During the countdown to its November 22 launch, not a lot of attention has been given by the gaming press to the widely-mocked-by-gamers “TV side” of the Xbox One. The new console is full of the kinds of entertainment apps that have made the Xbox 360 and later PS3 so successful. But how do you update that media-managing experience for a new generation?
A compound word: Multitasking
As you can see from the demonstration video below, you can both snap (Xbox for split-screen) apps next to your main program, be it TV, a movie, or a game, or switch between apps pretty much as fast as you can say it. Microsoft hopes that by putting all these kinds of tools just a word away, that the new console will become the hub of your entire living room.
Will it wow the mainstream? Unknown at this point. I’m expecting a big mainstream push on the Kimmels, the Fallons, and the Today Shows of the world as soon as PlayStation 4 gets done with its turn. It’s that technique that allowed the Wii to jump to prominence seven years ago. But the Wii was a bargain compared to the $500 Xbox One, so I’m not entirely positive that people will think it’s keen just for their television and home technology needs until some kind of subsidy program or a few price drops happen.
If it works, it’s a game changer, kicking even the most advanced cable boxes to the curb in terms of functionality and expandability. The impressions by those who attended Microsoft’s Xbox One event in New York are pretty consistent that they didn’t touch the controller much during their 45 minutes with the hardware, and that’s pretty promising.
For now, most of the applications are pretty pedestrian, with the biggest feature being the ability to toss instant queues from Hulu and Netflix into the same lineup as your normal channels. But just like with the debuts of the Xbox 360 and PS3 back in 2005 and ’06, respectively, the picture of what the new consoles will look like three years from now is ls likely very different from what they are today.
If you’re curious about Microsoft’s vision of the future of TV, check out the full impressions at the source link, or watch the demo video embedded below.