Microsoft is stepping back from its promised Xbox One DVR functionality for 2016. The console maker announced the project was placed “on hold” Wednesday, just ahead of the big media blowout that is E3 next week.
Announced at Gamescom last year, the Xbox One DVR was to work with the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner to record over-the-air TV channels even while playing games or using other applications. A USB 3.0 external hard drive was to be required to record TV and the size of the drive would determine how much content you can store.
Additionally, Microsoft planned to extend the DVR functionality beyond the Xbox One. Mobile devices using the Xbox SmartGlass app for Windows 10, iOS, and Android were supposed to be able to schedule recordings from their phone and stream live or recorded TV to their device when connected to the same home network. Shows were even to be allowed to be downloaded to Windows 10 phones and tablets.
Microsoft has now reversed course on the Xbox One DVR imitative.
“After careful consideration, we’ve decided to put development of DVR for Over-the-Air TV on hold to focus our attention on launching new, higher fan-requested gaming experiences across Xbox One and Windows 10,” a Microsoft spokesperson told The Verge via a statement. “We’re always listening to fan feedback and we look forward to bringing more requested experiences on Xbox One, Windows 10 and Xbox Live this year.”
The Xbox One was heavily criticized when it was first introduced for its focus on media and TV capabilities instead of games. This led to further criticism of the console when Microsoft fumbled the big E3 game feature reveal and caused the company to do a complete reversal on what was seen as consumer-unfriendly features such as requiring it to always have an internet connection.
This ultimately led to the ouster of then Xbox head Don Mattrick, who was replaced by Phil Spencer. The leadership change led to a greater emphasis on games and the cancellation of entertainment initiatives, such as the Xbox Original Programming. The Xbox One DVR was announced during Spencer’s reign, however, which makes its cancellation all the more curious.
Microsoft has been cutting back on projects that were deemed too expensive or unlikely to succeed. Lionhead Studios was shuttered and Fable Legends was canceled, for example, along with Press Play.
Still, this may portend of changes to the rumored Xbox One Slim that is expected to be revealed at E3 along with the supposed more powerful successor, Xbox Scorpio. If Microsoft is de-emphasizing the TV capabilities of the console, then the removal of the HDMI in plug is certainly a possibility. This allows users to plug in their cable or satellite box. Removing it would save a little money on production costs along with space on the console itself. It could also signal a shift in attention away from the TV guide features supported in the Xbox One guide.
This news is understandably disappointing to Xbox One owners that were looking forward to the Xbox One DVR. A post in the Xbox One Reddit forum, for example, is filled with cord cutters stating they bought an Xbox One TV tuner specifically because they were looking forward to the DVR feature. Others claim they even went as far as to buy a second console already to set up in their living rooms.
What do you think of Microsoft’s decision to shelve the Xbox One DVR functionality? Sound off in the comments section below.