Opinion: Xbox One Reveal - PodcastvsPlayer.com

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Thursday, 23 May 2013

Opinion: Xbox One Reveal

With the much anticipated reveal of Microsoft's new Xbox -- the Xbox One -- now over, only one thing is on most peoples minds:

What the fuck were they thinking.

Microsoft made it clear that their focus with the Xbox One was an entertainment hub that would be the centre of the living room. Not a "gaming console".
Now, whilst this isn't exactly new information (this was speculated for a while), but it's also nothing new, as both the current gen Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 also offer a wide range of multi-media capabilities.

And so, the Xbox One will go even further with it's "entertainment" outside of gaming. That's fine, that I can live with.

What I can't understand, is why they took this reveal; a reveal of a GAMES CONSOLE, and failed to give any indication of its gaming aspects. Sure, there was a non-gameplay video of Forza 5 and oh wait, another non-gameplay video of Call of Duty: Ghosts; a game which will also be available on other formats. But seriously, where were the games?

As many have pointed out, Microsoft did say they had 15 new games, 8 of which were new IP's, but, how many of these games will be Kinect titles?

You guys remember Kinect? Yep, it's back, only this time, even more terrifying looking, and what's more, Kinect is mandatory to operate the Xbox One. 24hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year; Kinect has to be connected (excuse the mind warp fragment). And, to add salt to the creepy wound, the microphone CANNOT be turned off. So the damn thing will constantly be able to pick up on your jibber, regardless of whether you're using it or not. If the Xbox is on. so is Kinect.

All that creepy Big Brother nonsense aside, as said, the Xbox One reveal was all about the focus on the console being the ultimate All-In-One entertainment centre.
Now, think about it, imagine all the people in the world that don't have cable/digital television. Now, take those same people, and imagine that if they don't have that, then there's a good chance they don't have internet either. If said people don't have digital TV or internet, then they won't play online, thus, no Xbox LIVE account.

So, after purchasing the Xbox One, they're somewhat inclined to spend more money to make the most of their shiny new toy.

Xbox One + Digital TV Subscription + Internet Subscription + Xbox LIVE = more bills.

This new monthly bill would be required in order to take full advantage of the console's capabilities, not to mention being able to use the console at all, if the "always on" rumours are to be believed.

Rumours that Microsoft haven't assured anyone by denying them, or even biting the bullet and saying "yeah, sorry guys" so we can deal with it. Nope, they decided to avoid it by each giving brush off's, contradicting each other and leaving us all still in a wormhole.

However, Microsoft vice president Phil Harrison did provided some clarification as to how the online requirement may work:

"There are many devices in your life that require the Internet to function," he said. "Xbox One is no different in that it requires, at some point in the beginning and at various times through its on state, to connect to our cloud and to our Internet."

Don Mattrick came out and said it wasn’t always-online – but then an FAQ turned up on the Xbox website turned up with the spectacularly conflicted phrasing “it does not have to be always connected, but Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet.”

Whilst contradictory, what this means, as said by Microsoft, is that the One requires to be connected to the internet at least once every 24hours.

Not a problem I guess, except for those without internet access. Are these people left with a large expensive brick?

No one knows.

Remember going to a friends house and saying "dude, can I borrow <insert game> for the weekend?" and he/she was like "yeah! I've completed it and you'll love it! Take it home! I've paid good money for it, you enjoy it! 'Cause we're friends! And friends like to share the passion we have for gaming!"

Okay, maybe that wasn't word for word how it ever goes, but we've all been there, we've all borrowed a game to a friend, or had one in return. Well, guess what? Not anymore! The Xbox One cleverly installs the game to your hard-drive (a measly 500GB) and then you don't need the disk to play. However, in order to "borrow" the game to a friend, he/she has to install the game, then proceed to the Xbox Store and buy the game, which, according to Phil Harrison in an interview with Kotaku, you could be paying full MSRP.

So, to borrow a game from a friend, you need to buy the game. SCORE!

It doesn't just boil down to friends either. Say you and a family member (in the same house) both had an Xbox One, in order to play a copy of a game on each console, you'd have to pay a fee. You know, after buying the console (twice apparently), then buying the game, you'd then have to pay a fee to play the game. In the next room. Obviously this scenario is unlikely to happen, but the scenario is there nonetheless.

On an interesting side note, there's still no news on how this will affect game-rental services like LoveFILM, but obviously those will be widely-affected.

A lot of people argued that Sony didn't even reveal the console at their presentation (Microsoft themselves tweeted a certain comment), but, at least they showed games. They showed people playing games, and what's more, they dedicated the majority of the show to gamers. Sure, there was the new UI/OS, Social aspects etc, but it was all about the games. They came out with the new game streaming service Gakai, the integration with the PS Vita, the possiblitly of streaming PS4 games to the Vita; it was all about the games.

Microsoft had months to take away all the good bits of Sony's show, and improve on them even more.

But they didn't.

Many people, including myself, were pretty dissapointed with the reveal. More to the fact that Microsoft didn't cater to the Hardcore Gamer, you know, the ones that would have been watching the event. I understand the M's desire to broaden the audience of the Casual Gamer, but in all honesty? They wouldn't be the ones watching the reveal. The Kinect Loving, Netflix watching audience possibly didn't even know the reveal was happening. But the gamers? They've waited a long time for this, and as thanks, Microsoft shunned them.

But on the plus, they showed a VCR looking console that, guess what? Makes watching TV easier.

'Cause, you know, it was so hard to do before.

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