A Look at the Xbox One – A Week After Reveal – Part 2

The Bad

imgres-21.  Very little actual gameplay was shown at the reveal.  I rank this as bad, even though they are teasing that a lot more will be seen at E3 – which is great – but what are most gamers interested in?  Seeing games being played.

2.  Name confusion – Microsoft didn’t learn from the Wii – Wii U naming confusion.  I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that feels this way, but the rumor of it being called Xbox Infinity is what they should have called it, not Xbox One.  Everyone basically considers the original Xbox as a one without stating it.  And while I understand what I think is the idea behind the name, I also realize that it’s going to be confusing.  And the nicknames that are already popping up are amusing and childish at best.  At least Infinity would have been somewhat cool.  One is not.

1290864_141432733.  Confusion over “regular” internet connection required.  Somewhat covered in “The Meh” section above and “The Bad” section below, but there seems to be confusion between what the VPs are saying to reporters and publicly and what the PR departments say after the fact to save face.  I live by the standard of don’t say something unless it’s a fact.  Apparently their facts are confused because it’s really awkward for one party to say one thing and the other party in the same company contradict it.  It’s also bad policy.

1162219_635604004.  Price points not mentioned.  I know this is likely to be announced at E3, but with such a tease about Xbox One, a vague pricing point should have been given at the reveal.  Especially since they’re targeting a release around “Holiday 2013.”  Most gamers have a limited budget and may want to know how much they have to save up for said holiday purchase if they are intending to buy the next-gen console.  The not naming a price makes me fear it will be quite high.

5.  Only two game mentioned so far as “available” at launch.  This isn’t a really bad thing, but at the same time it is.  The only two games really announced so far to be available at launch are Forza Motorosport 5 and COD: Ghosts.  That’s not much to choose from.  I am assuming this is another one of those things that is going to be revealed further at E3, but for this to be a gaming console, they really didn’t focus on the games.

107106_64676.  Everything is saved to the cloud so you can play what you want, anytime, anywhere.**  So above I mentioned that this fact was good and for a number of reasons, but like many things, this is also a double edged sword, which brings me back to the “always on required internet connection.”

The cloud is, basically, the Internet.  To access the cloud, you have to have access to the internet.  So if your games are being saved to the cloud and you can play anything you want, anytime, anywhere because it’s all stored in the cloud, that means you need an internet connection.  Which is where the downside comes into play.  Instead of the games being stored on the system which is always accessible whether you have internet or not, it’s being stored in the cloud.  This is bad for a number of reasons, but most importantly for the folks who serve in the armed forces and don’t have a reliable, if any, internet connection at all when they are stationed in Afghanistan or other zones.  Most military folks play games on a LAN or just on their console.  If everything is in the cloud, they will be unable to do so and their way to wind down and relax will be gone with this system.  Very not cool.

Which brings me to the next point, they said that everything is saved to the cloud, but then they said you only need a sporadic internet connection.  How exactly does that work if your save points are saved to the cloud, but you don’t have an internet connection?  Are they temporarily saved to your harddrive in the Xbox One?  Or are they just not saved at all?

There’s so much unanswered about these things it’s not even funny.  It shows there are several points that some people thought were “good and innovative” to implement without really thinking of the consequences of doing so.

The Ugly

images-11.  Indie Developers may be unable to self publish.  If you don’t believe me, check the sources listed below on this article.  Personally, I love Indie games and so do a large majority of Xbox players.  Sony and Nintendo have already broken down the barriers.  Microsoft is the only one that will be requiring Indie devs to partner with publishers to get their games into the market place.

George Broussard said it best on his twitter @georgeb3dr:

Microsoft you *must* prioritize a low friction indie self publishing path. Otherwise you hand Sony games, devs and $.

He hit the nail on the head.  If they leave this barrier in place, there will be far fewer Indie games on the Xbox One.

2.  Not backwards compatible.  Let’s see, this one had to be the most insulting one of the Ugly’s, mainly because of what was said by an exec – can anyone say PR nightmare in the making?

Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, told the Wall Street Journal, that “If you’re backwards compatible, you’re really backwards.”

Wait?  What?  Yes.  He really said that.  He then justified his statement by saying only 5 percent of players will play games for the previous system on current systems.

I’m not sure if he’s just disconnected or if they can really tell that from the XBoxes.  But I know a large number of players who want backwards compatibility.  They don’t want to have to switch back to an older system to play a game they still enjoy.  But as Games Radar has pointed out, things execs have said in the past week have been reversed, this one may be reversed too.

3.  EA Partnership with Microsoft for exclusivity on Xbox One.  This one is ugly because it explains the dissing of Nintendo and the Wii U.  Admittedly, it is only EA’s  Senior Software Engineer and Architect Bob Summerwill making the statement, but it’s still pretty ugly.  No offense, it’s a big faux pas to make a statement of ‘the Wii U is crap, it’s less powerful than the Xbox 360, it has a weird tablet and a poor online store.’ Summerwill went on to say that, at this point, Nintendo is ‘walking dead,’ according to My Nintendo News.

As rumors had it in the past that EA and Nintendo were working on some exclusive games and then it all disappeared, it makes you wonder what really happened – and it can’t be good for Nintendo.

1100282_721858584.  Features seem to be U.S./Canada centric, not international.  I don’t really have a lot to say on this, but most of the features regarding sports and television, the functionality seems key to the U.S.  That could be the fact that not a lot of info is out there for international features, or it could be the case.  However, having several friends internationally, this was stated as a huge concern of theirs.

5. Kinect could be used to charge based on number of viewers in room.  Based on a patent registered almost a year ago, there was discussion, once again being referred to as a “potential scenario” that hasn’t had a policy firmly decided on yet, but supposedly the Kinect can detect how many individuals are in the room, then prompt you to pay for a license for that many people to view the video or whatever is being shown to meet the licensing standards.  This is what makes Kinect seem like Big Brother – patents like this that disturb players.  Especially the fact that they’re going to charge people to view content if it exceeds a license folks may not even know about.

Conclusion

All in all, it’s really hard to make a solid decision on the Xbox One.  I’m definitely not sold on it yet.  Were there presentation fubars?  Definitely.  There were even more fubars after the reveal in the interviews game sites had with the VPs.  It’s obvious the VPs and the PR department weren’t on the same pages as to what would be revealed.  There were key words used repeatedly, like “potential scenarios” and things that might happen, but policies weren’t decided yet.

I was asked in a podcast this past weekend if I thought that maybe Microsoft made certain statements and announcements to gauge the players reactions and make changes accordingly at E3?  My answer – quite possibly.  It would be an interesting notion, but a potential PR nightmare at the same time.  That being said, I think they could be potentially doing just that – which would explain the VPs saying one thing, PR department saying another.

That being said, it’s not fair to make a solid decision on whether to buy the console yet or not because they left so many of the important factors, such as actual gameplay, pricing on both the system and Xbox Live, etc.  I suspect we’ll see more information at E3, but a lot more from PAX at the end of August.

So now it’s just time to wait and see – I’m sure many things will change between now and the holiday season.

Sources (that way people can’t say they weren’t credited or I was talking about things I have no clue on)

  1. GamesRadar: Indies May Not Be Able to Self-Publish on XBox One: http://www.gamesradar.com/indies-may-not-be-able-self-publish-xbox-one/
  2. Polygon: Indie Developers Cannot Self-Publish on Xbox One http://www.polygon.com/2013/5/22/4355306/indie-developers-cannot-self-publish-on-xbox-one
  3. GamesRadar:  Backwards Compatibility a Backwards Notion, Xbox head says: http://www.gamesradar.com/backwards-compatibility-backwards-notion-xbox-head-says/
  4. Polygon:  Microsoft dismisses Xbox One online requirements and used-game fees as ‘potential scenarios’  http://www.polygon.com/2013/5/21/4353538/xbox-one-perform-recurring-online-checks-even-for-offline-play
  5. GamesRadar: Xbox One is the Always-Online, Used-Game-Killing Nightmare We Feared
    http://www.gamesradar.com/xbox-one-always-online-used-game-killing-nightmare-we-feared/
  6. Major Nelson: Xbox One and used games : http://majornelson.com/2013/05/21/xbox-one-and-used-games/
  7. Forbes: With The Xbox One, Microsoft May Win by Loosing:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnyegriffiths/2013/05/22/with-the-xbox-one-microsoft-may-win-by-losing/
  8. The Verge: Microsoft’s New Kinect will be coming to Windows: http://www.theverge.com/2013/5/21/4353868/microsofts-new-kinect-will-be-coming-to-windows
  9. Gamespot: Microsoft: We understand the importance of used games  http://www.gamespot.com/news/microsoft-we-understand-the-importance-of-used-games-6408722
  10. Polygon:  Parental Controls Need an  Overhaul for Xbox One Microsoft Official Says http://www.polygon.com/2013/5/23/4357944/parental-controls-need-an-overhaul-for-xbox-one-microsoft-official
  11. My Nintendo News: EA Senior Engineer: ‘The Wii U Is Crap, Less Powerful Than An Xbox 360′ http://mynintendonews.com/2013/05/17/ea-senior-engineer-the-wii-u-is-crap-less-powerful-than-an-xbox-360/

About Grace "Kayhynn" Snoke

Grace Snoke is a corporate journalist and author who enjoys gaming, reading, writing and jewelry making. Outside of her day job, she writes for a number of sites including: Video Game Scoreboard.com, Obsolete Gamer, SciTech Nerds and for a couple blogs and sites she owns. You can learn more about her adventures as an author here.

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