Noah J Nelson on Thursday, Jul. 17th
To say that the first year of Microsoft’s new Xbox One console has been something of a disaster might be an understatement.
The original roll-out of the machine touted it as an “All in One” entertainment system that would bring gaming and original video content under the umbrella of a state of the art user interface that ran on voice commands. A complex digital rights management scheme was going to enable digital sharing of games while trying to undermine the power of the used game market, long a thorn in the side of game publishers.
With today’s announcement that Microsoft will be shuttering the year-old Xbox Entertainment Studios, which was charged with creating Netflix-style original programming involving both the companies existing gaming intellectual properties and new content, the old vision for the Xbox One has been committed to the dustbin of history.
Okay, that’s oversimplifying it, but not by much. The Kinect and it’s hazy promise of motion and voice control: basically gone. The slate of TV shows early adopters were promised: all gone but for a couple of Halo series, the documentary about the E.T. dig, and the already-complete soccer reality series Every Street United.
This just three months after they announced their slate at the “new fronts,” the New York based ritual where digital content providers attempt to woo advertisers.
When it comes to what distinguishes the Xbox One from its immediate competition—the Sony PlayStation—there is nothing left in the plus column. Just different exclusive games, and the truth is that the biggest selling games on any system not made by Nintendo are usually third-party titles.
The irony is that the Xbox One finally had some good news thanks to the price drop in June that was made possible by removing the Kinect from the core package: sales doubled. Yet if those sales still lag behind that of the PS4 there may be little left that can spark momentum for Microsoft’s console.
They’ve effectively gone all in on the price drop, believing that a stripped down games console is what will win them market share. We’ll have a good idea of whether or not they have any hope when the NPD report for June comes out tonight.