Founder says last 5 years of Xbox “Painful to Watch"

2 min read


The Xbox 360 is a great console – or at least it was, according to one of the Xbox brand’s founding fathers. The past 5 years have been unkind says engineer Nat Brown, as he’s watched Microsoft essentially squander away the Xbox’s potential – something he says has been “painful to watch.”

“..the past 5 years, and the last year in particular,” he says ”have been simply painful to watch. Coasting on past momentum. Failing to innovate and failing to capitalize on innovations like Kinect.

He says that Microsoft’s focus on the Xbox becoming an entertainment hub has diluted its focus on what matters; games. That’s not to say that he thinks that taking over the living room is a bad idea; quite the opposite. It needs more games – and an easier way for smaller developers to make games for the system – which, considering XNA’s recent shelving, is exactly the opposite if what’s happening.

"No, more and better content was always the point and the plan. My gripe is that, as usual, Microsoft has jumped its own shark and is out stomping through the weeds planning and talking about far-flung future strategies in interactive television and original programming partnerships with big dying media companies when their core product, their home town is on fire, their soldiers, their developers, are tired and deserting, and their supply-lines are broken.

"Xbox’s primary critical problem is the lack of a functional and growing platform ecosystem for small developers to sell digitally-/network-distributed (non-disc) content through to the installed base of Xbox customers, period.

"Why can’t I write a game for Xbox tomorrow using $100 worth of tools and my existing Windows laptop and test it on my home Xbox or at my friends’ houses? Why can’t I then distribute it digitally in a decent online store, give up a 30% cut and strike it rich if it’s a great game, like I can for Android, for iPhone, or for iPad?"

In conclusion, Brown says that  "Microsoft is living in a naive dream-world," adding that "Xbox just needs somebody with a brain and focus to get the product in order tactically before romping forward to continue the long-term strategic promise of an Xbox in every living room, connected to every screen."

You can read his entire rant, titled “Stupid, Stupid Xbox” here.

Last Updated: February 14, 2013

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Admiral Chief Erwin

    That’s what I always said, stupid stupid eggsbawks 😛

    • Banana Jim

      Shut your mouth! Eggsbawks for life!

      • Admiral Chief Erwin

        If I shaddap, you shaddap. You know how it works…

        • Banana Jim

          No shaddap first, then I’ll shaddap, and then we go for tea and rusks…

          • Admiral Chief Erwin

            So where is this promised tea and rusks?

  • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    Microsoft anything has always been a very closed system. I don’t ever see this changing unfortunately. It’s the closed system approach that does more damage than anything else.

  • FoxOneZA

    Speaking of Android and iOS, Real Racing 3 ie Forza/GT5 styled sim is going to be released for free on those mobile devices. And you can hookup your Xbox controller to a Nexus 7 and enjoy such high quality gaming on the cheap.

    • Yeah no…will not support that game..big fan of android games but the payment model on that game is atrocious. EA is utterly disgusting.

      I plea that people stop supporting these games that milk us gamers.

  • BeatzByChrisBrown

    The canning of XNA is a huge blow! I was such a fan of the indie marketplace and working with XNA. :’-(

  • Banana Jim

    I kind of agree with what he said about indie developers and how Microsoft makes it difficult for aspiring game devs to get their goodies showcased, and he has a point about xbox forgetting that it’s a game console rather than just a media box. Where are the games Microsoft?

    But, I can’t help but think he lost the plot about the OS, and his nitpicking serves no purpose. Love or hate the NXE, there’s no question that the OS that drives the Xbox is arguably one of the best. It may be cluttered with advertisements (if you’re a sad slob with a US account), but if you’re offline it’s a sight to behold.

  • Tbone187

    Xbox isn’t a platform for the silly mobile games he’s describing…Over and above that, Microsoft’s dreamworld isn’t as devious as Apple’s I reckon…

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