The Xbox One – which Microsoft has just unveiled – is its strongest push so far to dominate consumers’ living rooms with a complete entertainment system designed for the whole family.
The new device interacts with a television, responds to voice and gesture commands and is intended to be simple and intuitive.
Jim Yin, Analyst, S&P Capital IQ said it is aimed at expanding sales beyond just gamers: “They (Microsoft) are at the forefront of not only bringing this console to the core gamers, but also to the mass market. And I think that’s more important, because I think in order for this industry to grow and to continue to bring more users, they have to expand beyond the core gamers.”
Industry analysts called this a big challenge from Microsoft to Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Wii.
The Xbox One will compete with the Wii U – rolled out late last year to lacklustre sales – and the forthcoming PlayStation 4.
Each wants a bigger slice of the 50 billion euro a year games market, but with sales of hardware and software slipping, Microsoft hopes to win a place as a hub for living room entertainment.
Indeed Microsoft did not refer to the new gadget as a “console” but rather an entertainment system, signaling its renewed focus on making the Xbox a sort of window for media and entertainment content, pointed out Forrester Research’s James McQuivey.
The software giant is “trying to break out of the category” and risks having to battle not just Sony and Nintendo but Apple, Google and others to control consumer entertainment in the age of Smart TVs tablets and smartphones, he said.
Acclaimed movie maker Steven Spielberg will be executive-producing a television series based on Microsoft’s blockbuster sci-fi game “Halo” – one of the game industry’s largest franchises by revenue – for the Xbox One.
The new console will also offer exclusive National Football League content and eight new game franchises, executives said.