E3 2012: Will Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo Bow Out?

Microsoft

Looking at Microsoft, it’s hard to see why they might want to quit the industry’s hardware race based on financials and sales performance. With the recent announcement that Xbox 360’s holiday sales were somewhere near 10 million units for 2011, pushing the system to a surprise installed base of 66 million Xbox 360’s worldwide while simultaneously increasing their lead over PS3 from a paltry 2-2.5 million units to a more impressive 6 million units, Microsoft appears to be sitting fairly pretty–particularly since their high end version still sits at the same $399 price point as it did in 2005, while their low end unit tops out at $199. More importantly, they’ve said several times that their strategy with Kinect was essentially to extend the generation, and with 18 million units under their sales belt in just over a year, it’s tough to argue that they’re not on track to do that.

Still, the 360 is an aging console. It lacks features that would be useful to a console right now, such as Blu Ray (or at least a high density disk storage format), and its supported DirectX version, now 2 versions behind PC’s, is coming up on the 10 year old mark. Still, none of these are good reasons to leave the hardware race behind. But that doesn’t mean there are no good reasons.

And then there’s “The Cloud” to consider.

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