Microsoft has taken a crucial step forward in taking its Xbox gaming platform to a new market audience – the home TV entertainment. The Wall Street Journal revealed that the software giant has bought rising home entertainment tech start-up R2 studios for an undisclosed amount. This is a big deal because Microsoft wasn’t the only big player in the race for R2 studios’ acquisition, the other contenders were – Apple and Google.
Its no secret that Microsoft wants the Xbox platform to be more than just another gaming console. They have made attempts to reach a wider audience by continuously working on iterations of the Xbox platform. Off late with each new update users are greeted with some form of home entertainment on Xbox and that’s why this acquisition is so important for them to make inroads into the home entertainment industry.
R2 studios was founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor Blake Krikorian in mid 2011. Blake is the same bloke who co-founded Sling Media the company which is famous for Slignbox – a product which allowed its users to enjoy television on their computers. R2 studios has been making waves off late, they recently launched an Android app that lets users control home lighting and heating systems from their smartphones. Microsoft also bought some patents owned by the company which are related to controlling electronic devices.
So now when you buy an Xbox, these are the things you can look forward to –
- Playing great games, which remains the USP of the platform.
- Utilizing Microsoft’s revolutionary motion-controller – Kinect, which allows gamers the ability to use gestures to play games.
- Using voice commands for achieving a lot of tasks on the Xbox which includes making Bing searches.
- Watching great TV without using your set top boxes courtesy the Xbox platform and R2 studios.
The acquisition further strengthens Microsoft’s unrelenting pursuit for dominance in the entertainment industry as a whole, they want us to play games, watch TV and do all that without moving our backsides off the couch (read voice commands) using Microsoft’s services, and their efforts are certainly starting to pay off – Xbox now looks and feels more like a home-entertainment system then just another game console.
One wonders what Apple and Google were thinking trying to get hold of a start-up that brings home entertainment to computers. We know Apple’s experiments with Siri and Google’s with Glasses. Let’s wait and see what the other two industry leaders have in store for us, for now we can be rest assured R2 studios went to the company most likely to extract benefits out of it.