Xbox One Debacle

23 May

I’ll admit that I’ve been an Xbox faithful since pistol sniping across bloodgulch pissed off my LAN friends. I even tolerated the Xbox 360 RROD campaign. But I don’t think I have the metal to bear the Xbox One.

Before I get to tearing the system apart, let me start with the event. Painful. Absolutely painful. While I understand that Microsoft is trying to redefine the entertainment system (I think they’ve done well this generation), it seems like they have isolated their primary audience: gamers. The Xbox is still a gaming console. There wasn’t any actual gaming, just trailers and hints of reiterations of old IPs. This wasn’t an event for gamers, was an event for the press.

The overall passion was lacking. The deliver of every presenter was formulatic and bland. There were no true gamers in the audience. As Destructoid tweeted, “TV, TV, TV, Sports, Sports, Call of Duty, Dogs.” Sigh.

I am depressed about what I see in the machine itself. From the outside it looks to be modeled to another rival black box from this generation. The camera, simply a wider 1080p off the shelf webcam. The controller, similar to this generation. Nothing from the looks wowed.

The one bright spot I found was the settop box function of the xbox. I do think it’s cool that I can quick switch between TV, movies, music and game. I like the refined gestures and multiple tasking capability. Microsoft made a nice interface. But what happens to my other devices, like my original 360. I still have to reach for my remote to change to it, right?

There are more marks against the machine then for it. Rumor is that the Blu-ray player won’t play movies, it’s game only. I understand people’s concent that physical media is going to disappear from existance, but I highly doubt that. People like to feel like they own something tangible, not simply borrowing it. Hence the simmering rage with games on demand and XBLA, but more on that later.

The HDD is internal, though expandable with external USB drives. 500GB may sound like a lot, but it won’t be. Eights years forward it won’t be. I know some ardent fans won’t have any problem hooking up their externals, but this is ugly. Maybe I’m nitpicking, but I don’t want to have my harddrive sitting by my TV or in range of friends flailing to Kinect.

Now to get to the heart of the geek rage. First off, backwards compatibility. I undestand that technology has moved forward and that architecture has changed quite a bit since the start of this current generation. I get that, but it doesn’t mean that I am willing to let go of my library of 360 titles. Or my on demand and arcade games. Geekdom knows what emulation is, and we’re not quite sure why it’s not in there.

Second, used games. Initial reports mentioned that the Xbox One won’t allow for the playing of used games. That once they were activated, they were attached to the xbox or the player’s account. Now Microsoft has taken the position of paying an activation fee for hand-me-down owners. The caveat is that they haven’t mentioned a pricing structure or who even sets the price. One possible exploit I seen floated around is where someone buys a game, installs it and turns around next day and resells it. Course this only works if the game can be played straight from drive and if that is the case, 500GB is definitely too small. I don’t think Microsoft would be that moronic and draconian to disenfranchise gamers who primarly play used games.

Between Windows 8, Windows phone, Surface, Offfice 365 subscriptions and now Xbox One, I don’t see how Microsoft is going to win this generation. I think most of us are waiting for Microsoft to implode, if not rooting for it at this point.

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