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Xbox One: the world's most expensive TV remote

by Zaid Kriel (Zaid)  Posted Thursday, May 23, 2013 7:57:29 AM

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The further we get away from the Xbox One reveal, the less the emerald x-orb logo seems to sparkle for me. As I've been thinking about it I've come to the realisation that the thing that annoys me about it is that, despite initial appearances to the contrary, the Xbox One reveal was actually a bit of a mess.

Videogamer.com's 'abridged version' of the reveal sums up the major problem with Xbox One quite nicely. It's basically the world's greatest and most expensive TV Remote, that also happens to be an mp3 player, phone and an internet connection thingy. Before I am accused of backpedaling, I still think its an amazing piece of technology. The advances that Xbox One's technical team have accomplished with the Kinect 2 are quite astounding. So where's the mess, Zaid?

The mess is that as far as the machines gaming capabilities are concerned, no one can offer a clear message. Now granted, the reveal itself was never meant to be a showcase for the games, that it will come at E3. And that's fine. Microsoft must, however realise that the people that caught the livestream weren't the general public, it was the gaming public. The media that they invited to the event, wasn't the general press, it was the specialist gaming press.

So if you invited all these gaming journalists and you knew, with reasonable certainty, that the people signing on to watch the livestream were gamers, wouldn't you have prepared a unified message as far as the gaming credentials of your ostensibly gaming console was concerned? Instead, when asked about the second-hand games or an always online requirement we get conflicting answers, vague dodges or delaying comments.

Xbox One - Forza.jpg

Microsoft needs to understand that the Xbox One has an audience and that audience, is made up of gamers. I can understand a strategy to widen the device's appeal to people outside of gaming, in this case sports fans and movie/TV aficionados. But the thing is, as far as the benefits it delivers to those people is concerned, the Xbox One is still really just an expensive remote control. Yes, the Xbox One does all the remote control things in a really interesting and innovative way, but most people already have devices that do everything the Xbox One is offering. What incentive is there to buy it then? I honestly can't see anyone spending $350 (or whatever the price will be) so they can yell at their TV to change the channel, when they could just use the free remote that came with their TV.

What Microsoft is trying to do here is pull a Wii, but where Nintendo offered people something truly new, Xbox One is offering an alternative way to do something they can already do; and do for free.

The people most inclined to purchase the Xbox One are the gamers. Right now, the uncertainty surrounding the second-hand games policy and always online requirement, not mention the handling of indie developers, is actively driving them to Sony's PlayStation 4. And its efforts to court the non-gamers is unlikely to succeed as well, since the incentive for them to buy the Xbox One isn't nearly compelling enough.

Fortunately E3 isn't too far away, so Microsoft still have time to get it's act together. But whatever they do, they need to convince the gamers that Xbox One is worth buying, because right now I can't think why we would want one.

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd


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