Media Center is on its last leg. The program wasn’t even updated for Windows 8, and Microsoft seems to be abandoning the program and moving towards making the Xbox the center of the living room, and in return featuring Media Center capabilities.
The problem is even after the Xbox One announcement, we still have yet to see a solid replacement from the Xbox experience to people to switch Media Center PCs to the Xbox console. With many features still left out, or hindered by the general direction of the video game industry when it comes to DRM based content.
The console itself even has that PC case design to it. With all the components of the console such as the main box, Kinect and the controller featuring hard industrial edges and design. With the box itself somewhat close to how old Compaq computers used to look like. Essentially Microsoft is cementing the idea that the Xbox is your living room PC. With it also running a three tier OS now which is Xbox > Juicy Interconnectioness and Windows on top. They are merging the ecosystems together in such a way that the experience is unified as closely as possible on all platforms. From PC to Windows Phone to of course Xbox One.
Let’s talk about recording TV. For one it was never really discussed, or even mentioned if it was a true feature. The console has this magical button which allows DVR, but it seems to be focused around video games. With the idea not touched on, sounding like it was hastily put in after the Sony conference. Essentially the Xbox offering is a guide, the Wii U does that in Tvii for example what this Xbox TV function will do. The problem is many people are expecting more for a few reasons, one the reveal and the Xbox one is all about been your one stop shop for entertainment, secondly Microsoft has a strategy which seems to be to step back from Media Center and try and offer those functions on the Xbox ecosystem. Which has created a product which doesn’t do what people expect, because of what they are doing action wise.
They killed the Zune brand a few years ago to create Xbox Music and Video. Essentially creating the entertainment side of the Xbox brand. Everything seems to have the goal of moving over to Xbox as the entertainment brand, which includes games. The Zune brand had one big problem, it was that no one knew what it was from a hardware standpoint due to its limited launch. This along with the lack of a strong push and selective markets created the same problem the Surface is experiencing. You have hardware which launched in America, which due to resources been put too much onto the RT (they really believed in the RT more than they should of) this created a lack of resources to create and develop the Surface Pro hardware. Which lead to barely any units for America which lead to worldwide units been sucked up into America which lead to no launch for worldwide regions until the end of this month in May. Which has created a problem in the line where many people are not that interested in it anymore, or are waiting for the next upgrade to come around, with the logic that Microsoft would follow the Apple release scheduling for the Surface.
The problem is Microsoft is thinking too far ahead when it comes to the primary entertainment goal. Not adapting the Media Center program functions after letting the program just sit stagnated on Windows. What we have is they are looking for cable and pay tv for their TV content, and putting a DRM onto that. Then with services like Netflix and Hulu they are providing the on demand side of the equation.
This is all well and good, but this solution barely works in America. What about places like Australia where we don’t have the internet for on demand or the services to begin with. Even pay tv doesn’t have as big of a reach in Australia (despite those crazy sports fans) with the cable side of the problem not even logical. We are more tailored to free to air. Which the Xbox has no way to plug in. This is also a problem in other regions worldwide which don’t get the services which Microsoft is tailoring their strategy behind.
They need to take a step back and either rethink their Media Center strategy and release an updated version of it for Windows 8, or release functions which the program has in their Xbox Guide. Otherwise Microsoft has created too conflicting strategies which are based around killing or leaving be one of those strategies.