Software giant meets the PC's killer app a match made in heaven
As the largest software developer ever, Microsoft has taken over the world with their operating systems and we are all its servants. Love 'em or hate 'em there are as many opinions about Microsoft as there are Windows updates. Microsoft introduced the "software for profit" model and then strived to stay relevant in this everchanging world of technology and have successfully stayed on top.
Perhaps it can be said that Microsoft didn't actually invent anything, but they did bring it to the masses. It was only a matter of time before they began developing games. As developer of DirectX, their own operating systems graphical API (intended to throttle competitor Open GL) it stands to reason they should be able to develop and produce some very fine games, and that's exactly what they've done.
Microsoft Game Studios have been giving us classics on the PC for years. They didn't invent the real time strategy game but they did provide us with Age of Empires now in its third iteration. Nor did they invent the racing game or any of the genres where others broke ground. But Microsoft Game Studios have given us some of the most polished examples of just about every genre of games out there. Microsoft's games as either publisher or developer tend to rival even EA in their intuitive polish and clean user interfaces. Like EA, Microsoft games are ported to nearly every platform including their own Xbox and their competitors PS2/3.
Only recently has Microsoft gone up against some heavy competition to produce gaming hardware. Xbox and Xbox 360 at their respective releases are the most technically sophisticated game consoles available. Xbox Live is now the largest single online games community. By the release of 360 the intention is turn it into a large online market where you can purchase software at the click of a remote or press of a game pad.
Since Xbox 360 will have Music Player included it's easy to see Xbox Live integrating with MSN Music to let you download music to your Xbox 360 Music Player. This will bring Microsoft into further competition with longtime adversary Apple and their iTunes music software. How long before we're able to download movies from Xbox Live and play them back in 360 compatible VC1, WMVHD formats? It's only a matter of time perhaps before we can dispense with having to run to the store and buy those silly plastic discs.