While Microsoft has only scratched the surface on the sheer amount of details surrounding the new Xbox One, a lot of staff members around GIZORAMA have already staked their opinions in the great console war of 2013.
After the hour-long hyped reveal one thing is plainly obvious, Microsoft still dreams of and is pushing for the one device control of the living room entertainment. The gamer is no longer the demographic Microsoft is looking for, at least the 20-30+ games a year gamer. While E3 is coming up and obviously more gaming information will be shown there, the lack of time spent on the console’s features outside of Kinect and television was extremely disappointing.
We know the new name is Xbox One and at least that is more interesting than the suggested names like 720, Next, and Infinity. I wonder how we address the first Xbox console now… 180? Original? The design of the system is very square. I am pretty sure I owned at least 2 VCRs that looked exactly like the Xbox One 20 years ago. I am excited for the improved controller design because the 360 controller was almost perfect and it looks like they have moved a step closer with the better designed d-pad, new triggers, and built-in battery pack.
I wish I could get hyped up about the first portion of the conference that covered the non gaming related entertainment but I was one of the ones that thought Kinect would change the world after being announced previously at E3. Little did I know how much of a horrible experience I would have with that hardware dashing my Minority Report dreams. Unfortunately Kinect 2.0 looks like it is more of the same. I did prefer the user interface to the current 360 one and loved the snappiness of it. For those of us with huge gamer profiles that 360 interface can feel like being stuck in quicksand and hopefully the Xbox One with the new hardware and multi tasking won’t fall victim.
The live TV stuff kind of maybe looked cool but I get most of my entertainment on demand via Netflix and other streaming and downloadable subscription based services. The rest of the stuff especially surrounding sports looked like attempts to drive multitasking on a single screen with stuff that I would probably be doing on my laptop or desktop while watching said events alone. I am not sure how all of that would play out in group settings. Also Halo TV series direct Spielberg. Color me intrigued.
Forza 5 looked pretty but sim racing is not my style of game. The EA section was laughable at best and of course I look forward to anything Remedy touches so Quantum Break is on my must get list. Oh and Call of Duty has dogs. I think that sums up the gaming portion of the conference.
Of course the biggest news wasn’t even at the conference but rumored afterwards. Wired reported after a hands on pre-show that the console required mandatory installs that tied games to a user’s account and that a small fee would have to be paid for a friend to borrow your disc. This was of course later squashed but resurfaced after Phil Harrison confirmed that it was true and that the fee is in fact the retail price of the game. Unless Sony pulls the same stunt, I might have to declare the Xbox One… Dead on Arrival… just because of this tidbit. Another factoid is that the horrible human interface device known as Kinect is required to be plugged in at all times for the Xbox One.
The Microsoft Xbox Reveal event has came and gone, and I can’t help but feel let down with the news that was released. According to Microsoft, “Xbox One was built by gamers, for gamers.” Sure the Xbox One is a fantastic piece of hardware, but the Xbox One is no longer a gaming console, but a multimedia center. You’ll be able to hook up your Cable or satellite TV service for live TV, Skype with your friends across the world, even turn on your console and TV with a simple voice command. A lot of really awesome things that I think will fit in nicely in living rooms across the world, but what about gaming?
The console’s more powerful, so your games will look better, but that’s given with 8 years of hardware improvements. Xbox One will feature cloud storage, a new matchmaking system, a built in DVR, and a revamped Achievement system that is no longer limited to single games. The Smart Match matchmaking revamp could be a huge perk, but personally I only have issues getting in matches on games that don’t have much of an online user base. Plus, those extra few seconds while my opponents are found are usually utilized by drinking, smoking, or making a bathroom run. I do like the new achievement system as achievements have changed the way I play games, finally giving us a reason to go that extra inch. Achievements are your gaming bragging rights, and in my opinion it’s the smartest gaming update the Xbox One has aside from more advanced hardware.
I’m not really excited about the Xbox One, but I am excited for what the Xbox One will be able to offer. I’ll hold final judgement until all the facts are put onto the table at E3 next month.
I hate, hate, hate the name, almost as much as I dislike “Wii U” as a name. Xbox One? We already have an “Xbox One,” it came out twelve years ago. It feels like Microsoft is slapping their history in the face, as if to say “Forget about that other console (that may or may not have gotten us into the console industry), this is the NEW Xbox One!”
Anyway, I don’t have cable, and I don’t ever plan on getting it since I get all my preferred entertainment/news from my PC and consoles. So a lot of the non-gaming features offered by the upcoming console don’t apply to me. However, giving the Xbox One the functionality of a cable box sounds like surefire business practice. If Microsoft prices it right, they’ll be able to get it into the homes of casual video game players, like households that just buy a CoD game every year or two. Market it as a subsidized package alongside giants like Comcast and Time Warner, and it’s solid business, I think. That casual market that Nintendo tapped into with the Wii is simply not returning for the Wii U. The extra functionality offered by the One might see Microsoft taking over that market.
I care about the games most of all, though. And hearing that they plan on releasing 15 exclusive titles within the first year post-launch certainly perks my ears up. Looking forward to hearing about them in the coming months.
Agree or disagree with any of us? Let us know in the comments!