Microsoft’s Head Too Far Up In The “Cloud” to Realize Xbox One Potential

I haven’t watched traditional television in years. With the internet, iTunes, Netflix and a gaming console that acts as an entertainment hub, it would be foolish of me to throw money at a cable service. Perhaps that’s where my disdain for Microsoft’s latest console started — the near exclusive focus on all-in-one entertainment capabilities during its long-winded Xbox One announcement. I didn’t care for it then, and I surely don’t care for it now.

The attempted living room takeover isn’t the issue, however. Microsoft, the same company that aimed its previous consoles at the hardcore market long controlled by Sony, has marginalized the gaming aspects of its machine, focusing instead on the casual market exhausted by Nintendo. The problem is, Microsoft doesn’t have Nintendo’s franchises to back such an approach, and technology is quickly leaving behind the soon-to-be obsolete cable box. It’s no wonder, then, that prime investors want Microsoft to nix its gaming division. The ever-shifting market isn’t as interested in a Halo TV series as it is a 1080p capable console, and that’s something the Xbox One is failing to be.

In a recent interview with Rebellion Games’ Jean-Baptiste Bolcato, the developer claimed that eSRAM was the chain holding the Xbox One behind, as was its multimedia-centric properties.

“The Xbox One is a bit more multimedia, a bit more hub-centric so its a bit more complex. There’s stuff you can and can’t do because it’s a sort of multimedia hub. PS4 doesn’t have that. PS4 is just a games machine.”

Xbox executive Phil Harrison took to Twitter with a rebuttal claiming that the console is not at all limited, using Forza V and Kinect Sports Rivals running at 1080p as an example. While this proves that there’s a glint of hope on the horizon, it doesn’t negate the facts.

The Xbox One isn’t as powerful as the PlayStation 4. We’ve known this for quite some time, and while it’s often dismissed by Microsoft’s claim of a cloud service capable of increasing the processing power of its console, there’s no denying raw hardware superiority. We all know the story by now; the PlayStation 4 has 8GB of DDR5 available while the Xbox One is limited to 5GB. The eSRAM is supposed to even the odds, but results haven’t been favorable thus far. Gaming seems to have been an afterthought, and the promise of a 300,000 server-strong boost a major fabrication.

The power of the cloud, while promising in its premise, has unfortunately since been debunked. While cloud compensation is possible, the results are a far cry from the mind-bending presentations spewed by Microsoft executives. Fact is, the Xbox One doesn’t have to be the most powerful gaming system in order to thrive. It simply has to be a gaming system at its core, and focus on increasing its strength across the facets that matter to the primary user-base: gamers.

Microsoft’s attempt at reaching a broader audience has instead increased the cost of its system, eliminated the game-centric development that made the Xbox 360 such a successful console, and alienated a demographic uninterested in pointless innovations (i.e. Kinect). The Xbox One still has the potential to lead the console race, especially with its formidable online initiatives and exclusive software, but now the proverbial roadblock is Microsoft’s own delusional stance on the future of gaming.

There’s untapped promise in the Xbox One, but until Microsoft pulls its head from the “cloud,” we won’t be experiencing the console to its fullest potential. What do you think Microsoft can do to shift their position for the better? Share your opinions in the comments below.