Today I was called out for being “part of the gaming industry’s problem”.  The user email,  asked me to kindly “take my Kinect, Windows Phone game playing, ass to Nintendo” and gather the other “fucktards” who only watch videos and listen to music on their Xbox and “go back to the TMZ whole from which we fell out of”.

I don’t know about you, but those are fighting words. You can make fun of my haircut or poke fun of my glasses, or even make snide comments about my 1994 Taurus, (Which others do, I promise you.), but to call out the way a huge swath of people use their Xbox is a step too far. It appears that calling someone out for only having a 7,000 Gamerscore, or spending hours for watching Netflix is the new norm, the new way some gamers get a high-five. If we only had examples like this, I wouldn’t bother, but there’s another manifestation of this kind of fear peddling in the Xbox community as well, the nostalgia-monger.  If you are that person complaining about why games aren’t the focus of the Xbox, you too are a part of the problem.  Your idea of the Xbox, that gaming console that only plays hard-core games, has been long dead. In fact if you were babies we’d have already snatched your sucker, than tripped you on concrete and went merrily skipping into the sunset.

Video game consoles, as those machines you buy specifically for playing games, were dead a decade ago. In fact Sony’s PlayStation 2 was built solely to make a move into home entertainment, regardless of the medium. Xbox LIVE was always meant to become more than just a network that connected you for a game of Team Slayer with your friends down the street. The first version of the Xbox didn’t ship with a “Media Remote” for kicks.  Yes, video games were the console maker’s beachhead but those days are long behind us. Why fight this? Why throw temper tantrums about this?

By embracing these notions you get over things like Kinect, “not being for hardcore gamers”. Kinect lends itself to more casual games, just like a controller lends itself to first-person shooters. Sure, casual games may not be your thing, but that’s just fine and dandy. They are mine. By getting in touch with the complete entertainment play that your video game console has been this last decade things like “being disappointed that the Xbox Dashboard doesn’t open directly to Games”, become silly. My high school English teacher was a big fan of saying “it’s about the numbers, stupid”. Although I hated him for scribbling it in loopy letters all over my satirical essays every chance he got, the man was right.  Many people appreciate video games as an art form, many more appreciate being able to access music and video in a convenient package, and even more appreciate the ability to have one machine easily manage both.  We’re casual gamers, and we’re here to help, we’re here to push the boundaries of in-game storytelling, and help saturate that market with games that both entertain and amuse. We’re here to buy consoles and pay for Xbox LIVE so that more features are a possibility. The death of video game consoles isn’t something to be feared and embracing the millions of people who will buy an entertainment console isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s no longer your Xbox, it’s ours.

2 Comments on “Editorial: Its Our Xbox Now”

  1. Great piece Travis. All the consoles ceased being strictly game consoles a long time ago. I happen to think Xbox 360 and PS3 do entertainment better at this point, and the Kinect (voice only in my tiny room) interface always impresses and makes viewing and listening a breeze.

    Games, Audio and Video Entertainment and now exercise tracking…the Xbox is really able to be a machine for all sorts of lifestyles! To say that these consoles should ONLY be for gaming is inflexible, out of date, and quite frankly an object that wouldn’t be useful to me.

  2. Dead on. Thank you. The reason I bought Zune – Social & Music. The reason I bought X Box – The Social & Music + Kinect. The reason I bought Windows Phone – The Social & Music & Games & X Box. The reason I am upgrading to Windows 8 – The Social & Games & Music & X Box & Kinect & Work & Play.

    Notice a thread here? My kids in the States have Xbox, Zune, Windows Phone. I can now watch American TV through Hulu, catch flicks and pictures I have on my PC and Tablet on my network, chat with my son in video, cruise YouTube, slice up some fruit, play in Disneyland, box my brains out, email my other son, rent flicks on Zune. Stream music and videos….all from one place. Sonic anyone? Got it.

    I am wishing and hoping for SmartGlass soon to complete all this, but I am encouraged. Ask which of those hardcore gamers who among them aren’t playing with a friend across the Web right now? X Box is now just a part of a larger ecosystem…and it is only the beginning

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