Can Microsoft take over the living room with Xbox, Kinect, and Bing?

By Kip Kniskern | Posted December 4, 2011 22 comments

xbox-kinect-liveOn Tuesday, Microsoft will begin to roll out the next version of the Xbox experience, featuring a new dashboard that combines your living room TV with the Xbox 360.  With voice and motion control powered by Kinect, and search powered by Bing, Microsoft hopes to begin a takeover of the living room and the family TV, one of the “3 screens” that along with a cloud are set to take us into the future of consumer software and engineering.

We’ve told you about the new dashboard before, and news is all over the web today as Microsoft has issued a press release on the upcoming free upgrade, so we’ll spare you the details.  Instead, let’s take a bit of  a look at what this announcement means, and could mean, to the future of the living room.

Of course, as it is with a mobile industry controlled not by Microsoft (or even Google or Apple) but by mobile operators and device manufacturers, the living room is powered by content providers: networks, cable companies, and content creators hold most of the cards, which is why today’s announcements are all about partnerships with the likes of ESPN, Hulu, the BBC, Netflix, and YouTube.

guy-must-haves-tvMicrosoft isn’t getting into the television making business, nor is it venturing into content creation (well for the time being, anyway, and not counting MSNBC and NineMSN).  What it is planning on doing is placing the Xbox squarely in between the TV and all that content, making it easier, more intuitive, and well, just a lot more fun to get to the content you already have available on your TV.  But the Xbox is a lot more than a cool way to control your TV, it brings not only hard-core but casual gaming to the living room, mixes in social elements through Xbox Live, and could soon turn your living room into a communications center with Skype.

By doing so, Microsoft hopes to not only make TV viewing a better experience, but sell the power of Xbox (that is, high end gaming and/or subscription casual gaming, content that Microsoft does have a lot of interest and experience in with Xbox Live) to millions more than take advantage of an Xbox connected television now.  It’s starting this week with some 50 or more partners bringing their subscription TV services under Xbox/Kinect/Bing control, and that list should be expected to grow.

bing-logo-horizSignificantly, with Xbox, Kinect, and these content provider partnerships, Microsoft could actually be taking the lead in the move to the living room.  Google and Apple are hard on their heels, but Google TV up until now has been a joke, at least as far as a controller experience (Google however is moving strongly into providing content through YouTube).  Apple TV has yet to make much of a dent either, although the late Steve Jobs talked to his biographer Walter Isaacson about “cracking” the problem of how to manage TV controls (which Isaacson and others speculate has a lot to do with Siri, Apple’s voice recognition software product).  With Kinect and Bing, Microsoft may have “cracked” the TV controller code already.

And we doubt that Microsoft is quite done yet, either.  While there has been lots of speculation about a new Xbox gaming console (the proverbial “720”), what we want to see, and for next holiday season, is a next gen living room Xbox.  Powered by Bing and (perhaps a built in?) Kinect, a set top Xbox TV controller could be a big seller next year, without having to replace your existing flat screen TV, and building on today’s announcements.  There’s a fanatic market out there for the latest shoot-em-up games (as evidenced by the sales of Modern Warfare 3) but the audience for a Live TV/casual game subscription/media controller could be far and away greater.  Of course squeezing another year out of the Xbox 360 for gamers before unleashing an ultra-high end gamer box in 2013 could make an interim Xbox profitable as well as popular.  Wishful thinking?

Posted December 4th, 2011 at 11:49 pm
Category: News, Opinion
Tags: Bing, Kinect, Xbox, Xbox LIVE
  • http://doctorwhofan98.wordpress.com/ doctorwhofan98

    I doubt there will be a new XBOX in 2012.

  • http://doctorwhofan98.wordpress.com/ doctorwhofan98

    I doubt there will be a new XBOX in 2012.

  • http://alexsimkin.tumblr.com/ Alex Simkin

    I doubt there will be a new XBOX in 2012.

  • http://www.about.me/AngeloGopaul Eingoluq

    They can but not with The Xbox Hardware. If I were Microsoft, I would take the Xbox’s OS, strip it of the games portion and license it along with Kinect to TV manufactures. Then open up the market place for Apps.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shameer-Mulji/1685212657 Shameer Mulji

      This would actually be a cool idea.

  • http://www.about.me/AngeloGopaul Eingoluq

    They can but not with The Xbox Hardware. If I were Microsoft, I would take the Xbox’s OS, strip it of the games portion and license it along with Kinect to TV manufactures. Then open up the market place for Apps.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shameer-Mulji/1685212657 Shameer Mulji

      This would actually be a cool idea.

  • http://www.about.me/AngeloGopaul Eingoluq

    They can but not with The Xbox Hardware. If I were Microsoft, I would take the Xbox’s OS, strip it of the games portion and license it along with Kinect to TV manufactures. Then open up the market place for Apps.

    • Shameer Mulji

      This would actually be a cool idea.

  • http://twitter.com/dustbeta Dustin Schultz

    I hope they can do it.  The problem I see are the telcos.  I have been patiently waiting years for CenturyLink to bring Microsoft Media Room based TV to my area.  Unfortunately, they have been stuck to 7 test markets forever. 

  • http://twitter.com/dustbeta Dustin Schultz

    I hope they can do it.  The problem I see are the telcos.  I have been patiently waiting years for CenturyLink to bring Microsoft Media Room based TV to my area.  Unfortunately, they have been stuck to 7 test markets forever. 

  • http://twitter.com/dustbeta Dustin S.

    I hope they can do it.  The problem I see are the telcos.  I have been patiently waiting years for CenturyLink to bring Microsoft Media Room based TV to my area.  Unfortunately, they have been stuck to 7 test markets forever. 

  • Steven

    I do not currently own an XBox or any other gaming system for that matter.  I ceased having time to play video games when I entered college (my last video gaming system was an SNES), but I suspect that my young children will soon want to play video games and that I will once again own such a system.  When that time comes, there is a good chance that I will get an XBox.  However, what I will want from that XBox is as follows:

    1) Integrated digital HDTV/FM/AM tuner with a slot for a cable card
    2) Blue-Ray drive
    3) Integrated 7.1 amplifier

    In other words, I want the Xbox to be the only box that I connect to my TV… no cable box, no disc player, no receiver.  Xbox should become the Windows Media Center HTPC that never quite took off for Microsoft.

  • Steven

    I do not currently own an XBox or any other gaming system for that matter.  I ceased having time to play video games when I entered college (my last video gaming system was an SNES), but I suspect that my young children will soon want to play video games and that I will once again own such a system.  When that time comes, there is a good chance that I will get an XBox.  However, what I will want from that XBox is as follows:

    1) Integrated digital HDTV/FM/AM tuner with a slot for a cable card
    2) Blue-Ray drive
    3) Integrated 7.1 amplifier

    In other words, I want the Xbox to be the only box that I connect to my TV… no cable box, no disc player, no receiver.  Xbox should become the Windows Media Center HTPC that never quite took off for Microsoft.

  • Guest

    I do not currently own an XBox or any other gaming system for that matter.  I ceased having time to play video games when I entered college (my last video gaming system was an SNES), but I suspect that my young children will soon want to play video games and that I will once again own such a system.  When that time comes, there is a good chance that I will get an XBox.  However, what I will want from that XBox is as follows:

    1) Integrated digital HDTV/FM/AM tuner with a slot for a cable card
    2) Blue-Ray drive
    3) Integrated 7.1 amplifier

    In other words, I want the Xbox to be the only box that I connect to my TV… no cable box, no disc player, no receiver.  Xbox should become the Windows Media Center HTPC that never quite took off for Microsoft.

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  • Guest

    I think they could have owned it had they done what they’re doing now a few years ago. But they didn’t and now Apple will be coming hard with their new TV offering in 2012.

    While MS has a big head start in installed units, the simplification and ease of use from Apple is going to be very compelling to a broader section of the market that’s already falling in love with Siri-control and doesn’t want to fool around with configuring their TV, Xbox, stereo, HTPC, MCE, Kinect, etc., and dealing with a ton of remotes. Let’s face it, the latter is going to look like the stone ages compared to just plugging in your Apple TV to power and a lan jack and ten speak naturally to control it. And that’s exactly what Apple’s marketing will be hammering home. Over and over and over again, with plenty of magical and revolutionary, and this changes everything again, thrown in for good measure.   

  • Guest

    I think they could have owned it had they done what they’re doing now a few years ago. But they didn’t and now Apple will be coming hard with their new TV offering in 2012.

    While MS has a big head start in installed units, the simplification and ease of use from Apple is going to be very compelling to a broader section of the market that’s already falling in love with Siri-control and doesn’t want to fool around with configuring their TV, Xbox, stereo, HTPC, MCE, Kinect, etc., and dealing with a ton of remotes. Let’s face it, the latter is going to look like the stone ages compared to just plugging in your Apple TV to power and a lan jack and ten speak naturally to control it. And that’s exactly what Apple’s marketing will be hammering home. Over and over and over again, with plenty of magical and revolutionary, and this changes everything again, thrown in for good measure.   

  • Guest

    I think they could have owned it had they done what they’re doing now a few years ago. But they didn’t and now Apple will be coming hard with their new TV offering in 2012.

    While MS has a big head start in installed units, the simplification and ease of use from Apple is going to be very compelling to a broader section of the market that’s already falling in love with Siri-control and doesn’t want to fool around with configuring their TV, Xbox, stereo, HTPC, MCE, Kinect, etc., and dealing with a ton of remotes. Let’s face it, the latter is going to look like the stone ages compared to just plugging in your Apple TV to power and a lan jack and ten speak naturally to control it. And that’s exactly what Apple’s marketing will be hammering home. Over and over and over again, with plenty of magical and revolutionary, and this changes everything again, thrown in for good measure.   

  • bob

    I have owned an Xbox for a number of years using it to
    watch moves from my external HD and TV using a dvb-t and dvb-s tuner to watch
    and record TV. The first one died (ring of death) but have been waiting
    patiently for years for an update as the Microsoft movie library just crashes(have
    to use mediabrowser instead) and the extras library never materialised ,
    neither has a web browser. I also purchased a kinect sensor to control these but
    this function never arrived. So after this latest update I was hoping for some
    usable function to be made available but again nothing. I know first of all
    this is a games console and that’s probably where it should stay, I’m not
    prepared to pay for live gold services i.e.  facebook twitter(free on the internet) and sky
    (which you still have to pay subscription) free view tv  that you get free and as far as internet to
    say that the Xbox is going to takeover of the
    living room it’s a bit farfetched as there’s more to life than bings games,
    movies and music provided solely by Microsoft .  Microsoft have had plenty of time to give people what
    they want, not give people what Microsoft wants that’s why the likes of Apple, Google
    and Amazon are cashing in not fumbling around trying to push  a dizzy array of  third rate products forward in the hope that
    this will conquer the market once again.


    I have owned an Xbox for a number of years using it to
    watch moves from my external HD and TV using a dvb-t and dvb-s tuner to watch
    and record TV. The first one died (ring of death) but have been waiting
    patiently for years for an update as the Microsoft movie library just crashes(have
    to use mediabrowser instead) and the extras library never materialised ,
    neither has a web browser. I also purchased a kinect sensor to control these but
    this function never arrived. So after this latest update I was hoping for some
    usable function to be made available but again nothing. I know first of all
    this is a games console and that’s probably where it should stay, I’m not
    prepared to pay for live gold services i.e.  facebook twitter(free on the internet) and sky
    (which you still have to pay subscription) free view tv  that you get free and as far as internet to
    say that the Xbox is going to takeover of the
    living room it’s a bit farfetched as there’s more to life than bings games,
    movies and music provided solely by Microsoft . 
    Microsoft have had plenty of time to give people what
    they want, not give people what Microsoft wants that’s why the likes of Apple, Google
    and Amazon are cashing in not fumbling around trying to push  a dizzy array of  third rate products forward in the hope that
    this will conquer the market once again.

     

  • bob

    I have owned an Xbox for a number of years using it to
    watch moves from my external HD and TV using a dvb-t and dvb-s tuner to watch
    and record TV. The first one died (ring of death) but have been waiting
    patiently for years for an update as the Microsoft movie library just crashes(have
    to use mediabrowser instead) and the extras library never materialised ,
    neither has a web browser. I also purchased a kinect sensor to control these but
    this function never arrived. So after this latest update I was hoping for some
    usable function to be made available but again nothing. I know first of all
    this is a games console and that’s probably where it should stay, I’m not
    prepared to pay for live gold services i.e.  facebook twitter(free on the internet) and sky
    (which you still have to pay subscription) free view tv  that you get free and as far as internet to
    say that the Xbox is going to takeover of the
    living room it’s a bit farfetched as there’s more to life than bings games,
    movies and music provided solely by Microsoft .  Microsoft have had plenty of time to give people what
    they want, not give people what Microsoft wants that’s why the likes of Apple, Google
    and Amazon are cashing in not fumbling around trying to push  a dizzy array of  third rate products forward in the hope that
    this will conquer the market once again.


    I have owned an Xbox for a number of years using it to
    watch moves from my external HD and TV using a dvb-t and dvb-s tuner to watch
    and record TV. The first one died (ring of death) but have been waiting
    patiently for years for an update as the Microsoft movie library just crashes(have
    to use mediabrowser instead) and the extras library never materialised ,
    neither has a web browser. I also purchased a kinect sensor to control these but
    this function never arrived. So after this latest update I was hoping for some
    usable function to be made available but again nothing. I know first of all
    this is a games console and that’s probably where it should stay, I’m not
    prepared to pay for live gold services i.e.  facebook twitter(free on the internet) and sky
    (which you still have to pay subscription) free view tv  that you get free and as far as internet to
    say that the Xbox is going to takeover of the
    living room it’s a bit farfetched as there’s more to life than bings games,
    movies and music provided solely by Microsoft . 
    Microsoft have had plenty of time to give people what
    they want, not give people what Microsoft wants that’s why the likes of Apple, Google
    and Amazon are cashing in not fumbling around trying to push  a dizzy array of  third rate products forward in the hope that
    this will conquer the market once again.

     

  • bob

    I have owned an Xbox for a number of years using it to
    watch moves from my external HD and TV using a dvb-t and dvb-s tuner to watch
    and record TV. The first one died (ring of death) but have been waiting
    patiently for years for an update as the Microsoft movie library just crashes(have
    to use mediabrowser instead) and the extras library never materialised ,
    neither has a web browser. I also purchased a kinect sensor to control these but
    this function never arrived. So after this latest update I was hoping for some
    usable function to be made available but again nothing. I know first of all
    this is a games console and that’s probably where it should stay, I’m not
    prepared to pay for live gold services i.e.  facebook twitter(free on the internet) and sky
    (which you still have to pay subscription) free view tv  that you get free and as far as internet to
    say that the Xbox is going to takeover of the
    living room it’s a bit farfetched as there’s more to life than bings games,
    movies and music provided solely by Microsoft .  Microsoft have had plenty of time to give people what
    they want, not give people what Microsoft wants that’s why the likes of Apple, Google
    and Amazon are cashing in not fumbling around trying to push  a dizzy array of  third rate products forward in the hope that
    this will conquer the market once again.


    I have owned an Xbox for a number of years using it to
    watch moves from my external HD and TV using a dvb-t and dvb-s tuner to watch
    and record TV. The first one died (ring of death) but have been waiting
    patiently for years for an update as the Microsoft movie library just crashes(have
    to use mediabrowser instead) and the extras library never materialised ,
    neither has a web browser. I also purchased a kinect sensor to control these but
    this function never arrived. So after this latest update I was hoping for some
    usable function to be made available but again nothing. I know first of all
    this is a games console and that’s probably where it should stay, I’m not
    prepared to pay for live gold services i.e.  facebook twitter(free on the internet) and sky
    (which you still have to pay subscription) free view tv  that you get free and as far as internet to
    say that the Xbox is going to takeover of the
    living room it’s a bit farfetched as there’s more to life than bings games,
    movies and music provided solely by Microsoft . 
    Microsoft have had plenty of time to give people what
    they want, not give people what Microsoft wants that’s why the likes of Apple, Google
    and Amazon are cashing in not fumbling around trying to push  a dizzy array of  third rate products forward in the hope that
    this will conquer the market once again.