Microsoft Fixing Xbox One's Social Shortcomings: Report
Microsoft is reportedly preparing an update for its Xbox One game console that, if all goes according to plan, will smooth over some of the device's less-than-seamless social features.
During the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Xbox Chief Product Officer Marc Whitten told Engadget's Ben Gilbert, that Microsoft is working on fixing "the Live experience." Users have reported to the company that the next-gen system is a step back in some respects.
"The feedback we've gotten is pretty valid; some of the social stuff is hidden or harder to use than it was on the Xbox 360," said Whitten. "So you're gonna see us come out with an update where, well, we're going to fix those things."
Having spent a decade helping to build Xbox Live, Whitten told the tech blog that he takes "it pretty seriously when people say it's harder to get into a party, and the defaults aren't right, and I don't like the model." So he is leading an internal push to address some of the issues that are keeping users from enjoying some of the system's biggest draws: social-enabled gaming. "Let's take an update and really go through a big list of what we're hearing from customers, what we know is broken with the architecture, areas that we want to improve or complete."
Whitten's comments suggested that Microsoft may issue the update before E3 in June. Whitten's "general strategy at E3 is to talk about things that are gonna happen from that E3 to the next E3," he told Gilbert before adding, "So, we are not yet to the next E3."
The update may lack one of the Xbox One's most anticipated features. "Promised game-streaming functionality, however, may not be coming as quickly," wrote Gilbert.
In terms of the console's launch, Whitten said that he was "really thrilled." Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of marketing, strategy and business for the Xbox division announced Jan. 6 that more than "3 million Xbox One consoles were sold to consumers in 13 countries before the end of 2013."
Mehdi also suggested that his company's all-in-one entertainment strategy is paying off. "Millions of hours of live TV have been watched and millions of hours of app entertainment have been enjoyed," he said.
Shortly after releasing those sales figures, Sony chimed in Jan. 7 to reveal that it had sold 4.2 million units of the competing PlayStation 4 console as of December 28, 2013. "The momentum of the PS4 system keeps getting stronger and we couldn't be more thrilled gamers worldwide are enjoying the incredibly immersive gaming experiences along with deep social capabilities and entertainment provided by our network," said Andrew House, president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment.
CES also provided the backdrop for a major milestone in Linux gaming and the arrival of an open-source rival to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Valve used the event to unveil its Steam Machine Linux gaming console, which is based on an optimized Debian Linux distribution and will be made by 14 vendors, including Alienware, Falcon NW and GigaByte. In a statement, Valve co-founder Gabe Newell explained his company's approach toward gaming hardware. "With over 3,000 games and more than 65 million gamers on Steam, it's important to offer gamers a variety of Steam Machines that allow them to select what makes the most sense for them."