Releasing late into the last console cycle, and coming in as a distrusted newcomer, Xbox never stood a chance against PlayStation 2. That much was expected; but it was also not a situation Microsoft intended to repeat, and so its springboard gaming system's lifespan was artificially curtailed in an act of cold, digital euthanasia. For all that mattered was being first the next time around; or, more exactly, never being second to Sony again.
This was the business model. With the brand established, the next box, the box this was always about, would be rushed to market at the earliest opportunity, with scant regard for stock supplies or a coherent first-party release strategy. For all that mattered was being first. And, at this stage, by how much first.
Microsoft has done an excellent job of shifting 360 so far in the West. And it has no doubt been helped along quite a bit by the bumper headstart gift-wrapped by the oft-delayed PlayStation 3. And, in Europe, where PlayStation 3 sold through a record-breaking 600,000-plus units over its open weekend, Microsoft has needed every day. It took a while to sort out that pesky release schedule, after all.
PS3's European launch - as chronicled by Eurogamer TV's ever watchful cameras in both calm, collected London and crazy Amsterdam - felt more like a great sigh of relief than the hysterical stampedes we've witnessed over the past six months.
Between them, Microsoft and Sony broadly share a high-definition vision of the future of home entertainment, but that's where the common ground ends. Storage medium, functionality, online vision, pricing strategy - a gaping chasm of difference at every turn. And jammed in somewhere amongst this ideological scrum, the games themselves.
So we invited the two men in the UK charged with carrying the torches for these rival visions: Xbox UK boss Neil Thompson and PlayStation UK chief Ray Maguire. They talk the talk in an exclusive head-to-head interview in Episode 9 of The Eurogamer TV Show, now showing. Who gets your vote? Until we figure out a way to fleece you via premium rate phone lines, you'll have to make do with the comments thread.
Elsewhere in this week's show, EGTV is dragged kicking and screaming on a trip to a chilly New York City to check out the geektacular Comic-Con 2007. As well as admiring some truly outstanding examples of cosplay, we were on the spot to check out the world unveiling of two new Fantastic 4 games, and go deep inside the brutal, astonishing world of The Darkness - if you're not already, now's the time to start getting very excited about Starbreeze's next-gen debut.
That's all in Episode 9 of The Eurogamer TV Show.
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