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The Xbox One really is fighting an uphill battle at the moment. The company is sitting in third place as far as the eighth-generation console cycle goes and they're losing revenue share to Sony and market share to Nintendo. It looks bleak. The dire-looking situation has prompted some gamers to join in on the doom and gloom parade that follows behind any console that isn't busting through sales records or setting trends in the social media meta-verse. Such a parade managed to find itself on the doorstep of Microsoft executive Phil Spencer, who had some interesting things to say in response to the claims about the Xbox One being the nail in the coffin for Microsoft's tenure in the home console race.
Gamespot compiled the Tweets from Phil Spencer into a coherent narrative, opposite of the mish-mash of textual jargon that compromises most of the content on Twitter. When asked if he believes the Xbox One would be Microsoft's final console to run on local hardware, Spencer had this to say...
Well that's comforting, right?
Spencer didn't leave the little man, Jens-Thomas, hanging like the pebbles of a bodybuilder after their speedos snap. The Microsoft VP went on to further explain why he said what he said and illustrate how even the fastest advancing technology on the market today (viz., smartphones) still aren't entirely dependent on “teh power of da cloud”, writing...
“You can look at mobile, connected to faster networks, more cloud services but local power still increases each gen.”
Oh you have got to love the shorthand of Twitter, no?
Anyway, Spencer is 100% correct. There's no infrastructure in place in mass consumer markets to accommodate an “all-digital” initiative.
I'm sure this leaves a lot of people questioning: “Well then why on the green-grassed Earth would Microsoft push so hard for an all-digital future?”
That's a good question. Too bad Microsoft doesn't have an answer.
My best guess is that they wanted to control the consumer software ecosystem in the home entertainment market. Retailers required to be registered with Microsoft's Azure licensing system (via the cloud) and gamers having to retrieve, activate, transfer or deactivate licenses through Azure would mean that Microsoft would facilitate control of every single parameter involved with software ownership and trade (or the lack thereof).
I can't say that their plan wasn't beneficial to them – because had they managed to control market share of the home console arena – it would have elevated them to the same level of control they've managed to manufacture over the operating system sector.
As for Spencer's belief in Microsoft playing the hardware game for the long-haul... I guess we'll have to wait and see how much the Xbox division proliferates or denigrates Microsoft's overall fiscal performance over the next few years.
As it stands, the Xbox One is trailing behind the competition by a good measure.
(Main image courtesy of Techno Buffalo)