Xbox One Revealed! Should Gamers Be Excited?
UPDATE: Microsoft has reversed their policies on internet connectivity and the trading of used games. Stand proud fellow gamers. You made your voice heard and revolution followed.
And so it came to pass, that over 7 years of waiting would end with the coming of the next generation of Xbox. Would all of our hopes and dreams be made real? Would the promise of future innovation be fulfilled? Much remains to be seen, but for now we are left discussing mere morsels of future tech.
For seven years we have been playing on the same consoles my gamer friends. We have digested game after game and watched as our once games dedicated consoles have slowly been turned into modern media monoliths. Many have greeted this gradual metamorphosis with eager hands, but some of us "old guard" remain skeptical of the sacrilege taking place in our once holy temples.
Don't get me wrong, I get where Microsoft is going. The movement towards consolidation has been happening for a while now, and with both Google and Apple attempting to move further into the living room, Microsoft felt as though they needed to head off with a product guaranteed to sell (according to Nielsen, close to 60% of all US households have video game consoles). It should also be mentioned that Windows 8 has yet to meet market expectations, leaving Microsoft scrambling to recoup losses.
Enough talk about that, let's jam on some features.
Xbox One certainly sports an impressive tech suite. Sure, your high end gaming PC's put it to shame, but the price point and overall contained nature of the power make the console appealing. There wasn't much actual gameplay shown during the reveal, so proof of how delicious this pudding just may be will most likely come to us at E3.
The on-the-fly app switching was rather impressive, but the ability to get to game saves as soon as I boot up the machine is what really got me excited. Whether or not this is hyperbole remains to be seen.
As for Kinect, the fact that I now MUST use the tech has me a bit flummoxed. I have always been a fan of the voice recognition, but not having the ability to turn off the all-seeing eye has my inner conspiracy theorist running overtime. I have attempted to assuage his fear by saying all change is good, but intrusion of personal space can be difficult to swallow. This intrusion becomes even more difficult when you think about how introverted and private some of us gamers can be.
Nothing massively new on the controller front and I could not be happier about it. I have long thought the Xbox 360 controller superior to any other on the market. The displaced thumbsticks, weight, and excellent feedback have kept the 360 controller in my hands far more than the Dualshock.
The design innovations made to the new controller seem subtle and I am looking forward to the integrated battery along with the Haptic feedback for each trigger.
Even though Microsoft was extra skimpy on the gaming front during the reveal, having 13 confirmed games is pretty impressive. I only hope they cater to the demographic that made the Xbox what it is a little more during E3 in a couple of weeks.
I know there may be a large swath of you out there who are excited about the peripheral media digestion that Xbox One will provide, but I want games and the immersive experience they provide. After reading some of my fellow gamer's opinions, I am happy to see I am not alone.
That said, graphics a factor of 8 times better has me giddy with anticipation. The ability to live in these worlds that are dynamic and ever-evolving is an extremely exciting prospect that I look forward to.
The game DVR is another feature that peaked my interest. It's nothing new (Halo/CoD), but instant uploading of sessions involving the humiliation of pre-teen idiots and the capacity for making tutorials is most excellent.
Questions and Concerns
There are still major questions that Microsoft not-so-subtly skirted around. What is the official word on used game licensing? Does the Kinect really have to be involved in every aspect of the Xbox One experience? Why the hell does the name suck so much?
Overall, I though the reveal paled in comparison to the gamer and developer driven PS4 reveal. I could care less about Presidents and CEOs, I want to see the people in the trenches making these innovations; I want to see how excited they are about their work. I certainly hope Microsoft steps up their game at E3, because, as of right now, this gamer is liking what Sony is laying down.