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In case you missed the big news yesterday, Microsoft finally unveiled the Xbox One, their next generation console that is going to be released later this year. From a heavy focus on the entertainment side of things compared to actual games, Microsoft is clearly saving the big game announcements for E3, but was this approach worth it? Also, the reveal ended up coming with more questions than answers especially with the used games fiasco, always online connectivity, and the lack of backwards compatibility. Entertainment Fuse has more thoughts on how Microsoft fared yesterday and whether or not we should be excited for the Xbox One right now.
The Xbox One’s press event was underwhelming, to say the least. In what should have been a chance to show off any of the 15 exclusives they bragged about during the show, Microsoft instead decided to focus on games that would be coming to all platforms. Showing games that the competitors also have access to is a bad step in enamoring people with your product.
However, the biggest thing that has stuck out in my mind, aside from the silly name, the silly dog in the new Call of Duty, the sheer size of the new Kinect and the lack of backwards compatibility, is the fact that Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are all going in completely different directions. Nintendo is shaming the brand that made gaming famous by running cheap parlor tricks into the ground; Microsoft is still banking on the casual audience to buy their box for the entertainment aspects instead of games while trying desperately to still seem cool to people who want to just play games; all the while Sony is the one making the most gaming-related innovations with their push into the next generation.
Coming from someone who only owns an Xbox 360, I’m looking forward to getting a Playstation 4 more than I am an Xbox One, which is kind of disappointing.
Boy am I glad that Microsoft did the unveiling today because for the first time in three years, I believe that they will actually focus their E3 press conference on games. Since the advent of the Kinect, Microsoft “broadened” their focus on what to discuss at these events. As soon as they stop talking about Call of Duty and three other AAA titles, the rest of the presser would be a snoozefest full of needless Kinect stuff and non-gaming functionality.
That being said, today’s unveiling was exactly that - boring. After you strip the production value that was put into it, all that was delivered were needless Kinect gesturing and non-gaming functionality followed by mere teasers of games and lastly, Call of Duty. Perhaps I would care about the heavily pushed TV functionality if I believed my town’s lousy cable company would provide it.
Like the PS4 event, the real news started to emerge once the event ended. The lack of backwards compatibility stings not because of discs, but with my hundreds invested into XBLM content, which I will now second-guess buying off of from now on. They are forcing Kinect this time around, so my always-on system is listening when it should be off, which guarantees accidental commands (Mass Effect 3 did that to me). Lastly, Microsoft is being dodgy and vague about the used game bit, which means its something that they don’t want to discuss because it’s probably the answer we don’t want. Granted Sony needs to explain some of these issues as well, but Microsoft had the cushion of over three months to see the backlash of the PS4 event.
Everything isn't negative however. I absolutely love that controller, and the new rumble function on the triggers is pure genius. I also like the speed in which the system turns on and changes over because after using a Wii U for half a year, seeing loading speeds become a focus truly resonated to me. On a lesser note, I am very intrigued about the Halo TV series since I love the live action stuff Microsoft does with Halo, though I did get worried when they hinted that it might be an Xbox One exclusive instead on a regular network. And hey, a slot loading disc tray! That means no more circle scratches that plagued the 360.
Microsoft fumbled the Xbox One unveiling, but it is only the unveiling. Today means nothing once the system comes out. Hopefully Microsoft gets up, dusts themselves off and look at E3 for redemption.
Being an owner of both brands I am slightly leaving towards the Xbox. Having the rights to EA content I think is a big deal and will definitely pull in a huge portion of the sports audience. Hardware wise the Xbox One is nigh on parallel to the PS4 with the PS4 just pushing slightly ahead with RAM architecture.
I can see this being a war with games and the console with the best exclusive releases prevailing with the best sales. I also see this being Microsoft as we have seen in the past the exclusive content seems to be a little better. Though its a subscription model and some people may be tired of paying monthly for Xbox. Who is to know? I'm going to wait until I have the console in front of me before I make the investment though that TV feature does look really cool.
I have to admit, before the actual announcement, I was ripe with excitement for the reveal of whatever Microsoft had ready for the next generation of Xbox. Especially coming off of the kind of disappointing Sony reveal, I thought surely we would see some great games or at least something epic at the Xbox reveal, but well, not really.
Xbox One looks to be a system to end all of your entertainment needs. It can do fabulous things with TV, sports, and looks like a really powerful system. But where were the games? I didn't want ten minutes of Call of Duty 35, but that's the only real game that even remotely appealed to me. I can admit that Forza Motorsport 5 looked fine, great actually, but I'm not the world's biggest fan of racing games. And what was up with Quantum Break? Is that a Defiance like fusion of TV and a game? I'm confused at this point.
Still, we got some cool things out of the conference. The system itself looks pretty rad. The specs are great, I'm happy this thing has a blu-ray drive in it, and I'm even not as upset about all of the Kinect functionality since every console is shipped with one this time around. The fact that it can do several things at once is great, and Kinect functionality looks pretty fantastic. The ability to flip through things instantly is great, and a console that doesn't chug every time you want to look at the contents of your hard drive would be nice.
The controller looks fine. I for one am glad that it didn't get a full redesign, but instead just a little bit added to it. I just hope that D-pad works better than any previous Xbox D-Pads have.
Overall, their coming out party was mediocre. It felt more focused than Sony's, but it didn't show what I care about that much: games.
Where my major disappointment comes from is the information being released after the unveil. So my gamertag, achievements from the last eight years, and avatar all transfer over, but not my purchases from the last eight years? Oh and guess what, it doesn't have backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games, so guess you need to hang on to that system. I'm even willing to except those two things at this point, but here's what could be the nail in the coffin for me (and a lot of you I'm sure): “pre-owned fee.”
Yes, you heard that right. If you aren't playing a brand new copy of a game you just purchased for yourself, get ready to pay a “pre-owned fee” to unlock the ability to install that game. So for example, if you and your brother play on the same Xbox, you would essentially have to pay to play the same game on his account. Again, this hasn't been officially confirmed by Microsoft yet, but it is definitely a thing that exists, or could.
Before I went into this conference today, I was pretty aligned with Microsoft. I've had a great eight years with Xbox 360. Xbox Live is a great service that I continue to pay for and enjoy, and I've had some wonderful times with the system. However, I came out of this thing with only confusion, questions, and uncertainty. I don't know what system to buy this Fall anymore. Perhaps E3 has the answers I'm looking for. One thing's for sure: I want to see some GAMES.
So Xbox One? Absolutely no one saw that coming and don’t say you did because you will be lying. What do I think of the name? It is fine. I’m okay with any name that isn't embarrassing to say to non-gamers (See Wii) so this is totally viable. Seeing the hardware was real nice (I’m looking at you Sony) and looks pretty sleek and sexy. It will look nice next to a HDTV and doesn't look like a kid’s toy which is cool.
As far as the presentation went it was what many people assumed and what I feared. A heavy focus of apps, watching TV, interacting with friends, and basically anything you can think of except for playing games. It all looked cool but nothing that groundbreaking and a leap over what the 360 can do right now. Of course Microsoft are keeping all the games for E3 which is very close but I still think this was a misfire. You are announcing a games console so you need to lead with games. It is their own fault that E3 is so close so they have to save these announcements as they could have done this months ago.
My favorite part of the presentation was the games. We know nothing about Quantum Break so far, but Remedy are incredible developers and this is what will get me buying the Xbox One over anything else shown. We also got told that there will be 15 exclusives coming over the next year, 8 which will be brand new IPs. This is very exciting and gets me really pumped for E3.
I was underwhelmed by the Xbox One announcement, but I was expecting to be so I’m not that disappointed. PS4 definitely had the better reveal with its focus on games, but ultimately the first real shots of this console war will be fired at what looks to be the most important E3 so far. This time round both consoles will launch at a similar time with assuming a similar price so will ultimately be decided on who has the best games. Something tells me Microsoft have some big titles up their sleeve. Bring on E3!