“Fortunately we have a product for people who aren’t able to get some form of connectivity, it’s called xbox 360”
It’s a line that will be trotted out for many years after this generation has been laid to rest, but it still stands out as the moment where Microsoft went from one of the industries leading lights to just downright arrogant. Thankfully a lot has changed since Don Mattrick uttered those pre-recorded words during the heat of this year’s E3.
Microsoft’s vision for an ‘all-in-one entertainment device’ is something they’ve been chasing since the original Xbox. Finally, with Xbox One it looks like they’re ready to pull the plug and unleash their vision of an all in one box. Of course, they’ve taken a massive detour considering the number of 180’s since it’s initial television focused reveal. But by and large, they have the games, the user interface and the input methods to take us to that future. The only issue, is that by ‘us’ I’m really talking about the U.S. – America.
For all Microsoft’s talk of a worldwide launch on November 22nd (13 countries is worldwide?) many of the features unveiled at the Xbox One’s reveal will probably never come to the UK and Europe, let alone our friends in Asia, South America etc.
Microsoft is leaning heavily on the NFL market to drum up sales in the US. Integrating American Football fantasy stats right within the box is a tremendous idea and will be a real plus to the hugely passionate sports fans stateside. However, it seems that like Nintendo, Microsoft are in their own special bubble. But while Nintendo focus solely on themselves and developing IP’s that are older than most of their audience, Microsoft is laser focused on winning America first and foremost. A position that could ultimately become their un-doing elsewhere.
But let’s not forget the token gesture of FIFA 14 being free with Xbox One Day One edition consoles here in Europe. But it’s an addition that still makes the package £80 more than the PlayStation 4, coming with a console that is undeniably less powerful and a Kinect that doesn’t integrate with most of the European apps. I’m really failing to see the Xbox One appeal to the European market.
The UK is one of the biggest Xbox 360 markets outside of the US. In actual fact, it’s the UK’s best selling console of the previous generation, selling 8.4 million units up to June 2013. So the fact that the ‘all-in-one games & entertainment device’ isn’t really giving us as much bang for our buck as Microsoft is giving in the States is kind of jarring.
[quote_left]“…many of the features unveiled at the Xbox One’s reveal will probably never come to the UK and Europe”[/quote_left]
There seems to be a real marketing issue, it’s almost as if after all the 180’s Microsoft isn’t really too sure who they’re wanting to sell the box too and what it needs to do to appeal to them.
The Xbox One has a great line-up of games, no doubt. But advertising it as the box that does everything when in Europe it clearly doesn’t, is just misleading and in some aspects disappointing. At launch, the Xbox One will have less media and entertainment apps than the Xbox 360, with SKY Go and BBC iPlayer being the biggest omission from it’s line-up.
The much touted Xbox One TV Guide feature also won’t be in the UK and Europe at launch. So browsing through to see when UK Gold are showing yet another episode of Fawlty Towers will have to wait until long after you’re bored with TitanFall.
If the Xbox One is a games machine, great, use that to your advantage in Europe Microsoft. But positioning it as an entertainment device when it’s current content lacks behind most Smart TV’s on the market is just bad strategy.
In time, Microsoft needs to develop the Xbox One to a level where there isn’t so much disparity between the same box here and across the pond. Primarily, Europe is PlayStation land and unless Microsoft are eager enough to start catering to a different type of audience, then I really can’t see them making any headway in changing that position.