No doubt many UK gamers will be looking enviously across the Atlantic towards our American cousins who have been the first to get their hands on Microsoft’s new Xbox 360 games console.
With the launch Microsoft has fired the opening salvo in the long-awaited next generation games console war, which will see the Xbox 360 pitted against Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s Revolution.
UK Xbox fans will have to wait to until December 2nd for the European launch but are sure to be watching the initial reactions from the States to see whether they should shell out there hard earned cash now or play the waiting game until the PS3 launches next year.
So what’s the overall first impression? Good but not great is used by Chris Morris at CNN Money to sum up the general mood. The Xbox 360 gets plus points on the hardware side and Microsoft appears to have got its online strategy sorted, in particular with the “Marketplace”
Indeed, Marketplace could turn out to be the one killer app on the Xbox, allowing you to watch game trailers, download game demos and, in the future, download add-ons for games.
But no matter how pretty or powerful your new shiny games console looks sitting in your living room, it’s the games that ultimately decide whether a console lives or dies.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, whilst some of the launch titles of the games have gone down well, the general consensus is that the Xbox 360 is missing the ‘Halo’ effect: the one truly great game that will get people rushing out to buy the new console.
Of course it often takes developers a while to get up to speed with the full capabilities of a new console, so 2006 should see newer more powerful games come online.
The Xbox 360 launch kicks off an exciting period in the gaming world. Seeing who comes out on top will be fascinating watching but whilst much of the attention is focusing on Microsoft and Sony, could Nintendo with its radical new game controller ultimately steal the glory? Check back this time next year to find out.