And we’re off to the races. Tuesday Microsoft unveiled their new console, the Xbox One. While Microsoft’s big reveal focused mainly on hardware and multimedia, with most major game announcements being saved for E3, it’s still all that anybody can talk about. We here at GayGamer.net have all compiled our initial impressions of the Xbox One reveal right here for your reading pleasure. Most of us range from “ew” to “meh”, and we even manage to compare Microsoft to both Grindr and Craigslist. Suck it, other gaming sites.
There was a tweet that best sums up how I feel about the event:
When I watch this Xbox conference, I feel like the game industry is embarrassed of itself for being the game industry.
— Emily Rogers (@Emi1yRogers) May 21, 2013
Microsoft spent way more time demoing the Xbox One as an entertainment system and not a gaming console. As a student who works part time and has very little money to spend on video games, this has me concerned that Microsoft only cares about gamers who have a bigger amount of disposable income. Since they didn’t talk about used games and barely talked about actually video games, I was left quite disappointed by the event. I am also quite concerned with the future of gaming.
I don’t know who decided that videogame consoles are supposed to be home entertainment set-top boxes, but I would like to punch them square in the nuts. It was no big deal when the PlayStation 2 doubled as a DVD player, and I rather appreciated my PS3 making it unnecessary for me to buy a separate Blu-ray player. But I can tell you that I have barely touched the Nintendo TV service since it debuted on the Wii U, and have less than no interest in hooking up my cable box to an Xbox One. If I want to play games, I will play a game. If I want to watch TV or a movie, I will do that. I don’t need to do both at the same time. If I want to look up someone from a movie on the imdb, I will use my phone or tablet. That’s what they’re there for. I don’t even like it when those Xbox notifications pop up telling me a friend has come online while I’m playing a game. What makes them think I want all kinds of other distractions? And packing in a Kinect has me hoping that they seriously considered those of us with tiny apartment living rooms.
Caught up with the Xbox One news (and lack thereof). I actually have to say I like the look of the console. Its very sleek in my opinion and would fit in very well in any entertainment center.
Thats sort of where my praise of the conference ends. I know that their demographic tends to be the Madden sports crowd, but I was really disappointed that nothing in the whole presentation appealed to me. I think its an interesting idea to bring in the “Live TV” but I really don’t think that will be a sell for the system. Watching TV live is sort of becoming an relic of the past, as people such as myself gravitate toward the Hulu Plus/Netflix/Amazon Instant Video alternatives. Granted I know that those apps will be included with the system, but its just strange that the Live TV is apparently a big deal.
And as far as the Kinect being packaged in with the console, I primarily see that as being a way to navigate the UI. When I got my Kinect, after just a few Dance Central gaming sessions, the only thing I use it for is to pause and play Netflix when walking to the Kitchen to get a snack :P. Finally….No backwards compatibility??? WHAT?
Who knows what E3 has in store, and I’m looking forward to finding out, but in my opinion, today was a bust for Microsoft.
At this point, both the Xbox One and PS4 sit in suspension in my brain – ideas of consoles, nebulous entities, with little substance to them yet. I may end up buying one of them; I may just save my pennies and go for a nice PC rig, which I know will have more of the all-in-wonder properties I’d like in a console than console makers have been producing. (Cable and PVR? No thanks. Picture and video editing? Yes, please!) Right now, I really don’t know.
I am already sick and tired of this new console gen and it’s barely begun. In my best RuPaul voice: “Bring…back…my…games!”
I thought the presentation started out well enough: Console sounds powerful, and the media things it can do are all pretty cool sounding but I wish they weren’t the focus. This is a gaming console! All the other stuff like TV and Skype should be cool extras that tip the battle in your favor, not your entire battle strategy. And let’s be honest, picture-in-picture has been done before and there’s a reason people stopped using it. Why would I want to watch a movie and a trailer for another and skype with someone all on one screen? Even my ADD-addled ass would get lost.
This console sounds cool enough, but until I see games I’m just going to jump on the bandwagon and hate it. And when I think of the games they did show, I’m just bored. Call of Duty trailer was nice but then I remembered that it’s Call of Duty and I don’t care. Sports games and racing sims aren’t my cup of tea either, so I was left with nothing. Not that there’s anything wrong with highlighting popular franchises and genres, I’m not so vain that I think all consoles should cater to my own tastes (well…maybe I am), BUT the fact that they didn’t even try to mention any adventure games, or RPGs, or even a shovelware music title….I mean what is Microsoft saying here?What I got is: We don’t care about gamers, we care about the living room (which to be fair we already knew about them). The gamers we do care about are the imaginary straight white males between the ages of 18 and 24 that also magically have enough income to support the high cost of this console, not buying used games, having cable, a big enough living room to use Kinect, etc. etc.
I understand what Microsoft was going for in this reveal. Their goal is to create the single box that you’ll go to for all of your entertainment needs and finally be the first company to control the entire living room. That’s an enticing proposition, something a lot of companies have their eyes on. Of course, the problem with that is how no one has been able to put together a device with realistic functions and interface options better than just watching something on my TV while fiddling with my phone for text messages and the internet. And the Xbox One is no different, except now I can shout at my television to bring up Internet Explorer. Hooray.I disagree with Wootini, though. The PS2 doubling as a cheap DVD player was a major reason a lot of people, especially families, picked one up in the early 2000s. Same goes for the PS3 as a Blu-ray player that also doubles as a way to keep your kids quiet. There’s a lot of money to be made in opening up a console to new markets through extra tech options, but to put that at the forefront of a presentation speaks volumes about Microsoft’s vision of the next five plus years. And it’s not a gaming centric future, at least not from what we can see now. The paltry handful of games mentioned and shown during the reveal, almost entirely sports and FPS titles, speak to a specific audience that right now buys games in droves. Thus, mentioning Call of Duty and FIFA gives Microsoft the credit they feel they needed to justify the gaming experience they’re offering and the primary market they want. It’s not a bad business decision, it’s just a disappointing one for those of us with different gaming tastes.
Remember how hard it was to find a Wii for years when Nintendo successfully marketed themselves to the then-untapped casual market? It seems like Microsoft is hoping for something similar here. Don’t get me wrong, there will definitely be some killer games that may tempt me into a purchase, but it just sucks to feel left out right now.
No, Mike, I actually liked the Blu-ray player in the PS3. (The DVD player in the PS2 wasn’t a selling point for me because I already had one of those, but I remember that’s why it sold like gangbusters in Japan) It’s when they try to add on all this other interactive entertainment BS that it drives me up the wall. I feel like the Xbox started by playing games and they slowly added additional features as time went on. And I’m sure that some people love those apps, but I basically just play games and watch Netflix. I was intrigued by Nintendo TV when it was announced, but when it actually launched for the Wii U, I barely touched it. It’ll be interesting to see if Microsoft can find an audience for this kind of feature. Maybe they can. Who knows? I just want a videogame system that plays awesome videogames. That’s the meat. The rest is all gravy.
I’m with Frank on that tweet and being generally concerned about elbowing games out of gaming. I don’t need or want another Netflix/Hulu/streaming/HBOGo/
Roku/iTunes content machine. I want the next step forward in console gaming, and it feels like Microsoft has gone out of its way to give me everything but.
It’s officially too late for anyone to “dominate the living room,” although i think that was always a unicorn. The best they can do is give me a targeted experience that I want, with the standard (redundant) multimedia features. Those features – no
matter how cool – won’t win anybody that unicorn, IMHO.
I’m intrigued by your thoughts on the “next step forward in console gaming”. What do you really think that entails? Personally I feel like we are close to that upper limit in pure console “horsepower”. How much better can the graphics in games actually get? I sort of liked the fact that the Wii had limited horsepower because it forced developers to think creatively with games such as MadWorld and De Blob.
Anyway, I think thats why for this next generation and every generation beyond, the consoles feel they NEED to have some thing extra. Something that makes them worth purchasing. I believe thats what Nintendo was thinking with the Wii U GamePad (which I still think is a great idea/console and I’m just waiting for the games to come out). This whole “entertainment experience” that Microsoft is pushing, while not focused on games, I think is their way to stand out from the crowd just like Sony has things such as streaming integration (the Share button).
I think more creative use of peripherals – non-sucky iterations of the Kinect, Move, Wii U pad, etc. – should be what they start focusing on, in addition to a lower barrier to entry for indies.
“Next step forward” is totes wrong-headed bullshit, but it’s still the expectation, be it genuine or self-imposed. What form it would take is deffo a problem. I think Share and Wii U (Everything post-Wii, really) are all about desperately and wrongheadedly finding some way to make *gaming* better, not make better games. Don’t get me wrong, I think that “Own all the living rooms” and “Next step forward” are two really stupid goals any way you dice it.
I think there could definitely be awesome ways that console developers could help make games better – Sony ditching the Cell in favor of a more developer-friendly architecture for PS4 could be a great example of that, if it wasn’t just Sony scrambling to make up for another self-cockblock. I dunno enough about Wii U to say much.
But in terms of THE HYPE MACHINE! that runs this thing, whatever bullshit they concoct has to either work well enough to sell (Kinect, barely) or not get in the way of developers making good games. I guess, in terms of the latter, that Microsoft is leading the pack.
I think Share will be cool for people who like that stuff, and ignored by people who don’t, and I’m not sold on the idea of a dedicated button that a dedicated portion of the population will always ignore.
On the other hand, I think the touchpad on the new PS4 controller totally has potential to be “Next step forward” material insofar as it has the potential to not suck, to maybe be cool, and the five of us who bought a Vita have already integrated it into play. Although I still feel creepy fingering the back of my device…
Agreed that there’s no real discussion until games are a bigger part of the discussion, though. And not particularly surprised or disappointed that they didn’t do that for the console reveal.
The only thing I’d ask for in terms of horsepower is to keep up with PC gaming, which means making hardware that’s not completely timelocked, and being able to output to my 2560×1440 monitor. I always play console games on PC because the console version is always equivalent to the Steam version at sub-native res with the lowest graphical settings.
…Not being derped out of the box by a Dell is all I’m asking. >.<
It seems everyone has had the wrong expectations for approaching both Microsoft and Sony’s reveal press conferences. The desire for these companies to have two separate press engagements devoted to pleasing the hardcore gaming community is overzealous. All three console manufacturers have had their one-size-fits-all press demonstrations earlier and earlier with every E3, in an effort to distinguish their news from that of third-party publishers on the show floor and to appeal to a larger media market than what’s around during E3. This year, new hardware is the excuse they’ve needed for years to craft a wholly unique conference for the press at large, your Reuters, Yahoo News, etc. Nintendo’s E3-based reveal of the Wii U last year proved how big of a mis-step it is to try and replicate the cross-demographic, early success of the Wii by narrow-casting it’s coming out party to just the gaming press circuit. If you’re mad that Microsoft didn’t show games with the Xbox One, you have E3 for that exact purpose less than a month away.
But on the topics actually covered. The progression towards a living room set-top box has been a gradual ideal for the industry for generations now, as stagnant price ceilings on hardware and software make developing, marketing, and selling a $400 box with ever-increasing technical requirements an extremely difficult task. To this end, Microsoft continues to play to their earned ESPN niche well, although their push towards live television strikes me as a short-term gain, if anything. Dedicated televised broadcasts aren’t long for this world, with near-universal streaming content availability making TV production an expensive prospect for the future. It made more sense when the Xbox just had a UFC app.
But the big, potentially damning news followed the press event. In a interviews with the press, Phil Harrison outlined a used game plan for the console that is on one hand a perfectly logical extension of business, and in the other a near draconian market crackdown destined to bite the Big M in the ass. Requiring a fee for a used game disc is a practice that is sure to cause tension when Activision wants to give XBL exclusive ‘Call of Duty’ map packs and Gamestop exclusive ‘Call of Duty’ pre-order bonuses. But it’s in the diction and tone that came through in the interview that is emblematic of a corporate culture begging for some fan hate. Proclaiming your plan to be “consistent with the way the world works” comes off as arrogant in this context, but referring to consumer rights as purchasers of physical media as “privileges” is positively grotesque. It makes Adam Orth’s Twitter banter seem quaint.
At the end of the day, I’m doing what I’ve been planning for the past few months. I’m waiting for E3.
Hmm. I understand what you’re saying, Gavin, and it’s certainly thoroughly researched, but I wonder if it isn’t a little glib to decide what expectations are wrong or right based on your understanding of corporate psychology. I think there’s a world of difference between understanding why a company behaves in a certain way and agreeing to judge them by their own yardstick. I had expectations that Microsoft would do more than the bare minimum, lowest-common-denominator console reveal. Those expectations weren’t met, and I wasn’t surprised, but I was still (justifiably, I believe) disappointed. More to the point, there’s room for discussion about that before E3.
Sure, E3 will come around. Sure, Microsoft wants a one-size-fits all press conference. What I’m reading here is that it didn’t seem to fit that great for a lot of us. I’m not “mad,” I’m disappointed that Microsoft continues the trend of trending games out of gaming device reveals. Again, understanding why and abiding by it are two different functions. Ghettoing your main product until an industry conference may make sense to you – it makes sense to me – but it’s still frustrating, and there is merit in the discussion. Waiting till E3 is indeed the only possible way to get answers about games… I’m just not sure that the emperor is all that entitled to be naked for a month without mention.
I agree with Jesse about Kinect – if I see it work one day in my own living room I’ll reassess, but until then it has failed to capture my imagination or more than a few strained hours of play time. The Big 3’s hatred of used games is definitely not new, and I’m not surprised to see them locking down their new system – but I worry that the secondary market for games is more important to the ecosystem than they seem to believe. Even if not, games will be less available to younger and less-rich gamers, which doesn’t exactly fill me with joy.
I’m pretty happy with the One. I don’t know enough about it not to be. Vague specs, ugly box, some cool stuff, some disappointing stuff, no games. I get their reasoning, but if the biggest take-away from their console reveal is that we need to wait until another reveal to talk about it, I feel justified in rolling my eyes.
The most exciting part was the announcement of a Spielberg-driven, live action Halo TV series. That’s the sort of thing that should be exciting at a TV upfront, not a game console reveal. I get that each console wants to be the only piece of technology in your living room, but I really don’t think anyone at ANY of these companies seems to have any idea who their audience is for an event like this.
So I’m ho hum on it, but it was day one. The tech specs look nice, I actually kind of like the design, and I AM a person who uses my XBox as a media center, though not for live TV. I am randomly excited for the HDMI-in port, which may give you an idea of where my brain was for the reveal.
I prefer XBoxes over Playstations, for a few reasons, and as long as the Xbox One price isn’t prohibitive, I can’t see myself running out to get/build a gaming PC to play the games I know I’ll want to play. I imagine I won’t buy it at launch, but I’ll get it eventually.
Which is all to say that a disappointing reveal, which it was, won’t really stop me from purchasing the system.
I agree with Sam that at the end of the day I probably will still get this console. Assuming the games come (and they will, we’re all just a bunch of impatient journalists) the console will sell. But then I think about the Wii U and the games still haven’t come and suddenly I’m worried for the other two. Granted Nintendo is a weirdo, but nonetheless a valid concern when you consider how long it takes to make games these days. Both the PS4 and Xbox One better have some damn good launch titles actually AT launch.
The more I think about the presentation Microsoft made the more frustrated I am with it not necessarily because of the console itself but because of the overall vibe that was given. There were all of two women present, neither of whom actually talked about a game or piece of tech but rather existed solely to introduce Steven Spielberg.
The press conference’s opening video featured people of all different sorts talking about being gamer, and I thought: “Here we go, Microsoft is gonna make an effort to diversify and open the gates a little bit.” How foolish I was.
Two women on stage who didn’t even get to talk about any games or tech. One person of color. Only games shown were sports titles, a racing game, and a first person shooter.
Maybe my perception of change in the gaming industry is skewed because I’m privileged to more behind the scenes information and networking than most but watching the panel I felt like I was in 2006 again.
One more thought: I think the best thing to point at to describe my frustrations with this reveal is anecdotal.
Did y’all catch/read about the part where, when referencing always-on connection rumors, a Microsoft exec said “Gamers can calm down.”
That’s symptomatic of the disdain everyone in the food chain – from CEOs to the media – seems to have for the consumer. To me that says, “Gamers are people whose excitement is negative. We want OTHER people to be excited about our game system. But not you. You are a problem who should be quiet and stop internetting all the time.”
Three key features about games on the Xbox One that Wired discovered:
1. A hard drive install will be mandatory for all games
2. An installed game will be linked to a single Live! account
3. A fee will be required to link a game to additional accounts
No, seriously Microsoft, what the fuck?
In no other form of media is the consumer penalized for buying used. Movies and CDs aren’t tied to single players or accounts (though now that the Xbox One plays Blu-Ray, I wonder if any movie studios will try to make them behave like the games), nor should they be; the idea is absurd on its face. This is a shallow money-grab, plain and simple, implemented for the sole purpose of attacking the second-hand market. This is just not even subtle. It’s a great big ol’ middle finger to all second-hand retailers (GameStop), rental services (GameFly), and people who decide they don’t want a game any more or want to share it with a friend (you, me, and damn near everyone). And for what purpose? To appease publishers who blame second-hand sales for financial shortfalls rather than addressing their own personal budget management problems and the quality of games they produce? Screw that. Or maybe it’s to address piracy, because that’s such a huge problem in the console arena. Never mind that pirating console games requires rather technical knowledge in regards to ripping and burning, and necessitates actual hardware modifications that will void the warranty and possibly brick your console, making it the bailiwick of only the truly dedicated pirates. (Note: The Wii and PS1 are exempt from the previous statement as they actually do/did have a severe piracy problem).
This will backfire. Assuming Microsoft doesn’t abandon this boondoggle of an idea in response to consumer backlash, I anticipate the average consumer will avoid the console altogether in favor of the PS4. Given that these consoles are typically sold at a loss, lackluster sales would be devastating and the used game penalties would come nowhere close to compensating for the financial losses. The non-average consumer – i.e. hackers and pirates – are probably already salivating at the chance to get their hands on the console to discover just how much work it will take to keep the console from dialing home and allow players to bypass the penalty fee altogether. Since consumers generally don’t enjoy being abused, it would not surprise me in the slightest if modded Xbox One consoles quickly become as ubiquitous as modded PS1s. And none of this is even touching the can of worms that is gamers who don’t or can’t go online to get everything registered in the first place.
I have to say, this is the first console generation ever where I have not cared about any of the contenders. The Wii U isn’t even on my radar, the PS4 didn’t impress me, and now the Xbox One has earned my explicit disapproval. There’s still a lot of time between now and when the consoles release at Christmas (let’s be honest, “late 2013″ = Christmas) to make some minor changes, and hopefully this terrible idea will be one of them, but I’m thinking I just may transition back to being a PC gamer. Viva la Steam.
I’ve always found Kinect to walk that fine line between gimmicky and useless – delays in user input, no appealing titles, etc. – and for me, it’s non-gaming functions are all that inspires anything other than derision. Nonetheless, voice control in its forthcoming incarnation seems like it could be useful: in particular, using verbal commands to navigate television stations – fumbling through 600 different channels has long been a pet annoyance – could provide the kind of convenience that would aid the Xbox One in its war for our living rooms.
Speaking of wars, one would be remiss in failing to mention the potential jihad against used games, as detailed in an article posted on Forbes, which claims that the company will be charging an “unlock” fee for using a game on a different Xbox One. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2013/05/22/microsoft-answers-xbox-one-questions-used-games-always-on-and-more/) Nonetheless, things are not yet set in stone: Polygon reports that the prospective fee is nothing more than a “potential” feature of their strategy – something I hope will not come to fruition. (http://www.polygon.com/2013/5/21/4353538/xbox-one-perform-recurring-online-checks-even-for-offline-play) I understand that it’s in their own interests to crack down on those in the market – those cheap jerks who probably buy used cars and CDs, thus leaving musicians and auto workers to subside on salt & pepper sandwiches – and if Microsoft were to decide to go that route, talking points will undoubtedly pour out of its PR department. Nonetheless, I’m not enough of a masochist to defend the punishing of consumer choice, particularly for those in lower income brackets – never mind people who have ever entertained the idea of lending a game to a friend.
As for specter of “always online,” Microsoft’s Phil Harrison told Kotaku that the game will need to be to Microsoft’s servers about “once every 24 hours.” (http://kotaku.com/xbox-one-does-require-internet-connection-cant-play-o-509164109) Apparently this is to aid their Xbox Live services. It’s not too much of an issue – even my legendarily awful internet connection can shoot a couple megabytes across the cyberscape every few hours – but I’m curious to see if Microsoft has plans to give some recourse to those without stable internet access. As for the HDD drive, I’ve read scattered criticism that Microsoft didn’t opt for a SSD, and honestly, i think that’s a bit unfair. Yes, mandatory installation is a drag – one of the things that swayed me away from the PS3 is that installation and managing hard drive space is the mother of all bores – but it’s a consequence of our age. Moreover, one should keep in mind that SSDs are, for the most part, still a relatively new development in the realm of computing. Tiered pricing might be a good idea, and perhaps the HDD will be outright abandoned in the future – I could see a “slim” version including SSD, once the price goes down – but in the short term, it’s a choice between listening to people cry about the limitations of HDD, or listening to people cry about the price point. All things considered, I think Microsoft made the right call.
Despite the above grievances, I’ve yet to form a full impression of Microsoft’s magic rectangle – such things will have to wait for subsequent revelations. Used games wold be a potential deal-breaker, while Kinect’s non-gaming functions help to validate its existence. Plus, should the console earn my ire, there’s always the sweet satisfaction of ordering it around like the mechanical dog that, as per the voice control demonstration, it clearly is.
“Xbox, we do not sh*t on the floor in this house. Go to your shame corner, Xbox.”
Just as Frank did, I’m going to reference a tweet that I think tells a lot about the conference. It’s from one of our fave’s here at GayGamer, current skinhead daddy Adam Sessler:
The cheering in the audience is not coming from the press…
— Adam Sessler (@AdamSessler) May 21, 2013
I think that’s actually quite telling. The people that should presumably be the excited ones…well, aren’t.
I do have some positive things to say: I think Xbox One is a good name. I think the features they showed were interesting, even if they got more spotlight than they deserved (seriously, we get it, fantasy sports on your tv). I completely get why Microsoft did what they did but they need to stop pretending that they can make unicorns happen. They need to remember that before anything else people will hear the name “Xbox” and think “video game console”. They won’t think bluray player, they won’t think cable box, they won’t think skype machine, they will think CONSOLE. I fully admit that I use my Xbox 360 for Netflix more than anything else these days, but I sure as hell didn’t buy it for that reason.
I bought it to play Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball 2. Obviously.
Moral of the story:
If this were Grindr, and the Xbox One hit me up with “Hi ;)”, I’d ask for more pics (games) until I make an investment of my time….
Damnit, y’all keep saying smart things that make me wanna say other things. (Dih*SKUSH*un!)
I think it’s super apt to point out the then->now race. It was much the same this time during the last cycle, when we all got so sick of the phrase “next-gen” that we stopped using it. It was as much a press revolt as a reader revolt, and it seems just as silly this time around. But like last cycle’s PS2-love, it occurs to me that this cycle risks being the first time that a next-gen system leaves a large portion of its audience behind: can anyone see younger, less-affluent gamers staying within the 360/PS3 ecosystem where used games and existing game libraries are still relevant? Iunno if I can see that, just throwing it out there.
One Box to Rule Them All. Totally a corporate fantasy. That said, I too got my only xbox-one-nerd-boner from the HDMI passthrough. Playing nice with my other tech is a step in a helpful direction. Any word about daisychaining a PS4 into that passthrough and having a single-input omnisystem? Or am I just doing nerdporn now?
Grindr? Child. If this were Craigslist, Microsoft’d be all HOT NEW CONSOLE ISO PERFECT RICH MUTE TOP, NO PICS SO DON’T ASK. (NO USED GAMES OR FATTIES)