While insignificant for many, the freedom to position your console to stand flat or on its side makes it much easier to fit it in your cabinet.
Also, MS decision to say "do it at your own risk" is indicative, to me, of other very subtle cost cuts that cheapen an otherwise $500 console.
I know all companies do this, however, these cost cuts should be imperceptable to the consumer.
Does anyone remember how when you shift your 360 to its side, the player indicator on the power button also shifts to retain player 1 in top left, and player 2 in top right, etc..
Other little cost cuts here and there also tick me off, and I am a huge Xbox fan. Cost cuts like:
- Weak GPU
- DDR3 Ram (if your going to use DDR3, okay fine, then have more than 8 gigs... i mean something, anything...
- only 32 mb of fast esram - I'm no engineer, but it seems like if they need DDR3 for all the snap and media functionality, then include like 256, 528, or 1 Gig of ultra fast ram for rendering graphics. 32mb cache, while more than in the PS4, is just not enough to make up the power differnce.
- refusing to take a loss per console - they knew that Sony would have no innovation, its predictable, therefore, they must have started competing against a "target" console, reasonably what they could get if the console would cost between $400 - $600. They must have known that 8 gigs of GDDR5, while expensive, would be possible if Sony were willing to break even or go for a small loss per console @ $400 - $600.
The upper management thinking might have been - the difference in graphics is too small compared to the difference in price. Also, that the difference in media and Kinect, which is WAY superrior to anything Sony has, will differentiate the console. The result is, they included the kinect (up to $200 of the $500 console cost), and refused to take a loss per console. So they only had a $300 or so budget per console to put in hardware.
Sony on the other hand, with no innovation, started out with at least $400 to budget on the console itself. If MS allowed itseld to take a $50 - $100 loss per initial console, then the Graphics in the two consoles would have been more even, and MS would not be in a terrible position of justifying weaker graphics for higher price.
In the long run, they may win if Kinect catches on. The problem is that they will lose, at least initially, the launch battle becuase the market perception is easy - why pay $100 more for 720P, when you can spend $100 less and get 1080P. They don't yet see the Kinect for what many of us know it is and can be.
Not Next Gen - I don't feel like the console hardware is really next gen. It should have been either even more ram, or GDDR5 ram. Especially for the price.
Yes Next Gen - I think that the media, voice and motion control are trully next gen, and more than Sony is promising by a huge margin.
Bottom Line - MS has the money, they should have taken a $50 or $100 loss per console, and essentially include the Kinect as a minimal cost to the consumer. They should have given the Xbox One trully next gen hardware.
Crazy thought - they could have charged the dreaded $600, taken a $100 loss per console (so give the buyer $700 worth of tech), sold the console like a cell phone with guaranteed 2 year Xbox Live - Sales price with 2 year contract = $300. Imagine the hardware they could put in if they had a budget of $600 - $700 per console? Twin video cards? 4K? Better 1080P?