The original Xbox, released back in 2001, had the hallmarks of a good gaming console. It had online multiplayer connectivity (Xbox Live), cutting-edge 3D graphics, and a slick new controller. And, most importantly, several iconic games, like Halo CE. At least, those were great by the standards of the time. Directly competing with Sony’s more established PlayStation 2, the console became synonymous with great console gaming. Then, in 2013, the new Xbox One attempted to branch out, becoming more multimedia oriented.
This pivot had disastrous consequences for the Xbox One’s sales (people wanted a better gaming experience, not just Blu-Ray functionality!). However, it is true that overall the change was necessary. The console’s direct competitor, the PS4, also incorporated an array of third-party streaming apps, such as Hulu, to appeal to all. This week, the official Xbox Twitter account confirmed Apple TV, one of the newest streaming services, coming to all current and next-gen Xbox consoles.
The addition of Apple TV gives the Xbox family a lead over the PS5
Unlike Sony’s line of PlayStations, Microsoft has touted all the Xbox’s after the Xbox 360 as part of a common ecosystem. They know that killing off the troubled Xbox One so quickly would anger long-time fans. Thus, any and all marketing for the upcoming Xbox Series X/S begin with prefacing with the continued support of the current generation. That’s why upcoming AAA games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will arrive on Xbox One, Xbox One S and Xbox One X.
The same is true of all the third party streaming apps the Xbox line proudly boasts of. Across all these consoles, Disney Plus, Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime and several less well-known services receive support. Aside from these, paid services like Spotify, YouTube Red, Twitch and others have long enjoyed availability. And on November 10, Apple TV makes it debut on Xbox.
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Meanwhile, the PS5 still only covers the bare minimum of popular multimedia apps. It will have Netflix and Spotify, sure, but that is about it. No wonder Sony’s main claim to fame is the 4 or 5 high-profile exclusives they have die-hard fans excited for.
The move is not surprising, but somewhat interesting considering Microsoft and Apple’s rivalry
The entire tech industry generally revolves around a handful of big names competing with each other for domination. You have AMD vs Intel, Google vs Apple for smartphones and of course Sony vs Microsoft. Yet another major perpetual duel is between Microsoft and Apple, and this extends as far back as the 1980’s. When Bill Gate’s newly invented Windows PC gave Steve Jobs’ Apple Macintosh a run for their money, the stones were cast.
Since then, the two giants usually go out of their way to exclude each other. Most PC’s show their willingness to cater to Android phones, thanks to their support for connectivity and features. On the other hand, connecting an iPhone to a PC without third party software is quite difficult.
Conversely, iPhone’s App Store often becomes a battleground for foreign app developers. Currently embroiled in a dispute with Fortnite developer Epic Games, even Microsoft is not exempt. They recently blocked XCloud support on the App Store, which was meant to be Microsoft’s foray into mobile gaming. Apple cited the same reasons it always does, which were “security concerns”. The practice is infuriating for Xbox players without Android devices, but it seems like an uphill battle.
Apple TV’s inclusion brings several big-budget exclusives to Microsoft’s console, which may become lucrative for both
Microsoft knows that people love television. While cable may become dead, streaming is highly popular. By including Apple’s exclusive content, they have effectively solidified Xbox’s role as a multimedia hub. And, on the other hand, Apple just gained a powerful new userbase for its media.
Sounds like a win-win situation.