Bonus Round on Xbone and its multimedia ambitions

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#1 Edited by CarnageHeart (18316 posts) -

Seamus Blackey (one of the guys behind the original Xbox) stated that the perception that MS's console would be some sort of generic media box was a perception he fought hard against in the run up to the Xbox's release, so it was bizarre for to see MS intentionally slap a generic mediabox label on their console at the initial press conference.

Jason Rubin (Naughty Dog cofounder) thinks that MS's problem was messaging, not policy...

Patcher noted that while nobody dislikes extra functionality, they do object to paying extra for functionality they don't care about. X360 owners that didn't use Netflix weren't bothered by its inclusion because it cost them nothing, while many potential Xbone buyers with no interest in Fighters Uncaged or the NFL are adverse to paying extra for the Kinect. Patcher's opinion is that MS should cut the price of the Xbone by $100 even if it means chopping the Kinect.

All three agreed that the price differential was unsustainable. Patcher stated it would make sense for MS to slash the price and chop the Kinect, while Rubin and Blackley thought that there were factors within MS that pushed MS to include a camera gamers hate, and that rather than try to overcome such factors, it would make sense for MS to convince them that eating the price of the Kinect would pay dividends down the line.

Patcher still thinks that the Xbone is going to become a 'free' (with a subscription) cable box down the line. I'm sure MS's media obsessed management wants such a deal, but I don't see why cable companies would want such a deal since it would destroy their monopoly and make the new gatekeeper a powerful company that doesn't play well with others.

#2 Edited by S0lidSnake (29001 posts) -

I dislike the panel suggesting that Microsoft’s policies were not the issue. They all seem to think that MS’s main fault was not communicating its message to their consumers. That is such a load of crap.

I like Seamus Blackley, but he seems to think there was nothing wrong with online-DRM and worse that MS’s vision was of this great future that us lowly peasants simply couldn’t comprehend. If PSN’s troubles are any indication, this online DRM future would brick our consoles every weekend, at every major video game launch and every Christmas.

The problem isnt Don Matrick saying the list of the things a PR guy should never say, the problem is that they even attempted the things that a console manufacturer should never implement.

One thing they’re right about is offering a Kinect-less SKU and Kinect being their Bluray drive. This needs to happen if MS wants their consumers back. Though some might say it’s already too late.

Also, lol at Pachter’s suggestion that including XBL Gold will make it a good value. Yes, attach the most anti-consumer service in gaming to please the people who are pissed off at your anti-consumer Kinect bundle. What a great idea.

#3 Posted by kbaily (13042 posts) -

@CarnageHeart: Watching the whole Xbox One thing play out, I have a lot of things I'm thinking over.

I remember when a story was going around about Sony patenting a used game blocking device. Mind you, nothing was really confirmed but people started to get worried and I really think Microsoft saw this and said "well Sony's doing it. We might as well too." Then Sony saw the backlash from MS doing it and took advantage of the situation to basically make MS look like fools at E3.

There's been talks of this being the last gen of consoles or a crash, or at the least a paradigm shift of how the console business will work. We look at the PS4's 1st day sales and start rejoicing while not noticing the landscape changing around us. Hardcore gamers will always buy consoles but what about the masses? Will they even care? On top of that we're seeing studios closing left and right and the budgets of AAA titles are getting more and more bloated (see Tomb Raider reboot). I think MS thinks a crash is coming and was bracing for impact with the "take the money and run" approach. Making a console as restrictive as possible to maximize profit and if the bottom did fall out of the console market, they had the TV thing to fall back on. That and the fact they basically compressed their gaming division into their "entertainment division." If these DRM polices they tried to force on us were so good for industry as some were trying to tell us, then MS should've explained it better. A lot of people were pissed that Sony requires PS+ to play online now but Sony justified that by saying "Hey we want our online networks to run smoothly and that costs money to run and maintain servers." Some claimed that the Xbone was like a PC and that we would get great sales like Steam but there was no indication of MS of that. The Xbox One seemed like all the restrictiveness of a PC with none of the benefits (modding, Steam sales, etc.).

As for Kinect. I get why MS wants to bundle Kinect with the Xbox One and why they didn't make a Kinect-less version. Looking back at the history of peripherals, the biggest problem is if they aren't packaged with the console, companies are hesitant to make games for them because the install base isn't there. We've seen this with things like the Super Scope, Wiimotion Plus, Move, Eyetoy and Kinect 1.0. The thing comes out and there's a few games at the start but it usually falls off after a few months. When Kinect launched, there were several games at the start but as the months went on, they slowed down to a trickle and eventually games that used Kinect, had optional controls anyway meaning a lot of folks probably had it sitting around only breaking it out for parties if that. MS thinks if every Xbox One has Kinect, then companies are more likely to make games for it and since it's the only system with Kinect, it means they're more likely to have exclusives. Still I have a feeling a lot of those Kinects are going to get shoved in a closet or sit unused and depending on sales, we'll see if MS makes a Kinect free Xbox One with a lower price. Right now a lot of folks don't want to spend the extra $100 on something they're not going to use.

#4 Posted by Ghost_Face (7672 posts) -

Patcher still thinks that the Xbone is going to become a 'free' (with a subscription) cable box down the line. I'm sure MS's media obsessed management wants such a deal, but I don't see why cable companies would want such a deal since it would destroy their monopoly and make the new gatekeeper a powerful company that doesn't play well with others.

I'm not sure the cable companies would be that resistant to using the XBone for this reason. Many times, the cable providers will utilize/install a cable box manufactured by a couple of different companies. Granted the XBone console has a lot more capabilities and is more expensive, but I'm sure MS would and the cable providers would find some way to subsidize this difference, possibly in a signed contract for two years while adding a certain amount of $/month to the cable bill.

#5 Edited by The_Last_Ride (68577 posts) -

i got to agree with Pachter on this one and Jason Ruby is false, it's the whole policy that was bs

#6 Posted by CarnageHeart (18316 posts) -


Its no accident that cable boxes don't have media box functionality. Cable companies like things the way they are.

Perhaps the problem isn't with the cable box, but rather with the operator. While, technically, the cable box market is open, ask anyone who's tried to cut deals with cable companies (like Boxee's Avner Ronan before Samsung snatched him up, or Apple's (AAPL) Tim Cook if you could get him to lower his guard) and you'll hear all about how cable has fought to keep innovation out. After all, there's a reason we've been hearing about the real Apple TV for years -- the tech giant has been trying to crack the market for even longer.

Instead, the modern day set-top box market is like an alternate reality of the cellphone space, where people are stuck with Motorola StarTACs and Nokia (NOK) candy bars. It's no wonder subscribers are cutting the cord; the user experience stinks. Sure, in rare instances, collaborations like TiVo-powered boxes have made their way to consumers, but the rollout has always been small, almost token-like. Earlier this summer, Time Warner Cable (TWC) announced an upcoming partnership with Xbox to offer a 300-channel app on the system. That's a great step, but here's a better one: Slap a contract on the service, give away the box for free, and promote the deal like you actually think it's a good idea.

#7 Posted by Ghost_Face (7672 posts) -


Are the attempts by Boxxe and Apple to offer alternatives to cable companies part of the reason that those companies have been resistant to any shared multimedia/entertainment box? Boxee, Roku and other streaming boxes provide people with the ability to cut the cord, at least more so than anything MS has offered in the past.

Who knows, I think cable companies and broadcast networks realize that they cannot continue to carry on with business as usual. Too many people are cutting the cord, whether it's due to budgetary constraints or just because the alternatives out there make cutting the cord less painful. They could offer a set top box with this gaming capability or as you linked, a app that offers their channels, I just think they've been unmotivated to try it before.