Xbox One: Do We Really Need An All-In-One Entertainment System?

Image via Microsoft

Microsoft announced its latest console today at its Redmond headquarters. It’s a very sleek big black box that comes with an updated version of the Xbox 360 controller as well as a brand new version of Kinect. Numerous Microsoft employees ran through the dizzying amount of features that the new entertain system has: you can talk to your TV, watch NFL with live fantasy updates on the side of your screen, Skype your friends, and use a variety of gestures to “personally” interact with your new Xbox.

It has some excellent hardware specs as well: 8GB of RAM, 8-core CPU, top of the line GPU, and a 500GB HDD, as well as a Blu-Ray Drive, USB 3.0 and built in Wi-Fi.  The Kinect portion of the device boasts a 1080p camera, and Microsoft even claimed it could read your heartbeat when you exercise in front of the device.

There’s clearly a big emphasis on Microsoft wanting the Xbox One to be your go to all-in-one entertainment center. Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, posed questions to the audience on how they use their TV and how difficult it can be at times. He showed that by simply talking to your TV and using gestures, it was a far smoother and more seamless experience than the average TV user has.

What I’m wondering is this: where are all these people that have trouble using their TV? What happened to just laying down on the couch and using your remote to change channels? Better yet, now that we have devices like the Roku 3 and services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, do we really need an all in one entertainment system that will probably cost hundreds of dollars? I have a laptop, a Roku, and an HDMI cord. When I want to watch anything, I just plug in the HDMI to one of the devices, use my cell phone as a remote and I’m set to go. I don’t need to make a stupid gesture or tell my Xbox to change channels to do something like that.

Another matter is how all of this focus on live TV and other American-centric marketing will affect the international market for this device. In the UK, you would need to do the following to actually take advantage of all the One’s features: Buy a TV license, have a good internet connection, and have a subscription to Xbox LIVE Gold. All that to take advantage of an already price entertainment console. A lot of people in the United States alone are already ditching cable and sticking with Hulu Plus and Netflix. Most likely Microsoft has been working closely with the cable companies in order to revamp the TV market, but the demographics numbers don’t lie.

Lastly, the name of the device. Which company calls their third device the “One?” I understand that Microsoft wants to market it as the “one” device that can suit all your entertainment needs, but it could have named it so many other things. Xbox 720. Xbox Infinity. Name it after a Greek god, or a natural element or anything BUT the One.

The next gen console race is on, and once again we’ll see Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft duke it out for the market share. Sony is gunning for the hardcore gamers with the PS4, Nintendo is once again aiming at innovation with Wii U. We’ll just see if Microsoft’s broad strokes with the One can put them on top again.