What is a Xbox? Xbox is a gaming console. Ask anybody, and that is the answer you get.
However, what we saw yesterday at the #XboxReveal event is something different.
Waiting for E3 next month, while the whole world was expecting great changes in gaming, Microsoft focused on entertainment tout-court, aiming to make the Xbox One “the ultimate all-in-one entertainment system,” as Microsoft’s Don Mattrick said. An interesting point, that reinforces most of the characteristics which were already part of Xbox 360’s DNA.
Xbox 360 could already integrate all the media contents in a domestic network, adding contents coming from its movie and music library. Xbox 360 was already an entertainment center, although it was marketed as a gaming console.
With Xbox One, there will be TV channels from Cable, IPTV and satellite, more interactive contents and everything will be controlled through voice (Xbox 360 users have had a taste of it through the last update).
Voice is the core of all the new interaction experiences on Xbox One. Here at TOK.tv we are really interested in voice, but does it really make a difference if it is only to control the device?
And what about gaming? If many users on Twitter and bloggers yesterday were happy with the transformation of Halo in an interactive TV series (thank to the partnership with Spielberg), many others complained about that. A transmedia franchise can enrich the storytelling experience and user consumption of the brand, but – again – what about gaming? Exclusive titles are not as disruptive as hoped by players.
Finally, Blu-ray. Maybe the number 1 feature that was really interesting for those who use gaming console to watch movies.
Let’s step back a bit now.
Both Google and Apple tried to be at the center of your living room. They wanted – as Microsoft does – to become the jewel box of your fun, offering services on a single screen. Up to now, they failed.
You can’t make users do what you think is better for them. You have to find patterns in their entertainment choices and needs. For example, stats demonstrate that they love using a second screen while watching TV.
We are talking about practices, not hardware, even if Microsoft could count on Surface (talking about it: where was it yesterday? How could it interact with Xbox, except for smart Glass?).
The experience of Smart TVs (see our latest post about this topic) is proving that single screen social experience is not always a good idea.
Moreover, Microsoft announced a very interesting partnership with NFL, aimed to bring together on one screen fantasy football, stats and games. Interesting concept that should be tested on the market. Here is where voice can really makes the difference, enhancing the watching experience.
Talking about the market, investors weren’t convinced by Xbox One: Sony’s stock indeed shot up…
Microsoft is going to play in a whole new market: searching for users’ new relationship with their TVs means de-focusing from gaming, which is the core characteristics of Xbox. It is (almost) a brand new market positioning.
Let’s see what happens and whether the first feedback from users will change Microsoft plans.