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Innovation remains the name of the game for Microsoft’s Xbox 360


Innovation has been central to Microsoft’s success since entering the video games industry in 2001 and if the company’s keynote presentation at the recent E3 expo in Los Angeles is anything to go by, it will form the cornerstone of the Xbox’s success for the foreseeable future.

At the same expo last year, rival games console manufacturer Nintendo unveiled its eighth generation console and successor to the extremely popular Wii, the Wii U. Nintendo’s latest machine, which is slated to hit the shelves in Q4 2012, features a revolutionary new controller, called the GamePad which has an embedded touchscreen that allows the user to play games and see them even when the television is off. The console thus offers a dual screen experience.

Microsoft has for some time been under some pressure to unveil something new to placate gamers hungry for new tech and the plans announced at E3 did not disappoint.

Xbox SmartGlass was demonstrated at the expo and it will allow users to control games using third party devices that they already own, such as tablets and smartphone meaning that gamers can benefit from a two-screen experience without the need for new hardware. This would appear to be a direct response to Nintendo’s Wii U offering, but takes away the need for additional hardware, something which Microsoft hopes will appeal to cost-conscious consumers.

Microsoft has ploughed significant resources into its Xbox venture and it has paid dividends. As of May 2012, the Xbox 360 held a 47% share of the current-generation console market, showing that not only has it been able to enter the arena and compete with Sony and Nintendo, but, in the case of the former, overhaul it. Furthermore, this has translated in to a significant financial boon, with the Entertainment and Devices division becoming a real profit center for the company.

Innovation is crucial if the Xbox 360 is to hold the interest of consumers who have owned the system for almost seven years and this poses a serious challenge to Microsoft, particularly as the company has stated that it expects the Xbox 360 to be the center of its video games operations for at least another two years. Until the company releases a new console, it must respond to competitor movement by adding functionality to its existing machine. It has so far done this by turning what was a games console in to an entertainment hub that allows users to, among other things, play video games, watch films and listen to music. The kinect, a motion sensing input peripheral that allows the user to control and interact with the Xbox 360 without the need to touch a game controller, is ground-breaking technology and more advanced than similar products offered by Nintendo Wii and the  PlayStation. It has been a runaway success and as at the end of January 2012, it had sold 18 million units.

Microsoft has therefore seen firsthand just what a difference product innovation and additional functionality can make and judging by the time dedicated to SmartGlass during its E3 presentation, the company is planning to continue down that very road.

Discover how Microsoft become a serious contender to Sony and Nintendo in the games console market, by accessing the case study ‘Microsoft Xbox: How Microsoft challenged the dominance of Nintendo and Sony’…

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