Re: Oculus Rift type VR is the only way to disrupt MSFT and Sony
Graphics are important to gamers, no doubt, but my reference to Apple and Google wasn't a suggestion that either is (or should be) planning an Xbox-style console. Rather, my point was that Microsoft and Sony are doing something different than Apple and Google, and that even if Microsoft wins the gaming battle against Sony, it will still face interesting competition for the living room.
Microsoft is going for living room domination via hardcore gamers, first and foremost, and then extending from that base. The company is hoping this expansion can eventually collide with other bases--e.g. that Windows and Xbox reinforce one another, as I alluded in the article. Apple and Google are trying to take over the living room through a different set of tactics. The iOS and Android/ Chrome ecosystems are components in these tactics, and so is mobile gaming. But whereas gaming is the primary conduit to the living room for Microsoft, it's less important to competitors, who are leveraging their ecosystems in different ways.
Take Apple. If/when Apple produces a TV, I see its UI and content model being the differentiators, not gaming. It will probably include app support of some kind, which should not only enable hooks to different iDevices and iServices, but allow facilitate support for certain types of games. It will have similariries to Microsoft's strategy, but it will be meaningfully different, and far less interested in hardcore gamers as a central audience. And from there, I see Apple expanding into Internet of Things-style applications, rather than traditional consoles. This includes wearable devices, some variant of iOS that runs in cars and other objects, more advanced motion-tracking and biometric applications, etc.
And there are other players too. Comcast isn't just supplying cable to televisions; it's also providing home security monitoring, making an early play IoT-style play on not just living rooms but the tech backbone of the entire house.
Right now, we think of apps as things we run on smartphones, but soon, they'll hook into devices that we wear, and objects that we interact with. Microsoft, Sony, Apple, Google, Comcast, Intel, Cisco, Qualcomm and many others are all vying for pieces of this future universe, and there are many different tactics at play. Some of these tactics are compatible, some aren't.