Oh, Microsoft, why have you abandoned PC gamers? Don't get us wrong, Age of Empires Online looks awesome, but the company's almost complete lack of PC gaming news at this year's E3 left a bitter taste in our mouths, and Microsoft's been conspicuously silent on the PC front ever since – until now. Lower your heads and mourn, PC gamers. The continuously half-baked Games for Windows disappears on July 11th, swallowed by the all-consuming console-centric blob that is the Xbox brand.
When lulz-seeking hackers aren't busy reincarnating Tupac on PBS and taking down government websites worldwide, they always seem to turn their attention to videogame companies. We're not quite sure what the grudge is, but Sony, Nintendo, Minecraft, Bethesda, Sega, BioWare and scads of other gaming targets have been hacked in one way or another. Pretty much the only major player unaffected thus far has been Microsoft. In fact, the company's even profited from the rash of attacks as gamers bailed the PlayStation in droves. So what does Microsoft think of all the recent troubles from its seat on the sidelines?
Microsoft just can't catch a break. The tech giant reported their first quarter results, and they managed to beat analyst expectations. Microsoft had revenue of $16.43 billion for the which is a 13% increase from a year ago. Income was $5.23 billion, or about 61 cents per share. So why is Microsoft feeling down about these admittedly huge numbers? The market isn't impressed. Redmond is seeing stock dip 2% in after-hours trading.
You know how things that are too good to be true usually are? Well, if you purchased a bunch of Microsoft Points on the cheap from eBay, Craigslist, or somewhere else in the secondhand market, there's a good chance they were falsely generated. Hackers figured out an algorithm to add to existing, used codes to get new MS points in 160-point increments. Hitting refresh would keeping adding to the total.
Oh, poor Microsoft and their declining business. No one thinks they're cool anymore, and that surely means they are going down in flames. After all, they only pulled in a measly $20 billion in revenue last quarter. Wait, what? Indeed, good old Microsoft has had a record quarter with nearly $20 billion in sales, working out to $6.63 billion in profit after all the bills are paid. That's $0.77 per share for you stock market folks.
The cheers are surly rattling the windows up in Redmond on the news. The Entertainment and Devices division saw a 55% increase in revenue on the strength of Kinect and the Xbox 360. This is rather astonishing seeing as the division that makes Windows is only $1.3 billion ahead of the Xbox folks now. That used to be a much wider gulf. All the more reason to milk the current console generation that much more.
One Microsoft product that isn't getting much attention is Windows Phone 7. If it had made an impact on the bottom line, we assume Ballmer would have been dancing on the roof, or something like that. Still, with these sorts of numbers, they can afford to build WP7 slowly.
The Xbox 360 was first released on November 22, 2005 in the U.S. and Canada, just over five years ago today (by a week). As CNet notes, the coming and passing of the Xbox 360's fifth birthday without a successor in sight could very well mark the end of the 5-year console cycle that's been in place for three decades, give or take a couple of years between releases. Check it out:
Nintendo Entertainment System: 1985
Super NES: 1991
Nintendo 64: 1996
Nintendo GameCube: 2001
Nintendo Wii: 2006
Sony has kept the same cycle, releasing the original PlayStation console in 1995 followed by the PlayStation 2 in 2000 and the PlayStation 3 in 2006. Microsoft's first Xbox showed up in 2001.
Looking ahead, there aren't any new consoles on the horizon from any of the big three (Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony). Instead, each company has found other ways to extend the shelf-life of their existing consoles. Sony, for example, added 3D support, while both Sony and Microsoft recently launched their own take on motion controlled gaming. Nintendo hasn't been as active, but did add disc-less Netflix to the mix as well as various add-ons, like the Wii Balance Board and Wii Draw tablet.
On top of it, all three current-generation consoles are more adept than ever as serving as viable home theater media centers.
Which console(s) do you own, and do you plan on purchasing one before the end of 2010?
Microsoft is riding high on the recent release of Windows Phone 7 and Kinect. But if you thought the Redmond company was all through jamming their collective feet in their mouths, think again. Microsoft's Dennis Durkin made some rather interesting comments at a recent investment summit. He told investors, in part, that Kinect could be used to determine who is in the room, what they're doing, and even what they are wearing. All this to more effectively serve up ads.
Microsoft has denied that these statements in any way outline their plans for Kinect. However, it would seem someone at Microsoft has at least been kicking around the idea. Do you think this is an inevitability, or just tinfoil hat fodder?
One of the things we love about the Xbox 360 console is that it's so much more than just a gaming device. Case in point: while speaking to attendees of BMO Capital Markets Digital Entertainment Conference in New York, Dennis Durkin, head of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, said that the Xbox 360 is used for games just 60 percent of the time, CNet reports.
"What we found is that the core gamer might be the person who brought the console into the house, but as you widen the choices of content, it broadens what people can do with the system," Durkin said.
That other 40 percent belongs to a variety of non-gaming activities, like watching Netflix or listening to music. Even Twitter and Facebook are accessible through the console.
Surprised by Durkin's figures, or does that pretty much describe your usage habits as well? Hit the jump and tell us how often you use your console for actual gaming, whether you're rocking an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or Nintendo Wii.
Well, somebody's feeling confident. On the eve of the launch of Microsoft Kinect, the purveyor of Xboxes has increased their worldwide Kinect sales projections to 5 million units. Microsoft was previously only expecting 3 million sales. That's nothing to sneeze at, but 5 million is a great launch for a $150 accessory. If Kinect can hit the projections, that would make it the biggest Xbox product launch ever.
The Kinect will launch with a catalog of 17 games. The system is a visual recognition system that will supposedly do away with the controller in these games. Microsoft may be feeling more optimistic due to the huge numbers of Xbox 360s already in the wild. If gamers can't get a new console yet, they may be willing to spring for something that makes the Xbox feel new in some ways.
Microsoft's first quarter numbers are in, and the Redmond giant made a killing. Profits were up 51% over last year according to Seattle PI. This is pretty great for a company that has more or less been treading water for the last few years. The market tends to only reward growth, which has been bad for Microsoft. After the announcement, Microsoft shares rose a percent, which is something at least.
"This was an exceptional quarter combining solid enterprise growth and continue strong consumer demand for Office 2010, Windows 7 and Xbox 360," said Microsoft CFO Peter Klein. Microsoft's sales were up 25% from just one year ago, but part of that gain is from deferred revenue ahead of the Windows 7 launch last year. Most divisions turned a profit for Microsoft, even the Entertainment and Devices unit managed a $382 million profit. Many commentators are quick to dismiss Microsoft, but they are clearly still humming along.