First and foremost we all know that Microsoft is a software company. For the past few years, its primary bread and butter, Windows has lagged. The world began to shift towards mobile devices and began to leave the PC behind. They can bank on corporate solutions but even that isn't enough to keep them relevant in the minds of regular consumers. What is relevant now to regular folks (not really the MIS team in your office) are Google and Apple. Microsoft is beginning to be a thing of the past...
The truth of that matter was that the fault lay squarely on Microsoft's shoulders. Before Google or Apple, MS had already dabbled into mobile and consumer devices. While Redmond had a vision for the future, it is unfortunate that the rest of Microsoft (it's regional offices and whatnot) resisted the consumer centric platform and focus more on corporate sales.
No demand, they say.
Too small of the market, they say.
Not worth the effort to talk to an individual and get a $300 sale as opposed to a multimillion corporate deal.
Yes, Microsoft the fault is with you guys. So much of the vision lost in the endless rounds of redtape.
But now the rest of Microsoft has to find a way to boost its flagging reputation. And the powers that be in Redmond feel that one way to get the Windows brand get its groove back is to introduce it as an entertainment hub and not just the thing you turn on to write your office reports.
So the leper of the Microsoft brand finally comes to play --- the XBOX. For years, people within Microsoft hated the XBOX. They consider it a money pit, draining the revenues of Windows and corporate solutions to fund a product that consecutively lagged behind its Japanese rival, Sony Playstation. Now the XBOX is the only 'cool' toy that Microsoft has left. It's probably the only consumer centric device that survived through the years and it is the key for Windows try to find a way to reinvent and make itself relevant again.
Microsoft's overall strategy is to promote the Windows infrastructure as a single thing. XBOX, PC, phone, watch, tablet --- those are all known as part of the Windows experience.
But in doing so, is Microsoft negating the XBOX as a game console?
Microsoft has an announcement to make in a few weeks regarding XBOX and Windows. But gamers who follow the industry already know that Microsoft is sending its 1st and 2nd party exclusive titles to the PC.
What does that mean?
The default reaction of many XBOX owners is negativity. Gaming consoles are defined by the games you can only play on that platform. Microsoft's competitors Sony and Nintendo both have exclusive games that require their hardware to run. Now Microsoft is giving people a CHOICE on where to buy their 'exclusive' titles, XBOX or PC. And many feel that allowing that option will eventually make the XBOX less appealing as a platform. Why should you buy an XBOX to play a Microsoft exclusive game when you can just upgrade your PC? And if you have a decent enough PC and don't care about maxing out game graphic settings then use the money you get to from buying an XBOX to just get a Playstation or a Nintendo platform to get even more exclusive stuff.
Yes, I know its expensive to have a decent gaming PC and its more convenient to have a console that you can just plug and play (after a ton of patches) without worrying about custom settings. I'm not a PC gamer because I don' t have the money to buy a gaming machine that can guarantee that I have the option to play 80% of the games in the market and I don't have the patience to actually figure out how tweak a PC to make these games run properly.
But Microsoft seems to forget that the whole console thing is like an exclusive membership.
You get a console because of exclusive games that can only work on that console. Once you remove this exclusivity the perceived value of that product lessens. And no, please don't try to sell the XBOX as an entertainment hub for movies and whatnot because these days smart devices are everywhere that can do those things. The primary benefit of the gaming console are its exclusive games.
The announcement of XBOX games migrating to the PC might make PC gamers happy...for years they felt neglected when Microsoft just made games for the XBOX. But what about those who stood by the XBOX as a console for exclusive gaming?
Microsoft has to be careful now because this can backfire at their faces in the same way that E3 2013 destroyed a huge chunk of the headway created by the XBOX 360 platform.
It's the same question as before...with all these changes what are the SPECIFIC BENEFITS to a console only owner.
With all these talk of the Windows family, what value add does it offer to the person who just wants to play games on his XBOX?
Because right now, all the benefits are in favor of the PC.
Yes, I don't have to shell out so much money for the hardware --- but is that the only benefit of the XBOX console now? Apart from the cost, is the XBOX now indistinguishable from the PC?
Games for the PC are cheaper than XBOX games. PC gamers do not have to pay for XBOX Live in order to play online for their current crop of games --- although I can imagine that Microsoft is probably going to require XBOX Live PC subscription to play multiplayer for their exclusive XBOX games.
Sure MS can entice us with cross buy but is that necessary? Sure if you want to play your game on the XBOX console at home and continue your game on your PC at the office (if you even can...) But for more folks, cross buy is a neat checkmark feature not necessarily something that will be used all the time.
Right now, there is a lot of apprehension on the side of the gamers who supported the XBOX platform through the rough couple of years. And if Microsoft fails to send its message across and give XBOX gamers exclusive reason to keep their XBOX then Microsoft has to go back to the drawing board.
The only benefit of having an XBOX is not to spend a ton of money in getting a decent gaming PC.
Microsoft, please tell us what other benefits there are for owning an XBOX if the primary reasons of getting one (THE EXCLUSIVE GAMES) are all going to the PC. I will still game on my XBOX but really Microsoft, what are console gamers getting out of the Windows integration?