Six months go, Microsoft finally made the transition from Zune to Xbox Music and Xbox Video. But while the initial version of the service is good enough to recommended, it’s far from perfect. When the service launched, the most exciting features – cloud storage, social integration, and a platform expansion – weren’t quite ready to go. As a result, Microsoft promised to make them “available in the coming year.”
When I originally read the announcement, my more optimistic side hoped that this would happen sooner rather than later. In fact, I’d initially hoped for a massive spring update, bringing with it the ability to upload your own personal content to the Xbox Music Cloud, edit metadata, share music with friends, and much more. The long-awaited support for Android, iOS, and web browsers would have been nice too. But after six months and a handful of minor updates, it’s beginning to look like we might have to wait the full year after all.
One has to wonder if the big Xbox Music update is in some way dependent – either from a technical or a marketing perspective – on the release of the recently-announced Windows 8.1 “Blue” update, as well the rumored Blue update for Windows Phone and the all-but-confirmed next Xbox console. In many ways, this would also emulate the original Zune development schedule, which initially had a year between the first and second major iterations, switched to six months between the next few updates, and then finally returned to a yearly cadence later in the service’s life cycle.
We’re only halfway through the one-year timeframe that Microsoft set for itself, so it might be a little premature to wonder where these features are. But when it comes to Xbox Music, Microsoft needs to iterate quickly in order to stay competitive. I’m very much looking forward to these new features; I just hope we won’t have to wait too much longer.