When Microsoft debuted its next Xbox One console earlier this year, gamers hit the roof. Many of them took to social networks like Twitter and Facebook, demanding that Microsoft change the console’s direction and appeal more to what many referred to as the “hard-core gaming crowd”. That is, users who primarily use consoles to play video games. Now, just four months later, the Xbox One’s value-proposition is starting to come into focus, and to the ire of gamers, it looks like the console might pull out a win against Sony’s PlayStation 4 – not with gamers, but with families.
Skype Makes Connecting With Family Easier
While other consoles can boast that they feature video, text and audio chat, to date, no other console besides the Xbox One can boast an easy solution to communicating with friends and family no matter what device they own. Purchased by Microsoft just a few years ago, Skype comes built into every Xbox One, and allow users to make audio and video calls with friends who have iPhones, PCs, Macs, Windows Phones and devices running Google’s Android operating system.
For users who aren’t necessarily all that savvy with technology, Skype on an Xbox One will be the easiest way for users to community with other family members without managing software. Since every Xbox One comes equipped with a Kinect, it’s also the best way for Xbox LIVE subscribers to communicate without having to buy a webcam.
The Remote Becomes Useless
For those users who have an Xbox One and a cable subscription, the Xbox One turns television watching on its head. Using the HDMI pass through port on the rear of every Xbox One, buyers can make use of the console’s live television and guide functionality to find what television shows are popular, change channels and see what’s coming on next.
The Xbox One also eliminates lost remotes. Instead, users can change channels and adjust the volume of the channels they are watching with Xbox One’s built in Kinect sensor through voice or by making gestures.
Entertainment for the Whole Family
Microsoft isn’t resting with the waves it made by introducing entertainment-cenetric applications with the Xbox 360. On the Xbox One, the company is doubling down on its efforts with football. Starting this year, Xbox is what Microsoft is referring to as the Official Interactive Content Provider of the NFL. That’s a long way of saying, football, with scores and highlights, is only on the Xbox One as opposed to the PlayStation 4.
That’s not all though. The company is continuing to work with content providers to bring their networks to Xbox. While we don’t yet know what applications will make their way to the Xbox One this fall, the Xbox 360 already supports apps for Nick, The CW, Disney, Amazon, Comedy Central, ESPN, Fox, Major League Baseball, MTV, YouTube, UFC, Netflix and many more.
Effectively, Microsoft isn’t just making a play at gamers with the Xbox One, it’s also ensuring that it has a well-rounded entertainment focus for consumers who aren’t necessarily that into gaming.
It’s gambling that there are also millions of users who want to watch television, videos and more. In a world where devices like the TiVo set-top box compete with devices like the Apple TV, finding a family-oriented middle ground is key.
Microsoft’s Xbox One is already available for pre-order. The company expects to begin putting the device on store shelves on November 22nd.