Xbox One the home entertainment package launched by Microsoft last week or rather unleashed by them was their highly anticipated next generation console from the Xbox family. And the fact that they call it the Xbox One and not Xbox 361 or Xbox 720 is testament to the approach they are bringing to the living room entertainment industry.
I call it a living room entertainment industry because Microsoft have created one gem of a product. One which is no longer restricted to the millions of gamers across the world, this product – the Xbox One dares to challenge the home entertainment industry. It wants to be new Television and the new Internet while improving on its extraordinary gaming legacy and it wants to do all that in new intuitive and revolutionary ways (read Kinect).
So while everyone who has ever heard of Microsoft now knows that with the Xbox One they want to infiltrate new markets in the media industry, what most people seem to forget is that with the Xbox One Microsoft might just be vying for a place in computer technology history as if they needed anymore of that.
Here are the things that Microsoft is doing right with the Xbox One –
- One platform for all forms of entertainment.
- Placing more emphasis on gesture control (Kinect) and the voice control technologies than the previous Xbox version.
- Acquiring important entertainment studios like R2 Studio to strengthen their Xbox One task force.
- Making the Windows platform a seamlessly integral part of the Xbox One.
- Not rushing the gaming wing of the Xbox One into procuring or producing poor B-grade games.
Most of the above points are pretty much self explanatory. But certainly there is a lot more to the Xbox One than meets the eye at the moment.
Now here are a few things that Microsoft is doing wrong with the Xbox One –
- Not opening up to the indie developing community.
- Relying too heavily on the voice control technology.
- Not being able to find a better controller for the gaming needs than the current one for Xbox One.
- Not taking cognizance of other potentially big players in the home entertainment industry, especially Apple and Valve.
I put the first point where it is for a reason. It is actually a fallacy to refer to indie gaming as a community, it is more like an industry now. Some of the best games in the world on multiple platforms have been from the stable of indie developers and to see a major game console ignoring them could deprive Microsoft of some highly engaging original content for the Xbox One. Especially since their major console competitor Sony has embraced indie developers for the PlayStation 4.
Finally here are the impressive numbers that Microsoft would look to conquer with the Xbox One when ranked against its predecessors-
- Total console sales (Xbox 360) – 58 million+
- Best selling game ever (Halo 3 – 15 million+
- Total console games sold (Xbox 360) – 290 million+
- Number of Xbox Live subscribers – 30 million+
If these numbers tell a story of the success of their all-game-console the Xbox 360, one can only hope to see improved and likely massive numbers for a device which is not just a game console but is a crossover product. Imagine adding Television stats and internet browsing stats to those numbers above. Imagine the scope of advertising that opens up for Microsoft through the Xbox One. Now that they have a fully functional browser for the Xbox One, imagine the seamless integration of Bing in the platform and the amount of data that their search product can vomit for other divisions to leverage upon.
The possibilities are endless and the time might be right for them to start considering the Xbox One as a platform rather than a console. Imagine Microsoft controlling the gaming, entertainment, online content and search industries. A bit scary considering their well known skepticism about the open world (read .Net platform, early versions of the IE and disregard for the indie game developer community).