The Next XBox Wants Complete Control of Your Living Room


Sometimes it’s nice to get some vindication. While I’m not normally one to harp on when I get something right (since it so rarely happens), I would like to point out that the following news is something I’ve been hypothesizing for years — the next XBox is going to focus on TV programming, according to a report from the Verge.

While many of the console makers have been saying for years that they want to make their system of choice into your all-inclusive entertainment box, Microsoft actually seems to be taking a legitimate step in that direction with their plans for the next XBox. Not only will the new system function as a DVR of sorts, it’ll also have HDMI-in for your cable TV.

Instead of your regular cable box’s interface, Microsoft’s supposed aim here is to overlay the XBox interface over your regular TV programming, complete with Kinect commands. This would include multiple eye tracking, and perhaps even the ability to pause your TV when someone looks away (an idea that sounds, quite frankly, terrible on multiple levels). All of this is well and truly a step toward making Microsoft’s console the true epicenter of your entertainment, especially with their existing media partnerships. Couple this with the rumors swirling earlier this week that the machine will launch for around $500, or $300 with an ongoing subscription plan this fall, and suddenly it seems like we finally know a bit more about the next XBox, whatever it may be called. There’s also that pesky “always-online” drama that happened last week. But perhaps we’ll know more in May, when the reveal is rumored to be planned.

As I said before, people have been talking about this for years, and Microsoft may have secured the ability to do it with TV providers. While all providers probably won’t be available at launch, it seems like things are in the works to add more over time. What’s interesting to me is that while Sony pushed for this with the PS3, they have by all rights backed off on the PS4, choosing instead (and smartly, I believe) to focus more on social.

Here’s the question, though: what do gamers actually want? I honestly don’t want one machine to necessarily be the center, unless it can legitimately offer everything I want and do it well. As it stands, the only reason I use my XBox anymore is to occasionally watch Doctor Who on Amazon, and I can do that with my PS3 just as easily.

What do you guys think about Miscrosoft’s plans to take over your TV with the Halolz and the Kinectz? Fair or foul? Go!

Source – The Verge

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

4 thoughts on “The Next XBox Wants Complete Control of Your Living Room”

  1. I dont really feel the need for it to go that far. The only thing that I feel fits that situation would be my PC, I have everything combined down into that with no need for anything else but its by choice of myself doing that not it being forced onto me. So I just go back to a old statement. PC Master Race!

  2. As somebody who watches almost no television, I can’t envision a scenario in which this would benefit me.

  3. I’ve always preferred the Xbox over the PS3 (it’s interface is just so damn terrible I can’t stand to do more than play Blu Rays and exclusives on it) so I say hell yeah, I’d love to have the Xbox be the center of the living room. As long as they remember who got them there, the gamers, and maybe churn out some new non-Halo and Gears titles, I’ll keep supporting them.

  4. [Sorry if this shows up twice. Tried posting once but it didn’t seem to take.]

    I suspect that the x-box as media hub a good idea that may not work because it’s trying to bring together very different constituencies. For hardcore gamers, TV and other stuff counts for virtually nothing on their console. Moreover, a lot of hardcore gamers eschew consoles altogether because they can get better performance at a lower cost from a PC with replaceable graphics cards. Those guys (and, yes, they are mostly–but not exclusively–guys) are also totally ok with watching TV shows and movies on their computer.

    For most people who only watch TV or stream from Netflix/Amazon, the console itself can be intimidating. The interface isn’t necessarily simple for someone used to just watching TV, and if there is no DVR-style remote for those people to use then forget it. They aren’t going to use a game pad controller. Speaking of which, Microsoft (and Apple) need to really find a new way to simulate a keyboard because typing in passwords, e-mail addresses, and search terms *sucks* with remotes and controllers. (Maybe Kinect handles that and a person just types into the air. Wouldn’t know because I don’t have one, but it would be better than the endless scroll-and-click method.)

    Oh, and the next x-box better be a hell of a lot quieter than the 360. My goodness, that thing is noisy, even without a disc in the tray!

    OTOH, for casual gamers (like me) who invest their time in a video game the way others will do so for a season of tv, the idea of a central media-game-TV-DVD-Blu-Ray may be appealing.

    Assuming the box is reliable. Which the 360 isn’t.
    (How many of those units died with the red ring of death?)

    Also, the way the x-box handles updates and such has got to change. For the new x-box to work as an all-in-one media hub the operating system has to completely disappear to the casual user and the UX better be really, really good. Unfortunately, MS has a pretty crappy track record on both fronts.

    My gut tells me that Apple has figured out a great UX for the next generation of AppleTV. My guess is that the next generation of ATV will offer similar TV functionality but will also play iPad and iPhone games, which will make the device very attractive to a lot of people. There are many, many more buyers of Angry Birds than Halo.

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