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Xbox is following Nintendo, not PlayStation, into the future

If you've been following Xbox since it was taken over by Phil Spencer back in 2014, it certainly seems like Microsoft is evoking Nintendo rather than Sony, when it comes to Xbox's future. A massive drive to develop new franchises and characters. Evoking nostalgia with the likes of Rare Replay, a collection of games from beloved franchises from yesteryear. Cross-franchise promotion, following the fact that Halo's Arbiter, will join Battletoads' Rash as a guest character in Killer Instinct. And all those marketing campaigns that place the emphasis on the Xbox One's games lineup.

What do these random facts have in common? Major Nelson has hinted in the past that Microsoft is playing the long game when it comes to the Xbox One, but that game might be even longer than we think. Far from the market share-obsessed fanboys and investment hawks who'd prefer to see Microsoft drop gaming, Phil Spencer's current strategy could solidify Xbox's place for decades to come — and I think they're taking a page out of Nintendo's playbook to achieve it.

The state of play

Don Mattrick

Today's Microsoft has proven itself to be incredibly forward-facing. From the futuristic HoloLens to the "cloud first, mobile first" mantra we keep hearing, beating like a war drum. Satya Nadella's mission statement isn't just a reference to server farms and rectangular smartphones, they're concepts that will encompass the future of software delivery. It's hard to fully envision, but I'm going to try and explain why I think Microsoft's party line isn't just spin for press releases, and why it's important for the Xbox of the future.

When the Xbox One first launched, the company shot (nuked) itself in the foot. The Xbox One had digital rights management (DRM), putting a limit on the number of times a disc could be sold without going through a "participating retailer". They put a heavy emphasis on entertainment, going as far as building their own studio, Xbox Entertainment, filling it with major industry talent. All this before mentioning games — and parts of the gaming media and community continue to punish them for it. However, I believe some of these elements were just poorly presented aspects of a long-term, but very sound, strategy.

Xbox's current head, Phil Spencer, appears to know how to solidify Xbox's place without alienating today's audiences.

Limiting physical discs in the console space, while aggressive, is simply the reality of where technology is heading. Physical retail is dying, more and more of us are switching to digital, and while millions of us are still bound to shoddy internet speeds and data caps — this won't always be the case. DRM helped Valve transform from a modest game developer into a retail powerhouse, via Steam, and it's an example of how DRM can be done well to both serve consumers and developers. Microsoft pulled the trigger too early, but they haven't changed their strategy. Some of the sales Microsoft offered Xbox One digital customers over Christmas were very generous, very Steam-like.

On the Xbox Entertainment Studios side of things, I think it represents a bit of collateral damage in the fallout, but their aspirations in this space are far from dead. The studio itself may have been shuttered, but some of its projects are still alive and kicking. Quantum Break's big-budget live-action experiment is a residual product of those ideas, and the studio's live-action Halo project is on-going, produced by none other Steven Spielberg himself.

What does all this have to do with Nintendo? I think that these aspects, under former Xbox head Don Mattrick, reflect a less-refined attempt at building on a wider, long-term strategy for Xbox, and in some ways, Windows. Thankfully, Xbox's current head, Phil Spencer, appears to know how to solidify Xbox's place without alienating today's audiences, preparing for a future when we'll look back on 2016 and think our fibre-optic internet speeds and disc-based media consumption are equal parts embarrassing and primitive.

Cloud first

Since Sony's well-documented head start and subsequently persistent lead over the Xbox One, both journalists and inclined fanboys point to the figures. Numbers are a universal language, and present an easy narrative to both understand and explain (and create clickbaity headlines from). The truth is, whether or not Xbox One "wins" this console generation is irrelevant. Microsoft is positioning its pieces to navigate a looming upheaval where the hardware that sits in your palm, sits beneath your TV, on your desk, and on your head simply won't matter. Cloud first, mobility first.

The "cloud first" part of Microsoft's mission statement references a future where the internet is powerful enough, ubiquitous enough, and the Microsoft Cloud is vast enough, to deliver full-blown games to any device you're using via the web. Following this theoretical outcome based on current trends, as a wild example, Microsoft Azure could eventually provide games to any device's display in Super-Ultra-Mega-16K definition, with insane near-realism models and effects, all without a disc.

Xbox Live Servers

Cloud servers (Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft has stopped offering raw Xbox sales figures in their financial calls to investors, focusing instead on Xbox Live engagement as a metric. This shift isn't spin or embarrassment; it merely reflects the direction the industry is heading toward. In Microsoft's cloud-powered future where the hardware matters less, Xbox will be measured by the power of its cloud, its software, and its engagement. At least concerning server infrastructure, Microsoft is ahead of Sony and Nintendo by decades.

The final piece of the Xbox puzzle isn't beating PS4's sales lead in this generation; it's achieving that gaming brand ubiquity that has made Nintendo an immortal company.

On the other hand, one could argue Nintendo is ahead in the software department — and by software, what I really mean is video game properties. Despite the poor sales of the Wii U, nobody in their right mind is declaring Nintendo to be dead. The company has billions in raw cash, and the value of Nintendo's intellectual property (IP) is virtually unrivaled, sitting among the likes of Disney and Warner Brothers when it comes to global recognition. Pokemon, Zelda, and Mario are household brands — your parents have heard of them, maybe even your grandparents. Unless your folks are exceptionally cool, they likely haven't heard of Alan Wake, Gears of War, The Last of Us or Uncharted. They might've heard of Halo, however, and they've almost undoubtedly heard of Minecraft.

Nintendo characters

The final piece of the Xbox puzzle isn't beating PS4's sales lead in this generation; it's achieving that gaming brand omnipresence that has made Nintendo an immortal company. Whether you're a Nintendo fan or not, their video game brands are second to none when it comes to staying power. That nostalgia is a commodity that Nintendo has in bulk amounts, and I think Microsoft is starting to understand just how powerful and significant it could be for an Xbox in a hardware-agnostic future. The Minecraft purchase was a no-brainer, and it's just the beginning.

Mobility first

If you're a believer in the cloud, then you know that the gaming console battleground will shift towards features, software, and services, and Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo have already begun heading towards this endgame.

On the services side of things, Xbox Live is miles ahead. It already has 48 million active users. Microsoft is adding further incentives to engage with the platform, developing a social network, bringing in features like status updates, notifications, and trending content right into the dashboard and the Windows 10 app. I'd like to stress that I highly doubt that the end of Xbox as a physical device is on the table, or even being considered as a long-term possibility. However, if our purchasing continues to shift towards digital and internet delivery continues to improve globally, the endgame is plainly evident.

One day, streaming games to any device in that platform's family will be the status quo — which forms the "mobility" part of the Microsoft mission statement.

Nintendo already has many social features baked into the Wii U, and its next console (codenamed NX) is widely expected to be disc-less based on patents relating to the device, and thus prepared for a digital tomorrow. The Wii U itself explored the idea of second-screen game streaming, something Microsoft evolved further with Xbox to Windows 10 streaming.

Sony has taken a few extra steps when it comes to a streaming future with PlayStation Now, which is filled both with classics and modern games from Sony's sizable back catalog. Sony has also baked PlayStation Now into its svelte PlayStation TV device, in addition to select TV models, offering a glimpse into the future of console gaming across all platforms.

At this point, though, internet-based game streaming is a little too laggy and a little too expensive to be worthwhile for the vast majority — for now. This is why Microsoft hasn't pulled the trigger on similar features, but as global internet reliability improves, it'll become inevitable.

Wii U, PlayStation TV

WiiU image via GameGavel/Wikimedia Commons

Instead of going all-in on an always-on console or premature game-streaming service, Phil Spencer's Xbox is investing in today's audience, in today's fans, and today's global internet infrastructure. This game-focused strategy is not only helping sell Xbox One consoles today, but it's an investment in the future. Shifting budgets towards creating and developing new and existing video game franchises is an attempt to build up a portfolio that can immortalize Xbox as a video game platform long into the future — following the likes of Mario and Pokemon in the Nintendo world.

Internet-based game streaming is still a little too laggy and a little too expensive to be worthwhile for the vast majority — for now.

In a future where mobility is king, the quality of the cloud infrastructure, games, apps and features will be the only things that matter to the consumer of tomorrow. Microsoft has the cloud infrastructure on the ground (and in the water). If third-party titles from companies like EA and Ubisoft continue to appear in all stores, it'll be Sony's, Nintendo's and Microsoft's exclusive titles and services that draw in customers.

There are other factors to consider, of course. Both Sony and Microsoft have been eager to corral third-party franchises into exclusivity deals. Whether it's a lifetime console exclusivity like PS4's Street Fighter V or timed exclusivity like Xbox's Rise of the Tomb Raider, the value of being able to attach your console's brand to these sorts of titles is potent, but also volatile. In the short term, a casual gamer might see an Xbox logo on Fallout 4's branding or a PlayStation logo on Destiny's branding and presume they're exclusive titles, but core gamers and influencers know these sorts of deals are just smoke and mirrors.

Games first

When it comes to the long term, Xbox appears to be going all-in to curate exclusive, in-house franchises that fans of all ages can truly fall in love with, and I think most of you will agree that they've been doing an excellent job of it so far.

All of these things points to a strategy that sees games as a way to connect with, engage and delight customers for decades to come — emulating Nintendo's biggest strength.

Consider what we've seen regarding Xbox exclusives. The Minecraft purchase, the Gears of War purchase. The fever for an Alan Wake sequel. The fact that Rare — a studio steeped in nostalgia — is finally featuring in Microsoft's triple-A lineup with Sea of Thieves. Seeing guests from other Xbox properties appear in Killer Instinct — reminiscent of Nintendo's cross-promotional Super Smash Brothers. The fact ancient Age of Empires titles have begun getting updates again after all of these years — showing that Xbox no longer takes nostalgia for granted.

Phil Spencer, despite the closing down of Xbox Entertainment Studios, stated that some Xbox franchises lend themselves well to movies and TV, hinting that we could see more projects like the upcoming Halo series — furthering mass-market engagement with these franchises. The leveraging of Windows 10's market share to put Microsoft Studios franchises like Quantum Break, Fable Legends and Killer Instinct on both Xbox One and Windows shows that the company is serious about developing their portfolio and expanding their fan base — Minecraft likely wouldn't be the global phenomenon it is today if it was a full Xbox exclusive. Finally, backwards compatibility, which is essentially the killer feature for harvesting nostalgia, bringing earlier games titles from franchises like Gears and Halo with us into the future.

All of these things points to a strategy that sees games as a way to connect with, engage and delight customers for decades to come — emulating Nintendo's biggest strength.

Xbox Games Lineup

Xbox is the only division that Microsoft has that inspires adoration at a consumer mass market level. Hundreds of millions use Office and Windows, but they're functional utilities. Entertainment is a powerful way to establish an emotional connection with your brand, and it's the knowledge of that fact that drives both Nintendo and Phil Spencer's Xbox — but this isn't to say Sony doesn't see the value in IP. Between their well-documented financial troubles, restructuring, and investments in VR and networking tech, Sony can arguably take a backseat on their in-house portfolio. For now, they can allow third parties like EA and Ubisoft to sell the PS4, combined with the simple sales technique of "my friend has a PS4, so I'll buy one too", riding on their head start in a similar manner as the Xbox 360 did in the previous generation of consoles.

Xbox is directly essential to Microsoft's Windows 10 ecosystem strategy, and that includes Xbox hardware. Phil Spencer previously noted how music through iTunes helped a beleaguered 90's Apple re-connect with consumers. When you see the sheer amount of new IP that Xbox is responsible for, it begins to hit home just how serious Microsoft is about curating those experiences under Xbox:

"I fundamentally believe for this company that gaming can be a real catalyst for Microsoft's re-emergence as a consumer company. I go back and I look at Apple and they, on the back of music, became a very relevant consumer brand. Their investment in music early with the iPod and iTunes and everything that they did was an incredible growth opportunity for them, and they really sparked consumer delight and innovation in the product. Both the industrial design and just the way the whole service worked and I think we've got the same opportunity with Xbox here at Microsoft."

It just feels a little like Microsoft is treating their in-house gaming franchises and studios with a bit more love than they did back in the Xbox 360 era, which was dominated by third-party titles, and very few exclusives. We saw Ensemble Studios — famed for Age of Empires — shut its doors, we saw Rare's legendary creativity funneled exclusively towards Kinect, and the very idea of reviving dormant franchises like Phantom Dust or Halo Wars seemed unlikely at best. Halo, Forza, and Gears all have dedicated studios under 343i, Turn 10 and The Coalition respectively, and I wouldn't be surprised if other Microsoft-owned franchises pick up similar bespoke teams as well in the future.

Xbox has dozens of franchises in active development. Crackdown, Project Knoxville, Quantum Break, State of Decay, Alan Wake, Halo, Gears of War, Fable, Halo Wars, Sea of Thieves, Age of Empires, Minecraft, ReCore, Forza, Killer Instinct, Scalebound, and who knows how many as-of-yet unrevealed games are in development. I think it's safe to expect more nostalgic reboots and sequels as well.

Xbox and its growing range of exclusives will be well placed to facilitate that paradigm shift.

All of these properties are active, and Microsoft is working tirelessly through Xbox's messaging to make them synonymous with the brand, and ultimately, the service, for which millions of us are paying. In a cloud-based future where mobility is king, Xbox will aim to solidify its place as a leading games network, retailer, and publisher, where the hardware is secondary to the service and software — and frankly, that's always been the case. Hardware sales are never where a console company makes its cash — it's through licensing games and, with the advent of Xbox Live, selling subscriptions.

If the future is streaming our digital content to a gigantic virtual screen while wearing HoloLens 3, Xbox and its growing range of exclusives will be well best placed to facilitate that paradigm shift. I believe Microsoft will continue to offer native Xbox hardware experiences as well, they'll just be part of the family rather than the centerpiece.

Immortalizing Xbox

Creating new franchises and shifting paradigms never make for smooth sailing, but today's Xbox is boldly investing in that future. By putting games and Xbox Live services and features ahead of chasing that symbolic hardware sales lead, Microsoft is not only ensuring Xbox's survival but also its growth. In the device-agnostic, cloud-first world Microsoft expects, Xbox's expanding and prolific video game offering will be the hook Microsoft uses to bring gamers into the cloud.

Xbox One

It doesn't matter if viable cloud streaming is decades into the future, because that's how long it took Nintendo to curate its legendary video game brands that prevented a dud console or two from killing its business. What does that mean for us as Xbox customers? It means more games, more sequels, more revenue, and more investment to help every Microsoft Studios franchise reach the potential of Halo and Minecraft.

Phil Spencer said he hoped to see Microsoft's commitment to gaming acknowledged as an important part of its history, and if they continue this path, it just may well be.

"I think we have that opportunity. I don't think it's a lay-up, and I think there's a lot of work. A lot of things that have to be done. But it would be great to be a part of that — if people look back and said 'this is when Microsoft committed to gaming across everything that we did, led with what we do on Xbox One, and that was an important part in their history.'"

Whether this generation is won or lost in terms of raw console sale numbers is irrelevant, even if Xbox does 'win' in the end. Xbox's strategy is on point — eventually, Xbox won't have a gaming portfolio, it'll have a gaming pantheon.

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • what an article... simply adorable...well done man, well done
  • Thanks for reading. :)
  • This is thoughtful writing at it's BEST.
  • Thanks man :)
  • Agree
  • I don't see what's so great about this article. It's just another cheerleading article that romanticizes the future because the present is lost. Frankly, I find it patronizing and insulting.  You think I'm so beholden to Microsoft that you have to write this to make feel better about myself?  Truth of the matter is, this article would not have been written if Microsoft was leading in console sales. Jason Ward won't have to dream up win situations for Microsoft if Windows 10 Mobile was doing great. There is a reason why articles like this are not written for the PC market... No need to take us to fantasy land Microsoft is leading there! Bottom line, I'm not 12. I understand that Microsoft isn't going to win everything endeavor.  It's not winning in mobile. I don't care.  I love my 950 XL. It's not winning in consoles. So what, I say "Xbox On" and my favorite console is ready to go. I don't need any reality distortion to feel better. It is not that serious. 
  • Take a look around you man. Microsoft HAS changed. It doesn't sell Office, it doesn't sell Windows, it doesn't sell products. Microsft sell services subscriptions. That's why I do believe Jez when he says Microsoft emphasis on Xbox Live subscription is genuine and not just out of embarrassment.  I'm a developer and I have to tell you that even Microsoft greatest haters admit Microsoft has done amazing things in the cloud. Azure offers services which are simply extraordinary. Visual Studio Team Services is an ALM tool which is second to none. Application Insights provides a superb answer to every software maker telemetry needs. Microsoft is a leader in dozens of areas in the cloud, AI and Health analysis to name a few. Microsoft is undoubtedly losing when it comes to devices (Except maybe Surface line) but is undoubtedly winning in the cloud. If you do believe the future is in the cloud, then Microsoft is headed in the right direction. Just think of hundreds of millions of Windows 10 PCs which are subscribed to Xbox Live. Sony cannot pull this off. Not in a million years. Microsoft can. It's not about making you feel better. It's about presenting the map and future directions already in action. Not some off chance, out of reality lala land fantasy. But an article based on facts showing us where Microsoft is headed.
  • Nobody is saying that MS has no future... They have their hands in many pies, and they will continue to make money... But The way its goind, its looks more like that they are headed to be next IBM, earning lots of money, big in Enterprise and Cloud, but not in consumer space... so not that interesting to normal people... The only reason they have stopped touting Xbox sales figures/quantities because they are loosing... Remember the time before Xbox One, they were releasing press statements that Xbox 360 is the biggest selling console in US for past 15 months straight etc.. They have stopped now because they are loosing.... 
  • So disc-less Xbox one proven. That's cool.
  • That would suck. Who doesn't like to keep a big display of games for show? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I went full digital this gen so I guess I dont haha
  • For my Nintendo New 3DS XL all my games and apps are digital
  • Umm... Who would?
  • From my experience, any adult that doesn't have the unfortunate "collector" illness ;)
  • Digital is inevitable, even collectors know this.
    It's only a matter of time really, probably in a decade or so we would have only very limited disc releases that would probably cost significantly more than their digital counterparts. Many kids born today would simply accept digital as the norm.
  • I'm a physical collector, still have all my PS1/2/3/X360/N64/XB games, but digital is def the future, plain to see!
  • @kaymd what about nations with poor Internet connections? Those user's don't have a use for this at all.
  • SD card is the rumor for the NX. Download your games at GameStop.
  • yeah i think it is the same as Vinyl where digital music is the most popular and the "norm" but there is still that niche market for premium physical media, so maybe metalic cases and other premium stuff.
  • I don't. Don't have a single disc.
  • I sure don't. I already have enough Blu-Ray movies and Xbox 360 games to fill up at least 3 book cases.
  • I don't. I have a destructive Siberian Huskey, and really don't care to see an entire library on a shelf that takes up more room in my house. I much prefer all digital.
  • What about those with ultra poor internet connection and will need to wait till the next eternity till they download a game? Like in my country, you can still find people using 256KB bandwidth, like....wth?
  • Believe it or not, there are even some places in the US that don't even have running water... =[
  • But do they have an XBox?
  • A gaming article and everyone talks about how they are digital-only, but whenever a Windows build gets pushed everyone starts whining about data caps.  
  • Why would they wanna follow someone who's ahead of them in sales? :P
    #NoOffence Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • This article is really amazing but the hardware gap will never let me buy an Xbox One as being a Windows Phone user I love Microsoft but i hate their decisions. They make unwise decisions. Xbox 360 sales were higher than PS3 if they didnt ruied their Xbox launch e3 they're should be the ones stand on the top. Their consoles should be sold like the ps. But they are online exclusive in my country. I am a Playstation 3 user after thinking a lot. I love kinect and all that stuff but i dont see any reason to buy an Xbox One as all its exclusive games are on PC. While Playstation 4 exclusive are good and are really exclusive. Another reason is I cant wait for The Last of us 2 and gow of war 4. Still i dont have hate for xbox. But sorry I like playstation. Its the better peice of hardware and an overall machine.
  • If you have a PC that can run those console exclusive games, then you're contributing to Microsoft Studios, which means even more games for Xbox owners too, all part of the same ecosystem. :)
  • Thats great!
  • Exactly, so PC gamers are also contributing to the xbox in the future
  • Actually off the top of my head 3 games that are ps4 exclusive are also coming to PC soooooo yea
  • What are those?
  • 7 of the 20 Playstation exclusives (for 2016) are coming out or are already on PC. This is a list put out on a popular gaming site by Sony. Street Fighter 5
    The Witness
    No Man's Sky
  • Sorry but saying Playstation is a better peice of hardware is speculation, and stating that ALL exclusives are on PC as well is just not correct. How many Halos can you play on PC?
  • 2
  • It isn't speculation. The specifications are clear. I have both consoles. I use my Xbox for entertainment and my PS4 for gaming. I cant wait for the release of VR headsets by both.
  • Yes it is. When both struggle to run todays games at 1080 with great frame rates, they are evenly matched spec wise. It's a stupid argument that I won't get into. Saying one is built better, or has a better UI, is opinion.
  • Power-wise, there is no contest. Saying they both struggle or whatever doesn't change that one is objectively more powerful than the other. UI is a matter of preference though.
  • Better, however, is not an objective term. Two cars that are under powered, and both can barely get up a hill. Car A got up a little slower, but has more options can car B. Does that objectively make car B better?
  • When gamers say better, they generally mean more powerful. I agree that which one somebody likes better is subjective.
  • I would not call the 10% max difference in power between PS4 and X1 "no contest" -- individual programmers can make up that difference with clever platform-specific code, just as poor software can go the other way.
  • The proof is in the pudding, dude. All those games that run at 1080p on PS4 and 900p on Xbox One aren't a result of laziness. 10% might be underestimating the difference a bit.
  • And in multiple tests, barely anyone can tell the difference while playing. Also, don't forget, those 1080p games usually come with a worse framerate.
  • I mean most of the exclusive. Quantum Break trust me when I tell you could've been the game changer for the Xbox One. If it was an exclusive. Things like PC are never gonna die. Because everone use it. But their focus should be more on xbox. Release more and more AAA tilted is a good thing but making it exclusive is wjat nest for business and Xbox. Thats an out of the way decision making by Microsoft as always. Some good decision and they should be the ones standing at the top not sony. Simple logic is if you own a Xbox 360 you'll definitely an Xbox one. But if you cant even trade game with your freinds it a waste. And many other restrictions ruined Xbox. There still a scar on Xbox that has yet to heal. I wish Microsoft better take smart decision before its too late.
  • I wish they had of let bungie try something different instead of letting them leave. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Didn't most Bungie employess move to 343i? Bungie the company may have moved, but the employees stayed.
  • Seeing as how the "different" that Bungie ended up trying (i.e. Destiny) was critically panned, perhaps letting them leave was the right move. Halo 5 by 343i is so much more fun than Destiny, that I'm glad things worked out that way.
  • Lol that's much for the 7th column taking over the world =p
  • Very good article was a good read. Getting me hyped for the future. I'd really love some type of handheld Xbox device where I can play my Xbox one games and still use my Xbox one for other things. My kids hog the tv all the time lol.
  • Yeah, you have to think like, all these features like Xbox to PC streaming will just get even better in the "Xbox Two", I imagine we'll be able to stream a game to our Windows 10 devices and let box still access apps and TV, specifically for these sorts of scenarios. Of course when you bring cloud streaming in, in the long-term future, it'll be even more viable. Mike Ybarra and the Xbox platform team are wizards, the stuff they've done with the NXOE and OneCore is incredible. For gamers and devs. Thanks for reading matey. :)
  • I might actually finally get a console if it supported game steaming from aPC =P
  • And it just might, maybe even this gen.
  • Well, with that whole stream to your PC thing, having a good tablet might do well enough..? =P
  • These are some of my thoughts I've had about Xbox's future as well. A hardware-agnostic gaming system that does everything in the cloud is what I've tried to tell people that MS's cloud computing is all about in the end, what I've tried to tell all my PS fanboy friends to get them to realize the potential of Xbox One and cloud computing. That even if the hardware itself is outdated, it could be able to play the latest top-notch games through clound computing instead of doing everything on the hardware itself. No one has been listening, but I bet they'll wish they did when it's all here.
  • Yeah, Microsoft have a tendency to be ahead to the point where it seems unrealistic to the mass market haha, it's on them to prove it all though :)
  • ...or Apple to act like they invented it lol ;p
  • Well unless they're investors, they're aren't just going to spend their money on "potential." Rumors are that the next generation consoles are already in the works, so it's not like that ship you're selling already sailed.
  • I really hope the Minecraft 2 is an Xbox and Windows 10 exclusive.
  • Why?
  • What the hell would Minecraft 2 even be? They're already updating the original plenty.
  • Um there is never going to be a Minecraft 2 to begin with and it'll never be exclusive Posted via the Windows Central App for Android on my Lumia 950 XL
  • Why? That's just stupid.  
  • Why you say? Because of $£¥₹€ and any others I neglected to indicate.
  • Well written, very insightful as well. I particularly agree with the near immortality of Nintendo, and that truly lies in the games IP, never the console numbers. Mario can never be replaced lol, any attempt just looks like a clone :-), same with Zelda and the like. The first party truly exclusive games are where the action lies!
  • Thanks mate.
  • Yeah, NES FTW! =D
  • Proof read your article you had repeated yourself a few times over either word for word or replaced a word but overall not a bad read
  • Maybe you're reading with the WC app, and some parts are those quotes "xxxxxxx", and then looks like he is repeating.
  • I see now and retract my previous statement thank you
  • Check out "open in browser" and compare ;)
  • He tends to do that with these psychedelic rants
  • Shrooms OP
  • I wish that in the future, there won't be a direct XBox One console successor. Windows 10 as the 'one' OS should add a console mode like the tablet mode on PC. Then MS could release the 'Surface desktop' that would act as the baseline for Microsoft's next 'console' specs. In this way we will get more games e.g. Street Fighter 5 is on PC and better prices with multi marketplaces e.g. Steam
  • Could happen, but Xboxes will exist too, same device family.
  • Certainly, in fact other OEMs could join in like Steam machines.
  • I was thinking about that possibility earlier, could Xbox evolve into a platform hardware manufacturers could license? interesting thought to say the least.
  • Very late to that philosophical party I would also emphasize the advantage Microsoft has over Nintendo in that Xbox essentially runs on the Windows kernel. This means SUBSTANTIALLY less resources and manpower are being dedicated to development for the Xbox platform. A bit too focused for my abstract tastes, but A for length of exposition in a world of momentary news posts.  
  • That won't happen as the console is a different type of market. Consoles tried that with 3DO...didn't work out and probably not the best idea.
  • I would probably never consider it... =[
  • The publishers will never let it happen
  • The truth is, whether or not Xbox One "wins" this console generation is irrelevant. 
      If the Xbox was actually leading in sales, this comment would never have been made. It would be nothing but chest thumping articles here about how Microsoft is "winning" the console wars.  
     Microsoft has stopped offering raw Xbox sales figures in their financial calls to investors, focusing instead on Xbox Live engagement as a metric. This shift isn't spin 
    This entire article is spin..."guys, Xbox isn't even competing with Play Station, they're competing with Nintendo."  Lets focus on the competitor that's in last place, because we're already beating them and it will make us look like winners!
  • Therefore, we should disregard the entire article? Can you please logically critique the line of thought instead?
    And I'm pretty sure Nintendo is worth more than all of Sony combined so they are definitely doing something right even though all they make are games!
  • I didn't say they were competing with Nintendo, I said they have a strong network infrastructure in place ready for the paradigm shift, and now they're following Nintendo's IP lead, fixing up their weaker areas in response to the coming change to the industry. Sony are focussing on tech, their weaker area. There is no console war here, that's kiddy stuff, Xbox/PS units have razor thin margins and the cash comes from software sales and subs, at least the latter of which MS is dominating. Also, spin? lol, I don't get paid by Microsoft and I'm not a shareholder, just calling it how I see it.
  • Microsoft not offering Xbox one sales is obviously because of how badly it's doing versus the PS4. You really expect us to believe that if Microsoft were leading in sales they would still offered only the Xbox live metrics? Microsoft would have been trumpeting its sales numbers if they were in the lead.
  • Sure, but THAT would be spin. Like I said, console units have razor thin margins and aren't relevant — as long as they're in a healthy ballpark, and they are for Xbox One. Subs, games sold, engagement is more important, and will be increasingly more important in the future as the hardware you use gets less relevant.
  • Right now, PS4 will be beating the Xbox on every area because of the size of the install base. Unless you have a source that says that somehow the people using Xbox one are more engaged with their console than PS4 owners.  
  • Rekt
  • Playstation doesnt offer RAW numbers right now either most projections are industry estimations and the reason why is because most of the indistry are more concerned with Subs, Software sales, and the Company Bottom Line (where SONY as a whole is struggling). We all understand that the fumbling of Don Mattrick at the beginning of this console generation has caused a big lead for PS, but that the ceiling is a lot closer for PS than XBOX. Because of this I agree with Jez it ultimately doesnt matter because of the moves that XBOX are doing under Phil that will make console numbers the most insignificant byline of overall sales in the future and move XBOX into a mobile & cloud first future. Lastly just a small wonder on my part. I agree that the Xbox Team under Don Mattrick would be gloating and touting supremecy over PS because they did for several years when the XBOX360 was king but the Microsoft and XBOX under Satya and Phil seemed to be more subdued and more concerned with serving their customers. So i wonder if the this Xbox team who seems far more gratious and engaged with the community would be boasting?
  • But Sony is beating Microsoft in software sales, what's your take on that?
  • I assume your comment reads this way because english isnt your native tongue, otherwise this statement shouldbe ridiculed because of its outrageousness. Sony isnt and will probably never be able to sell more software than Microsoft..... if its games sales xbox one vs ps4 you refer to (and you obviously do) it is a knnown fact that ps4 has some kind of lead over One in sales and that will off course show in sales of games. however, if you check what publishers like ubi soft is saying, there seems to be more sales per customer on Xbox one over PS4 indicating that PS4 is collecting dust in a not so few households. when microsoft  released usage figures for xbox live accounts this new year i was amazed at how much time me  my family and friends spends with Xbox one. its unparallelled in our time .... this was a really great article and it has a lot of valid points    
  • Dude, we are taking about Xbox one and PS4, obviously I am referring to game sales, anyone with an iota of common sense would have understood that. Learn to understand context before you go around commenting. 
  • I like how you didn't address the actual point to his reply.
  • He never said they should instead compete with Nintendo. The point is Microsoft is emulating Nintendo by having a strong Intellectual Property library, and how their cloud infrastructure will poise them to dominate going forward.
  • My thoughts exactly, everytime a Microsoft product doesn't do well, someone writes a piece changing the goal posts so as to project Microsofts efforts in a better light. 
  • Xbox is doing very well, even by traditional standards. This isn't even vaguely comparable to Windows Mobile, if that's what you were referring to.
  • I am not referring to Windows Mobile, I am referring to the fact that now since it's obvious that Xbox one is going to be a distant second to the PS4, the spin is that console sales don't matter. And for your information, most probably PS4 will be beating the Xbox one on every other metric as well. It's just Sony doesn't feel the need to giving nonsensical figures like number of hours spent on a console which nobody cares about. 
  • As opposed to throwing shade on them constantly and kicking them in their teeth because they're "down" or "deserved it" right? =/
  • So your first statement is purely hypothetical. I could say if Xbox was selling more the statement would be exactly the same and there is no more or less proof of me being right than you. As for your second statement, you're half right. Xbox isn't competing with Playstation, they aren't necessarily competing with anyone. They released a console that is on an entirely different level of both other consoles. Some people use it, others don't. As for your final comment, take a look at Nintendo and how much money they have and compare it to Sony, then tell me who's in last place.
  • Sooo xbox is dead too
  • That's the opposite of what I wrote, lol
  • *cough* Nintendo isn't dead... At all
  • Nintendo is a niche company. Popular in japan and in japan. My new Nintendo XL collects dust in my drawer just like my Vita. Products that have an awesome Japan store and games. Poor ass support in EU and NA. Microsoft is definitely following in Nintendo's footsteps with piss poor offerings in EU.
  • Not so niche as you think... 3ds is still #1 handheld console (Read as REAL console, not Smartphone for casual gaming), and no, I don't see a poor support Here in Italy (or in EU in General)... You Know... Street pass meetings, Smash bros tournaments, (lot of) Pokemon events...
    If this is no support... Well... What should be?
  • Well written article. Learnt something from it.
  • Thanks mate.
  • Nice done Jez. Those are exactly my thoughts. About the brand, I already feel, between my friends, they are more engaged to the Xbox One than with the 360, there's an excitement about X1. When I bought my Xbox One I was like "hum, cool". Now I'm really excited with games (and poor) and what's coming next.
  • I feel the same way about my Xbox One than I did about my X360 too, 360 had some great exclusives but... you can really feel the push this gen.
  • Jez, Atta boy sir! Good article WC. Now about the new app releasing this week......................
  • Soon™ haha, thanks man
  • Thats where all the marketing money for w10m is...
  • Hardware-agnostic gaming platform sounds more like what Valve's doing with Steam Machines and Steam Link than Nintendo's
  • Yeah you're right, I should've mentioned that a little more.
  • Get Banjo a fun animated racer a la Diddy Kong Racing and have it our during the Q4 holiday season and you have instant brand nostalgia. Right now Xbox is, game recognition wise, HALO, Titan fall, Gears, and to a growing extent KI (but it needs a second successful release). They should continue to exploit the **** outta the fact that Minecraft is MS. Like all the time. Imagine if apple or Sony owned that. Brand it constantly. Future could be great for Xbox.
  • Banjo-Kazooie Racing is a DAY ONE SELLER TO ME.
  • And me! I'd wager many many others too. Banjo is a branding opportunity waiting to happen.
  • Banjo def needs to return, in some form.
  • You have to stop smoking the same things Jason Ward is smoking, mate :P I get your point about Microsoft aiming at recreating the sort of brand-love Nintendo has, however you're constantly assuming Sony won't do anything and will just keep their current path. Sure, Sony's current path is that they have the most beloved console in the World. Sony's PlayStation is the gaming equivalent on strength to the iPhone. Even if there are better consoles than the PS4 (and the Xbox One, while not better hardware-wise, is better in terms of functionality), the PlayStation is still the Gold Standard. And in places like Europe or Japan, the Xbox means zero. It's strength is very weak compared to the strength of the PlayStation (and that, you can blame Microsoft and their US-centred policies for). Now consider this: that scenario you carved for Xbox's future, CAN be reproduced by Sony. The only exception is of course the Windows 10 part of it, but then again, I think we should remember that the average consumer doesn't give a rats arse about OneCore or Windows 10 and even less the cloud and blah blah blah. They care about the games they have and the entertainment they get. And while Microsoft might have currently the upper hand when it comes to offering more than just a gaming console with the XBone, Sony can decide being the winner of this generation's console war isn't enough. There's already PlayStation integration with the Xperia phones from Sony, which means Sony already has a foot on mobile and unlike Microsoft, they're not using a dead OS. They've presented PlayStation Now and TV. Sony's natural next step will be bringing Sony Music and Sony Films into the PlayStation. IF Sony does merge the PlayStation experience with their Films and Music, they will create an entertainment centre around PlayStation that no Spielberg adaptation of some exclusive Microsoft game will be able to beat. Doesn't matter if the XBone runs Windows 10, or can stream stuff...people will gravitate towards the one console that will provide them more than a gaming console or a gateway to your TV. They'll go for the console that has in it the best gaming experience, the best music experience AND the best film and series experience. Sony has the capability of providing that. Microsoft does not.   Which is why I'm not sure Microsoft should be trying to follow Nintendo. None of Microsoft's IP has the potential of becoming the household names that things like Pokémon or Super Mario are for Nintendo. And the one that did - Age of Empires - Microsoft has destroyed when they destroyed Ensemble Studios. And while I'd very much like to see AoE revived PROPERLY (not the crap we've been getting on mobile or remakes of AoE II regardless of how epic AoE II still is) I think Microsoft has missed that train. If I were Microsoft, I'd be a hell of a lot more concerned with Sony than with the path that Nintendo took. The argument of the platform-agnostic world seems, to me, the trap. The exact same trap that they fell into with the UWAP. Consumer demands on a console isn't the same of consumer demands on mobile nor on a PC. They are different types of consumers, often within the same person. People look for a different experience. Microsoft's over-reliance on the belief that a consumer wants the same experience on a PC that they do on a console (or a phone) seems to me their Achilles' heel. 
  • I wrote that Sony understand the value of IP too, but they're investing elsewhere to prepare for the paradigm shift this generation. That's my point, and I agree with you. Once Sony has invested in their cloud tech and features to the same level as MS, then they can turn up the gas on IP, go full nostalgia on stuff like Crash Bandicoot and God of War, Sony already have some of the early pieces in play like PS TV etc. That's why Microsoft is trying to curate those experiences now, because that's historically been one of the platform's weakest areas. I disagree that none of Microsoft's IP has the potential of becoming house hold names. Stuff like Gears maybe, but that's an 18 rated title that targets a very specific audience. They've proven they can do it with Halo, and they've purchased Minecraft, and Age of Empires is seeing signs of a revival (I fully expect a new title to be announced in the next year or so). Microsoft will still provide the console experience for those that want it, just like they're providing the W10M experience if OEMs don't. They'd be foolish to not leverage their Windows market share to boost their gaming aspirations. Thanks for reading, too :)
  • Couple of years ago I would've been very defensive. Today I agree with you the majority of your assessment. This piece is meant for fanboys. Following Mintendo is a deadly losing path. Despite their franchises, Mario never really saved Nintendo.
  • You have to stop smoking the same things you have been smoking since last year. Sony is having a hard time keeping itself healthy. They are their own worst enemy. The plus side is that both consoles, Xbox One and P Station, are doing great. Nice for Microsoft, a live saver for Sony. So leave Sony doing it's job to keep itself alive. They have a hard time doing just that. Back to the article: it's a very good write. Thanks.    
  • Don't compare gaming division with their phone, tv, and so forth.
  • "Sony is having a hard time keeping itself healthy."   Have you ACTUALLY seen Sony's gaming division profits? Yeah, you might want to check those. Because one thing is Sony Mobile struggling, another is the PlayStation division. And that one, along with Sony Films, are boosting profits. So no, Sony's is definitely not their own worst enemy on the gaming front, which is what we're discussing here ;) That's like saying that Microsoft is having a hard time keeping itself healthy because their mobile OS flopped and their mobile division has never even breaken even. Sony, just like Microsoft, is much larger than one division. And Sony's gaming division is currently in a far better position than the Xbox. Starting with, for example, the fact that no one inside of Sony even thinks about spinning off the PlayStation division. Which is something we can't say about Microsoft's BoD.
  • It's the Company that counts. Have you ACTUALLY seen Sony's financial figures and who many parts Sony already did have to sell. And how many parts/division still exist? Microsoft does not even compare. Just look at the stock value when Windows on the phone did not do well last quarter: stock value ACTUALLY did go up. So it didn't really matter. LOL. So stop comparing. That's like comparing Kindergarten with High school. Rather be happy Sony is still alive and doing rather OK lately (Movies/music/games div)
  • Im confused by your statements. You do understand that Microsoft is doing well despite a failed mobile division and 2 place console sales? These two divisions are not where their profit came from. Its from enterprise and software. Sony failed with its mobile hardware sales, but their console sales are strong and more importantly they have earnings from electronics, music and film.Looking at shares alone says nothing about any particular division. I've never understood the concept of a console fanboy. Just buy both consoles and you have access to the best of both worlds.
  • Can't justify owning (or afford) the PlayStation 4 when I already have a PC, Wii U, and Xbox One. The Xbox One is mostly a testing machine for my app development though.
  • Microsoft needs a collection of character games that people can relate too while loving to play the same ones over and over. They need tv presence in tv shows like what nintendo has with pokemon amd back in the 80s with Mario. But at the same time cloud gaming with all windows 10 devices should help cement the idea of choosing xbox over anyone else. They are the only company that has the software amd hardware in place to do it. PLAY ONCE, PLAY ANYWHERE
  • I totally forgot about the Mario cartoons, I used to watch those religiously too, haha... Earthworm Jim anyone? Thanks for reading mate, I agree they're best placed
  • Mega-totally! ;)
  • The image has already been broken. MS took their success of the xb360 over the PS3 and bungled greatly with the Xbox One. How would I say it, too much pride, even to the point of naming the next Xbox "Xbox One." It's obvious One is a connotation to Won, mocking Sony. Sony ratified their mistake with the PS3 and produced a winning PS4. MS's too much pride was their downfall. They put their guard down and is now paying for it.
  • I actually am pretty sure that the One was based on the One Ecosystem brain child that Microsoft has been touting since Satya took over. and Second Microsft might be behind in overall sales but are a long way off of "paying for it: Their console numbers are ahead of where the Xbox 360 was at this point and they arent slowing down, in fact much like the 360/PS3 era the ceiling for PS4 is a lot closer than the Xbox and teh Xbox could feasibly make up the ground once the ceiling is reached much like the ps3 did to the xbox towards the end of the last Generation. But hey good thoughts i really respect your opinion
  • Yes, yes...Ivan Drago 4 it's getting all the acclaim for it's abilities, but you'll do well to remember that America's Rocky One defeated him in the end, yet extended a hand for people everywhere to come together for peace! =P
  • Just a head's up that "factoid" is not the same thing as "fact". It's kind of the opposite. Also, not to say Phil isn't doing a good job (he's doing great in some areas and not so great in others [Kinect gamers and Windows Phone gamers say hi]), but a lot of the games coming out now were green-lighted by his predecessor, years before he became the Xbox head.
  • You do know that Phil Spencer was in charge of Microsoft Studios before heading Xbox right...Phil was directly responsible for these games.
  • Sup, dubs? You sir, get a part on the back... ;)
  • Kinect? That stupid thing still around?  
  • @coip - Missed that in editing, originally it was a list of statements relating to sensationalist claims following DRMgate etc, lol. I agree in the article that Don Mattrick had a sound but poorly presented strategy, Phil Spencer just seems to know how to present it without alienating audiences, also Phil greenlit stuff like Gears of War etc, redirected Xbox Entertainment into gaming n stuff. They'll prob license franchises for TV instead now. Agreed on Kinect and WP too.
  • Very good read. If you think back to the start of the console generation, this looks to always have been the plan. They backed off on the delivery but still kept the vision which is becomming increadingly apparent. Hopefully a lesson was learned on the importance of how the message is delivered so as not to alienate your "current" customer base. The console war thing is just so short-sighted, the perception of the "more powerful" console can easily be flipped just by adding more processing in the next release. Things like infrastructure, services, ecosystem and IP are much more important for the long-game.
  • Agreed, thanks for reading mate. Console war is an outdated way to think about things, especially given the W10 convergence.
  • this might be true, but most exclusives are going to pc anyways and that is hurting xbox one sales. How is xbox going to secure its future when you can just get the exclusives on pc?
  • It does feel like a (light) slap in the face when you find out you're paying for Xbox Live when a guy on Windows 10 PC can play the same game without the added cost for a membership. I am referring specifically to Quantum Break here. I still intend to get it on X1 simply because I prefer to play on console. But I don't agree with the possibility if this being a normal thing. Either drop the Xbox Live Gold requirement or find a way to sweeten the deal for Xbox Live subscribers. The future may be hardware-agnostic...but the current fans and consumers who want to trust MS don't want to feel like they are getting the short end of the stick by buying an X1.
  • I'm not a gamer and have never commented in any WC game related article.  But if you are a WC addict (and that I admit to) you can't help but "overhear" the similar battle between PS4 and Xbox that you hear if you activley follow the IPhone VS W10M. Having said all that, this one article was sufficient for the non-gamer to get a really nice and thorough overview of the past, present, and predictive future of the gaming industry. Very well articulated and a pleasure to read. Just goes to show that wordsmithing is still an art. I can't believe I read the whole article. I assure you I have skipped over MOST.  
  • Thanks a ton for the kind words, really made my day. :)
  • Allot of people seem to be bothered by these moves, or think that because games like Quantum Break will be available on PC & Xbox will be the end of the Xbox. Here are a few things to keep in mind:  1) These games are still optimized for the Xbox. Meaning you will get a better experience on the Xbox, than you would on mediocre/similar PC hardware. Note just how high-end the minimum requirements for Quantum Break are. You won’t find many off-the-shelf non-gaming/performance machines, with those specs. 2) Consoles will always have a place, at least for some people. Remember, not everyone has or wants a gaming PC. In fact, many people wouldn't know where to begin with building one (and may not want to learn how), and a pre-built would probably run close to (if not more than) a console, if spec’d similarly. When you buy a console, all you have to do is hook it up, login, and you're ready to go. You know that every game sold for it is capable of playing on it. There's no worry of "does my system have enough graphics or processing power?", because as mentioned in my first point, the games are pre-optimized for the console. It's also usually significantly easier to share a console, rather than to share a PC. Not to mention that PC games don't typically offer local co-op on the same machine, but rather rely on LAN. Lastly, on a console, everyone shares a game, and their profiles are properly separated. On a PC, you typically have to install for each user account, in order to keep profiles/game saves separate. 3) This convergence is “all part of the master plan”. What would the point of a universal store and ecosystem be, if components are still segregated? Personally, I love the idea of being able to buy a game once, and play it both on my laptop when I travel (if possible), and on my Xbox when I’m at home. To me, this is a huge gaming focused selling point for the Windows ecosystem, which will increase interest in both PC and Xbox. Ultimately, I think we need to stop thinking of games as being “Xbox exclusives”, and instead think of them as being “Windows exclusives”. If Microsoft ever did kill off the Xbox as a console, I think it would only be to release a new system completely focused on being the home entertainment part of the Windows Ecosystem. However, I don’t believe this is necessary, as the Xbox already takes care of this (for the most part). Bonus: Every game purchased from the Windows Store, is a game not purchased from Steam. This means that the purchase is directly benefiting the Windows ecosystem.
  • Yeah, I have the means to buy a gaming rig, but I love the convenience of a plug and play Xbox One. It's a really awesome vision that Microsoft are working towards, and it's not really something Sony or even Nintendo can compete with, ultimately, leveraging Windows.
  • Stated in another comment but wanted to share it here too: It does feel like a (light) slap in the face when you find out you're paying for Xbox Live when a guy on Windows 10 PC can play the same game without the added cost for a membership. I am referring specifically to Quantum Break here. I still intend to get it on X1 simply because I prefer to play on console. But I don't agree with the possibility of this being a normal thing. Either drop the Xbox Live Gold requirement or find a way to sweeten the deal for Xbox Live subscribers. The future may be hardware-agnostic...but the current fans and consumers who want to trust MS don't want to feel like they are getting the short end of the stick by buying an X1 and not simply investing in a PC (that opens the door to a plethora of other games including Windows).
  • Fine work again Jez! Exciting times ahead for all :)
  • Thanks mate
  • excellent read.  thnx for that.  Till it's cloud based, I'll still have fun playing games and talking to my XBOX:)
  • I bought a PC for my gaming needs, it runs Microsoft Windows 10. Microsoft helps me game. Thank you Microsoft.
  • The way I've always seen it is the difference between Microsoft/Nintendo and Sony is that the former two are software first. They develop hardware that serves to fit the software experience. Sony is an electronics company. They make the box and then figure out how to fill it. Polar opposite development philosophies and ultimately the former pushes things forward while the latter is about status quo but faster.
  • That was an awesome read! Thank you Jez. "Xbox on!"
  • Thanks mate.
  • Is it directed by Spielberg or executively produced? There's a huge difference.
  • Produced, my mistake. Will edit.
  • This is just what Microsoft needs. They've failed in the past because of not playing the long game. Look at Windows Phone for example. Or Windows itself. What Microsoft is doing now is planning for the future, and although that means we don't see as much cool stuff now, it does mean Microsoft will be around longer to support the stuff we do get. So it's key to remember not to blast Microsoft for being too slow right now, because they are doing exactly what we thought they should do years ago when they played for the here and now.
  • Freelancer! Bring it back, Microsoft. Do it now!
  • And do it right...
  • Very good article
  • You're a hero JC ;)
  • Don Mattrick did more damage to the Xbox brand than the Red Rings of Death.
  • who hired him my god
  •   There are so many things on Xbox One pisses me off that I don't even care too much about this brand even considering the fact that I bought the Xboxes of the three generations at their launch. Original Xbox and the 360 are the best consoles I ever had, but the XOne is just too buggy, slow and with a terrible UX to like.
  • I'm glad to see I'm not the only person who feels this way.
    Xbox One's OS is a mess. It feels like beta software.
  • Its a shame turn 10 keeps on pushing halfassed multi modes similar to pgr but not worth the time
  • Yes. I want to see Halo Kart and Smash Bros Gears. Make it happen!
  • Haha, a kart came with Microsoft Studios characters would be epic.
  • u mean halo warthog racing game
  • Maybe the name of the next Xbox successor could be "Xbox Stream". It will stream to any screen in your house, to your Windows 10 PC, or to your Hololens headset.
  • The excellence and wonderful innovation coming via gaming in Xbox live streaming is the futuristic that gambling not the future stand. Because, it hold one Halo lens with dreams sparkling of the future trends and less of everything 'emcombrant' desktop hardware to software housing games a majors of entertainment housing leisure a must for every household. Wonderful imagination of Microsoft artistically altruism technology service of end time in no time gaming branding and exclusively supports a must to of future apps production.
  • Put my copy of FFIX in my PS the other day, played a bit, enjoyed it, went to bed. Notice how I did not need to connect to a server somewhere and hope my 20-year old console will still activate...
  • I'm all digital on Xbox one except one game that came with my Elite console. Wish they offered the digital version instead. Great article.
  • Cheers mate, digital ftw!
  • Elder Scrolls Online, Skylanders and Lego marvel are the only XB1 games we have bought physical. Got Sunset Overdrive in a promotion. Other than that everything else nearly filling my 2-tb hdd is all digital. I just don't understand why in 2016 people are still concerned about having to connect...
  • Great article, well done!
  • Thank you :)
  • Excellent article mate!!!!! I wish to see more of such sensible articles than the crap Forbes puts out...
  • When in Malaysia? Where's my XBOX ONE with proper official support?
  • From a company that initially tried to force the Kinect on the Xbox fanbase this whole eighth generation? I'm getting the NX day one because I'm curious to see where Nintendo is going. Anything Microsoft related, I'll wait and see. Fool me once... (And, yes, I am an abandoned Kinect owner).
  • I'm very interested in the NX, I think Nintendo could pull the trigger on digital-only, would be pivotal. I don't think some of the Xbox One launch policies would've made it through with Phil Spencer as head, but it is what it is now I guess. The future is going to be interesting, for all three companies.
  • i weeped because you mentioned the success of 360. great read.
  • Very interesting... someone who actually figured out 'The Road to Fortaleza'... I'm impressed! I love it when people pay attention enough to figure out what's going on around them! Great work Jez!
  • Thanks for the kind comments mate :)
  • This article is the best article about gaming I've ever read. I've always been confused why soon many criticize Microsoft and Xbox for being innovative. This article is great at connecting what as unaccepted at E3 2013, illustrating the pieces of what were are seeing being release and announced now and it all points to the future of gaming and showing how it was all in Microsoft's strategy from the beginning. Thanks for the good read.
  • Hugely appreciated, thanks for reading
  • In my country it is cheaper to purchase games digitally from on Xbox live. All games are imported from the united states and sold locally. When importing a game you have to pay 10% + 15% import taxes which causes a game to be more exp than the retail price in the us. So a regular 60us game costs around 80us in my country after the game store also add in extra cost to make a profit. I think I will stick to digital thank you and be at ease knowing I did not get ripped off and my game will always be in the cloud ☁ for when I choose to delete it or download It on my profile on another Xbox one
  • Super-Ultra-Mega-16K definition...
  • I hope someone writes similar article for windows mobile
  • It's already been done, on this site in fact. A long while ago.
  • I HAVE A PS4 AND ALTHOUGH IM GLAD I GOT IT OVER THE XBOX ONE AS I PLAY ALL GAMES IN HD NEAR ENOUGH, I REALLY FEEL DISAPOINTED IN ALOT OF THUNGS.  THEIR STORE GAMES ARE EXPENSIVE AND YOU CANT EXACTLY SELL YOUR CONSOL WITH THOSE GAMES UNLESS YOU SELL YOUR ACCOUNT TOBOOT, SO I STILL BUY MY GAMES VIA A DISC, A SYSTEM THAT IS OLD AND ANTIQUE BUT STILL MEANS I GET TO SELL THE GAMES,  also i dont have to be online all the time.  Theres also the roling subscription i dont like and thers the fact it took me 1 year to work out how to actualy turn off my ps4.  Also being a fan of the ps4 controler, i use it on the pc but unfortunatly i have it wired cause nothing i do will alow the ps4 to pair properly with pc and its anoying, i dont want a xbox controler cauwse i dont like xbox controlers and unfortunatly i will have to buy a seperrATE LOGITEC CONTROLER IF I WANT WIRELESS PLAYING .  Theres also the monthly free games, apart from 2 occasions first light one game that was free and awsome i havent had a single what i feel is worth while free game, i stoped subscribing long ago which means no multiplayer gurrr. Over all the ps4 is not perfect but playing games on higher res and fps beat most xbox games, unfortunatly we do lack the xbox titles that are alot. Ill stick to my pc in future, who knows steam might actually make is simple to tile a game shortcut to the start menu instead of this software method that really belongs to the 20th centry not the 21st, heres hoping hey.  
  •   The author mentioned the Xbox Christmas sales, that were "Steam like". Well.. Sure, some were really good, but it still doesn't hold a candle to the sales Sony are doing all the time. I love my Xbox One and 360, but I wish MS could offer more (and at lower prices) sales, like Sony are doing. The difference is staggering. I own all consoles and a very nice PC, and I've noticed the differences. Also, at least here in Sweden, Steam isn't cheap at all, except the few bigger sales they have each year. I still use it though, ofc. But i almost always only buy games through Steam during their sales.  Physical retail/online retail is always (sometimes by quite a bit) cheaper for PC games here in Sweden. 
  • I admit I'm not familiar with Sony's sales, not owning a PS4 myself. Could you give examples? I'm not entirely sure who fronts the cost of a sale, whether it's the publisher or the retailer, tbh.
  • Their sales are more frequent than Xbox One sales and usually includes a greater variety of games. It's kind of a midway point between Xbox and Steam sales.
  • This is a really well-written article, Jez, but some parts seem to be romanticizing Microsoft's efforts while seemingly ignoring other companies' efforts. For example, you say that Xbox Live is miles ahead because it has 48 million active users, social features like status updates and notifications, a mobile app, etc, but Sony has much of the same stuff and in some respects is even ahead of Microsoft. For example, PlayStation Network has 65 million users, social features, a mobile app, etc. You mention that Microsoft has its Azure cloud and how capable it is in theory, meanwhile Sony already has PlayStation Now and it works on PS3 and PS4, PS Vita, PS TV, Bravia TVs, and even Samsung TVs, with more devices/platforms coming soon, and they already have Remote Play for a handful of devices and are looking to bring it to other devices/playforms too. Of course, it would be short-sighted to only focus on what's happening right now. Microsoft does appear to have a good strategy, and what they have today is just he infancy stage of their long-term plan. They've just fallen behind a little in terms of execution, or at least the public-facing portion of it. I do, however, look forward to a future of 8K games with trillions of ray-traced polygons streaming over a multi-gigabit fibre or millimetre-wave connection.
  • I mentioned Playstation Now and the fact it works across multiple experiences, and did emphasize that both Nintendo and Sony are looking at these aspects as well, I couldn't go into too much detail cus the article was already too long heh. While I think Microsoft have the infrastructure in place to be at the forefront of the technical aspects via Azure, they need to be focusing on their IP portfolio to compete in a world where the hardware could become less important. Nintendo have such powerful characters that are viewed with such incredible fondness, and I think having an IP focus now will help Microsoft more than just slashing the price of the Xbox One even further to try and chase units sold. If Xbox is the tip of the sentiment-spear Microsoft uses to engage and entertain users (where Windows and Office as brands, cannot), then having a character/franchise focus will help them more when it comes to the generation after this than chasing Sony's console lead. There's a great deal of romanticization aye, it's a speculative piece and I could be well off the mark, but I do feel like Phil Spencer is evoking Nintendo in his strategy. Thanks a ton for reading.
  • This piece is written by someone who really really loves Xbox. I do not. I bought the XB1, because of controllers, a solid cooling concept in a big box with an external power brick, the old Halo franchise (played Halo on the first Xbox), while all the latter in the MCC disappointed me immensely. And because Microsoft became marginalized in terms of sold console units, so they had and still have to fight (a conjuncture that is going to persist for a long time, hopefully). For their infamous drm and tv-crap plans they got whipped and right so! Any apologetics are inappropriate!  My biggest expectation when buying the XB1 was, that some day in the near future I could be able to play some PC games (strategy and rpg) on my Xbox, too. Articles like this one are keeping me optimistic: (I'm linking to /. because of the comments)   This piece is written by someone who really really wants Microsoft to win. I do not. I want them all suffer under heavy competition from each other being chased by responsible and unforgiving customers. Bloody stop loving the company.    
  • Well written and well thought out article. I think the sad thing in all this is that casual fans and the 'mass' market will not understand any of this, like they didn't get what MS was trying to do intiially with the XB1. Digital streaming was a major detractor of the system originally but at least for my family we've only bought 3-4 disc based games, and mostly just because we found them cheap used or deep disocunted during the holidays. Everything we do is online and digital. Backwards compatibility was never a selling point for me but I've found we use it all the time - all without discs. And add in EA Access and Games with Gold and we have more games then we can ever play, 'free' and with no physical discs.  Unfortunately I still have friends who have gone PS4 and will not get another system, or will end up going PS4 just because os much mass media says how Sony is kicking MS's arse. Even Gamestop still seems to hold a grudge and on the very rare occasions the kids can talk me into going in they only try to sell us on PS4 when we are looking at XB1 stuff. This campaign will continue selling to moms and grandmas who don't'know better' and only add to the sales lead, but that means so little now. MS is building an entire ethos and environment that Sony just ahsn't matched yet, and since this whole thing is about being "games first" MS is (semi) quietly doing way more for that philosophy.  
  • "Unless your folks are exceptionally cool, they likely haven't heard of Alan Wake, Gears of War, The Last of Us or Uncharted." Don't assume gamers are all teenage boys.  A significant number of gamers are in their 40s and 50s, many with kids in their teens and twenties.
  • nice dude!! :D nice job indeed!!! and hey...   side notes: haters should start their own hater site and go away from here :)