When Microsoft originally unveiled the Xbox One nearly two years ago, the software maker was focused heavily on entertainment. Reaction was swift and critical from fans, and the launch quickly turned into a disaster. Phil Spencer, Microsoft's Xbox chief, took over the role around a year ago and he has re-centered the company's focus on gaming. In an interview with The Verge, Spencer has shared some of his vision around the future of the entertainment features in the Xbox One.
While as much time is spent watching entertainment on an Xbox console as playing games, Microsoft appears to be looking at new ways to bring entertainment features to the Xbox. "We probably have taken a little different approach than we did at launch," admits Spencer. "We've been thinking a lot about over-the-top and over-the-air conent and how the aggregation of all your content in this un-bundled world that people seem to be living in." Part of that has seen the company launch Xbox One digital TV tuners, and Spencer says the company will continue down that type of path.
"I'm not sure we have as much value to add there."
"Whether I think I'm going to become an additive thing to your cable box... I'm not sure we have as much value to add there in the long run where I think about where the space is going." That's not surprising. Almost every Xbox executive we profiled for its TV integration has left the company. While the Xbox One promised deep interactive TV integration, the result has been a mix of IR blasters and UI on top of cable boxes. Spencer now sees Xbox adding value in helping people find the right TV show or the ability to watch content streamed from an Xbox to other devices. "We see what people do on the box and we know making advances in the entertainment space is important," he says. "You'll hear more from us soon actually about that."
Rumors have suggested Microsoft is working on a DVR feature for the Xbox One to let you record TV shows. With Microsoft planning a bigger presence at the Gamescom event next week, it's possible we'll see some announcements around entertainment. "I think there are natural features that you could see where an Xbox could do a god job helping, especially in a world where you have video sources from all over the place," teases Spencer. That sounds like a hint at might what might get announced next week. The Verge will be reporting live from Gamescom, so stay tuned for all of our Xbox coverage.