The prophesy of the one box to rule them all isn’t a new strategy for Microsoft. The strategy to become the center of all home entertainment has been central to the Xbox mission from day one. Bill Gates and his Redmond-based army invested billions into it, believing games to be the gateway to consumer living rooms. None of this should have been a surprise with unveiling of the Xbox One. In fact, the biggest surprise was that this ongoing strategy was the unveiling.
In one hour, Microsoft declared the games strategy to have reached its crescendo, the full potential of it’s bounds, and announced it’s intention to grow outside of games. In a partnership with Comcast, two behemoths joined forces to do what they do best, create events out of the entertainment we love on a massive scale.
We game developers were left scratching our heads wondering where the games were outside of the usual suspects of Madden and Call of Duty. The answer is that they are coming, but that this box has a lot to prove to non-gamer consumers. On games alone, this box isn’t going to make money. Our costs have outpaced revenues for too long, and Microsoft has to find a way to carry on without us.
Microsoft was letting us know that it is time they started seeing other people. You know what? It’s probably time we saw other people too. Many of us have, building games for web, niche PC markets, mobile, and open platforms like the upcoming OUYA. Notions of what is “console”, “triple-A”, and even “indie” are far less important than the passion and excitement with which we create our games. Video games are growing up. We should too.
There will be a ton of great games on the Xbox One, just don’t expect them to diverge greatly from what we’ve seen in the past based on the hardware alone. It will be up to us creators to move forward without leaps and bounds in technology. I am hopeful our industry is up for the challenge both on the Xbox One and all the other boxes, phones, and tablets.