The keys to victory are in Microsoft's hands, but turning that engine over and speeding away from the competition may prove difficult if the company doesn't take the necessary steps to guarantee* victory. Here's what should enable them to pull away and not look back...
* Guarantee not actually guaranteed. Offer void in Japan.
Microsoft has had a one-year head start, and they recently announced that they've shipped 11 million Xbox 360s worldwide. Their games portfolio got a major shot in the arm over the last holiday season thanks to Epic's Gears of War, which in January reached 3 million in sales. Microsoft's first-party offerings will be further bolstered by Mass Effect, Forza Motorsport 2, Blue Dragon and of course Halo 3. On top of that, more and more third-party titles, once thought to be PS3 exclusives, are heading to 360-GTA IV, Devil May Cry 4, Assassin's Creed, Virtua Fighter 5, etc.
Microsoft's Xbox business may not be profitable at this stage, but you can't deny that the company has made great strides in both market share and mindshare since entering the video game space back in November 2001. The Xbox 360 is in great shape, but to think that Microsoft has sewn up the console race simply because they're ahead with 11 million shipped (5.3 million sold in the U.S.) would be foolish.