With Microsoft finally announcing that we’ll all be treated to our first looks at what they’ve been working on in respect to Xbox, it’s finally time to get down to business speculating on what could be coming. Of course, I’ve got no plans to throw more fuel on that fire. I’m entirely sure the other guys will have that more than covered.

It seems that many of the most vocal Xbox fans are focusing on what’s immediately in front of them, the prospects for that next generation of gaming. Many of them want to know whether the next Xbox will require an internet connection to function. Even more fans want to know if Microsoft will introduce new discs formats so that games won’t require five discs.

For some reason, I can’t shake the feeling that this is the wrong thing to get worked up over. Don’t get me wrong –it’s definitely time for new hardware and people should be excited about how the technology in this forthcoming Xbox will improve their gaming experience. That being said, there seems to be an avalanche of “purists” who feel that unless Microsoft spends their entire announcement event talking about gaming, then the reveal and the console perhaps will be a bust.

The very idea of creating a gaming focused living room console has died

I feel like these people have forgotten that they’re now in the minority of Xbox LIVE usage. I feel like these people have some deluded sense of entitlement that they feel Microsoft shouldn’t move the Xbox into other usage scenarios beyond things that involve “pew, pew”.

In order for Microsoft to officially begin the next generation of Xbox, the company must use this opportunity to acknowledge, -without hesitation, that the very idea of creating a gaming focused living room console died with the first Xbox Dashboard update. For this reveal to be successful other forms of internet have to split the stage with gaming.

In my opinion, its focus on all entertainment experiences is why the Xbox 360 continues to be at the top of NPD’s sales numbers. It’s the Xbox 360’s niche. By providing one console that focuses heavily on all types of entertainment, Microsoft has been able completely hijack Nintendo’s casual living room appeal (Kinect, definitely helped there too.) and render Sony’s PlayStation moot in many markets. No, it hasn’t usurped the PlayStation brand completely, but it has come closer that Nintendo, Sega, or Ouya ever have and possibly, ever will. Just as the smartphone market has entered a war of ecosystems, so too has the living room and that’s a place where neither of those companies can match Microsoft. Sony and Nintendo enter this generation of consoles on the defensive.

If Microsoft wants to keep them there, they’ll have to talk about how this Xbox device will bring everything users love about consumer devices into the living room. We’re talking music, television, movies, the Internet, and in app store all wrapped in a small diminutive box whose fan can’t be heard from the next room. We’re talking avenues of any kind of entertainment on any kind of device.

Problem is, the Xbox brand is still so gaming centric. Microsoft will need to reach out to non-gamers and casual listeners during this event.  They’ll need to come right out and say, “This isn’t just your kid’s Xbox. If you want entertainment of any kind, buy an Xbox.”

If they don’t, then someone else will.

2 Comments on “Of a Gaming Focused Xbox Reveal and This Not Being 2005”

  1. Good piece Travis and right on. I’d also add Gamers have nothing to fear because gaming will always be a part of Microsoft’s focus too. This next console will hopefully point towards an ‘everything box.’ An entertainment wonderland of choices (including gaming) that offers something for folks of all walks and stripes, whether you want to catch up on Game of Thrones or listen to the latest Daft Punk or improve your K/D ratio in Call of Duty.

    Think it should be noted that just because there’s stuff you might not like, it doesn’t make the whole thing bad. For instance, I’ll never use that Pizza Hut app, but I still LOVE what else the Xbox 360 offers. I’m going to use that same approach to the May 21st announcement.

    • Thanks for the kind words Chris. for me it just comes down to what makes sense for the marketplace and for users.

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