with over five million consoles shipped so far. But perception is all too often reality, and Xbox One has been playing second fiddle to PlayStation 4 since E3 2013. Sony has been all about games with PS4, but with Xbox One, many claim that Microsoft has done more to alienate gamers than engender their confidence.Today, Microsoft unleashed a torrent of news about Xbox One, tacitly revealing that it's learned plenty of lessons over the past six months. Its new console is experiencing success in the market,
Xbox One may be selling well, but PlayStation 4 is doing much better, and Microsoft knew full well that things had to change. It needed to stop acting on flawed instincts, and start listening. And according to a series of announcements early this morning, the company has been listening, and things will indeed change. The result is making Xbox One and its various services feel a whole lot like its competition's. Then again, Microsoft has been here before.
In the early 1980s, Microsoft dutifully made software to run on Apple computers and IBM-compatible PCs alike, until it realized that it could make an operating system that would steal Apple's thunder. As a result, Windows was born. Jobs and company confronted Gates and his crew over lifting what would later be known as the "look and feel" of Macintosh's OS, but Gates had a trump card: Apple was grabbing many of its "ideas" from Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center. Everyone was borrowing liberally from everyone else.
Microsoft and Apple persist as dominant players in the computing space; Xerox is a footnote in the history of the personal computer...
Xerox, a company mortified of competing with its own paper and copier businesses, had no idea what to do with the futuristic technology its employees were creating. It was rigid and refused to adapt. Apple knew what to do with that technology, even poaching many of Xerox's smartest employees to replicate that tech on Macintosh. Likewise, Microsoft also saw the writing on the wall, as it notably mimicked what Apple was doing using its access to early Macintosh development kits. As Steve Jobs said years later, encompassing the entire episode using an amazing Pablo Picasso quote: "Good artists copy. Great artists steal."
By pillaging Xerox's ideas, Apple profited and thrived. Microsoft profited and thrived even more by modeling Windows after Macintosh's OS, which was in turn a copy of Xerox Alto's operating system. What's the point of all of this? Microsoft and Apple persist as dominant players in the computing space; Xerox is a footnote in the history of the personal computer when it could have completely dominated it. All it took was clear vision and the acceptance that, sometimes, other people and other companies have better ideas than you do, and that it may just behoove you to replicate instead of innovate.
In addition to going Kinect-less, Microsoft has also ended its befuddling paywall between its users and streaming services available on Xbox One (as well as Xbox 360). For years, an Xbox Live Gold account was necessary to watch Netflix, HBO Go, and just about anything else on Xbox Live. This was a puzzling stance for Microsoft to take, and it increasingly rattled consumers who understood that in addition to paying for a service like Netflix, they had to pay Microsoft for the honor of actually using it. It was, in short, complete nonsense.
It was obvious to anyone in the PlayStation ecosystem that Xbox Live Gold's paywall approach was that service's Achilles' heel...
Sony beat Microsoft to the punch years ago by giving anyone with a PlayStation 3 -- and now a PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 -- completely free access to streaming services. You'd still have to pay for Netflix, Crunchyroll, NHL GameCenter, and all of the rest, but you didn't have to pay Sony to download the program and use it on your television or handheld. It was obvious to anyone in the PlayStation ecosystem that Xbox Live Gold's paywall approach was that service's Achilles' heel, and finally -- taking another page from Sony's book -- Microsoft has learned that, too.
And then there's this matter of Games with Gold, Microsoft's half-hearted attempt to compete with Sony's overwhelmingly popular PlayStation Plus program. Games with Gold has had a slow start, and it's been relegated only to older Xbox 360 games, but all of that is about to change, too. Next month, Games with Gold migrates to Xbox One, and like PlayStation Plus, it will give players separate games for free across various platforms. Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Halo: Spartan Assault will get things rolling on One in just a few weeks.