by Mike Shea on 30 September 2003
The Disney "Moviebeam" has to be one of the worst ideas ever. Pay a rental fee for a player, pay a fee to start up, stream badly digitized copies of bad movies down to your player, pay more than the cost of a DVD rental to see the movies you already have downloaded. I can't think of a device more designed to screw customers than this. Its only benefit is hackability. This isn't anything like a Tivo, a device that knows what the words customer satisfaction means. Matt reminded me that this is the same company that wants to release self destructing DVDs.
To be honest, while Disney is a company who seems to have "screw the customer" ingrained in their business model, none of this is a real danger to the movie industry. Disney movies generally suck and all of this consumer-harming technology will die simply because it offers no advantage to the consumer.
Microsoft announced an update for Xbox Live. New features include chatting and organizing with friends while out of a game. No web browser and no other exciting features will be added. This is to offset their plan to start charging almost $10 a month for a service with no games. I understand paying $10 a month for games like Everquest Online Adventures where keeping the world alive, balanced, and online is a high cost, but for a service where other Xboxs run as servers and all you are doing is connecting people together, why pay? Quake 3 doesn't need me to pay. Microsoft is charging you for the same thing you pay for with your internet service provider, connectivity.
The Xbox continues to push out unremarkable games without widescreen support. I've given up on expecting to see any real HDTV games until the next batch of consoles, but even widescreen support for 480p games would be good.
Unless Grand Theft Auto, Starcraft Ghost, and Halo 2 can pull the Xbox out of a deep pit of over-engineered hardware and substandard games, my vote goes with the Playstation 2 for top system. Aparently 50 million people agree with me.