Have you guys heard about the Xbox One reveal from this past Tuesday (*sarcasm*)? I’m not trying to ride the hate wave here, but I found little to be excited about after the reveal was over. Aside from being a powerful machine under the hood and having lots of gaming potential, there are plenty of reasons why I’m not exactly thrilled to give Microsoft any of my money.
As a consumer, I’m sure you’ve already determined whether or not you’re going to pick up a Wii-U, PS4 or Xbox One for your next-gen needs (save the Wii-U is not a next gen console arguement for another day, please), and before the reveal I was strongly considering the Xbox One as a majority of my gaming friends currently use a 360 over the PS3. After sitting through a few reveal re-caps and reading various articles about the One’s features, I can go ahead and axe Microsoft’s next-gen effort as my future console of choice, no matter how good the games are that may or may not release.
The first thing that struck a chord with me was how Microsoft is trying to “control the living room” by alienating their audience. How do they plan on alienating some of their consumer base?
First off, while I know this isn’t a huge problem, an HDTV will be required to play an Xbox One as there are no ports for composite or component cables. While Microsoft has claimed that the new Xbox One won’t be an “always on” console, it will require an internet connection at least once every 24 hours to access all of your video games and videos through their cloud server.
Coming from someone who has gone from living in a major city to living in the middle of nowhere where internet is less stable than the Diablo 3 launch, being required to have internet access will take another small chunk of consumers away. That doesn’t even take in to consideration the many men and women in the armed forces who play videogames while stationed overseas without internet access. An American company potentially cutting off American troops because they simply can’t access the internet? It’s baffling.
It’s not just the consumers they’re alienating, either, as Microsoft has confirmed that indie developers will no longer be able to self-publish their own games. I can’t imagine the creators of Braid would be too happy about this.
Even worse, Microsoft will be alienating retail chains like Gamestop that offer used games, rental companies like GameFly and Redbox, and anyone who enjoys borrowing games from a friend or playing your own game on another persons console. You see, every game will include a one-time use code that you must redeem to show ownership (I use that word loosely, by the way) of the game itself. That code will allow the game to be played on that one specific console.
In order for that game to play on a separate console, you will either have to sign in to your Xbox Live profile on that console or pay full retail price to obtain another code to redeem online. Basically, if your buddy wants to borrow your copy of Call of Duty: Ghosts, he’ll be paying full retail price in order to do so, as will your family if you have separate consoles in the living room and bedroom.
Another gripe I have with the Xbox One is the requirement to have the Kinect plugged in at all times. Now I know the Kinect will be included with the console, but you have to take in to consideration that you are paying for that piece of equipment whether you like it or not. Personally, I can’t stand the Kinect. I actually had to give mine away because my gaming area was too narrow and the Kinect had trouble reading anyone. We don’t all game in a banquet hall, so I’m hoping the new Kinect will have better functionality and registration calibrations, but if you disconnect the Kinect, the system will not function. According to Microsoft, you can go in to the options menu and turn the Kinect off, but it must remain plugged in at all times. The Kinect is also a little weird as it has an always-on mic, so if your system is on, so is the microphone. That’s creepy on a whole new level.
Anyone hoping the Xbox One would be backwards compatible are in for a big disappointment. I never sell my old consoles, so this isn’t that big of a deal, but this was the first generation of consoles that allowed consumers to purchase indie games via the internet. While I don’t really care about playing the 360 discs on the Xbox One, I would have definitely liked a way to transfer over the indie games I’ve purchased over the years instead of going back to an older system to play them, much like the Wii U allows.
If you happen to be pressed for space in your gaming den, I hope you have an extra coffee table lying around because the Xbox One is a friggin brick! I have never seen a piece of gaming equipment this large, and while phones and tablets get smarter and smaller, the Xbox One could be placed on top of someone as a torture device. Maybe this is their attempt to “own the living room” by not giving you any space for a PS4 or a Wii U?
In yet another sour subject, consumers will be forced to pay for Xbox Live even though we’re already paying for the internet, paying out the ass for the console, paying for the micro-transactions and the DLC and paying for the games that we’ll be playing online. I’ve heard the “you get what you pay for” argument plenty of times, and honestly that’s a bit tired.
The Sony online service has been free for years and I’ve had no problems playing online unless my own personal internet was having issues. That’s where I get what I pay for. I already pay for Netflix but I still can’t stream it on Xbox Live unless I pay for a Gold subscription? You can’t spell “features” without “fees”, and I’m starting to notice a pattern here.
Overall, I feel like I missed the hype portion of the reveal and just listened to an hours worth of bad news that left me with mixed emotions. The lack of games on display was a let down, but I do understand this was just a “console reveal” and more games will be shown at E3. What they did show just seemed like a bunch of CGI cut-scenes, but it’s not 1997 anymore. I want to see what the console can do for gaming. I don’t care about using the Xbox One to control my TV, watch sports, play sports games and I sure as hell don’t care about any “special partnership” with EA. Gloating that you’re in partnership with EA is like hugging someone while stabbing them in the back.
I really want to get excited about this next generation of gaming consoles, but even Nintendo are struggling and Sony won’t be having their full reveal until June 10th at E3 2013. As it stands right now, I don’t care what comes out for the Xbox One. There are enough features that I don’t like about it that I’d be more content spending my money elsewhere. If anything, the Xbox One reveal justified one thing and that’s the definite purchase of a Wii U and the potential purchase of a PS4, depending on how Sony delivers come E3.
*For what it’s worth, I totally stole the title quote from my friend Billy and he deserves the credit if it made you laugh.