Guest blog from a Charlie of HKCblog.
A lot of gamers seem to have little to no memory, so let me jog yours, or clue you in. A loooong time ago, Bill Gates had an idea. This was an idea for a set top box that would be a digital entertainment hub; a one stop shop, if you will, for watching movies, looking at TV, accessing the internet, communication, and gaming. He believed that this was the next logical step in fusing computers with entertainment and everyday life.
Mr Gates shopped this idea around to not only console makers, but to cable companies as well; but no one was interested. It was then determined by Micorsoft that if this vision of the future was to come into existence, they would have to do it on their own.
After a lot of research, it was determined that the best way to get the public to accept such an entertainment device was to gradually introduce them to the idea because at the time such a device was cost prohibitive and the infrastructure was not there. Keep in mind that at this time there was no Hulu, no Netflix, no console online gaming, no social networking… nothing. So they introduced the Xbox. Many people guffawed at the idea of MS getting into the gaming biz, and it seemed like they might not last because the Xbox Division was operating at a great loss. Microsoft’s keeping their head in the game was attributed to deep pockets at the time, but that’s not entirely true. They kept going while losing money hand over fist because the prize for them was not winning a video game console war, but rather to get consumers to accept a Microsoft made entertainment product in their living rooms… and it worked. Phase one was a mental success, not a monetary one.
A lot of phase two consisted of offering up movie services and various entertainment products in a digital medium. This can be seen in the Xbox 360. People began to accept the idea of subscribing to a digital service for content delivery. Microsoft tried, and failed, to introduce a physical medium of entertainment consumption via an optional HD-DVD drive, but they bet their money on the wrong horse. This part of the second phase would have to wait on a later date. Overall, though, with the Xbox 360, MS achieved wide acceptance and brand recognition with consumers who identified the Xbox brand with not only game playing, but social interaction and media consumption.
That brings us to today where phase three saw realization. A set top media box that’s a one stop shop for entertainment consumption, just as Bill Gates envisioned. This was the end game. Microsoft never had any long term plans to be in the gaming business… in fact they didn’t want to be in it in the first place. They just wanted to offer the backbone to the machine and rake in license revenue. And that’s why today’s unveiling of the Xbox One was all about TV and movies and media, and a little about games. It’s not a game machine, and they don’t want it viewed as such.
None of this information is secret or conjecture. It’s not from a personal company bias on my part. It’s all part of the public record that people seem to have forgotten or were not able to piece together. And all you irate Xbox gamers can’t really be mad because YOU were what was needed to to make it happen. Welcome to the future of media consumption in America.