The upcoming Xbox One is ostensibly a gaming console, but Microsoft always seems ready to expand it into non-gaming territories.
For example, now it is positioning it as the perfect companion device for small businesses.
Microsoft published an open letter (via Game Politics) earlier this week to small businesses explaining why they should look into buying an Xbox One. The letter, authored by Consumer Camp founder (and non-Microsoft employee) Marques Lyons, noted that most mom-and-pop shops rely on phones and PCs to keep connected with customers or to maintain their books, but Lyons thinks that the next-gen console has features that also mesh well with operating a store.
“[The Xbox One] is being positioned as an excellent entertainment device, [but it] can be just as enticing for you and your small business,” wrote Lyons. “In fact, it’s entirely justifiable to make the Xbox One a business expense. The Xbox One, priced at $499, is an affordable option for small business owners, as there are many features built into the console that could help it rival even the most modest of video conferencing and networking platforms.”
What are those features? Lyons lists Skype, SkyDrive, Wi-Fi Direct, Internet Explorer, and a few others.
“Xbox One will allow people to not only use Skype on the console, but it will allow for multiperson chatting,” wrote Lyons. “Combine this with the wide-angle lens and 1080p view of the included Kinect, and you have the means for collaborative meetings and presentations.”
For a small business that does a lot of video conferencing, this might make sense. That $500 price isn’t that expensive for a video solution that is easy to implement and use. Of course, most small businesses will probably just use their laptops or desktops to do Internet Skype calls, but this is a decent solution for getting a group of people in front of a television to video chat with another group.
Lyons also pointed out Xbox One’s SkyDrive integration. This allows users to quickly access their files from Microsoft’s cloud-storage service. Using the “snap” mode, which enables Xbox One users to multitask multiple apps, Xbox One owners could also quickly share their SkyDrive files with others over Skype.
Wi-Fi Direct is essentially a standardized version of Apple’s AirPlay that enables devices to stream video and data directly to one another.
“[Small businesses could] send their presentations to the TV, use SmartGlass to navigate through the PowerPoint presentation, and use a tablet to control Internet Explorer,” wrote Lyons.
The evangelist went on to talk a bit about the future of the Xbox One app store. He claims the Xbox One could grow into an even better business machine with new apps that cater to those needs.
Any one of these things alone probably wouldn’t make the Xbox One a worthwhile investment for a small business, but as a versatile device that can also play games, movies, and music, maybe it’s not such a bad idea.
Plus if all those small businesses are writing off their Xbox Ones, it lowers the chance that the IRS will audit me when I write mine off.
Xbox One is due out in November.