Since the Xbox One’s inception, Microsoft has been trying to market a centralized entertainment unit for the living room. Hence the One in Xbox One. How would they do this? Accessibility. This new console would need to be easily accessible to a wider audience, not just hardcore gamers, but people that were casual and possibly even non-gamers. To accomplish this monumental feat they needed this next console to be able to be used quickly and easily by all. Enter Kinect 2.0. With advanced voice recognition and gesture control the most non tech-savvy person would be able to use this machine successfully. Now with that in place add in HDMI in support for cable boxes, a slew of entertainment apps with more along the way courtesy of similar app development architecture for Windows 8 and Xbox One and a Blu-ray player This machine was ready for the masses. This shift to a centralized entertainment unit was a long time coming for Microsoft. Many forget Microsoft pioneered having apps such as Netflix on a console. The Xbox 360 had it long before any other platform did. The 360 and Microsoft in general also drew in larger crowds of consumers than Sony, for example, with its superior online experience and much coveted exclusives like Gears of War and Halo. Bigger franchises than any of Sony’s combined. Microsoft had a large portion of the hardcore crowd and was on the cusp of drawing in an untapped demographic for consoles as well. The vision for the Xbox One was realized and set in motion.
Any great product needs two things for it to deeply penetrate the collective conscious: great features and great marketing. Just ask Apple. While the Xbox One has impressive features that its competitors don’t, the message that was delivered at E3 in June of last year had left much to be desired and they been stumbling since. Even now, those same announcements that were made almost a year ago still resonate with that same crowd Microsoft, ironically, is trying to attract; the casual and non-gamers. Announcements of always-on DRM and the console not being able to work without the Kinect left a bad taste in that collective conscious. The damage had been done. After those statements were rescinded and reversed, Microsoft never seemed to be able to fully get that crowd back. All the while, hardcore gamers felt alienated by this talk of entertainment options, but not much in the gaming department. After all, this is a video game console. Where were the games?! Topping off all this is the recent Microsoft management structural shake up. Which takes us to present times. The Xbox One is ready to play hardball while also taking a page from Sony’s playbook. Price point parity with the PS4, a revamped Games for Gold program much in the same vain as PlayStation Plus and the removing of apps such as Netflix and Hulu Plus from behind the Xbox Live pay wall.