28 May 2013

The All-In-One Device... Minus Gaming

Maybe I was born in the wrong generation. Why else do I apologize to adults about the intolerable mess of our pop music? Why else do I still cringe at the mentioning of a smart phone? Why else did it take me nearly six years to finally buy a new gaming console?

...Oh wait. I'm a skeptic at heart. And stunts like this make the self-fulfilled prophesy continue to spin in circles.

So... the Xbox One...

Right from the get-go, as a self-proclaimed Microsoft cynic, I had no desire to potentially spend a cent on this new console. When it comes to video game hardware, I'm comfortable with Sony and Nintendo. Having a Gamecube, a Gameboy Advance, a Playstation 2 and 3, a 3DS, and a Vita I am satisfied enough with the software developers release on these pieces of hardware. No negative or apathetic experiences enough to make me turn away (although the Wii is another story). For some reason nothing I have touched that had a Microsoft label has ever liked me. It's like the technophobe who can't be near a TV without it exploding.

But you know what? I'm trying to be reasonable. I have met various owners of the Xbox 360, and we happily agree to disagree. They like their Xbox Live, awesome multiplatform games, and Halo, I prefer the exclusive library, the free Blu-ray player, and the Playstation Network. To each his own, you know? This time I wanted to be openminded, especially about the whole Xbox One outrage. I went on Xbox's website, I watched the conference, and I read various reactions. Now I'm sitting back, waiting for E3 to roll around to get a clearer picture.

My reaction to Xbox One should not be surprising. I don't like it. Ignoring that it's Microsoft, the hard drive space is too freaking tiny for games that now take up at least 1 or 2 gigabytes of memory (not always including save data), and that the Kinect STILL exists, this thing is not a gaming console. It's a multimedia device.

Sure, the big guns might be in store for E3 for the gamers. It's only a shame the conference is all about the "console" for being a remote-less cable box for sports fanatics. Audio commands, motion control, multi-program streaming, and "OMFG PWETTY REELIZTICK GRAFFIX!!" are really nice and all... but who are you trying to appeal to, Microsoft?

You pissed off enough Xbox fans with the confusing name and the lack of games. It fails to appeal to the general audience when people have a cable box to watch TV. Comcast can be annoying enough with their business practices and deals, but I really doubt an extra fee to Microsoft will appease the ones who pay more than enough ridiculous bills.

I guess I'm just preaching to the choir.

Even as a multimedia device, this thing fails to impress me. If I want to watch TV, I have a cable box. I will not rewire all of my technology to run two black boxes with no remote. If I want to chat with friends via Skype, I'll use my computer. Listen to music? I have an iPod. Watch movies? DVDs on my computer and Blu-ray on my PS3. I have all the technology to suit my needs, and I will not rewire and transfer everything into two black boxes that Microsoft lovingly showed off to the world. As convenient as it seems - in theory - to have an all-in-one device, it really does not come across well here.

The Xbox One is simply - based on the recent conference - a cheap PC. If so, what is the point in making an actual gaming console? Microsoft didn't even try to acknowledge that their new piece of art is for gamers. As much as their main points say, "Gamers, this is the perfect console for you," there are NO supporting details to keep the argument afloat. Other than cutscene footage of Quantum Break, EA's yearly sports games, and Call of Duty: Ghosts, no bits of gameplay were shown. It was all graphics. Just the book cover. They might as well showed a hyperrealistic short clip of various angles showing stripers at a club.

Seriously, 20 seconds of "OMFGLOOKATMEEEE!!!" graphics pandering. (And comments disabled too. Free speech at work.) You know what that whole "video game" section really reminded me of?

Congrats, Microsoft. You are evil geniuses. People are talking about your product. Go pat yourselves on the back and expect a fountain of cash to magically manifest on your front porch. I can only hope you give better news at E3 for the gamers who [used to] follow you. I seriously, seriously, and desperately hope that us consumers won't fall in what looks like a very shallow pony trick.

Otherwise, Microsoft - being a typical business - will not expand upon the fate of used games, possible fees, and mandatory one-time-pass-code-only installation. And let's not even start with the "not-really-necessary-24-hour" internet connection... that needs to be connected to the internet at least once in a 24 hour period or else Microsoft throws and fit and fries your console... or something.

...And that's why I grew up to be as blunt and honest as a brick to the face.

As far as the eighth generation as a whole, I have no money to spend on new toys. Just like last time, I'll wait everything out. At this point, the Playstation 4 seems like the best option for me for now. The Wii U might come later. I can't resist skipping a new Legend of Zelda or Sonic game for long. Meanwhile, I still have my Vita and 3DS to keep me busy. Still waiting for Fire Emblem Awakening and Gravity Rush to fit in my budget... :'(

Various pictures from Google and knowyourmeme.com


Voltech said...

My assumption with Microsoft's strategy is that they're trying to satisfy a need that people didn't even know they had -- to preemptively become the next big thing, and provide the "innovation" that has become the it-buzzword in the industry all of a sudden.

But from what I can gather, the stuff that the Xbox One is doing is stuff that's been done by other devices for a while now. Thinking back on the conference (which I now consider to be the greatest comedy ever created), I'm starting to realize that most of the stuff they showed off was gimmicky at best and intrusive at worst. And why are they so excited about Kinect and voice recognition? Didn't they show that off at last year's E3? Even beyond that, I can't help but think of anything but THIS when it comes to the Kinect:


I...really have no idea what to make of this console. That is NOT a good thing. That is the complete opposite of what Microsoft should be doing. I would say that some good exclusives can help fan the flames, but...really? What have they got on that end? Another Halo? Another Gears of War? Some new IP that's trying to be the next "epic, cinematic, insert-buzzword-here experience"? No. Do better, Microsoft. Do it fast.

I would hold fast to that 3DS if I were you. I have a sneaking suspicion you'll need it soon.

Melanie~Light said...

This convention made me take back my initial doubts about the Wii U. At least Nintendo knew to play safe and not rely so heavily on motion control and other gimmicks. Even Sony didn't emphasize gimmicks and tricks when they presented the PS4.

Intrusive... yes. That best describes the console at this point. Until they make the final word on used games, installation, Xbox Live, and internet connection, people will continue to feel Microsoft is monitoring every single move you make.

New IPs is the best thing for Microsoft... if they were indie and small-time developer friendly. (And good luck with Japan, since they don't care about Xbox.)

From what I've heard in this tiny storm of confusion, there's even a buzz that indie developers have to publish their games via a big company (Activision, EA, etc.) in order to release it on Xbox Live. ...So unless this is proven 100% false, Microsoft's console will have an abysmal launch.

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