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Microsoft: Xbox 360 Made for Families, Not Gamers

| 18 Jan 2011 00:24
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Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer has made it clear that he wants the Xbox 360 to be seen as more than just a box that plays games.

To Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer, the Xbox 360 is not a videogame console. This designation appears to be too limiting for Balmer, who says that he hopes Microsoft's efforts can make the world see the Xbox 360 as a "family entertainment center" instead.

I don't know about you, but when I hear "family entertainment center" I think of a restaurant arcade where an 8-year-old can go off and play skee-ball to try and win a fun-sized Snickers while his parents have a few drinks over a plate of coconut shrimp, not the Xbox 360. Balmer sees things differently, telling USA Today: "Xbox isn't a gaming console. Xbox is a family entertainment center."

The basic idea is that Microsoft wants to extend the life of the Xbox 360 by making it something that every member of society would want to own, not just someone that wants to play games. "It's a place to socialize," he added. "It's a place to watch TV. We have Hulu coming. It's the only system where you are the controller."

Kinect is the crux of the new Xbox 360 frame of mind, with the system's "socialization" aspect expanded upon by Avatar Kinect. Balmer says he wants features like this to make the "average 15-year-old girl" as excited about the Xbox 360 as the "average 15-year-old boy."

"My wife used to say, 'No, no, that's the machine the boys use,' and now she says, 'Yeah, I want to go watch movies. Let's go play the dance game,'" Balmer said. "It opens up accessibility to family entertainment because with the Kinect, you control these systems with your body, with your voice. We've opened up the world of content in TV, movies. You just sit there and say 'Xbox' or 'play movie.'"

I've got to disagree with Mr. Balmer. Until anyone would actually buy the Xbox 360 for the primary purpose of doing something other than playing games, it is a gaming console. The other features are nice, but I'm not sure they make the Xbox 360 a "family entertainment center" yet.

Source: USA Today

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