Quote of the Day – Microsoft

Like Blanche DuBois, Microsoft has relied on the kindness of strangers.

-Robert X. Cringely, in the post Steve Balmer’s Dilemma

I read Robert X. Cringely not so much because he is right all the time… because he isn’t… but because he throws out scenarios that make you think about the industry in new ways.

Are there parallels in the MMO and gaming world to that Cringely post about Microsoft’s future?

9 thoughts on “Quote of the Day – Microsoft

  1. Gank

    I think there are plenty of parallels in the gaming world. It always boggles the mind how a company can release a very inferior product, riddled with bugs, and still have a fan base. My current bug-bear is the new Xcom, which I did like, but is sooo ridden with bugs and problems. I’m actually in shock they haven’t patched it (again, the first one was 1gig) or even mentioned what their plan is. The last official thing I saw was talk of a DLC release lol.


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Gank – I don’t know, “company ships buggy software” is not really the parallel I was going for. How uncommon is that?

    I was looking more for a dominate market leader who has bought or borrowed for almost all of its success and who is still in fat city now, but who might not exactly have a clear plan going forward due to the way its industry has changed around it.


  3. flosch

    I’m sorry, I can’t take opinions seriously that include “4 years from now the PC will be dead. As will be the notebook. Tablets will be the future.” I’m pretty sure if Robert Cringely had tried to type his text on a tablet, he would’ve reconsidered…

    And as far as the parallels to MMO companies, I’m not sure where you’re going? Do you mean Blizzard? SOE? I don’t see either in the same position. Both might fail, but not because they missed new evolutions in the market. After all, isn’t “not enough innovation in MMOs” one of our favorite complaints?


  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Flosch – I’m sorry, but you put something in quotes there, which one could easily assume meant you were quoting from the article, yet I could not find that passage anywhere in the article I linked. The closest I see is this:

    “Six years from now (four hardware generations) Windows will be dead. Or free.”

    Which isn’t at all the same thing.

    So what exactly were you quoting? Because paraphrasing something with your own spin and pretending it was a quote makes you hard to take seriously.


  5. flosch

    I can see how that’s unfortunate and can look like a word-by-word quote instead of a paraphrasing, but I was going for this quote: “Desktops are fading now, notebooks will be fading soon, both to be replaced by tablets and smart phones”. Which sounds way exaggerated, because, while smart phones and tablets are nice for consumption of content, they are piss-poor for the most part at supporting content creation. Even writing e-mails, not even to speak of business letters or blog posts, on a keyboard-less system is an exercise in patience and frustration.

    I’m still interested where you’re going with the comparison, though. Will we get a solution tomorrow? ;)


  6. Bernard

    MMO players seem to have peaked.

    Console sales seem to have peaked.

    Everyone is going to mobile devices for their gaming.

    Is this the analogy you’re going for?


  7. Asmiroth

    Microsoft’s issue is a paradigm shift in terms of consumption and necessity of product. People still need spreadsheets as an activity. The method to get/use that tool though, that’s what’s changing. Just like they still needed airplane engines, just a different model.

    Free to Play already happened yet the market still hasn’t decided on the proper method. Zynga thought they had the way forward, that’s clearly a failure. Turbine is doing ok I guess. The Asian market has an extremely successful iterative design.

    Consoles aren’t dead, it’s the method to acquire games that’s dying with the proliferation of network access. They are streaming devices now. Don’t feel bad for MS, Sony or Nintendo. Feel bad for Gamestop, Blockbuster et al. Steam is riding the wave and expanding.


  8. HarbingerZero

    Microsoft has never been an innovater, but a cherry-picker. They know its hard for large companies to be innovative. At a certain level you stop taking risks to protect the cache you have built.

    If there is a problem, its not that MS needs to start innovating, its that innovation in general has plateaued.

    If there is a connection there with MMO’s, that’s where I would draw it. There is a reason that EQ3 and Titan are still shrouded in mystery, and in some ways long overdue – there simply hasn’t been a lot of innovation in the genre. We still have a row of buttons at the bottom of the screen and do quests for money to get a higher level and some fake shinies. Until someone visions and executes their way out of that paperback, the Blizzard, Sony, and everyone else will bide for time, waiting for someone else to roll the dice so they don’t have to.


  9. Patrick

    I think you could also apply that quote to WoW. It wasn’t what WoW did that was amazing, it’s what it streamlined. It took several working aspects of various MMOs and made the entire package easy to use and inviting. It opened the doors of what was before still a niche genre.


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