Somewhere in Minato..
Somewhere in Tokyo, two sharply dressed Japanese men sit at a polished cedar wood table. A ninja stands politely to the side, the red folder of secret documents she has obtained is now lying open between the two men who pore over it.
"Lower memory, graphics slightly weaker… good, good."
"Look," says the other, stabbing at the pages with his finger, "the Kinect is mandatory. Their device will cost at least a hundred dollars more than ours!"
The two gentlemen indulge themselves in a moment of evil laughter which, as we know from countless animé, is what Japanese executives do. The ninja quietly watches a lone fly crawl across the window and contemplates slicing its wings off with her wakizashi.
"Wait… what is this?" asks one gentleman, picking up a sheet of paper. "The Xbox does not need the disc in the drive to play."
"Pah!" says the other. "A minor benefit, of interest only to fat americans."
"Americans are *_very fat_*, however," says the first. "Perhaps this is more of a sales point than we think." But his partner merely shrugs.
"Ohhhh," continues the first as he reads on, "this is not so good. Listen – you can share the game with ten others in your family."
"But you can already do that!"
"No – your family don’t have to use the same device. And at least one of them can play at the same time as you."
"But they all have to be in the same house? How do they check that – by IP subnet range?"
"No, I don’t think they have to be together at all. You can share with family in other cities if you wish."
The other Japanese man frowns. As a stereotypical Japanese executive, he has not left the company offices to go home for several months now, though this is mainly out of embarrassment at having forgotten his wife’s name. "Is there anything else?"
"You can lend the game to your friends digitally, games can be partly rendered in the Cloud to give better graphics, it has interactive TV and media features, Skype integration, easy ability to switch between games if you're waiting for other players, …"
"But this means you can’t sell the games? Yes?"
"No," says the other looking angry. "You can sell them." Suddenly he brightens. "Ah! But only once."
The second executive considers then waves his hand dismissively. "That’s no good. Many people who buy games first hand want to sell them to recoup some money, but people who buy second hand games, they don’t care so much. And if it's all digital, they'll probably be able to sell them without even exchanging a disc to strangers online instead of to a shop! What else? There must be something we can use."
The first executive reads to the end and then flips the paper back and forth, trying to find a flaw in digital services.
"Well…" he begins slowly. "With all these features, it’s an online-only device. It has to check in every twenty-four hours."
"So?" bursts the other executive. "99.9% of our customers have their consoles online all year round anyway. What does it matter?"
"Well, it is at least something." says the first, apologetically.
The two executives rise to their feet. The ninja has long-since vanished without anyone seeing her go. "Fine," says the second. "Take it to the marketing department. Maybe they can whip up a few annoyed people who live in the mountains or something."
The two executives perform perfunctory bows and leave each other.
In the empty boardroom, a wingless fly crawls slowly across the discarded papers.