I’ve been fascinated by the messaging around Xbox Music, and, in kicking around thoughts in my head the last couple of days, realized that both this music service and Xbox One, in general, suffer from the same problem. You see, both offerings want to be seen as the be-all, end-all for everything you need in entertainment. Xbox One wants to be your all-inclusive entertainment console and Xbox Music wants to be your one-stop-shop for everything music related.
The problem both have faced is that they have been both labeled as being ‘jack of all trades and master of none’. In other words, while PlayStation for example has been able to say “We do gaming, with a few other things.” Xbox tried to say “We do everything, gaming included”. The problem with that is if you aren’t doing one core thing correctly, the rest of it doesn’t matter. What’s going to be the one killer core aspect that people can boast about.
For Windows Phone, they now have Cortana, this personal assistant that learns and understands you. It was great when she told me what time to leave work so that I could make it home at a reasonable hour. With Xbox One and Xbox Music there isn’t that core feature, that killer feature.
It’s easy to get skewed in public when you present them this grand style breakfast and everything on the plate tastes bland. How many food places do you happen to describe as “Dude, they make a killer burger.” I’ll bet many. Xbox One and Xbox Music need that kind of evangelism for people to truly understand what they’re trying to accomplish.
This is why I have faith in Phil Spencer. He seems to want the conversation to initially be about both Xbox One and PS4 being great gaming consoles. Let’s have everyone agree with that part of it first. Then, when you look into other details and features, that’s where Xbox One could start to pull away: the Twitch, the TV integration, music, video, SmartGlass.
Come for the games, stay for the entertainment.
Likewise with Xbox Music, they need that thing that ropes people in. For Zune, and everything people said about it, they made their core feature be community. That you could come to Zune to discuss music with like minded people, hear what others are playing, share playlists and be very social with what is really a social medium to begin with. Now, there doesn’t seem to be that one *thing*.
Maybe it’ll be the way Xbox Music works with OneDrive, or maybe it’ll be how Xbox Music works great no matter the platform. Or maybe it’ll just be as simple as how they let you play and interact with your music collection. Whatever it is, that needs to happen soon.
Come for the music, stay for everything else.
I applaud the effort on both parts to want to be that one place for everyone, but in doing so they haven’t really romanced anyone. Sure, they both have their users, appreciators, fans, and supporters, but if these folks want to chat up these services to others — and bring them into the tent — then we all need that killer thing.
Windows Phone now has Cortana. What will Xbox One and Xbox Music give?