not a real-life basketball guy?

Okay, assuming someone screams at me for disenfranchising their b-ball videogame culture, does anyone need TWO basketball games at launch?

(side note: soccer videogames are huge in the UK, at least as big or bigger than football in the US. The big one is Pro Evolution Soccer.)

Kameo's comic ads look like Dark Cloud, which is no bad thing, but the ESRB Teen rating belies that.

To be honest, is it useful or sensical for me to "experience thousands of simultaneous enemies?" Other than being stung to death by a hive-ful of bees, what is this supposed to be like?

By Blogger Bob, at 15 November, 2005 11:15  

Unsurprisingly, EA makes games because people buy them. Like basketball games.


By Blogger Michael, at 15 November, 2005 13:43  

Let me repeat my comment from ages ago.

Halo's experience was about playing coop with a buddy, and multiplayer battles on Blood Gulch with your friends in the room, or on Live.

This is what makes Halo popular and great, and I'd consider that before commenting on its mediocrity.

Just another frontpage troll!

By Anonymous jmro, at 15 November, 2005 15:16  

well I think you will be happy with Full Auto for 360 coming early in the new year.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15 November, 2005 17:51  

Blah blah blah, jmro.

Here's how the game is pimped:
"Halo is a complete thrill ride from beginning to end, an experience perhaps best described as a 16-hour-plus version of the siege scene from the film Terminator 2." -- GameSpot

"The music is against what nearly every other shooter has established as the status quo, the storyline is unique and mysterious, the cutscenes are dramatic, and the gameplay is made for brains, not brawn. More importantly, all of these aspects and more have been polished to perfection." -- IGN

"To call it a first-person shooter is to do the game an injustice; it pushes the structure farther than any game before it, transcending its genre and, in some respects, its medium. It is the sci-fi adventure game towards which many will soon aspire, but few will equal." -- 1UP

The conventional wisdom is that the game is great without ever mentioning the multiplayer. That's what I take issue with, because to a single player recluse (i.e. me) these reviews scream "Play this incredibly great game!"

Actual time with the game, however, puts the lie to those shills.

By Blogger jvm, at 15 November, 2005 21:04  

Since when do you ever agree with IGN, Gamespot or 1Up? For shame!

By Anonymous jmro, at 15 November, 2005 22:44  

Perhaps we've become jaded and/or our memories of the original Xbox's launch have become rose-tinted? Looking at this launch list for the original Xbox, the only noteworthy titles IMHO are Halo, Munch’s Oddysee, PGR, and DoA3: the first two are flawed, at best; and the last two are sequels to games on the Dreamcast. Likewise, most of the big-name games on the 360's launch lineup are franchise titles and/or cross-platform games; only Condemned and Kameo are original 360-exclusive titles.

I think it's excessive to call the 360's launch a "flop" just because there's nothing you're interested in buying. [Then again, you wouldn't be a blogger if you didn't have an overinflated notion of the importance of your opinions...high five!] And the strength of the launch title list is sometimees irrelevant to initial sales: hell, the N64 was a huge hit with just two games at launch - Super Mario 64 and Pilot Wings.

Personally, I think MS is coming out of the gate pretty strong, even though they don't have enough games in the first batch I want to play to make me buy a 360 this year.

By Blogger Ferrous Buller, at 18 November, 2005 12:32  

I think the reason the xbox 360 is a flop is because there are still games out there on the xbox 1 and the ps2 that are amazing.. People still have yet to beat some of the games on the xbox1 and the ps2 so why by another system... I love my ps2 and I really am not anticipating the release of the ps3 nor did I with the xbox 360... If Microsoft wants a better system then they need to make one that can kick the others ass even if it means there owns... I don't think that making the xbox look better is going to do anything.. WAY TO GO MICROSOFT *Says sarcastically*

By Anonymous saygen, at 22 December, 2005 10:34  

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