The smeXbox

I found this sketch on my hard drive. It’s about a year old, but I still believe we will see a lot of the ideas come to fruition in the *next* generation of game consoles.

The basic idea is that the momentum from successes like the Wii and the social games market will focus the device down to a casual, cheap box. It will be like a Wii that runs Xbox Live and has all the great content available on the web (like what XBL has done with netflix). Then, the hardcore crowd can go and buy a plug-in bit that will kick it up a notch and let it run Gears of War 5 in 1080p. The hardcore market has proven in this generation that they don’t mind a fragmented, multiple SKU console with the 360 and PS3.

Pressure from quasi-open devices like the iPhone, open platforms like Facebook, and digital distribution of games in places like Steam will push things in this direction. Somebody is going to realize that if they open up their console and go against the traditional Nintendo model (tight grip on the content, complex certification), they can win. The manufacturer of this box should profit from hardware sales, but also from owning the marketplace. They can take it away from Wal Mart and Gamestop, and I believe they will try.

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