It’s been clear since the announcement of the Xbox One that Microsoft intended its game console to be a comprehensive media-watching device. The console’s announcement was filled with references to TV and sports.
To help fulfill this dream of an all-in-one media streaming and playing device for the living room Microsoft today announced that it will be releasing a remote control for the Xbox One.
The new peripheral, called the Xbox One Media Remote, has around 20 buttons, making it far more simple than the DVD remote that Sony released for the PlayStation 2. The remote is intended to help Xbox One owners control Blu-ray, TV, or streaming video for apps that support it, all without touching an Xbox One controller. It can also control power and volume for devices (such as a receiver) connected to the console through the Kinect using an IR blaster.
According to Microsoft the Xbox One remote should be available sometime in March in territories where the Xbox One has already launched. The device will cost $25 in the U.S.
Though Microsoft’s early Xbox One marketing would have consumers believe that their voices and the Kinect are all the controls they might need, it’s now clear that the Minority Report-style controls that Microsoft was envisioning aren’t yet feasible. Leaving aside the question of whether voice and motion controls are a good way to control anything at all, the Xbox One now has at least four different methods for consumers to control the console. Microsoft must hope that this doesn’t confuse the broad user base that the company is trying to lure to its media console.