The original Xbox launched in November 2001, with the Xbox 360 following just four years later, the shortest console cycle ever. The four-year anniversary of the 360 is five months away, but yesterday Microsoft proclaimed that "the future of home entertainment has a new name: Xbox 360." Huh.
It became remarkably clear today that Microsoft sees more than months left in the Xbox 360—more like years. Microsoft's big ballyhoo, its motion control Project Natal, won't even arrive until 2010. And likely deep into 2010—think next summer. The Zune Video Marketplace will deliver 1080p instant streams; you'll be able to download full retail games come August, cutting out the Gamestop middleman; Netflix integration is even deeper; and Facebook and Twitter are now wrapped in. Why would Microsoft do all this for a console progressing into obsolescence in the next year or two? It's not simply pumping out new games or features—they're growing and entrenching the current platform.