Sunday, June 9, 2013

Xbox One...What are you Doing?

Looks vaguely familiar...

Xbox One. Xbone. Xdone. "Xbox One? I thought we had this thing 12 years ago?" Whatever you've called it, the Xbox One is indeed one puzzling thing. It was only 2 weeks ago, on May 21st (my b-day!), when Microsoft unveiled what they laud as the next generation of gaming. People were, understandably, excited for this revelation, given the success of the Xbox 360.

And then the Xbox One was revealed.

Microsoft is relatively new to producing consoles. The original Xbox was released back in 2001, while the Xbox 360 has been around for the last seven years. Sony's foray into the console business was back in 1995 with the release of the Playstation brand, followed by the Playstation 2 in 2000 and the Playstation 3 in 2006. Nintendo has been in this business for the longest, releasing the Nintendo Entertainment System in the United States in 1985. Since then, not counting its handhelds, Nintendo has released the Super NES, Nintendo 64, GameCube, the highly successful (and polarizing, in terms of gamers) Wii, and just seven months ago, its newest console, the Wii U. In terms of the video game industry among the console makers, Nintendo has seen old players drop out from the console race while new ones have entered.

Microsoft's third console seems to be on pace to be one of the most vilified revelation out there. Their presentation two weeks ago touted a game console that branded itself an all purpose media hub (the reason Microsoft called it Xbox One), a box in which TV, sports, apps and the like could be ran. They also revealed a new Kinect, a more sophisticated version of their previous attempt to get a bite into the casual market Nintendo's Wii tapped into.

All these additions certainly seem nice to have, but it seems Microsoft forgot who their primary consumer is: the gamer. The reveal only showed a limited amount of Call of Duty: Ghosts (Activision's yearly offering of Call of Duty) while an announcement of a Halo TV series helmed by Steven Spielberg was touted; a TV series based on a popular video game series was viewed as a better decision than potentially showing off Halo 5.

Now, let's give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt; they stated games for the Xbox One would be announced during their E3 presser this coming week. So, putting the notion of games away, the following reasons are why people are concerned and disgusted about the Xbox One: used games, Kinect 2, and Internet. The first, used games: reports have been all over the place that the Xbox One does not allow used games or something to that effect; that a fee must be paid to play a game if a used copy is purchased. The latest reports, seemingly straight from the source, state that you can trade games to another person, but only once. This form of digital rights management has people up in arms, as they feel it is an anti-consumer ploy to get people to stop purchasing second-hand and prevents people from bringing over games to a friend's house to play (you know...like the good old days).

The second issue: Kinect 2

"I'm watching you..."

Pretty much what our watchful sentry just stated. Reports that the Kinect 2 has to be connected and on at all times have gamers groaning and terrified at the thought. Kinect was popular with the casual group, but with a room full of, shall we say...excited gamers, the shouting commands to the device from different people would make the owner pull their hair out. In any case, this new Kinect is much more sophisticated with better tracking and voice recognition. The issue remains that if the device is on, it monitors and tracks your every movement, potentially relaying what should be a private moment to someone else. Microsoft has come out and stated that the camera can be turned off and the mic can be programmed to activate only when a certain phrase is mentioned, but it has done little to detract this mistrust of the device.

The third problem, and perhaps the biggest is the online connectivity. Microsoft has finally come out and confirmed that yes, the Xbox One must connect at least once to the Internet every 24 hours in order to play games. While that may not seem like a big deal to many people living in an area where broadband Internet is available, the same can't be said for others that don't have ready access, like, say...military overseas or in impoverished nations (putting aside the fact that this device does seem like it will be expensive). Heck, sometimes, even people with easy access to Internet would rather just disconnect and play alone (like the good old days...); it's a matter of privacy, and Microsoft would rather try to butt in. At least that's how it seems to be right now.

The whole ordeal has Microsoft fumbling around for explanations as it readies its E3 presentation, which is this Monday at 9:30am; the first of four companies having a conference before the show-floor is opened. As for me, well...the Xbox One has failed to interest me for the above reasons and no games have been shown that could potentially interest me. Well, maybe Battlefield 4, but that's coming out for 360, so if I decide to keep my 360, I could settle for that (but I have no plans to buy BF4 unless something changes regarding EA; maybe more on that some other day). Will I miss Halo? Sure, but Halo isn't The Legend of Zelda. With E3 just a couple of days away and Microsoft's presentation tomorrow, we'll see if they can provide what gamers most want: the games.

By the way, that picture of the Xbox One, the control, and the Kinect 2? It's this:

I knew it! The Great Commander in disguise! Go get 'em, Star Fox!

At the very least, the Xbox One has given me a desire to play games. Time to fire up Star Fox on my ol' SNES and bring down the Xbox One!...er, Great Commander!

So folks, your thoughts: are you buying an Xbox One and why?