Yeah, I’m betting on the Xbox One. Seriously.
Because of the TV stuff.
Let me set a stage here. It’s a few years ago. I’m walking into Best Buy. The PS3 has been out for maybe a year but I don’t have one yet. The HD-DVD/Blu-ray fight is over, with Blu-ray the winner. But I hadn’t felt the need to buy a PS3 yet, even though some excellent games (like the new Ratchet & Clank) had come out.
So I walk into this Best Buy and they have a PS3 hooked up to a big ol’ TV, and it was playing the Blu-ray version of Kung-Fu Panda.
Now, Kung-Fu Panda is one of my favorite movies. And it looked glorious in Blu-ray. And that’s when I said to myself, “Damn it, now I have to get a PS3.”
This same thing is going to happen for the Xbox One. It will not happen for the PS4.
And it’s all about the TV stuff. I don’t think people realize what Microsoft is really selling with the voice control stuff.
Would you pay a flat $500 fee to never ever lose your remotes again? Would you pay a flat $500 fee to never have to know the number of your favorite channels any more, or search through the guide to find it? Would you pay a flat $500 fee to be able to be able to say, “Xbox, find Duck Dynasty” and have your TV find that show on whatever channel it’s on and tune right to it? Would you be willing to pay a flat $500 fee to be able to watch your TV in a window and search the internet (using voice control) in another on the same box?
Just last night I was watching the original Iron Chef. I noted to my younger daughter that these shows were about twenty years old and it was possible that some of the chefs had died since the show had aired. She got really sad and said, “Can’t we look it up? Can’t we find out if they’re still alive?” I said, “Yeah, but I’d have to go to my computer in the bedroom and I’m not going to do that right now, since you’re sitting on my lap.”
With an Xbox One, I could have just snapped the video, brought up a browser and looked up the Wikipedia articles on each Iron Chef to find out. With my voice.
(They’re all still alive, by the way. Which is a relief.)
Unfortunately, this is a lot like the fidelity of Blu-ray video. I didn’t understand it until I saw it in person, and people aren’t going to understand the UNLIMITED POWAH of the Xbox One’s TV integration and voice commands until they see it for themselves.
But once they do, they will need it and then they’ll tell all their friends. And people who have no intention of playing Titanfall or Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain will buy an Xbox One simply because it makes it easier to use their TV.
“But the DRM thing! The always-online thing-”
Has all been walked back. Yes, it was stupid of them to do that, but by the time the console is released it’ll be a historical footnote.
“But the PS4 is $100 cheaper!”
Yes, it is. But it has no motion or voice controls and all it does is play games. It’s nothing more than a souped-up PS3 (that can’t even play PS3 games).
Micorosft is trying to open up a new market and I think they’re going to succeed.