Remember back to the days when video game consoles were nothing more than home-versions of coin-op arcade games? Players would blow on their cartridge (as if that really did anything) to make them work, pop them in and start playing. Today's consoles offer much more to consumers, not only in terms of the games they can play, but also in the services they provide -- from digital streaming of television programming to multiplayer gaming, today's consoles are nothing like their forefathers of years past.
What was simply hinted at earlier this year with the Kinect-enabled TV ads, the future of the Xbox 360 is apparently upon us now. With a consumer base that demands more functionality from all their digital devices, the Xbox 360 will feature UFC on-demand, FiOS set-top box functionality (though no Party Mode for video viewing). Microsoft is essentially turning the console into one giant app repository, and they are putting forth requirements for software developers who hope to join the party.
At the very top of this list is the Kinect motion sensor. With the tremendous success of the Kinect platform, Microsoft is making it a requirement that all future applications for the Xbox 360 support Kinect.
Microsoft is assisting gaming and software designers with the development of the applications, supporting them with tools that will help index search terms for voice recognition and motion controls. The goal for Microsoft is to have a standard for voice search across multiple partner pipelines, which will ultimately fan out and spread to Kinect for Windows in 2012, the Windows Phone and just about any other Microsoft-powered device in the future.
This move just shows how incredibly important the Kinect platform is to Microsoft and their brand. Following the release of the updated Xbox dashboard, it would appear that Microsoft is striving for more cohesion with their products and streamlining them into one, giant, entertainment package. From a consumer standpoint, it makes it much easier to get behind a brand and a company when integration is as important as it apparently is with Microsoft.
Ranters, what are your thoughts on the new direction Microsoft is taking? Do you find yourself using more apps than games on the console?
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