Quick Gaming Thoughts on Xbox One

So like a good number of people, I was very curious to see how Microsoft would respond with their next generation console announcement. If you could say that the Wii U was the first shot of the upcoming console war and Sony's conference earlier this year was the second, then Microsoft may have been last - but also had the most time to prepare how they wanted to position their marketing pitch.

There had been speculation for months that Microsoft would target a wider theme than usual. Nintendo wanted to be the first out of the gates, and not to let the technical specs of consoles dictate their offering, while Sony was going to go after the hardcore gamers. Sony's conference was met with some mixed reviews, but generally speaking people I talked to seemed to feel it was a positive one. Even people in my office (which is predominantly Xbox 360 devoted) felt Sony's pitch was an interesting one.

Of course, rumors have been running wild for several months now, ranging from whether the PlayStation 4 of the Xbox One would have better specs. On the surface they actually appear pretty similar, though there are some differences. Of greater interest to me was that Microsoft does in fact appear to be targeting 'everyone' - positioning the Xbox One as the centerpiece to the living room. There is a heavy emphasis on an improved Kinect and video capability. Oh, and TV. Lots of that.

My gut feeling is we will see more game news during E3 - and I certainly hope so. This was a chance to draw the curtain back on the hardware, dangle some possibilities and try to get people excited. Unfortunately it feels like the reveal had something of the opposite effect on people. I know for myself, the presentation fell very flat, and it did for other friends and co-workers I have talked to about it as well. The most exciting title announced was probably the newest Forza. Halo got teased - but again as a show - that TV emphasis just oozed throughout the presentation.

I do not think it will be enough just to 'show the games' - but exclusive games as well. Sony has been receiving good publicity over the design of their hardware, the way they looped in development teams and opened their doors to indies as well. Microsoft's handling of used games has to be seen as a bit of a handicap as well since this would seem to make the cost to owners higher on Xbox One than PlayStation 4. What separates the upcoming Call of Duty game on those two systems at this point?

I did read where a single Xbox Gold account on the Xbox One will scale out to the whole family on that machine - which is nice as that was a major cost to the Xbox 360 in my household. Of course there was the family plan, which lowered the cost, but to be honest - it was even cheaper just to pick up Battlefield 3 on PlayStation 3 over the Xbox 360 because everyone could play it on the PS3.

It is far too early in the game for me to be overly excited for one console over the other, but E3 will no doubt impact my thoughts quite a bit once we get to see it. In the meantime, the TV-heavy theme of Xbox One did not particularly interest me personally, which was why I found the video below amusing when my oldest sent it to me.

Hope you all had a nice weekend!



  1. The heavy TV focus is a big turn off for me too. This console unveiling really makes me sad because I remember back when Microsoft was entering the console business with the original Xbox (A.K.A. the real Xbox 1 haha), and they tried really hard to show they were all about the games. Halo, Project Gotham, even flops like Azurik....at least they tried to come out of the gate strong with new IPs.

    But the real deal-breaker for me is the used game fee. I buy most of my console games used, so having my used game blocked by a pay-wall really angers me. What are we supposed to do in 20 years when we want to play a Xbox One game and Microsoft's Xbox servers no longer exist?

    Sorry for the rant Chalgyr, but this console is just a huge disappointment to me!

  2. Well, I've been thinking about the Xbox One for a good week, and I've been mulling over the conference quite a bit. It's definitely too early to say if it's going to be the it-console this upcoming generation, and if it's worthy of newfound hype. But I have to say, with great honesty, that that conference was the greatest comedy I've ever seen in my life.

    And then the news reports started coming in. And suddenly, I couldn't laugh anymore.

    I have no idea what's going through the masterminds' heads when it comes to this console. I would assume that -- presumably, like any good inventors -- they're trying to create and satisfy a need that consumers didn't know they had. So it's entirely possible that this wider audience they're aiming for could hold them up as new gods when all's said and done. But based on all the news that's been circulating, it sounds like the confidence they showed off at that big show is far, far, FAR from deserved. It really is telling about the status of a company mindset when they bring in a former CBS executive in the same instance that they show clips from The Price is Right.

    If Microsoft wants to go all in with this TV service, then that's fine for now; far be it from me to demand a course correction. But they need to do some serious work if they want to prove that they're going to keep on making gamers happy -- and I can tell you right now that showing off a virtual dog isn't going to do it.

  3. I can't help but grin at the comparison to a comedy. And then the things I've read since - likely the same stuff you have - like the handling of used games or the region locking, just make me shake my head a bit. Thinks for stopping by Voltech!

  4. Honestly? That's how I feel about the purchasing of a gaming machine too. The other stuff that's being touted... I have a cable box. I alrady have access to Netflix and Hulu. I don't see a lot of additional value - at least not to me personally - from these other bells and whistles. If I am going to invest in a new gaming system - I want it to be rock solid with its games.

    Thanks for commenting!

  5. 'ello Rob, thanks for dropping by!

    Nothing to apologize for - like you I am a bit disappointed in the current direction. I think Microsoft has a couple of weeks to get their stuff together and make a more compelling argument during E3, otherwise they may be unable to recover before the release. I hate getting into console war debates, but it feels like the PS4 is off to a much stronger start.

  6. The XBOX One was basically off my radar to begin with and the information since the conference hasn't helped any. Your comment about already having access to TV/entertainment content is what I was thinking as well. Maybe they can invent an itch we didn't know what had?

    Having DirectTV for our primary content and a 25/5Mbps internet connection [without monthly cap] for gaming, streaming and other stuff fits the bill pretty well as-is.

    Used game fee? Sounds like quite a backlash coming. While I buy most of my games new, I have started shopping the used market some. Some games out of production are sold new at ridiculous prices and besides, always buying new will limit the budget many people can spend in general.

    Quick example: Professor Layton: Curious Village. It's over 5 years old now and I'm seeing a $50-$80+ pricetags from various 3rd parties on amazon. Solution? $12 used at BestBuy.

  7. I'm getting tired of "reveals" with no prices. I'm cheap. Cheap. CHEAP. I don't get very excited about stuff, without price tag attached.

    Plus, have I mentioned before I hate paying a monthly subscription for things? Yeah, if not, I hate paying a monthly subscription for things. We don't have cable TV. We switched our cell phone contract after being with a company for 7 years...why? To save $ per month.

    We have the Netflix Instant Streaming, and I'm expecting those cheap skates to raise the rate any minute on me now, while their service has had more downtime issues these last few months, than I have had high/low bloodsugars it seems...speaking as a diabetic, that is a lot!

    I just don't see the point in paying for an additional service, even if gaming related, when my PC can play games on services like Steam for free. Also, if I did pay for a service, I would think it would be something like GameFly, where I can rent games, but now with the Xbox One they want me to pay an additional fee to play a game I'm already paying a fee to play!? They must think my wallet is deep, and connected to the powers that be at the Federal Reserve with their limitless supply of Monopoly money.

    I would like to remind everybody of one thing though about Microsoft now after this "reveal", and before whatever they show at E3, that seals the deal for me and why I won't be picking up the Xbox One at launch:

    Milo. Milo. Milo. Milo.

  8. So... rumor has it, you're cheap? :)

    Sadly, I suspect the trend of dropping bits of info without prices will continue for some time. It's good for their PR - especially in a day and age where sites like Twitter do a lot of the PR work for them. Why throw cold water on it by mentioning price? That said - I agree with you and would very much like to see those myself.

    You mentioned Steam - sorry, but that made me grin considering how long it took to get you to try it - but I agree as well. It's this whole subscription/microtransaction model lately we're seeing in so many places - a lot of software, and not just games, are starting to adopt it - like Adobe's recent announcement that they're going 100% cloud/subscription-based.

    I do plan to pick one of the consoles up this year. I admit I'm leaning PS4 but I'm not 100% set for or against any of them yet. Still, Microsoft has their work cut out to convince me at E3 that they're the system for me.

    Also? Thank you for the video link. I had NOT seen that, but it was pretty funny. It loaded really slow for me the first time I watched it, so it skipped ahead and I only saw Mario swimming, so I reloaded it and got to see/hear the intro and then got a pretty good laugh out of it.

    Thanks for the comments!

  9. "Why throw cold water on it by mentioning price? That said - I agree with you and would very much like to see those myself."

    As a gamer, and one that saved up for the Sega Dreamcast (as a first console) when I was younger, knowing the price early on allowed me to budget my summer work accordingly.

    I would have to go back and see how far in advance they knew the price of the Dreamcast, but I remember pre-ordering it and a game and having them both paid off before a friend and I went to pick them up.

    If the price is high, and they're concerned it might be an issue, I would say get out the "bad news" early, so it has more time to disperse with other "news" between now and launch. If the price is low, then it could be a reason to hold it back and announce it at E3 as a big shock to everyone helping further create excitement for the console (not that they really created any excitement from their first conference though...).

    "I admit I'm leaning Wii U but I'm not 100% set for or against any of them yet."

    Wii U. Wii U. Wii U. Wii U. Wii U. Wii U. Wii U. Wii U.

    I'm trying this new thing, with subliminal messaging, not really sure how well it's working though.

    As for, "You mentioned Steam - sorry, but that made me grin considering how long it took to get you to try it - but I agree as well.", I purchased more games today for that cursed service!
    See: http://www.humblebundle.com/weekly

    "...like Adobe's recent announcement that they're going 100% cloud/subscription-based."

    Just as I'm starting to really like Photoshop Elements, and using it in almost all of my "data reports" now for the top banner images.....looks like I'll be looking for a new editing program when/if I upgrade in the future. Why? Because that rumor about me being cheap.

  10. ROFL @ the Wii U subliminal stuff

    That's a really solid Humble Bundle. If I didn't already have almost all of it, I'd probably pick it up.

    Sorry to share the bad Adobe news. :(

    As to the meatier topic you started in with, I can relate. I did something very similar back when I saved up for the original PlayStation as well. I did get put on Gamestopis first-to-notify list for both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 yesterday. Right now, I'm just setting aside as much funding as I can, and figure if it's more than the system - yay, I just bought myself an extra controller or game when the time comes.

  11. Xbox got too confident, the success that it has experienced with the 360 has been a very cheaply achieved one, the console was released with many very serious faults and it could get away with charging absurd prices for features that other consoles were giving for free. People didn't really notice that the 'Gold' charges were unfair on them because it was a crowd effect, it seemed normal because it was happening to everybody and this was new to gaming in general.

    So of course Microsoft thought they could get away with it all over again, but things have changed now, they didn't account for the hostile environment that has arisen for DRM and DLC. And in fact with the inclusion of no backwards compatibility this is one of the most restricted consoles I've ever seen and the problem with the conference was that it was dangling an insulting piece of software that represented everything bad that has grown out of the industry in front of the gaming community as if they should be thankful.

    I bought the 360, didn't have the money for the PS3, sure enough I've had a million problems the red ring being just one of them. Even if it wasn't for this disaster of a conference I wouldn't have been buying into the Xbox One, but it's going to be interesting to see where this console goes considering the major conflict in the industry right now between piracy/modding and drm/subscriptions/dlc, and the effects this conflict has on regular gamers.

  12. Thanks for dropping by, Josef.

    Good points - the entire gaming environment has seen a lot of changes since Xbox was first rolled out. I think Microsoft is banking too much on being general entertainment at this point - but I have to agree that the RRoD issues from this last generation do very little to inspire confidence in the first wave of Xbox consoles coming out this year as well.


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