Why do hardware manufacturers do this? Stupidity? Arrogance? A company can be on top of the world and then for no good reason hurt themselves. Who was or will be the dummest?
Contender 1: Nintendo. Nintendo dominates video games for two generations. SNES boasts unrivaled 1st and 3rd party support. They need to do nothing but sit back and enjoy the endless flow of money till the end of time. What do they do? Make a cartridge system when everyone else switches to CD's. They do it for control, they do it because they can. Third parties move to Sony and dramatically change the market. Playstation would have been a footnote in gaming history if not for the support of Square, Capcom, Konami and others. Instead, they took over the market. Nintendo gets extra points for doubling down on the stupidity by making their next system not compatible with DVD's and topping it off by painting it purple.
Contender 2: Sony. PS2 builds off the great success of PS1 and absolutely dominates the market. No one else is close. Seeing the opportunity to have a complete industry monopoly and thinking that goes against the ethics of good captialism, Sony decides to ram Blu-Ray down gamers throats and sells a $600 PS3. The system tanks for a couple years before gaining strength later when the price drops. However, the damage was done. 3rd party exclusivity was lost and the Playstation brand went from 75% market share to 30%.
Contender 3: Microsoft. XBox 360 launches first, launches cheap and pushes MS market share from 12% to over 30% gen over gen. Sales climb from 25 million to 75 million and counting, and amazing 200%+ improvement. Even more important the XBox brand becomes the more and more the "standard" game system for the core gamer in the US and parts of Europe. How could MS mess up that momentum? Release a system that pushes the unloved Windows 8 on unwanting consumers and requires internet connections to play games. How could this possibly go wrong?
The Always Connected NextBox is just an often repeated rumor at this stage, but could it be the biggest goof up yet?