Thursday, April 14, 2016

It’s time for Microsoft to turn the Xbox into a PC

An interpretation of a recently discovered FCC filing from Microsoft. Xbox One Super-Slim! Has a nice ring to it, right? We'll have to wait until late June to find out, if not sooner. (credit: Sam Machkovech)

Microsoft's Xbox One is in a bit of an awkward spot. On the one hand, Sony's PlayStation 4 is substantially outselling it and has clearly won the hearts of gamers everywhere. On the other hand, built as a games machine it's too expensive to take on the plethora of streaming media systems from the likes of Apple and Roku.

But the unique opportunity forced on console companies by the combination of 4K video and virtual reality gives Microsoft the opportunity to solve both of these problems not just now, but forever. By treating its console a bit more like a PC, the company could offer not just the high-end gaming machine that console fans crave, but also a $150 system able to go head-to-head with the Apple TV and every other gadget that's trying to turn the TV into an app platform.

From the moment of its first unveiling, it was clear that Microsoft wanted the Xbox One to be all things to all people. It had games, of course, but it was not merely a gaming system. Microsoft positioned it as an all-in-one entertainment system, with games, music, and movies all as core features. Official TV tuner accessories have been added, along with limited DVR-like capabilities. This summer it will be extended further still, with the Xbox One adding apps built for the Universal Windows Platform.

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