After 8 years, Microsoft's Xbox announced it’s newest gaming console—Xbox One. The new console has taken the initiative to bring gaming back to the living room—a feat that faces some steep challenges in the name of smartphones and tablets.
However, the most significant reveal ties into a top-of-mind trend that is impacting television broadcasters and mobile carriers across the board: second-screen. At the reveal, General Manager, Phil Spencer stated, “We believe that the television screen remains the most relevant screen in the home.” Microsoft understands that users are sitting in front of the television with tablets and mobile phones and has used this fact to bring back the focus to the television screen, allowing users to seamlessly toggle between surfing the web, watching television and playing a game in a feature called 'instant switching' on the Xbox One.
This virtual experience is a perfect example of technology and practicality colliding, as your television experience is refreshed and personal. Not only that, but Microsoft is harnessing the social power of its millions of Xbox live users’ interests to create suggestions for you on movies, music and games that you may like, based both on your friends suggestions as well as the overall Xbox live community. The Kinect technology uses facial-recognition to identify who is sitting in front of the screen, afterwards displaying a set of personalized information.
In a further attempt to build its brand outside of physical gaming, Microsoft announced a plan to develop its own live-action television series with director Steven Spielberg, which would be accessbile via the Xbox One. The company is also working on a tie-in with the NFL to build an Xbox app that allows users to interact with their fantasy teams while watching live game broadcasts, the New York Timesreports.
In a 65 billion dollar industry, Microsoft has managed to leverage its existing user-base to service an even larger community that’s interested in the latest sources of entertainment, and with ventures into real-time gaming and television, the brand may be cutting a new path for itself and its constituents, who have increasingly faced pressure from low-cost gaming app developers.