In an interview on Bloomberg TV last week, Microsoft President of Interactive Entertainment, Don Mattrick, said that the Xbox One was over-delivering on value. In fact, the Xbox boss went so far as to say, “We’re delivering thousands of dollars of value to people.”
The problem is that no one apart from Mattrick, Microsoft employees and the staunchest of Xbox loyalists believe this to be the case. When you look at the dollars and cents of the next generation of consoles, it’s pretty obvious that the Xbox isn’t actually over-delivering and definitely not thousands of dollars worth of over-delivery.
Having had a few days to digest the two very different launch events for Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One, I’ve come to a realization. As much as people don’t seem to like the Xbox launch, it wasn’t a failure in and of itself. In fact, I believe that Microsoft successfully accomplished what it set out to do.
The Xbox One and PlayStation Four both play video games. However, if you were to watch the two launch events, I’d understand if you were a little confused by that statement. While the PlayStation 4’s launch emphasised how it plays games and how it augments that with the social networking and sharing features, the Xbox spent comparatively little time talking about the games.
The difference in the launches was an example of how the console manufacturers are positioning their next-gen consoles in the market.
Microsoft didn’t hide that yesterday’s big announcement would be for the next-gen Xbox but they sure did manage to surprise with that name. The third-generation Xbox console is the Xbox One whose name represents that it’s an all-in-one system for the living room.
It was that all-in-one nature of the Xbox One that formed the majority of Microsoft’s presentation. Unfortunately, that emphasis on the all-in-one Xbox came at what was essentially the de-emphasis of games as the core of the Xbox One.
One console has a sharing feature that nobody wanted and unveiled with a slightly underwhelming line-up. Another console is strongly rumoured to mandate a permanent connection to the internet to play games and is likely to prevent playing used games. The third console is so underpowered that some third-party publishers have abandoned it less than six months after release.
For as excited as everybody was about this generations console wars, it sure seems to be shaping up to be a race to the bottom and a case of not survival of the fittest but survival of the least weak.