Microsoft has done some spectacular flip-flopping on the Xbox One's next-gen vision. The one thing they have been consistent on, however, is the idea that the Xbox One is, well, the one and only device you need for the living room. But now, just two weeks before launching its purported one-stop-media-shop platform, Microsoft has revealed that the Xbox One will not support 3D Blu-ray playback--at least not out of the gate. So, if you want to watch 3D Blu-rays, you're going to need at least one other device connected to your TV. This... well, to be honest this is about as big of a deal as stepping on gum on your way to work. But, it does undercut Microsoft's "one" message.
One could read Microsoft’s omission of the functionality as a response to 3D in the home being a non-starter. ESPN 3D has just been yanked from all cable providers, and it's likely to take the remaining reservoir of 3D TV channels with it. But the fact remains that many televisions available today include 3D capabilities, and most major new-release films have a 3D option available. Even so, and call us hair-hairsplitters here, but it simply doesn't make sense that this wouldn't be included at launch if Microsoft wants to be the all-inclusive media hub.
I mean, it’s called the One. That's the name they chose--the name that only made sense in the context concepted by marketing suits and focus-testing. But now it's not the one, even if it's called that. Confusing, right?
Between all of the Rokus and Chromecasts and PlayBoxes hogging my HDMI ports, the appeal of a single device that does everything is actually pretty strong. And, before this crack appeared in its visage, it was a compelling hook that could have given the Xbox One the edge over the arguably more-anticipated PS4 in the eyes of some users.
The number of people currently using 3D HDTVs (6%, in case you're wondering) isn't important, not in the consumer sense of the word--but that's the logic Nintendo flaunted when it left HD out of the Wii, and everyone knows how that shook out. The real takeaway is the message, and how this muddies an already shaky premise that only works if it's totally, 100% true. This all-in-One media hub is now a maybe all-in-Two.