Is this a good thing or a bad thing: Micro$oft have said that they are putting some sort of security system into the XBox 360 (to be released later this year UK link) which means that only products that have been licensed directly by them will work on it. Anyone who wants to make a peripheral for the 360 will have to have it quality checked by M$ before it’s available to you. So… That seems good. Sort of.
The alternate reading of events is that this also means that M$ will be charging manufacturers to have a license to produce for their machine, meaning that the peripherals will likely cost more to cover M$’s costs and will probably be just as good/bad as they were before M$ examined the technology. This is without going into the litigation minefield of M$’s history of ‘getting inspiration’ from their competitors.
In the best possible world this will mean great add-ons for everyone, but, being cynical like I am, I suspect it just means more costs for the consumer for exactly the same devices.
As a thought: do you think that someone would be able to take M$ to court if a peripheral that they had approved wasn’t very good? After all, M$’s sign of approval should be a signifier that the item is a high-quality product and if it’s not then is that misleading to the consumer? I’d love to see someone try that!