Category Archives: Xbox Experiences

Presenting the Xbox MVP Summit 2020 playlist!

We’ve reached March. We’ve also reached the month where many Xbox MVPs will descend on Redmond, WA to hang out with the Xbox team, and talk about plans and ideas. While most of the event is under NDA, this part of it is not.

For the past several years, I’ve enjoyed putting together a playlist for the event. This goes back to the days when Microsoft’s Global MVP Summit included consumer technologies. This year’s playlist took longer than I thought, but I’m happy with the results.

The title of my playlist is “Cocktail party in the streets. House Party in the sheets.”

The playlist can be found here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7FT2hv7tz4375x7FbyUfp7

It’s a wonderful blend of songs to sing along to, plus songs that – I hope – help people expand their musical palate. One of the things I always aim to do, with this playlist, is help people potentially discover music they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Unlike past years, this playlist is only available via Spotify. You can list to it with or without a paid subscription, and it’s one of the more popular and commonly used services. There’s 30 songs, in total, with a 2 hour running time.

Please, feel free to take a listen, and let me know what songs you enjoyed. DId you discover any new genres/artists? I’d love to help you take that discovery and get deeper into the crates.

That time I did an online class for the Microsoft MVP program.

In June of 2015, I was asked to be part of a program, being put together by the Microsoft MVP Program. On a Tuesday morning, at 10am, I presented about Xbox One. Specifically, I discussed how people could cut the cord using Xbox One, as the primary entertainment device.

I’m presenting it now, because (I’ll be frank with you). I never watched it since I did the recording.

Never.

For as much as people enjoyed the presentation, and got great information from it. I shied away from it. I need to be more proud of things like this, so I’m presenting it here, now. Of course, some things here could be outdated, based upon 4+ years worth of Xbox One updates, but I’m finally comfortable enough to share it.

The official description is as follows:

Xbox MVP Marques Lyons offers insight into utilizing Xbox One for media consumption without relying on expensive cable TV services. Using his own recent experience as a guide, Marques shows how you can utilize content from Over the Air antennas, and media streaming services to get access to a variety of entertainment, and make it cost effective. Plus, ideas on what you can do with that HDMI-in capability of Xbox One.

Let me know what you think, or if you have any additional questions based upon what’s being presented here:

Couldn’t we have gotten a better freeze frame than this? 🙂

The rise, fall, and resurrection of my channel on Mixer.

So, I had a channel on the game streaming platform Mixer. It was called Noob School, and the idea was for my community to embrace the “easy” mode in games. I can be competitive, but I wanted my channel to be a place where people could relax, and hang out. It grew pretty consistently, and I think it still has somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 followers.

But then I stopped streaming. I gave myself (and my friends) plenty of reasons why I stopped. Now that I have time to sit and reflect on it, I realized that I subconsciously fell into the trap that most people fall into when they start a stream, or a YouTube channel, or anything of that sort: I wanted it to grow faster than it was ready for. I told myself early on, and during, that *that* wasn’t the reason, but I had to be realistic with myself… that was the reason.

We always want our projects to grow and succeed. Sometimes, we want it to grow at a pace that we aren’t ready for. Deep down, that was my approach to Noob School. It’s an approach I shouldn’t allow myself to wrap my emotions around.

I say all of that to say I’m going to resume Noob School streaming, sometime in the Spring. However, I’m taking the approach to that stream the way I’m taking the approach to this blog.

I tell people that Project Downtime is a blog that I write for myself, and other people just happen to have a chance to read it to.

Noob School will be a stream primarily for me, because I genuinely enjoy broadcasting, but it’ll just so happen that other people are invited to come in, watch, and share in that emotional ride with me. For me, I need to see this as a stream for Marques, that invites Marques’ friends along.

I know that sounds odd, because why would a person want to ‘stream for themselves’? If I see this just as broadcasting because broadcasting is fun (and I really do enjoy the type of broadcaster I become) my only expectation is that the internet works, and I don’t lose my voice. If I go in wanting it to be this instant classic, parts of me change, parts of me gets modified just to amp entertainment value.

I can’t do that. I can only be me. I can only be the person that I am. If people find that entertaining (as 100+ people seem to have) then I need to count that blessing and move forward. If I never reach 1000 followers or 5 subscriptions or Mixer partner, that’s all ok. If my channel helps one person feel entertained, and gives them something to do in the evening, I’ve done my part.

So, yeah, Noob School (I’m keeping that name; it won’t change to Project Downtime) will be coming back in the next few months. I need to figure out a schedule that I can stick with, and what games I want to play (I’m not about playing the latest games, I mean my first game streamed was NBA Jam). So keep to this blog, or follow the channel on Mixer to know when school will be back in session.

Of HDMI ports, and entertainment, on Xbox One…

The Xbox One can be ideal, when you want to use it for media, as well as games.

From the outset, the Xbox One was designed to be a great media device, as well as a gaming console. If you remember the Xbox 360, it was a sea of media apps for music, video, and more. The Xbox One was ready to dial that up to 11, and make it the one place to be completely entertained, when you turned on the TV set.

Of course, backlash ensued, as Xbox seemed to make too much of the media capabilities. A lot of the entertainment ideas were scaled back, and now the Xbox One is a gaming device, with media tendencies. If the ports on the Xbox Series X are to be believed, you may not even get an HDMI-In port.

Ah, yes, let’s discuss that HDMI-In port, for a second. To me, this was a key port of the Xbox One. The way Xbox tells it, you use that port to plug in a cable box. Then, coupled with the OneGuide and media settings, you’d be able to easily get into television shows, when you want to take a break from Halo or Gears of War.

Naturally, people realized that if you plugged in anything, with an HDMI plug, that port would work. You can plug in an Apple TV, Roku Stick, Amazon Fire TV, cable box. Hell, you can plug in an Xbox 360, Playstation 4, or NIntendo Switch. That little port made it all possible.

Fast forward to 2020. That port, frankly, is now an afterthought, and as I noted, it may not even be on the next Xbox One console. I, personally, think it should remain, but if Xbox really wants to lean into gaming, then having their users focus squarely on gaming seems to be where they plan to go.

Of course, there’s actually another way Xbox could be a viable entertainment device: apps. Right now Xbox One has a good selection media apps: Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, ESPN, etc.

If Xbox One, and Windows in general, can boost the number of entertainment apps available (making sure all of the major streaming TV services, and TV everywhere apps are there) then there may not be a need for the HDMI port. And, in the case of the Xbox Series X, if that console can perform with the speed of light, as being advertised, getting out of a game, and into the next episode of “The Mandalorian” should be a breeze, and fulfill that instant gratification.

But let us have a discussion about entertainment on Xbox. Specifically:

  • Of all the time you spend on Xbox, how much of that is used for media?
  • What’s your most used media app(s) on Xbox?
  • Do you use the HDMI-In port on the console? What do you have plugged in back there?
  • Are there some entertainment apps you’d love to see on the Xbox platform?

Let’s have that discussion: Leave a comment, or continue the conversation on Twitter.