So he spoke, and the minstrel, moved by the god, began and let his song be heard, taking up the tale where the Argives had embarked on their benched ships and were sailing away after casting fire on their huts, while those others led by glorious Odysseus were now sitting in the place of assembly of the Trojans, hidden in the horse; for the Trojans had themselves dragged it to the citadel.

— The Odyssey




For as long as the Xbox has existed, it has been called a Trojan horse.

It’s easy to understand why: the tech industry has been trying and failing to displace the cable box as the primary entertainment device in the living room for years with little success, just as the Greeks fought and died for a decade attempting to breach the walls of Troy. Products like Microsoft’s WebTV were unceremoniously cut off at the knees by vengeful cable companies intent on protecting their interests, and platforms like Windows Media Center have been soundly rejected by consumers for being too costly and demanding. Meanwhile the petty gods of content have capriciously meddled with strategy and planning, but none have been powerful enough to shape the final outcome.

But the Xbox has long since made it past the walls, rolled into TV racks and living rooms around the world not as another weapon of war, but as a mysterious container of delights. The original Xbox and the pioneering Xbox Live service ushered in the era of connected entertainment, while the Xbox 360 has mutated from high-definition game console to multimedia powerhouse over the past eight years. The focus of the 360 stayed firmly on games, though. Video services like Netflix were a secondary attraction.

Now Microsoft is launching the Xbox One, a new console designed from the ground up to not only play games, but to run apps, control your television, and literally watch and listen to the people in your living room all the time. With the Xbox One, there’s no more laying in wait, no more secret plan in the offing. The Trojan horse has split wide open and the soldiers are pouring out.

Microsoft is laying siege to the city.