I’ve had my XBox One for a whole 16 hours, give or take. So far, my experience with it is completely positive. I’ll be updating this post a bit over the next couple of days as I experience more with this Generation Eight console.
Here are some quick observations in bulleted form:
I like my XBox 360. It entertains me, and when I want to play a game it basically just works (ignoring that RROD incident a while back…). But Microsoft has, in my opinion, had trouble in the past coming up with good advertising that appeals to the mass market. This little Youtube video from Microsoft that plays off the avatars in the “New Xbox Experience” user interface changes the tone, and it seems to me that it has appeal that extends beyond the hard core gamer:
Here’s hoping that Microsoft can win over a few of the less hardcore who may be getting tired with their Wiis…
Microsoft has been working on something they call “Surface” technology. Basically, it is a touch sensitive user interface, and it is usually demonstrated using a large, flat horizontal LCD panel… a table. I’ve had my doubts about the usefulness of this technology outside of a niche environment- but I’m ready to be proven wrong. That said, I find the following video pretty effectively expresses my doubts…
I first encountered Microsoft in terms of buying their products in about 1981. I bought a game for my Apple II- Adventure (aka “Colossal Cave”, the original Crowther and Woods text based adventure) from them. I followed Bill Gates’ career from about that time, and always felt like, in a weird way, he and I were twins separated at birth… even though he’s older than me and I’m far, far sexier.
In about 1990, I had a beer (several, actually- I think it was a post-training course social thing) with a fellow in Seattle who told me I looked just like Bill. He then proceeded to tell me how his family used to have a summer cottage near the Gates’ clan when Bill was a kid. He described summers sharing BBQs and swimming with the Gates’ family, and turning down a job offer from Bill in the early 1980’s. My momentary pride at being described as “like Bill Gates” was quashed when the guy described the young Bill Gates as a pain in the neck smartass geek, and how he once nearly drowned Bill while swimming because he was so irritating.
In later life, I realized that the “pain in the neck smartass” was a lot more like me than I was probably willing to admit.
Microsoft is giving clearer and clearer signs that they really “get” the frustration and pain their complex and sometimes buggy software causes. Their error reporting features within Windows XP have allowed Microsoft to reduce system problems significantly. But what’s next?
I’m pretty sure that Mr. Mossberg didn’t actually intend to predict the end of the personal computer. That’s been done so many times before its almost laughable. Network Computers were hyped and died in the mid ’90s. We’ve had several generations of game consoles that were supposed to kill the personal computer. And now ubiquitous devices like iPods and web browser/camera/music player/pda/cell phones are going will be the death nell that removes that machine from under your desk.