The announcement that Microsoft sold their Mediaroom platform to Ericsson today brought some other interesting news along with it. Microsoft intends to continue in the television business as before but using the Xbox as the next step. Microsoft posted a statement on their blog with information about the sale, one part says that they are giving “all TV resources to Xbox in a continued mission to make it the premium entertainment service that delivers all the games and entertainment consumers want.” This interesting nugget suggests that Microsoft will be taking a more all round strategy next generation, while Sony take a gamer-centered approach.
With the announcement of the PlayStation 4, Sony showed their strong push for developers and gamers to be happy about a gaming experience. Mark Cerny even stated that Sony don’t want anything to come between you and the game. The focus of the reveal was entirely around how the developers felt towards the steps forward and the way that Sony are taking the console gaming experience. Bringing the architecture back to basics, allowing development for the console to be easier than that old cell processor, and updating the specs means that the games we get will be more beautiful, more immersive and a better gaming experience. The lack of TV partnerships and sports brands showing off applications for the console, instead announcing or showing off new games proved that Sony wants to dedicate the reveal to the gamers, the ones who supported them before and will continue to. Now I am sure Sony will eventually show deals and partnerships but they wanted to show that they are not forgetting their roots. While Sony announced a camera in a similar vein to Kinect, the motion controls they showed off were for a creative game (again by Media Molecule) and there was not a large focus on the casual games over the mid to core gamers.
Microsoft seem to be taking another approach, they are hitting for the all round entertainment device. Do you want a TV, games console, media player and (presumably) a social hub? Look no further. The fact that Microsoft dropped the main TV platform so that they can focus their efforts through their beloved Xbox branding shows the first movements towards a next generation entertainment console rather than a predominantly gaming console. Obviously there are no concrete observations until the inevitable reveal but some rumors have suggested that a version of Windows 8 will be implemented into the new console, possibly RT like the Surface tablet. This paves the way for deep second screen integration and links between the console and your computer, phone and tablet. The addition of these things would suggest that Microsoft want it to be the center of the consumer’s home. Utilizing the merits of Kinect, Microsoft will bundle the second generation of the motion device with the next Xbox. While the possibility of core games is there, Kinect will find a large crowd by focusing on the casual market.
Microsoft seem to be seeing next generation as an opportunity to gain a foothold in as many different markets as possible while Sony, for now, seems to want the gamers to know that they are being heard specifically. This could all change within days as more rumors are unearthed and discarded. Would you buy a more game centered console or an all rounder? Comment below.