Microsoft sees the Xbox as the future of the living room

By Tom Warren, on 17th Aug 11 4:29 pm with 52 Comments

Microsoft reinforced its vision for the future of TV and Xbox on Wednesday.

Frank Shaw, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of corporate communications, penned a blog post outlining “The Future of the Living Room.” Shaw previously revealed that Xbox is the entertainment core of the company’s entertainment strategy back in May. Microsoft went on to announce Bing, YouTube and Live TV integration for Xbox, coming this fall. Iintegration of products and services like Xbox, Kinect and Bing is at the heart of our strategy,” said Shaw on Wednesday. “This is just one more example of how Bing is more than just Microsoft’s search engine, competing to win against Google – Bing is also a strategic asset that makes many other Microsoft products better and more attractive to our customers.”

Microsoft is betting big on Bing, Kinect and Xbox and the company has yet to unveil its full plans for the future of Windows. Microsoft’s focus on speech technologies, Xbox gaming and Bing search should indicate a pattern that will likely be integral to Windows 8 just as it is on Windows Phone. “Thanks to Bing, Kinect and our voice recognition technology, we envision a future where the words “Hey, where’s the remote?” are as outdated as eight-track tapes and rotary telephones,” said Shaw. Microsoft’s Xbox Avatar Kinect service rolled out recently, designed to provide an easy way for friends to interact and watch entertainment with their avatars. “This is just a hint of what’s to come,” insinuated Shaw. “We’ll be rolling out further advances in entertainment over the next few months.”

  • Anonymous

    I can’t wait to see how they raise the bar with the next Xbox.

  • http://twitter.com/jimmyfal Jimmy Fallon

    If they can just ink a deal with Comcast and other large cable companies, to be able to switch seemlessly to live tv it will be a grand slam home run. I have ONE question about XBOX. I wonder if someone here can answer. WHY does it take up to 15 seconds to switch between services? I”m talking about going from say Facebook to Netflix for example. What is the technological reason  that this takes so long. I truly think that what makes Apple anything attractive is the “Apparent” snappiness of going from screen to screen. Why can’t this be reality NOW?  Thanks… jf

    • BigChiefSmokem

      The Xbox’s OS was originally built with only games and minor functionality in mind. It does not share the same code-base as Windows so it cannot build on the same multi-tasking framework.

      The solution to this is of course replacing the Xbox Dashboard with “Windows 9″ as the main Xbox OS.

    • Guest

      Actually it does share the same codebase as Windows. It’s based on the W2K kernel. I don’t own an Xbox, but I suspect the lag Jimmy is referring to, assumes its a generic problem, has more to do with the nature of the processor in the Xbox, which isn’t a general purpose CPU but rather one optimized for gaming.

    • Guest

      Actually it does share the same codebase as Windows. It’s based on the W2K kernel. I don’t own an Xbox, but I suspect the lag Jimmy is referring to, assumes its a generic problem, has more to do with the nature of the processor in the Xbox, which isn’t a general purpose CPU but rather one optimized for gaming.

    • BigChiefSmokem

      Oh okay and yeah I completely forgot to mention the hardware but you are right that does play a big part in this problem.

      I’m assuming as more third-party and indie apps come to the Xbox we will see this rectified one way (improve current OS) or another (replace current OS).

    • BigChiefSmokem

      The Xbox’s OS was originally built with only games and minor functionality in mind. It does not share the same code-base as Windows so it cannot build on the same multi-tasking framework.

      The solution to this is of course replacing the Xbox Dashboard with “Windows 9″ as the main Xbox OS.

    • J A

      They are not inking any deals with Telecom companies, which will only make them a reseller of what is already high-priced. They are dealing directly with cable networks.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t wait for the new Dashboard! Having everything kinect compatible will be awesome.

  • AlienSix

    Only problem is mobile is killing counsel, just when xbox starts making some money for us, the market is dying :(
    By 2013, revenue from games that can be played online or on a mobile device will jump 50 percent to $32.6 billion, overtaking those of console games for the first time, according toPricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

    • Alanlindsaycbp

      right. PriceWaterhouseCoopers the renowned predictors of the financial crisis. Oh. Wait.

      XBOX has been selling more and more and making more and more money – but apparently it is doing badly. Where do these people come from?

    • Alanlindsaycbp

      right. PriceWaterhouseCoopers the renowned predictors of the financial crisis. Oh. Wait.

      XBOX has been selling more and more and making more and more money – but apparently it is doing badly. Where do these people come from?

    • Alanlindsaycbp

      right. PriceWaterhouseCoopers the renowned predictors of the financial crisis. Oh. Wait.

      XBOX has been selling more and more and making more and more money – but apparently it is doing badly. Where do these people come from?

    • Anonymous

      Yes but think when you can integrate your mobile device with your console and use both during gameplay (Not necessarily all games of course) how that will entice people to get a console.  Of course if it is the media center in the house as well (HTPC like device) that makes it more valuable to the masses not just gamers.  The biggest problem is content, the media companies have so much power here, it’s going to be hard to break down those walls.

    • http://twitter.com/laserfloyd Lewis McCrary

      Mobile is on the go.  Console is sitting at home, kicked back and relaxing.  I sometimes tinker with my phone while watching TV but I’ll never replace my home entertainment with a tiny (by comparison) mobile device.  Having my mobile device control and interact with the xbox will be even better.  I’ve already made the jump to having XBox facilitate all my TV needs.  I barely use cable except to watch for local weather alerts because I’m nerdy like that.

    • Guest

      Looks like you missed some quotes there, alien. It’s customary to add those when quoting others.

  • http://twitter.com/theloz Loz Lowe

    Oh bloody great. I’m gonna have to buy an XBOX now. Thanks Microsoft…

  • BigChiefSmokem

    I’m upset Microsoft.

    I was lead to believe you would bring us Hulu and Netflix-like services at affordable à la carte prices on Xbox. Instead you’re just turning the Xbox into a cable box so that Comcast and friends can still stick it to us with their ridiculously overpriced “HD bundles”.

    When it comes to TV you need to partner with the NETWORKS, not the TELECOMS. But then again, the Telecoms have you by the balls for the same reason they do consumers’: they own the infrastructure. Is that why we can’t have à la carte TV?

    Damn you Telecoms and damn you Microsoft for supporting their ridiculous greed.

    • Anonymous

      Here’s to hoping Microsoft buys Hulu and we get a good streaming service.

    • BigChiefSmokem

      Actually I hate Hulu’s business model as well, it’s almost as bad as cables’ and you can’t even change the channel!

      Netflix on the other hand has it just right. Reed Hastings IMO is a genius and business leader and I hope he keeps sticking it to the telecoms.

      SUPPORT NETFLIX as they are the *only* ones fighting for us consumers in court against Big Telecom.

    • Guest

      Hastings is also a MS board member. Go figure.

    • BigChiefSmokem

      I bet he grumbled real long and hard when he found out Microsoft was cutting deals with telecoms, or maybe he’s smart and this is part of his master plan to bring down Comcast?

      Oh I’m such an idealist today…

    • Guest

      Maybe. Or maybe he said nothing. Given all the mistakes and failures over the last decade, I’ve come to believe that MS’s board just listens to whatever stupid shit comes out of Ballmer’s mouth, looks to Bill to see if he’s nodding his head, which he usually is, and then says “sounds great, Steve. You have our rubber stamp”).

    • Anonymous

      Why are you even on this site? Go away…

    • Anonymous

      Why are you even on this site? Go away…

    • BigChiefSmokem

      Actually I hate Hulu’s business model as well, it’s almost as bad as cables’ and you can’t even change the channel!

      Netflix on the other hand has it just right. Reed Hastings IMO is a genius and business leader and I hope he keeps sticking it to the telecoms.

      SUPPORT NETFLIX as they are the *only* ones fighting for us consumers in court against Big Telecom.

    • J A

      Microsoft does not need Hulu, they have Microsoft MediaRoom live TV and other multimedia content, which is what AT&T resells as U-Verse TV.

    • Guest

      MS is trying to be all things to all people and doing none of it exceptionally well, as usual. They actually had to be convinced, kicking and screaming, into modifying Xbox to work better as a set top. I believe it was Telus in Canada who first requested them to do this, or at least got them to agree. You may not like the set top market, but it’s HUGE. On the Hulu and Netflix fronts they did some good work early, but yeah it seems to have gotten bogged down and now Apple and others have caught up. Geographic coverage outside the US is also still problematic – something we see over and over from MS, but that Apple somehow manages to avoid and normally rolls out with very broad worldwide coverage.

    • Aaron

      “doing none of it exceptionally well”

      I don’t know about that.  I’m enjoying Windows 7, Visual Studio 2010, Office 2010, SkyDrive, Windows Phone 7, xbox + kinect, Live services, ect.. ect…  Ultimately your first point is right, that MS can’t do all things at once, but your next statement is crap because they do a lot of products very well in my opinion.

    • Guest

      The reference was to their gaming efforts specifically. But since you brought it up, W7 (decent, hardly exceptional. Arguably behind OS X), VS (still a leader, point for you). Ditto Office, Skydrive (really confused strategy with this, Mesh, etc.). Not exceptional vs competition. WP7, promise of greatness. Still lagging competitors on features. Not exceptional. Xbox=Kinect, innovative but not exceptional yet. Maybe on the next crop of optimized games. Challenge is that console market is stagnating, as MS’s gaming head in Germany recently admitted. Live services? You’re kidding, right?

    • http://www.ardentra.com Ardentra

      How on earth is windows 7 “arguably behind OS X”. Windows 7 wins no-contest. Even with Lion its just not even close.

    • Guest
    • Anonymous

      You link to a website based solely off someone’s opinion? Most consumers couldnt be happier with W7.

    • Guest

      Guess that explains why Windows continues to lose share to OS X, as it has since Vista.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KTAHVKS2RNDWTQPHQEJALLRNEQ Adam Paris

      Peoplare funny. OSX marketshare hasnt changed since years!

    • Anonymous

      and dont forget many people with macs have windows 7 through bootcamp !!!

    • http://www.ardentra.com Ardentra

      Really? Infoworld? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. Thanks for the laugh guest.

      Umm actually Desktop Windows hasn’t lost any appreciable marketshare at all to Mac. Volume wise Microsoft is as dominant as ever (if not more so) on the desktop.The only marketshare lost has been in the phone space and a lot at that.

    • Anonymous

      how can you say they are trying to do everything at once and failing when you havent even seen what they have done? the xbox and all its available services are fantastic. live tv hasnt even been seen yet (on a wide scale atleast) but i have high hopes

    • Anonymous

      how can you say they are trying to do everything at once and failing when you havent even seen what they have done? the xbox and all its available services are fantastic. live tv hasnt even been seen yet (on a wide scale atleast) but i have high hopes

    • Anonymous

      Do you even own an Xbox? Nobody does the job 100%, but as far as gaming consoles go, Xbox 360 does it the best. Compare this to other devices you might find in the living room like ATV or Google TV…GTV takes on a similar method, as does Media Center which is already apart of the Xbox today. Apple doesn’t even provide a live TV solution, instead making you go with iTunes for you movie and TV needs. What has Apple “caught up” to exactly with ATV? lack of 1080p streaming? No gaming solution? No video chat solution? No community solution? Get real. 

  • http://twitter.com/laserfloyd Lewis McCrary

    Batman? Microsoft? Bruce Wayne to run Microsoft? ;)

    This all looks promising.  Looking forward to it. :)

  • http://twitter.com/laserfloyd Lewis McCrary

    Batman? Microsoft? Bruce Wayne to run Microsoft? ;)

    This all looks promising.  Looking forward to it. :)

  • Jinge

    They may do something really great with XBox, but I am wondering if they can continue with the same brand to sell it as a living room box, as it is associated to games. The question is “how to sell XBox to random people not interested in gaming”, would it work? Even the kinect thing, it is a very nice gadget, but does it worth 400$ (with the XBox) for a remote purpose?
    Anyway, I like what they are doing with the XBox, I might buy one in few years when the next generation will come!

  • Guest

    Of course MS sees Xbox as the future of the living room. That doesn’t mean it will be. In fact given their record of predictions, it’s more likely not to.

    Xbox has established a great reputation with hard core gamers. But that doesn’t describe the average home user, and MS will have a lot of trouble convincing them that they need an Xbox.  

    It’s quite possible that the future of the living room will in fact be a tablet and/or more basic device like an Apple TV. The dual use capability of the tablet and simplicity of iTV has far more appeal to the larger segment of the market. You could argue things are already moving in that direction:

    “The overall console market is stagnating,” Oliver Kaltner, who
    is responsible for Microsoft’s game business in Germany, said in an interview in
    Cologne. “If you are offering gaming consoles only, this might limit your sales
    potential for the future because consumers expect more. They expect connection
    to their movies, they want to connect with their friends and families.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/richeymeister Mark Richey

      Actually, Kinect is changing that and more family-friendly games are coming out all the time. XBox has always been highly social in nature and with the integration of WP7 and soon Windows 8, it will be more so. 

    • Anonymous

      MS doesn’t need predictions…its already leading in the living room. Xbox 360 has more than 55 million units sold…thats more than Apple TV, Goggle TV, Boxee, Roku and others. Its already doing things its competitors cant (HD gaming and video chats etc), with MS adding an “apps store” to this years dashboard update, its capability is only going to increase. If anyone has a lock on entertainment in the living room right now its MS.

      Xbox has established a great reputation with hard cores but recently even more so with casuals and entertainment minded consumers…why do you think they have the #1 selling console the last 13 out of 14 months, and all without releasing any major exclusive titles? Whats driving Xbox right now is Kinect and its media capabilities. Kinect became the fastest selling consumer electronics device for a reason…its moving Xbox units.

      A tablet being the future of the living room? Are you serious? Good media tablets START at $500 and cant do true NATIVE HD graphics. Whatever the future is, it better be able to play native state-of-the-art level HD graphics and sound while connecting you to a community of gamers and casuals for trash talking and video chat over Halo, Call of Duty and more. And what would be you input method for these tablets at the HDTV? Touch? Holding a 1.5 pound device in the air while playing a one player only game? You might want to rethink that one. The reason why the Apple TV fails in the living room is because it doesn’t allow for diverse ways of interacting with content that one wants in the living room. Want to play all your iOS games and apps on your ATV…too bad, out of luck with just that remote in your hand. People want diversity in the living room, not limitations.

      “The overall console market is stagnating”, yet the Xbox 360 is only console thats actually growing year over year…go figure. Once the price drops to $150 (which is expected this holiday season), the device only looks more tempting to the average consumer. You need to understand that the Xbox stopped being a gaming only console a long time ago and is very close to devices like ATV in price yet can do so much more…its devices like ATV that are media only devices, wicwhich why it hasn’t taken off. 

    • Anonymous

      Last Christmas I gave an Xbox 360 to my mom, hooked her up with a Live account (part of a Family plan) and gifted her a 3-month subscription to Netflix.  While she’s not a gamer, it has absolutely transformed her entire entertainment paradigm.  For mother’s day, I sent her a Kinect so we could video chat (I live half-way across the country).  It blew her away.

      My father who lives in a completely different state from both of us is also a console-based Netflix watcher (he uses a PS3 or Wii, depending on the room). 

      I have an Xbox 360 and HTPC connected to every TV in my house and cable TV connected to only one of them.  If anything, the traditional cable-based content model is what is stagnating.
       
      While Kinect may not have captured the “lightning in a bottle” scenario that Nintendo had with the Wii, it is by no means a commercial failure having sold well over 10 million units.  Xbox 360 has been the leading selling console for the past 13/14 months according to the NPD.  It’s growing year-over-year.

      Apple TV is a joke compared to a console like Xbox or PS3, in terms of sales, flexibility and functionality.  Tablets are also no threat to this type of model.  They’re absolutely great to have around as a secondary screen to check IMDB on or update Twitter or Facebook while watching TV … but as a primary entertainment device at the expense of a TV in the living room?  You’re living in a fantasy world.

  • Guest

    Of course MS sees Xbox as the future of the living room. That doesn’t mean it will be. In fact given their record of predictions, it’s more likely not to.

    Xbox has established a great reputation with hard core gamers. But that doesn’t describe the average home user, and MS will have a lot of trouble convincing them that they need an Xbox.  

    It’s quite possible that the future of the living room will in fact be a tablet and/or more basic device like an Apple TV. The dual use capability of the tablet and simplicity of iTV has far more appeal to the larger segment of the market. You could argue things are already moving in that direction:

    “The overall console market is stagnating,” Oliver Kaltner, who
    is responsible for Microsoft’s game business in Germany, said in an interview in
    Cologne. “If you are offering gaming consoles only, this might limit your sales
    potential for the future because consumers expect more. They expect connection
    to their movies, they want to connect with their friends and families.”

  • thx1139

    They just need to make sure everything is voice enabled.  Hand gestures is to slow for much of this and for some people where people sit is to far from Kinect. The middle of our couch for instance is about 12 feet away from the Kinect if u sit on the edge of it. Kinect cant pick us up.

  • http://profiles.google.com/dechah Stephen Anderson

    I want to love XBox 360, but they make it so hard.  Especially for owners outside of the USA.  I am not a hardcore gamer per se, but I want to like the media player capabilities of the XBox 360.  The potential is there, but it is a struggle.  So much of my content will not play on it.  When they make an XBox as good and convenient as a Boxee Box for example for aggregating content freely available on the internet, and give it more codec support, so that it will work more effectively with my Windows Home Server, I will give it another go.  But since I recently purchased a Boxee Box, my XBox 360 has not been turned on. 

    • DJ

      Absolutely Stephen.  The codec mish mash between the console and Media Center Extender is awful. Meta data management requires third party solutions which are just ok at best.  I tried working with Media Center on my 360 as my extender for years and finally threw my hands up the second I saw Boxee in action.  MS really has to get their poop together on this front or 360 will remain a gaming device for me.

  • Sakesam

    Lower the price of the gold package. Not going to pay $60 and fees for Netflix and Hulu.