Microsoft can put a Holodeck in your living room, they just don’t know it yet.
Like Smartphones and iPads, the Xbox 360 is a personal product. It is loved by tens of millions of people of all ages who spend countless hours enjoying it. They have a deep sense of ownership and loyalty to the brand. It has become a large part of life for over 70 million families.
Microsoft using Windows 8 could expand the high emotions and success of the 360. Parley them into PC and Tablet sales with integrated features and strategy between platforms, like Apple has been very successful at, but they blew it.
The Xbox One is one of the worst product announcements in recent gaming history. It was packed with features to make a marketing executive drool, and a gamer run to the competition.
The console and Xbox Live service are the only two properties left that Microsoft has any real customer value. Everyone I know does not like Windows 8, RT or Phone.
They should do what works: copy Apple. Use the Cloud to make Xbox One and content fully integrated across Windows devices. Focus on each platform as access points to the same content in the Cloud, providing high value to the customer in every form factor. Then they will have a reason to buy Windows Devices. Harness the success of competitors who beat you in the Smartphone market by selling games and content on mobile Xbox Dashboards across iPhone and Andriod devices.
Microsoft can change its fate by making a bold move to save the Xbox One and beat Sony. An opportunity that can directly lead to increased hardware and Win 8 sales.
Acquire Oculus Rift (for the right reason)
Oculus Rift Virtual Reality is the cutting edge platform that has really swept the gamer community up like no other product in recent memory. To be honest, I wonder if I am the only one who noticed but it is missing something important for real immersion: data about your body and spacial topography of the room around you. The Rift is blind.
The current device has accelerometers which can only provide head tracking. Fine for simple mapping head movement of the gamer to the virtual character on screen. This indeed, turns out to be perfect for putting the gamer into their Avatar, but I believe it can do so much more.
The Rift is really the first step in game immersion in its current state. Now that, I am my avatar, It is a natural feeling to want to see my body and have my movements appear in game. My contention is the true power of the Rift is untapped.
Consider how much more fun the Rift would be if instead of using a controller to play while wearing it, you’re holding a real sword, and see in game, your arm and body as you swing it in real time. Walk forward and Back in your living room and your avatar does the same. Even a rifle with trigger and reloading, fully digitized in game along with your body. Whatever you do, the game does. Then the Rift is really immersive. Then you are really in your Avatar. You need to perform movement like a real soldier to win: ducking, strafing, reloading and firing. A Knight when using a sword and shield. Achieve a truly next-gen experience by blurring the division between the game, the controller and the room the gamer is in. Our own personal Holodeck and Microsoft is in the best position to do just that.
The biggest challenge with Virtual Reality (VR) is movement. The holy grail in gaming is to have high definition head tracking VR headset that lets you walk in real time and register in game. Classically, the problem from an engineering perspective is this is very hard to do, and if you get it wrong people can get hurt and property damaged easily.