The next Xbox isn’t just for gamers, honest

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Microsoft is to discuss selling MediaRoom, its IPTV business, to Ericsson, Bloomburg reports today. With the announcement of the Xbox 360’s successor expected at E3 in June, and the mooted creation of a specialist Cloud TV team within the Xbox hierarchy, the sale of MediaRoom further suggests that Microsoft is planning to make the next Xbox the focus of its efforts to dominate the living room.

Personally, I’ve long been lauding the games console as a sensible bet for home entertainment, urging friends and family to think about getting one. The integration with third parties like Netflix, LOVEFiLM, Sky and iPlayer make consoles a viable VOD proposition. Additional entertainment services, such as music, and social features are also being added.

Efforts to make controlling consoles easier and more intuitive with technologies like Kinect and SmartGlass are aimed at making these platforms accessible to the masses.

Finally, hardware for next-generation consoles will be the locked down for at least the next 5-10 years, making them a relatively future proof choice. However, the software is likely to change out of all recognition during that lifespan, eking more and more performance out of the hardware.

Next-generation consoles are still being marketed as gaming devices with other bolt ons, but in reality they are so much more. It will be interesting to see if and when console manufacturers switch the marketing emphasis.

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