Microsoft has long wanted to extend its reach into the living room, from the desktop to the HDTV. Back when XP was still new, Microsoft put out Windows XP: Media Center Edition; soon after followed the original Xbox. Still, they didn’t get far until the Xbox 360 came out; that latter console has been the best selling console here in the states for the last several months running.
The company has made no bones about the fact that their new strategy for branding its software is going to blur the lines between Windows PCs and Windows Phones and Windows-powered (on some level) gaming consoles. The new interface for Windows 8 is quite similar to the one found on its Windows Phones; this was also shown off as the next-generation Xbox dashboard a few months ago. It’s a project they’ve been promising for some time.
It’s becoming clear that Microsoft has taken off the kid gloves and is striking hard at competition like Apple TV (and, to a lesser extent, Google TV) in order to make sure that eyes on the TV are looking at it with Microsoft products. They’ve crafted a compelling argument, too; products such as Kinect and Bing were both mocked when they first came out, and now they’ve matured into reasonable, attractive products. The Kinect unit especially has been something of a surprising success.
Admittedly, it’s fun to think of controlling your home electronics by saying a phrase like, “Xbox Bing Halo” and having all of your Halo titles pop up…even if you are required to use Bing as a verb. Whether Microsoft can leverage its strong console sales into a means of bringing both casual gamers and nongamers into their living room future remains to be seen. With products like these, however, they’re definitely off to a strong start.