When Microsoft first unveiled its Xbox console line, there was certainly at least some mixed reaction.
I remember myself thinking, “They build operating system software that constantly crashes, and now they want me to buy hardware that is likely just as buggy?”
During these days I wasn’t a huge fan of Microsoft, and in fact it was the beginning of my newly forming relationship with Apple and the Macintosh.
For those that don’t know, I stayed primarily on the Mac side of the fence until Windows 7 came into the picture, though that is a different story and largely irrelevant right now.
Anyhow, the point is that Microsoft knew that it would take a little while to win over new fans, and part of the strategy was to use the “Microsoft” name sparingly and instead focus on building trust for the ‘Xbox’ name.
Was the first Microsoft console as buggy as I had dreaded? Yes and no.
It did have its quirks and blue-screen-of-death issues, but ultimately it was an innovative and intriguing entry into the video game market and ironically a lot less ‘buggy’ than the Xbox 360 with its ‘red ring of death’ problems.
I eventually became an owner of the original Xbox in 2004 (just a year before the release of the 360).
With the 360, Microsoft would step up its game further and push the system in new directions away from just being a ‘game system’.
With the new release of the Twist (metro-like) interface, new TV interaction and features have even further made the Xbox 360 more of a multimedia hub, and less of just a game console.
I firmly believe Microsoft knew what it wanted with the Xbox franchise all along, and was willing to plot it out slowly.
The goal for the folks at Redmond was likely not gaming but instead getting in the multimedia game and becoming a living room staple.
Now it seems that Microsoft is heading even further into the multimedia hub experience, and has been granted a patent that will further help in this endeavor.
The actual patent is for an “integrated gaming and media experience” that enables users to record media via a DVR application running alongside a television client component. This actual patent was filed back in 2007, just a few short months after the release of the Playstation 3.
For those that don’t know, the current Xbox 360 already allows some DVR functions but it must be done through linking to a DVR that is installed by the TV service provider, and not a directly integrated experience.
A full DVR/multimedia experience might make it in a further revision of the 360, but I’m not certain. Will the next Xbox become a full multimedia hub that bring the internet, video, TV, and recording to all users? More than likely.
More and more non-gaming users are starting to adopt the Xbox (and other consoles) just for their multimedia capabilites, and this is likely to be even more true in the next generation.
Soon ‘gaming consoles’ will likely no longer exist, instead just replaced by multimedia entertainment devices that also function as ‘game players’.
Microsoft’s Xbox is certainly part of its future strategy, beyond the OS market and will continue to grow as a more and more lucrative market as it reaches casual gamers, multmedia buffs, and traditional gamers as well.
What do you think of this patent and what it could mean for gaming/multimedia systems in the future? Share your thoughts below.