At today’s Microsoft shareholder meeting, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talked about how Windows 10 has the potential to become the hub of a connected home, in response to an investor question.
And Nadella says that the Microsoft Xbox One video game console is a big part of those efforts, given its central status right in customers’ living rooms.
“The Xbox is just another Windows computer,” Nadella says.
It’s a sticky position from Nadella — Microsoft’s official party line is that while it’s moving the Xbox closer and closer in to the world of Windows 10, it’s still a dedicated games console and a different beast entirely. The goal is to distance itself from both the expectations and the baggage of the PC.
The overall thinking in regards to the Xbox and the smarthome here, Nadella says, is that Microsoft is pushing Windows 10 onto everything, from laptops and desktops to tablets to, eventually, connected home devices.
Microsoft even has a special, low-overhead version of Windows 10 designed exactly for smart appliances.
Meanwhile, the Xbox One got an update in November 2015 that put a specialised version of Windows 10 at the core, hence Nadella’s comments.
Eventually, Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant, which is included with all consumer versions of Windows 10, will become the speech interface you use to control your Windows-powered smart devices and entertainment alike, kind of like what Amazon does with its Echo.
The Xbox One is getting Cortana in an update early next year, putting it in a good position to be the point of interface between you and your smart stuff.
Nadella’s comments reveal a fundamental truth behind the situation: The Xbox is closer to a cheap Windows computer than ever before. It’s even getting the Windows Store app market some time next year, though the details remain hazy.
Microsoft has been trying for decades to get a Windows computer into the living room. Now, not only does it seem like Microsoft finally succeeded — we’ve learned a little bit about what the endgame might be.