Big Ape Bashes Microsoft

Want more proof that Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) can't buy a favor? How about those headlines yesterday that sloughed a gamemaker's screwup on the maker of the new Xbox 360 platform.

The gamemaker? Ubisoft. The game? A little thing called King Kong -- the game that accompanies the next big picture from Lord of the Rings meister Peter Jackson. In fact, Jackson helped Ubisoft develop the game.

There is a gorilla of a problem, all right, but it's pretty tough to cast the blame on Microsoft. Simply put, Ubisoft's developers didn't take into account that gamers running the Xbox 360 would be doing so on different TV standards, high-definition and regular. As a result of Ubisoft's reliance on the high-def standard, the game looks too dark on regular TVs.

This led Ubisoft's capo, Yves Guillemot, to actually suggest that gamers avoid playing it on the Xbox 360, at least according to an interview reported in the BBC and elsewhere.

If you're a Microsoft shareholder (like I am), one way to react to this kind of news, and the unfortunate spin, is to grit your teeth, and say, "Hey, this is Ubisoft's problem."

But we might do better to step back and look at the bigger picture. Sure, Ubisoft screwed up -- sarcastic golf clap -- but it's in Mr. Softy's best interest to make sure its gamemaker partners don't make any more of this kind of mistake. Like it or not, no matter whose fault it is, it reflects back on Microsoft.

So do us all a favor, Microsoft. Send a nice note to all those other game developers out there, Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS  ) , Activision (Nasdaq: ATVI  ) , THQ (Nasdaq: THQI  ) and the like, and remind them to test on a variety of consumer video systems, and to include a little workaround for those who haven't spent the money on the high-def TV upgrade just yet.

We know you're not making money on the Xbox console, so let's make sure the games -- that vital ingredient to forming the other part of the Xbox revenue machine -- are as good, and technologically inclusive, as they can get.

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Seth Jaysonwould probably be doing some "Pew! Pew!" on an Xbox 360 if he hadn't dragged his feet around launch time. At the time of publication, he had shares of Microsoft, but no positions in any other company mentioned. View his stock holdings and Fool profilehere. Fool disclosure rules are here.


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