Is Microsoft about to get spanked big time in the gaming industry ?
All of its competitors are appearing to offer as good and cheaper when it comes to the basics, not to mention features like remote play on vita etc. and now a plethora of new services (PayStation Now) , Steam Box PC's etc. Looks like they are losing ground in both consoles and now PC gaming.
Sadly, at the moment the only advantage I see MS having is only in exclusive titles, which is debatable anywhere. Microsoft bet its console future on a single peripheral 'Kinect 2', it's where the money went into as opposed to beefing up the hardware it seems. As of current there are no titles out there that offer a bettered and highly thought after experience that is facilitated by the kinect and that is a problem. I will not be quick to dismiss the advantages of kinect as the consoles just launched, but should it fail to deliver and augment the gaming experience significantly I see the XBOX being steam rolled by Sony's PS4 in all respects, particularly outside of the U.S
Speaking of 'steam rolled', I very much like the idea of bringing the PC into the living room. I believe the only thing that hindered its advent there before is form factor and the 'PC/Obtrusive desktop' nature of using an OS like Windows. Now that this is being addressed I see Windows losing its status as the de facto platform for PC gaming, if not immediately, then over 18 month or so. Considering that you can stream games from a Windows PC to a PC running steam OS, this would make the transition that much easier.
I've said it before (http://www.theverge.com/2013/12/11/5201222/microsoft-is-about-to-give-up-the-pc-gaming-and-enthusiast-market-to) and I'll say it again. Microsoft should have taken the Valve/steam approach and capitalised on all PC's by essentially turning the XBOX One into a PC with some additional services/software for optimal use in living room and interaction with TV/IPTV services etc. But all the core API's (Graphics and input related) used for AAA games should be 1:1 with any Windows powered PC and GUI engine should be the same as in Windows, thus allowing any PC that meets the minimal specs (stringent minimal hardware profile standard/conventions spec followed by devs and certification system for PC's implemented) to run XBOX AAA games and use the same peripherals that are used by the XBOX (kinect, controller etc.) The only thing that would set the XBOX apart from any other PC is perhaps slight changes to the version of Windows it would be running, with some limitations and TV/Gaming oriented features built in, the hardware used would of course be vertically integrated with the OS to squeeze all performance out. But otherwise the XBOX would be just a neat little PC running Windows (Metro UI/WinRT/Game oriented API's/libraries only of course, no legacy heft), capable of running all new apps made for the Windows store. The XBOX could also be used as that 'minimal hardware spec/profile that devs will optimise for and test with' with any 'non XBOX ' PC having to be at least as powerful or more so to run XBOX.. err PC titles.
Essentially every capable PC out there could be the XBOX, instead of steam OS it would be running Windows, the utility/console like interaction can be facilitated by the Metro UI. The XBOX brand would fuel game development of these new PC titles that run on both a Microsoft made XBOX/PC and any other PC that meets minimal specs. Microsoft is missing a great opportunity here imho, especially whilst it still the most relevant in PC gaming and arguable console, but should it miss the train it's goodnight Irene.