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Xbox One Unveiling Impressions

May 21, 2013

These are my own opinions based on the information I have at hand, some of which may be incomplete, some of which may be erroneous.

First of all, from a press release/advertising perspective, what was the point of this event?!  Seriously, about the only thing we didn’t know that was “good” was the name itself.  “Xbox One” isn’t a bad name for their machine, especially when it goes along with the tag line “All in One”.

As for the bad:

  • The main CPU is proprietary – they made their own chip.  Expect developers to have to struggle, at least a little with it.  Porting software will similarly have at least that one extra hurdle.  Proprietary chips have worked well for NO machines.  NONE.
  • Xbox One offers no backwards compatibility.  All Xbox original and 360 games, including XBLA digital download games will not run on the new machine.
  • Kinect is built in and always on.  This means two things:  1) it will be impossible to do with the Xbox One what 4GN is currently doing with four 360s, stacking them in the Man Cave, 2) I haven’t a clue how I will protect my privacy.  Kinect is a multi-spectrum audio and video capturing device, which, like all hardware will be “hackable”, potentially streaming all living room activity to whoever wants it.
  • Games will be tied to accounts, not machines.  This is the same model as Steam, except that friends will not be able to borrow the physical discs and play them.  They will have to pay an “unlock” fee (the price of the game new) to try the game loaned to them by a friend.  So, not only will I not be able to “double dip”, but if I buy the next Batman game, I won’t even be able to loan it to the others in our Man Cave to play using their profiles.  If they want to play Batman, they will have to use my account.   This isn’t restrictive, this is a straight jacket in a rubber room.  Microsoft is already scrambling to do damage control and now saying that they are working on a plan so that we will be able to “trade” games.  Yeah, right.

There is more, or should I say less.  But at this point, it doesn’t even matter.  I will not commit myself to any future path.  I will refrain from making rash promises, but right now, I am not just uninterested but aggressively angry with the “features” announced at the unveiling.  Apparently, there are some improvements to the controller.  Woop De Doo!

There is no image with this post.  You do not want to see what I am thinking right now.

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23 Comments
  1. rEDChief55 permalink*
    May 21, 2013 8:26 pm

    I see two reasons for the event:
    1) To get us talking about the console. It worked.
    2) To spread out their presentation so that it all isn’t during E3. E3 will be very games-focused, and will also answer many questions. I see this event as an analogy of a teaser trailer, while E3 is the fully explained trailer that lists the features and whatnot.

    There’s so much up in the air right now about it that I personally am not ecstatic or negative about it, just excited. Pretty much everything shared today has an asterisk beside it. It’s not always on BUT you need an internet connection to play games via your account. It won’t be backwards compatible BUT there’s the possibility of a streaming service that’ll let you play past games. Too many unanswered questions as of now for me to get overly positive or negative, I’m just excited to know more…which is exactly what they want me to feel like.

    The only really cut and dry info is the name, the look of the hardware, and that it’s confirmed for this year. That’s it. Everything else has too many if’s, and’s, or but’s that won’t be answered until E3 or beyond. .

    • May 21, 2013 9:11 pm

      I can understand “not ecstatic or negative” but I cannot understand excited. How can you be excited about anything they revealed. I was just Skyping with Zos and darn near stroked out. There is nothing to be excited about, at least not for me.

      All the features that y’all have been enjoying for years, like Netflix etc. etc. are void for me since I have a different IP, and now, all of the games I buy will only be playable on my account, even if I buy a physical copy! I was never able to share in the get-rid-of-games used market, but now, I can’t even hand the disc to my boys and let them play it.

      And all of the info? The only if’s and’s or but’s are Microsoft doing damage control. They have no intention of ever allowing people to “trade” games, stream emulated legacy games? How much more lag can Gears of War handle?! None of what Microsoft says to make a prettier picture, or soften the blow, can be believed.

      As I told Zos, this is

      SINKING SHIPS and I WENT TO SCHOOL BUT I FORGOT MY CLOTHES nightmare EPIC FAIL.

      Sure, single guys living in America with lots of cash and space in their room can utilize this. But even then, I don’t see what there is to be “excited” about. What looks good? What has potential?

      They didn’t even discuss the price or the almost inevitable price hike for the Live “service”.

      What a disaster of an Event. You know, at least Sony showed some cool things they would be doing with their PS4 which, by the way, will NOT launch in 2013.

    • May 22, 2013 1:37 am

      This thread is hilarious. Everyone believes what they want to believe, regardless of what those responsible say or what track records those responsible hold.

      In the words of Omar “I’ll do what I can to help y’all. But, the game’s out there, and it’s play or get played. That simple.

    • May 22, 2013 8:50 am

      Suns, you’re so silly. Your worries are being blown way out of proportion. Sure you won’t get to use all these crazy new entertainment additions MS is putting into One, BUT IT WILL STILL BE A GAMING CONSOLE. EMPHASIS ON THE GAMING.

      As for the PS4, Sony literally cannot afford not to release it this year. Even if it’s ahead of the hardware’s schedule, it’s coming out this year.

    • rEDChief55 permalink*
      May 22, 2013 10:41 am

      Suns, if you don’t want to believe MS and their future info that’ll explain this stuff in detail that’s fine. You won’t get an argument from me, seems like the gaming industry tends to make all the wrong decisions. We are talking about a video game console after all, so in no way am I personally following them blindly. They have to earn my money by making it a console that is satisfying enough for me to play.

      I am simply looking at this objectively. You said “they have no intention of ever allowing people to trade games” yet the Kotaku article you linked reads in the headline, “You Will Be Able To Trade Xbox One Games Online, Microsoft Says”. If you don’t believe that aspect is true, that’s fine, but then why believe all of the negative aspects are true then? To me THAT’S believing what you want to believe. In no way am I crashing down on you here, but I am validating my own comments because there’s no way I’d blindly trust any game company or developer. That would be foolish, and we’ve learned in the past not to have blind faith in these guys. That’s why i take the “jury is still out” mentality and am probably the most neutral voice here with all this. But in no way am I believing what I want to believe. Instead, I’ll let them explain themselves and their features once all details are fully disclosed, then I can make my positive or negative judgments.

  2. May 21, 2013 9:34 pm

    The only way Microsoft can turn this disaster into something positive, is to announce that the machine itself will be under $300 (with no hidden fees or removed features) AND that the XBL fees will not be increasing in any way, shape, or form.

    That would serve to dull the pain of everything else they showed and announced.

    People actually want to pay money so they can have all freedom removed, and be charged more than they are paying now… for what, prettier graphics?!

  3. rEDChief55 permalink*
    May 21, 2013 10:12 pm

    From the wording they used during the conference, it sounded like the “new” xbox live will be the same price. They said something along the lines of “you get this with your current xbox subscription”. Again, I don’t know the wording exactly but it was said with the intention that there would be no additional price hike.

    What has potential and what I’m excited about:
    1) The games. I don’t mean the inevitable sports titles, I’m talking about the games we haven’t even seen yet. This was a hardware reveal, not a games conference, so I expect to see many games at E3 and I’m hoping and banking they’ll look good. Not interested in Call of Duty Ghosts btw. Games like Watch Dogs get me really excited for next gen potential.
    2) Party functionality. NOTHING was mentioned about this at all today, so I am assuming they will be talking a little bit about parties and xbox live functionality in general in the weeks to come. Games and party chat are our two mainstays so it’s exciting to see how it will be improved. Skype sounds to be a separate app, but maybe they’ll use skype tech to help improve voice quality.Who knows.
    3) DVR for games. This feature was mentioned but not elaborated at all. This is one of my most-wanted features and is even something Sony showed off at their event. Recording our games and sharing them online with just the console? Hell yeah I’m down. This has exciting potential for any gamer, especially a community such as ours.
    4) Think back to 2005 and the 360’s launch. That console had no Netflix, no apps of any kind, no party system, no indie games, and many other things that I am sure we have gotten used to by now. That console was bare bones compared to where it is today. Thinking ahead, THIS NEW console is bare bones compared to what it’ll be in a year or 2 down the road. Not saying I like waiting for that long, but THAT’S potential. I think there’s a chance we may be pleasantly surprised by where kinect goes. maybe, maybe not. But there are some exciting possibilities there.

    Regarding games. It sucks that there’s the possibility you can’t freely share games with someone in the household. You do it, I do it. It’s nice. There’s no getting around the inconvenience of removing that freedom. With that said, I think there will be ways around it or to figure out a salvageable situation. Like having that person try it out on your account for an hour or something. I’m hoping that “used fee” won’t be the full cost of the game, that would be a mistake.

    As far as the unconfirmed information. People all over the internet took the “always on no matter what” rumor and took it as the truth. Case closed, go home. Buuuut it wasn’t true. Sure there may be some stipulations but when asked on the record it was confirmed that it WON’t be always on. My point being that assuming all of the unanswered questions will serve as damage control is nothing more than an assumption. You may very well be right, but neither you nor I know FOR SURE what some of these very important details will be.

    • May 21, 2013 11:50 pm

      Thanks, rED. Great comment. I don’t see MS easing off on any of the shitty stuff they announced (because they have already made deals with the major publishers that they won’t be able to renege on), but both you and Kenny are very “let’s wait and see”. Like I told him, I am not saying I won’t buy it, but I am saying that I didn’t like almost everything I saw and heard.

      Having said that:

      The way around the game sharing problem would be to make an additional account that all can access (though we would have to take turns) to play all the SP games on. All other games, we usually buy multiple copies of anyway, so there is not much of a net change there. The DLC is gonna hurt because we have saved big bucks using the console/gamertag DRM combo,

    • Blankman permalink*
      May 22, 2013 1:04 pm

      Understood about the cost of DLC, but in all fairness, you guys were lucky to exploit a loop hole in the system. Yes, it is MS’ oversight that allowed the exploit to continue & many have taken advantage of it. However, people shouldn’t be crying bloody murder when MS has found a way to stop exploits like that from happening in their future console (& I don’t mean the ability to share games). MS sees the physical disc as a means of games delivery which will also exist via digital distribution on Marketplace. Therefore, the idea of a tangible product is a moot point. Should we be free to share our games with whoever we want? Absolutely. However, there are not enough details that have been divulged for people to make truly informed decisions about. Let’s all take a step back for just a while longer. No need to escalate this to Def con 5.

  4. Blankman permalink*
    May 22, 2013 12:06 am

    Calm down. No need to stroke out. All will be revealed. I find your lack of faith disturbing… LOL

  5. Herandar permalink
    May 22, 2013 6:46 am

    Personally, I am not surprised in the slightest by this reveal. I am not upset either. The writing has been on the wall for a LONG time. Microsoft’s goal with the XBox has always been to become the all-inclusive living room entertainment center.

    Which ultimately means it is not for me. I bought my first television, a 42 inch Sony XBR tube television (my brother currently games on the 236 pound SD behemoth) back in 2000, and did not watch television on it until a full year later when I moved in with my wife. I spent way too much on a television that was quickly obsoleted just for console gaming.

    I have paid a grand total of $0 (or 0 Microsoft points) in my lifetime for movies, music or avatar gear on the 360. I have a console to play games. But time and technology changes. I used to work at Blockbuster Video*, where people used to go to rent VHS tapes of popular movies. I worked in stores that made literal millions of dollars just renting movies for $3. Try finding a Blockbuster Video store now. The video store is an antiquated concept.

    The game console is also an antiquated concept. I’m not saying that they are as dead as Blockbuster Video, but they have to adapt or die. I do not plan on getting another console. Not saying it will never happen, but I can get my gaming fix elsewhere. And this does not bother me. I started console gaming on the NES in 1985. Last night I played Temple Run 2 on my son’s Kindle Fire HD instead of fighting for the television. I imagine someday I will get a gaming PC, but my old beat-up laptop can handle Civ IV now.

    Yes, this post is really my manifesto, more about my personal journey than anything to do with the new console. I’ll post something thoughts on the console later when I’m not supposed to be working.

    * A lot of Blockbuster’s best staff ended up working for GameStop eventually. Guess which chain is going to find itself technologically threatened soon?

  6. Blankman permalink*
    May 22, 2013 12:57 pm

    I find it ridiculously hilarious that everyone is so quick to denounce and condemn MS when a lot of the details have yet to be divulged. Yet, many gamers are now putting Sony on the pedestal as if it wasn’t the same company that reneged on practically every promise that they made with the PS3. Old habits from old companies are very hard to break. All of a sudden, the gaming community is shouting the PS4’s name from rooftops & claiming that Sony’s console is the “game friendly” machine. Do you seriously think that MS didn’t expect this kind of reaction? Yesterday’s Xbox One reveal was meant to do one thing, get people talking. Well, they succeeded on that part. We will hear concrete details in three weeks at E3. Then people can really decide for themselves. No need to throw the baby out with the bath water before you’ve even attempted to wash it. Over reaction is not healthy.

  7. Herandar permalink
    May 22, 2013 2:49 pm

    I’ve been thinking mainly about the games being locked to accounts, and it is very possible that long term, this actually could end up being good for consumers. Well, that is probably overly optimistic, but at least neutral. Of course, it all depends on pricing. Here’s how I see it possibly playing out:

    Amazon/WalMart/BestBuy hold a lot of clout, and, specific to this industry, GameStop does too. Microsoft (and Sony) need retailers to sell their consoles, and are not going to cut them out entirely.

    The cost to purchase a disc will hopefully go down. The disc is no longer considered the game, it is merely a method to transport the game data to your HDD from retail. You won’t have to keep the disc to play the game. We don’t know how much the fee is to unlock games. Perhaps it is not a single flat fee. There will probably be rental options. Brand new games might have a set fee, and as a game ages, the fee might decrease. Brand new discs may come with one (or more) codes to off-set the unlock fee (pre-order bonus, baby!). Specific to your setup, Suns, suppose the BF4 disc is $40, and the unlock fee for a new game is $20. Instead of buying four discs for $200, you paid $40 for the disc, and $80 to unlock on four consoles. It is feasible that this works out in your favor.

    Also, publishers wouldn’t need to create nearly as many physical copies, when the world is inexorably headed for a digital distribution. Everyone loves Steam, right? The sales are great. And while I can’t see Microsoft or Sony turning into Valve, the potential for really cheap, very accessible older games has never been this high.

    The main thing to remember is that none of this has to be set in stone. Consumers will have the power to change the pricing schemes by not paying for over-priced services, and a mostly digital system is much more flexible than the traditional retail system.

    As for the kinect being always on, I recommend a cardboard box subtly placed over it.

  8. rEDChief55 permalink*
    May 22, 2013 3:01 pm

    Here’s an idea my mind grapes just came up with:

    What if you could electronically transfer your game license back and forth between yourself and friends? I think that would be the best case scenario. Let’s say Suns is playing Judgment and wants to “hand” the game over to Johann for the day. Well instead of handing him the physical disc, you “send” your license to Johann and he then digitally downloads Judgment from the marketplace for free since he is now holding the license. Meanwhile, Suns is incapable of playing the game without the license (which is the same thing as not having the physical disc anymore since it is in Johann’s machine). Then, when Johann is done, he sends the license back and Suns can resume playing Judgment til his heart’s content. Johann is now left with a “locked” copy of Judgment on his hard drive where he can either a) delete it because he doesn’t like Judgment. b) keep it locked on his hard drive for future “borrows” of the game when it WILL be “unlocked”. c) buy his very own license to the game so that he essentially has his own copy and BOTH Suns and Johann can play.

    With the info we know so far, it sounds like option C is the only one that has been brought out into light. I am hoping that options A and B are revealed alongside the license transfer system. It would make sense, especially considering the pieces of information we already have.

    Thinking more about it, this could provide an opportunity for players to sell their games AND cut out the middleman that is Gamestop. Rather than trading the game in to Gamestop with an unknow future owner, you can directly sell the game to someone on your friends list or even to a Xbox supported digital “license marketplace”. It’s a little tricky to put it into writing but I think it’s a great idea by yours truly. Hopefully that’s what they’ll decide to go with.

    EDIT: After spending several minutes typing this out, I see that Herandar simultaneously posted his own idea that has some slight overlap with mine. We both posted original yet similar stuff, but it just happened to be around the same time lol

    • Herandar permalink
      May 22, 2013 5:47 pm

      I had similar thoughts, rED, but I tired of typing before fully fleshing out the thoughts of license transfers and re-selling.

  9. May 22, 2013 4:40 pm

    Thanks for the comments guys. @Blank, yes about the DLC loop hole. Never was I more grateful, (and aware that it would probably be gone next gen) than when I purchased two BF3 Premium Passes.

    To rED, yes, your comments way above are true and I appreciate you taking the time to write ’em.

    Y’all are correct about this. There are many ways that Microsoft could turn these half-announcements into very palatable policies/features. As you say, things aren’t certain (to us) yet. Herandar (and rED), your digital plan sounds awesome. I hope Microsoft is reading.

    To Grymmie, I agree 100% that Sony must launch in 2013 if they want to stay in the next race. If they are going to launch this year, then they will have to have physical units that can be played, on the floor at E3.

    I guess the passion with which I responded in comments speaks to the nagging fear I have that undesirable changes are going to make things much more difficult to be hangin’ together. It is exacerbated by the fact that for a whole bunch of reasons, as of this past year or so, our expendable cash has almost completely disappeared. There was a time when I paid full price for the original Bioshock and then another 20 dollars for courier shipping. Now I am waiting on sales for a game I know I will play the living daylights out of.

    As to my less than fully rational attitude towards Sony specifically, they outright lied about the PS3. Peter Moore was gracious enough to leave it at “has no air vents”, but Sony successfully, through deceit, stole potential customers by providing a false launch date. It made me angry for MS (if you can believe it). I’m still pissed off at Sony for that. Can’t trust ’em as far as I could throw them.

    • rEDChief55 permalink*
      May 22, 2013 8:18 pm

      Totally get it. I guess my attitude can be summed up as: I don’t trust them, yet I don’t distrust them either.

  10. May 22, 2013 9:08 pm

    Hey, if you guys haven’t yet, read this article when you get a chance. It is an excellent synthesis of all that we have talked about here.

    http://penny-arcade.com/report/article/indie-issues-kinect-concerns-and-e3-yearnings-ben-and-andrew-discuss-the-xb

  11. Average permalink*
    May 25, 2013 8:01 am

    No one has seemed to bring this up.

    M$ introduced Family Subscriptions, share within your accounts.
    So suns, you should be able to transfer your games around within your accounts because it’s considered one account for Live, with multiple gamertags.

    • May 25, 2013 11:43 am

      That would be very cool!

    • rEDChief55 permalink*
      May 25, 2013 12:19 pm

      Average, is this a new thing they recently announced? The only family thing I was aware of was the family plan for live on the 360 and that is being discontinued

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