Microsoft: The days of single-purpose consoles are over

Xbox director of product planning Albert Penello says, "The future is a multi-tasking customer--a device that does more than just gaming at home."

The notion that a console would only play games is a thing of the past, Xbox director of product planning Albert Penello said this week during a CES 2014 panel in Las Vegas.

"From a console perspective, the idea that a console is a single-purpose device is the past," Penello said (via Xbox Wire). "The future is a multi-tasking customer--a device that does more than just gaming at home."

Of course, Penello is in the business of selling the Xbox One, which Microsoft describes as an "all-in-one" device that not only plays games but affords users a multitude of non-gaming entertainment options.

The 3 million Xbox One owners have taken to such non-gaming services quickly, as Microsoft reported this week that users have already spent "millions" of hours watching live TV through the console and spent "millions" more hours using various apps.

This is hardly surprising, as Microsoft announced in March 2012 that Xbox 360 owners in the United States spend more time with Xbox Live entertainment applications than they do playing multiplayer games over the service.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

2156 comments
youre_a_sheep
youre_a_sheep

As long as consoles have lousy web browsers I won't be bothered asking them to do things my Mac mini can handle far better.  Console hard drives are also far too small to do much with them beyond gaming.  

They need to decide whether they're going to make a serious move to compete with computers or stop wasting time and resources doing it half way.  To me there's more utility in buying a cheaper console focused only on gaming and choose whether to supplement my entertainment center with a computer than to make every consumer shell out for a supposed all-in-one box.

Aentikraist
Aentikraist

yeah says the department that for now at least are at the top of everything Fail related ¬¬ good work im amazed of ur fail potential u never cease to impress!!!

ncogneegro
ncogneegro

These guys are idiots.  


I buy consoles to play games.  I build a PC for EVERYTHING else plus games.

Psycold
Psycold

Steam boxes are gonna take over, once there is more variety and competition starts to drive the prices down, people will have less and less reason to buy an Xbox or Playstation. For me the #1 reason is having to pay extra for a gaming service when you already pay monthly for internet. I have more than enough bills. Also console games are far too expensive. 

CobaltAlien
CobaltAlien

I buy a car for the car not it's stereo system. Yes a good system is nice to have but ultimately it's the primary function that matters. Arguably if you monitor my car useage you would incorrectly think that the Stereo was the most important component as it on all the time I'm driving it yet also when I'm stationary or cleaning it.. so yeah I can understand if you don't use any logic and just looked at time spent on a function you could end up with the wrong conclusion. 

RSM-HQ
RSM-HQ

I'm pretty sure many bought a X1 solely to play games. Halo/ Gears/ Forza/ and the pretty decent launch game Killer Instinct. 


Marketing departments for games are certainly loosing the plot. I don't know anyone who bought a X1 with the intent of watching television while chatting on XLive, come on... Same with us over owning a Playstation 4, who really bought a Playstation 4 because you can be on Facebook while watching The Avengers?


Gaming is always about gaming. These other features are namely with casuals in mind. But it's gamers that make the bulk of your sales. Keep that in mind.


m_dorian
m_dorian

I want a gaming console as a gaming console only. I allready have other more capable machines do other stuff i need. Why pay something i have not asked for in the beggining? 

The days that Microsoft do not understand its customers are not over i am afraid.

ecurl143
ecurl143

Well, we've had a multitasking machine for years Mr Penello - it's called a PC.

Pineapple_Head
Pineapple_Head

When you think about it, Penello is on the ball. Now it's just the music playing, DVD/blu-ray viewing, content streaming, all in one device based systems on the console market. I must say, having some of these extra entertainment capabilities make for a nice incentive for purchasing one console over the other.


Still.......THE GAMING FUNCTION should still be the main reason for the console first and foremost.

wyan_
wyan_

I've been on this bandwagon for a long time, so I'm happy to see consoles doing more. I loved it when Sony launched the PS2. That meant I would never have to buy a DVD player, same with the PS3 and blu ray. I hate cable boxes and cable companies with all their overpriced, shitty cable packages. I'm glad I can already get some TV through Netflix or otherwise on my Xbox One. It saves me money and clutter.

daviz88
daviz88

SLOW JANUARY, eh........ GAMESPOT?

Garm31
Garm31

"Microsoft: The days of single-purpose consoles are over". Yep! The future Streaming anti-ownership, underpowered, paywalled, closed off and overpriced hardware is here. MORONS!

decoy1978
decoy1978

Welcome to 2000? I mean this was quite evident when we all went ape shit over the fact that the Playstation could play CD music!!!!. Then we saw the gameboy with the printer capability and insane photo capture at the time -_-. 


How many of us who do own current or last gen(s) consoles used them to JUST play video games? Very little I gather....

Restivus
Restivus

"Excuse me, in what aisle do you keep your multi-tasking devices?"

ZombieGuyGeorge
ZombieGuyGeorge

it's missing the "people don't want games, they want tv!" part.

mav_destroyer
mav_destroyer

Well yeah! Those days were over way back when the PS2 introduced DVD playback. Welcome back to the present Microsoft.

Also, I bet the reason why so many XOne users spend so much time on non-gaming services is the lack of games to play at launch.

cracka123
cracka123

"The future is a multi-tasking customer--a device that does more than just gaming at home."

Wow. Sounds almost as innovative as a PC.

UKFX
UKFX

I read this article and I felt compelled to come in here and say: so basically, a PC then? I hate to break it to console users (as I was one myself, until 2 years ago) that if you want something that can do everything, then a PC is the way to go, and no, it doesn't have to be mega expensive and no, it isn't hard to build one... it may be intimidating at first, but it isn't hard to build one.

An no, I wouldn't get a Steambox, it is a reiteration of the PC, designed nothing more than to make money. If you want SteamOS, go download it and install it on a media centre with a reasonable graphic card and you have your own Steambox. I pity those who get suckered into buying them things. I used to like Valve but after this idea, they seem like a video-game based Amazon/Apple type... greeeeeed... all from reused ideas and no real product innovation. Oh an Valve... where are your new games over the last 4+ years? Oh that's right... there isn't any.

I suppose all businesses turn out the same, in time.


JoInfo
JoInfo

There hasn't been a "single purpose" system since what... Gamecube? N64?


This is garbage.

laxwiz
laxwiz

The big screen I have attached to my console[s] is for gaming.  I bought it that big to play games big, not share the screen.  My idea of multi-tasking is gaming while talking with friends on skype through my phone, eating chips and drinking......lol

Llama345
Llama345

I would buy a video game only system in a second as long as it wasn't too expensive. 

Tim Arista
Tim Arista

Microsoft might've stood a chance if they went the route Sony took.

X-7
X-7

So by the excerpt he means a PC, right?

Pyrosa
Pyrosa

So where the Hell are all of the video apps?  They all exist and run just fine on my 360, which means I can stream video there while gaming on my Steam laptop just fine.  :)

meatz666
meatz666

Die, weekend article, die!!!

SJGSpook
SJGSpook

They might have a point but the thing not to do is to forgot that the console should be a gaming console first and foremost which Microsoft seem to have done.

santinegrete
santinegrete

Even MS avid customers still take the games library on account to post their reasons to "get the darn thing". All those bonus are cool, but if you think games don't matter you're sorely mistaken. PSX could play CDs anyway, and that didn't make me get one for my collection.

minijeffro
minijeffro

There is some truth to what he is saying, but I'm not sure the Xbox One is the device to do it. The menu system is clunky, the load time to switch between apps takes a long time. Some of the functionality is not refined at all. All the extra stuff in the system "sort of works" but it doesn't do anything really well. I'm sure the system will get better as bugs are ironed out and more people start using the the new system. The validation of what he is saying will be solidified by the user-base.....or not.

DJKrayz_basic
DJKrayz_basic

not interested in all these other functions... if i buy a console, i want it for its games...  PS3 was the exception since it was also the best early bluray player, but i bought it for games more than anything else...  and that will always be the case.. all this other crap is just a waste of useful space in my opinion.. new consoles are definitely showing this when they rape your HDD before you even pull it out of the box it came in...  they shouldve included larger HDDs..  500GB today is like 2006's 60gb... its not enough...

McTune
McTune

I think a claim like this is a couple generations to late.  personally one of the reasons I purchased a ps2 was the dvd and game combo then I purchased a ps3 years later because hell yeah it does blue ray also and go online.  

Game machines better do more than just play games because they have been for years now.

Tomcat2007
Tomcat2007

As much as people think this idea is absurd but can you argue it doesn't make sense?  It might be too soon for MS to think the xbox one will be the solution (it has a long ways to go), but the concept itself is valid.  The fact is your TV is the largest monitor in the house and the TV is used for "entertainment" so it makes total sense to have one device that is hooked up to your TV be the entertainment hub.  And not just entertainment but web browsing and work as well.  So many times my eyes are tired i would rather just crash on the couch and browse some work emails or do some research on the web instead of looking at a small laptop or PC monitor.  So okay, yeah I can always hook my laptop to my TV but that takes a minute or two to do, and then i have to switch the source on my tv, etc...it's not seamless.   And next year Microsoft might have it's "threshhold" project finalized so even your xbox one can run full Windows 8.1 (or Windows 9) apps.  Add in keyboard support in a future xbox one update and that's a  pretty useful $500 machine hooked to your TV for people that use Windows at home and work.      Does it really make since to have to switch to your blu-ray player when you want to watch a blu-ray or stream a video, then switch to another device to browse the internet or read email, then another device to play a game?  So yes really the console is starting to become a PC and that's a good thing.  But a console can't ever totally become a PC is still needs to be easy to use for the general public (no messing with drivers, OS installs, video card upgrades, etc).  It needs to be like other appliances, turn it on and start using it.  Again I'm not arguing that the xbox one in its current form is the answer, just the validity of the concept. 

eamo-k
eamo-k

@Psycold Isn't the cheapest Steam Machine still more expensive than a console? And I rent my console games these days for a monthly fee, saves me a fortune.

How's the rental side of things on steam machine?

DaneXL
DaneXL

@toecutter00 Obviously they do.  If people are using the Xbox 360 for the non-gaming things more than the gaming, then obviously they knew what their focus had to be.  Its led to over 3 million sales so far.


Too many "gamers" are stuck in the past and act like they wish modern consoles could be like the NES or Genesis.  These devices are not just for gaming anymore, just like smartphones aren't just phones.

Aentikraist
Aentikraist

@ecurl143 exactly!!! and they dont actually Sweat liquids nor block your entire organic system jajajaja 

Super_C
Super_C

@decoy1978 I only play games on my 360 and Wii U; I don't see that changing.

RSM-HQ
RSM-HQ

@UKFX Personal Computers certainly are good in terms of presentation quality. However many games are built for consoles for a reason. Despite this 'multi-use' console way of thinking. Consoles originally, and still thought by many are built to be like an arcade in your home. 


Switch on/ play/ simple. No fuss.


With dlc and patches it certainly is more fuss than PS2/ PSOne/ Snes eras of consoles. But hey, it's less fuss than Windows 8 gives me.


At anyrate play with your preference, no right or wrong in regards to which way you play games. Just play games, and don't follow this shallow path of gaming being replaced with social media Twitter/ Facebook/ Kinnnect nonsense.  

750sho
750sho

@UKFX   "I hate to break it to console users (as I was one myself, until 2 years ago)"  this is when I stopped caring.  Why do most PC guys always sound so pompous?  Good lord.  

ZombieGuyGeorge
ZombieGuyGeorge

@UKFX actually a pc can't do everything. different hardware for different purposes. consoles are full plug and play. no drivers, no hardware conflicts, no screwing the connector pins. AND the ps4 you buy at a store, or at mazon, or at any vendor, is the same ps4 you buy everywhere else.

if you buy a pc at walmart, at Costco or at samsclub, you get the plug and play, a printer and a coloring software.

not the same as buying at hp, alienware, macstore, or let alone sumitel.

not to mention if you actually have the knowledge, you can build your own. have you tried to build your own ps4?

I mean, I have several pcs, several consoles and "console vs pc" is just as useless as "pen vs pencil"

I know lots of people that are masters of drawing with a pencil. I hate pencil. everything I draw I draw it with a pen.
because I can´t erase an you musy think the next stroke carefuly. and I like the result.

but a pencil is not better than a pen. and neither a pen is better than a pencil. they are DIFFERENT.

yes, you can draw, write, scribble, and rewind a cassette with both. but they are DIFFERENT.

don't like consoles? don't buy them. don't like pc's? don't buy them.

but stop saying one is better than the other.

"consoles are dead" and "pcs are dead" has been here as long as I remember.

and gues what. they are not dead :)

X-7
X-7

@McTuneGaming consoles main purpose should be a strong gaming experience first and foremost though. I think MS is putting too much stock in everything else.

X-7
X-7

@Tomcat2007It does not bother me that much to have to switch devices. My MP3 player can do e-mail and web from the couch and usually when I watch something I use my Roku or Blu-Ray. No biggie because my remotes are up front anyway. even if I had a system that did both things I would still have to switch discs to go from game to movie and back. It is really just people being more and more lazy.

eamo-k
eamo-k

@DaneXL  

Microsoft fails to understand gamers ( or "gamers" if you prefer) buy consoles, primarily to game.

Stuck in the past? Most people have a PC, laptop or tablet that does everything they keep going on about better. It's Microsoft that needs to move on from this outdated notion 3 millon people paid hundreds for some  TV, Facebook and Netflix features. 

Gamers purchase consoles, it's as simple as that.


ZombieGuyGeorge
ZombieGuyGeorge

@750sho@UKFX masta race here, ps fanboy there, xbot over here. I miss the old days when they were just gamers.....

UKFX
UKFX

@ZombieGuyGeorge Poor examples. A PC can do more for its money. So what if the builds aren't the same, that argument has been around forever. There is a difference between buying a shitty PC from a supermarket and getting crap value for money, buying a PC which is overpriced from Alienware, etc, or actually looking online and getting something reasonable for a good price. You're weighing in availability, which is a stupid argument because you're effectively calling console gamers dim who can't use the Internet to find a different piece of hardware for a better price.

Consoles are plug and play for simplicity and cost. A chip developer won't write optimised drivers for every new game to come out on a console, it's too costly, besides with everyone having the same hardware the game developers have something specific to write for, though some games aren't as well written as others... obviously. However that doesn't have shit to do with what I'm on about anyway. Also, why are you asking me if I've built a PS4? Of course I haven't, an whether I answer yes or no has nothing to do with it.

PC offers better value for the broad spectrum of things that you can do. That is well known. There are very few screws to plug do when building a PC these days, most of them are PSU, HDD and board related. The rest of it plugs into the board. Or, buy a PC with a good PSU and a motherboard and your future hardware updates are sorted.

Of course... with the Xbox, you get forced to have a camera, a PC doesn't force you to do that, an with the Xbox, it forces the price up by £100. Hmm, amazing value. PS4 is obviously better value, but then with both systems you still require a subscription on a yearly basis just to play with other people... that is another reason why I actually decided against consoles (I had the money saved for a PS4 last year). Over the years, subscription costs add up which would otherwise suit as a very simple upgrade-ability path. In fact, the longer it goes, the potential for much better upgrades improve.

Steambox... well, it's probably going to be priced similarly to the console, yet it will still have the expense of a low/mid-range PC, or the higher up you go the more ridiculously expensive (or overpriced) it will be. The Steam controller is nothing short of a gimmick, since the range and scope of the touch pads is about as limiting as an analogue stick (possibly worse). There is no need to reinvent the wheel.

Both have pros and cons. I never claimed consoles were dead, but I personally find them these days rather pointless and actually less value for money than before hence I focused more on PC gaming (always had a gaming capable PC anyway, but over time found consoles less worth the while, thus got rid them and ultimately decided against next-gen purchases) . The only way I think consoles are worth it, are simply for convenience, but I wasn't aiming that at consoles, I was talking about how a Steambox is a reiteration of a PC.




DaneXL
DaneXL

@eamo-k You need to re-read the part where most people are using the 360 for non-gaming purposes.  Then you'll understand that Microsoft is catering to the audience that they have.  it's business 101, really.



ZombieGuyGeorge
ZombieGuyGeorge

@UKFX@ZombieGuyGeorge say. you know ps2, ps3, xbox, xb360,ps4, and xbox one they all support keyboard and mouse, right? maybe ps3 and xb360werent as multitasking as a ps4 or a xbone, but, man, you totally lost my point above. 

"if you want something that can do everything, then a PC is the way to go"

actually, no, they can't do everything. say, I have several ultra high end pcs for work.
you can't play with an analog console for audio because midi ports are gone. that's whyi have several older pcs lying around. they are great for music, but if you run a 3d app they just get you a nice blue screen.

I use them for work, and thus, when I brought them, I brought them for work.

a "pc" just like that, will get you a nice printer in the store. and I don't need a printer more than I need a "store" pc.

consoles are one-model only.

pcs are just as diverse as activities are out there. for music, for gaming, for cooking (yes, there are cpus dedicated for cooking too.) but that doesn't mean that just for being a pc, it does magic.

the misconception that ANY pc is better than a console just makes things worst.

no, my celeron m doesn't run zbrush but it captures midi input bettar than my i7 extreme or my xeon.

that's why I said different hardware for different needs.

so for the record. not ANY pc runs crysis at 5400p, but SOME pcs do.

meanwhile, ALL ps3s run crisis at 1080p. all of them.

no matter where you brought it or when or if you have the first version of the os or if you have the latest. it just the same.

and yeah argue the soft is the same, but windows8 doesn't run the same games than xp and windows3, on the same hardware.

just the same as you 560 doesn't run the same games as your 550. even when it's the same chipset and same driver.

but hey. masta race, right?

UKFX
UKFX

@ZombieGuyGeorgeOh, an a final add to that.... if you look at the quote under the title from the Xbox money man... without a keyboard and mouse, this multi-tasking device would be a hassle. If you're going to need a keyboard (wireless I imagine) for the front room, u might as well go the extra step and give them a mouse.

Controllers are good for simplicity, but if you want to multi-task anything, then there's really only few ways to do it.