retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Seattle Times reports that Microsoft yesterday announced the release of Xbox One, described as "a powerful new version of its Xbox console that will bring sci-fi controls to home entertainment and run a new generation of ultrarealistic games ... The console will compete against Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 4 and Nintendo’s Wii U, though the broader competition is for the attention of consumers whose dollars and leisure time are increasingly taken by tablets, phones and inexpensive apps and games.

"Unlike previous versions of the Xbox that initially targeted game enthusiasts, the Xbox One is designed from the start to be both a game and entertainment system that adds Microsoft’s technology to users’ televisions, including motion-control, voice recognition and online entertainment services."

The story notes that "Microsoft sees the Xbox One as the heart of the living room, where the TV and video services can be controlled with voice commands and gestures recognized by the Kinect sensor. The console also blends broadcast and online services, such as fantasy football games that surface during live broadcasts of games."

Proof positive of Microsoft's ambitions for the new Xbox: Steven Spielberg has already signed on to produce a live-action series that will be available only via the Xbox system (in much the same way that "House of Cards" only has been available to Netflix subscribers).
KC's View:
Yet another example of the reshaping of the competitive wars, and how battles are now being fought in sometimes unfamiliar territory, because to not do so is to offer the competition an opening. Which one never can afford to do.