A lot of gamers are a bit on edge after the Xbox One reveal, and rightly so. The new console seems to be more like a multimedia box that has gaming capabilities than a gaming console. Understandably folks across the interwebs are voicing their concerns. Whereas a typical console war usually springs up even before the release of the hardware things may take a different turn this time around thanks to … whatever it is Microsoft is up to.
In the last generation (can I call it “last” yet?) the hardcore either used the Wii for just a handful of titles or didn’t use it at all. We recognized that this particular iteration of Nintendo was somehow alien to what we wanted. Maybe it was the gimmick, maybe it was all the shovelware, but we knew this thing wasn’t quite with it. For that reason we liked to say that Sony and Microsoft were not in “direct competition” with Nintendo. I think this was true, but it was also a convenient way to go about our console war without having to admit that early on both hardcore gaming systems were being spanked in sales by something that didn’t even support HD.
Now Microsoft appears to be doing something at least sort of similar to what Nintendo did with the Wii: they are aiming at a very specific kind of market with a different kind of console. The Xbox One has set itself up for a curious position, and in so doing may have just bowed out of the console war altogether.
The Wii U has not done well, but it has far from failed. There will be loyalists, kids and motion fanatics for Nintendo. The Xbox One is clearly not as powerful as the PS4 and doesn’t seem to even be focused on the same market of gamer. With built-in Kinect, a system that must check itself online, a hundred odd ways to interact with TV and apps, the Xbox One doesn’t appear to be trying to win anything at least where gaming is concerned as the top priority. Furthermore, the bells and whistles on the machine will be essentially useless outside of the US. This shouldn’t be surprising because the PS3 dominated everywhere but the US.
If you can accept these things you might begin to see how Microsoft is using a successful console generation to carve out a nice slice of the US market where it is already cozy. By doing so they renounce many fans (the gamers who want a games-first machine) and possibly diffuse the age old tradition of a console war since each of the three candidates will at some point stop being in direct competition with one another.
Do you think this will be the case after the excitement of the console releases are over, or do you think the nasty, ugly flaming will be just as rampant for just as long?