PC vs. CE
Less than a week after seemingly every media outlet in the country ran a human-interest story about the long lines of gamers camped outside big-box retailers in the hopes of snagging a Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft celebrated the 1-year anniversary of the launch of its latest gaming system by making some major news of its own. In late November, the Xbox 360 became the first gaming console to offer downloads of both standard- and high-definition movies and TV shows. Users can now use Xbox Live, Microsoft's online games and entertainment network, to download - in HD - a mix of popular favorites and nerd fare such as CSI, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, South Park, The Matrix, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and V for Vendetta for playback through their Xboxes.
This bold move had been announced earlier in the month by Microsoft VP Peter Moore - "Xbox Live Marketplace will ... dominate what online gaming and online entertainment are about!" - and soon enough, the faithful readers of Engadget and other tech blogs were buzzing. "Having the ability to download HD movies and HD television programs is great. This beats going to the video store and paying late fees," enthused an Engadget commenter with the screen name Trevor. "In deciding my purchase of a new-generation videogame console, the Microsoft Xbox 360 just went up a few notches in my vote."
Xbox 360's digital-distribution service plays to the machine's strengths, namely its robust online capabilities. For instance, the console lets users download content in the background as they play games, whereas PlayStation 3, which offers downloads of movie trailers and trial versions of new games, doesn't allow players to do both at once. Xbox Live also makes it simple for gamers to see which of their pals are playing, say, Gears of War at any given time and to communicate with them.