The company has started preparing computers, game consoles and mobile phones to lead up to the new push for Kinect devices for the holiday season. The effort is to turn the Xbox into a universal media hub for the household, and not just a gaming device.
“We want to focus more on experiences,” said David McLean, consumer channels group lead at Microsoft in Australia. “Our job is to make sure, no matter what you are doing, it is with Xbox.”
Consumers will be able to access their TVs, computers and other devices using voice and gestures via the Kinect camera and microphone device.
Next year, Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, plans to offer voice search through TVs connected to the Xbox. “We will be launching voice in Australia pre-Christmas,” Mr. McLean said. “It creates a different experience.”
The shift, which will encompass the company promoting the experiences that can be had on Windows PCs and phones, is already having an impact in the US, where it debuted earlier this year.
Mr McLean said that the Xbox consoles were being used more and more by consumers for things other than gaming, including watching television programs and streaming movies.
Measurements show an average of 40 percent of time on an Xbox is spent on non-gaming activities. “In the US, Netflix is responsible for 25 per cent of broadband usage and 40 per cent of those people are streaming it through an Xbox,” he said.
Mr Mclean said that the use of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter would also take on a new dimension through the use of voice and that Microsoft could lure new customers to the Xbox who would not necessarily even use a traditional controller.
“As I look at what is happening, natural-use interfaces are going to be the norm,” he said. “I think the technology community has for too long siloed people,” Mr McLean said. “Consumers are diverse in what they like and what the Xbox is will be different for different people.”