If I had to summarise my view of the XBox One in a single sentence, it would be an average graphics card wrapped in a media centre and placed in a VCR with XBox written on it. I don’t mean to knock the machine, but I do think the XBox team at Microsoft has taken a wrong turn.
The first XBox was a gamer’s wet dream. As a kid I saved my pocket money all year just to buy one. From its core to its shell, the first XBox had my interests and values as a gamer at heart. It looked, felt and played like a weapon honed for gaming and nothing but. My passion for games was well looked after, and every dollar of my investment went towards that passion.
Today however, I think Microsoft has made the mistake of polluting XBox with their problematic ideas about an all-in-one PC for the living room. It’s been a confusing vision since Windows Media Centre first appeared in 2002. The XBox today has been lumbered with Windows integration, television, apps, internet, music and movies. XBox One games unsurprisingly run in lower resolutions and frame rates. With every update, the operating system looks and feels more like the bloated MSN.com. Where the first XBox made me feel at home as a gamer, the XBox All-In-One makes me feel almost forgotten.
I do welcome the idea of a media centre under my TV — the XBox One does after all make a terrific Blu-ray and media player. But I think turning a console marketed at gamers into a set top box is one of the big reasons why XBox One sales are so far behind. I think Microsoft should take XBox back to its roots and think about funnelling other priorities into a whole different product.