Microsoft has announced that it will release a new version of its Xbox video game console.
The Xbox has been a moneymaker for the company over the last decade, unlike its Windows 8 operating system and the Surface tablet-computing device. The Microsoft Xbox One is scheduled to hit the market just in time for the holiday season. The console is being introduced to consumers at a time when they have the option of playing games on smart phones and iPads, which allow for the convenience of mobile gaming, so the competitive environment is very tense.
The major feature of the new Xbox is a new generation of Kinect, the camera-based motion control sensor, which was introduced several years ago as an Xbox 360 accessory. The new Kinect will be a standard feature with every Xbox One.
A new live-action series accessed through Xbox. Microsoft also plans to develop its own original live-action television series, which will be accessed through the Xbox, in hopes to make the console more appealing. The series will be made in partnership with Steven Spielberg, and will be based on the popular Halo video game franchise. The company is also working with the National Football League (NFL) to develop an app for the Xbox that lets players interact with their fantasy football teams while watching a live game.
These new features are an attempt to capture some of the dwindling gaming marketing. The total amount of U.S. retail sales of game hardware and software fell by 25% to $495.2 million in April from $657.5 million one year earlier, according to estimate provided by NPD Group, a research firm. These figures do not include the sales of downloadable content over the Internet.
Will the latest version of the Xbox be a success? That remains to be seen. Alex St. John, an entrepreneur who worked on Microsoft’s pre-Xbox campaign expressed his doubts, saying, “They’re coming out with the latest and greatest stone tool. The new console that trumps the old console is the Apple iPad. This generation of kids loves mobile games.”