written by Justin Prince (@Prince_Justin)
First off, don't get me started on that name. XBox One? Let's look at the progression of this console. First was XBox... next, in an attempt to not call it the XBox 2 (especially with the PlayStation 3 coming) they called it the XBox 360, a naming that still makes me "wtf" so hard... 360 degrees is just spinning around and ending up back where you were... huh? Another case of naming "wtf"... XBox One... It does sound better than the rumored Xbox Infinity but personally I would have just called it the XBox 720. Anyway! So what did I think of the new box?
Personally, purely aesthetically speaking, the box looks huge... it looks like an UGLY first gen PS3. I am not keen on the styling, I know they packed alot into this little box and the spec sheet is pretty fuckin' impressive. But I feel they could have put it in a nicer looking package. The features were impressive, I really dig how Kinect is truly integrated into operating the device, now how well this will work in real life situations is not determined until I can get my hands on this box myself, but based on the on stage demonstrations, it looks like it would be fairly smooth and seamless... now how much of that was actual interaction as opposed to preprogrammed, I don't know, but it looks to be very seamless.
The focus for this device is to be your all in one entertainment box, I can understand if that was the inspiration for naming it XBox One... but I still can't get behind the name. Much of this press conference was focused on how this can fit into your entertainment center. The idea of seamlessly switching between games, live tv, Netflix, Skype, etc sounds promising. Personally this feels very A.D.D. to me. I can't remember the last time I even had the need to switch between watching Star Trek on Netflix, catch The Price is Right while still playing my game. While interesting, I don't see myself utilizing these features. When I game I game, when I watch Netflix I watch Netflix. It does make it easier if say I want to play a game after watching a few episodes on How I Met Your Mother on Netflix, but as far as live switching constantly? I doubt it will be as utilized as they are predicting it to be.
"contrary to the dickish comments by the despised Adam Orth, this is gladly not an always on console"
The press conference as a whole just felt randomly pieced together. After Sony pulled that "surprise-not-surprise" reveal of the PS4, I'm sure Microsoft was chomping at the bit to get there next, though I feel like this press conference was just a reason to say "Hey SONY! We showed people ours, you showed a controller trolololololol". Well, maybe not like that. But with E3 only a couple weeks away, this hour long press conference would have been better off as a 30 minute tease. In a world of teaser trailers for full length trailers, this press conference was the teaser trailer to a teaser trailer. E3 will really pit these gaming heavyweights head to head, but with that being still a couple weeks away and with SONY and the PS4 dominating the news feeds and headlines, Microsoft had to do... something, I just don't feel like it was timed right. They severely missed that window of opportunity.
On the plus side, contrary to the dickish comments by the despised Adam Orth, this is gladly not an always on console. Though with all the features they are touting, it feels like it would be severely crippled without one, like an iPhone without a data plan... an XBox One that isn't connected wouldn't be everything they intended for it to be, but I am glad that they didn't force an always on connection, with the debacles that came from the new SimCity and Diablo III , this is good news for gamers. While it seems like such an issue to most, it's a non issue to me, but the lack of backward compatibility. See, I keep my old consoles and when I pop old games in I'll just fire up an old console. What is troublesome is why XBLA games are considered not backward compatible either. But I know on Sony's side of the argument, backward compatibility was also mentioned as not being included. I guess this is more of a reason to keep your old consoles and not get rid of them when the new one launches.
But the good wouldn't be right without the bad, here is where some grey details come, Wired.com confirmed that games will be able to be loaded onto the HDD and thus be playable without the game disc. This sounds very much like a PC like DRM for console games, while they didn't deny it, reports make it sound as if games will be required to be loaded on the HDD to be played, but what about used games and game you say would rent or lend to a friend? You would have to pay a fee, if you say had multiple consoles in the home or say wanted to lend your copy to your brother or bring your copy to a friend's place, they would in effect have to pay a fee to license the game... WHAT? This is lending strongly to the idea that Microsoft really has no interest in this being a GAME Box anymore and just wants the games to be a tertiary aspect of the entertainment package they are touting.
Personally... I am NOT excited in the very least, the press conference was boring and felt so rushed. Like the head guys over there were scrambling to get this waste of an hour thrown together, and while I know that Call of Duty is a HUGE franchise and a big seller for XBox gamers (especially with Microsoft acquiring the rights to be the first to get new maps or DLC) why at your press event did you devote a good 15 minutes to a MULTI-PLATFORM GAME! COD looks amazing and I can't wait to play it, but they should have given more screen time to exclusive titles like Forza or even the Halo series they will be producing for their LIVE subscribers. I'll still get an XBox One, I do enjoy the ecosystem of games and some of the features look to be very compelling. We'll have to wait till E3 for more news, but until then... I'm predicting that the PS4 will win this coming console generation.