Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Is Next Gen XBox A Winner?

Microsoft just announced the pending release of the next generation of its gaming device dubbed XBox One set to replace Microsoft 360.  Certainly the freshening of the franchise is necessary as gaming tastes change and new uses are uncovered.  With both voice and gesture controls, XBox One seems to push a more interactive experience.  And whether gamers care or not, the box plugs into your cable box to enable live viewing.  It also features Skype controls, Blu-ray, and a whole new variety of games to play.

Of course, to pull forward, one must push away from the past and that means that old XBox 360 games will not play on the new system.  Unless gamers want to go cold turkey on their old games to trade in their 360 box for the new system, they will be working with two different boxes through the transition.  Some might not mind, others may be annoyed but will ultimately embrace the new system should they find the game playing to be a better experience.

But XBox, Wii, and Playstation all have to worry about the rise of tablets and mobile game playing on these devices.  Enabling better interactivity between tablet and game platform will help.  Still gamers are embracing these casual games on handheld devices.  And how many different versions of shooting games can there be.  Already, they try to push the limits with more blood and sexual content in the games.  Most games of any interest to gamers get rated M for mature; a ratings system that does little to stop younger gamers, 13 and under, from buying these games.  Tablet games seem to rely more on strategy and speed, less on violence and sex. 

For X-Box, this new console is a big change for the product line.  For Microsoft it means adding more functionality and a better experience for the price point to encourage current users to upgrade and new users to buy up into the new box.  Once released, we will be able to better see the execution of this Microsoft strategy.