The console wars: what they mean for the Middle East

As Xbox One is wheeled out, ITP.net asks experts what they make of the new platform

Tags: Microsoft CorporationSony Computer Entertainment Inc (www.scei.co.jp)
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The console wars: what they mean for the Middle East The Xbox One launch has drawn the battle lines in the fight for the living room.
By  Stephen McBride Published  May 23, 2013

Rumblings in the gaming community have broadcast the need for a revamp in console offerings when the next-generation of kit goes on general release. Microsoft's unveiling of the Xbox One was reminiscent of Q42012 and Q12013 releases from manufacturers of Smart TVs, smartphones and other smart devices. Voice and gesture control, Internet content hubs and multitasking came together to give the impression of a platform reborn and one ready to do battle with its forthcoming Sony-made rival, the Playstation 4.

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What is clear from both camps is that consoles are no longer one-trick ponies targeting diehard gamers alone. The all-in-one flavour runs through both Microsoft and Sony offerings.

"I don't think this new war for the crown of console gaming will be fought over who has the better, sleeker, faster or more powerful hardware," said Nitin Mathew, CEO, Cygnus Communications. "It will be about who can come up with newer, better and more fun games. The fanboys can now pipe down about the technical differences; each platform will have its exclusives and the only way to enjoy them is to have that console."

"I think Microsoft has designed a great product that is attractive to a wide audience by making a multi-purpose entertainment console," said Tristan Irons, marketing and PR manager, Red Entertainment Distribution. "This opens up the unit to the general consumer instead of just gamers. Social apps are mandatory for any product of this nature to be competitive and having Skype as stock software is really exciting too."

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Microsoft announced a number of features in the new platform that will fold in a wider offering from TV. First up is a partnership with the US NFL to allow Xbox users the opportunity to watch streaming coverage of matches while simultaneously playing Fantasy Football, tinkering with their teams while the real-world players are in action. Secondly, the Xbox maker announced that Steven Spielberg would be bringing the popular shooter series Halo to life on television, but quite how this would tie in with the gaming platform is not clear.

Media outlets worldwide have reported that the cloud-centric nature of Microsoft's new console would require connection to the Internet and that the console would be unusable if a connection were not present. Reports, such as one from extremetech.com, also referred to a requirement for the Xbox One to connect to the Web every 24-hours in order to remain in operation.

"Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet," said a Microsoft spokesperson who asked not to be named, "but that does not need to be always connected. We are also designing it so you can play games and watch Blu-ray movies and live TV if you lose your connection. There were some reports of a specific time period within which Xbox One needed to connect to the Internet; those were discussions of potential scenarios, but we have not confirmed any specific details on this.”

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