In June 2012, internet forums lit up as blurry scans of what were claimed to be two-year-old Microsoft home enter-tainment strategy abstracts appeared. Promising “all your entertainment served up from the cloud” with “hands free/heads up ambient experiences on the go”, the documents visualised a future in which the Xbox 360 console could serve as the one-stop content hub of the home, taking its data from the cloud and streaming it across Windows phones, PCs, physical input sensors like Kinect and tablets.
Genuine or not, the documents reinforced what many had long suspected; that Microsoft is gearing up to blitz people’s homes with an all-consuming interconnectivity that even Apple can’t quite match.
“Microsoft is now an all-round media company, especially with Skype on board,” CTO and co-founder of Blitz Games, Andrew Oliver, told Computing.
“They clearly said; ‘Hang on, if we can control the box under your TV, and the thing in your pocket, and get it to do everything, then that’s a really powerful move’. And I think they’re trying to shift everyone’s mindset.”
But Microsoft’s not alone in thinking this. Apple is one obvious potential competitor. Though Apple TV remains the province of the really committed i-power user, it surely can’t be long until a simpler, more streamlined solution emerges from the lifestyle tech company.
“If Apple were to come out and use all their design mentality on a TV, they would just sell blindingly well,” says Oliver.