Fuck the Xbox One.
Before watching the the Xbox One reveal I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve. I knew I wasn’t going to get anything immediately but as a hardcore gamer I was dreaming of everything I wanted in Microsoft’s next console. After all, it does mark the beginning of the next generation console war.
I was sorely disappointed, though. I didn’t expect to get everything I was dreaming of but each generation of consoles had brought something new and revolutionary to video games. Something that revolutionizes video games for the hardcore gamer. The Xbox One does not do this. Not even close (so far). Better utilizing “the cloud,” better graphics, a new/easier way to watch TV and an improved Kinect does not cut it.
The Cloud is Bullshit.
One of the things that was touted at the reveal was “the cloud,” a term I now hate hearing. The cloud isn’t something new or revolutionary. It mainly spawned from PCs and mobile gaming (iPhones, Androids etc.) and was then adopted by portable gaming devices (Playstation Portable, Vita etc). It’s also been adopted by the big three for their current gen consoles! Knowing this, you may ask yourself- why did Microsoft make a big fuss over the coud?
The way Microsoft put it at its reveal- the cloud is a way for developers/publishers to off-load heavy computing tasks such as rendering environments etc. This could be pretty awesome, however, its immediate affects will go unnoticed. Why would the console need to off-load computing power? Why not make the console more powerful to begin with? Requiring people to have an internet connection to utilize this kills it and there’s been a ton of backlash.
Don’t get me wrong, the evolution of the cloud is great. I actually don’t even mind having my console always connected to the Internet but it’s something we should to expect happen just as gamers expect graphics to get better each generation.
Better Graphics Regardless
Graphics are something everyone expects to improve with each new generation of a consoles. Microsoft didn’t spent a lot of time discussing this at the reveal, though. This is good and bad.
Good because, we expect them to get better so there’s not really a need to go into great detail. Bad because they didn’t even go into detail about it. Overall, it’s worrisome. I say this because, I believe Microsoft is heading down the road Nintendo is (the Wii U tech specs are abysmal for a next gen console) that is to say, they’re more concerned with appealing to a broader audience (casual and non-gamers) and therefore the hardware lacks graphical edge. If the amount they talked about TV at the reveal is any indication, the days of consoles being made for hardcore gamers are numbered.
TV? No thanks, I’m good.
As a gamer, I don’t care much for a console that makes my TV watching experience better. I don’t watch videos on my console and I haven’t subscribed to cable TV for over 5 years. I have an Apple TV that seamlessly connects to my iPhone and mac so my viewing comes from YouTube, Hulu+, Netflix and a friends’ HBO Go account. So the entire time they talked about anything TV related at the reveal I couldn’t help but think that it’s basically an Apple TV with voice control and a hard drive.
I realize it plays games but they focused so much on TV that it really turned me off. I’m not buying this for TV. I’m buying a video game console to play super awesome games in a super awesome way. That’s what I care about.
Motion Controls are a Gimmick.
The Kinect is not super awesome. It’s not something hardcore gamers particularly care about, at least not right now. And from the improvements Microsoft’s made for the new Kinect- it doesn’t transform the device. It does the same stuff only better.
Whenever new hardware is to be released, developers are given early access to it in order to develop games for it- much like the developers currently making games for the Xbox One and Playstation 4. Well, the Kinect will have been out for two years on June 16th, 2013. There’s no game that utilizes the Kinect in such a way that attracts hardcore gamers. Not one.
One could argue that there hasn’t been a developer that’s really “figured it out” yet which, if you think about it, is a problem in itself. But let’s take Skyrim, one of the most popular games on the Xbox 360. If this game was pimped out with Kinect motion and voice controls so much so that you had to actually make running motions and be quite active, it would probably tire most gamers out in about an hour.
A cool idea would be to build a sensor and microphone into the controller to track eye movement and allow for voice control. You wouldn’t need to physically hold the controller because it could be tied to your gamer profile (and re-synced whenever someone else wanted to use it). Boom. Voice controls + eye tracking without the tiring motion controls. That one’s free, Microsoft. That would actually be a decent alternative. Either that, or the Oculus Rift…
But the Wii was motion controlled! The Wii was largely motion controlled and it was extremely popular- with casual gamers and people who don’t normally play video games. I’ll admit, I liked the Wii at first but its novelty quickly wore off. And by “quickly” I mean after a couple weeks. This has been the case with most of my friends who bought one.
By making the new Kinect such an integral role for the Xbox One it’s almost as if they’re force-feeding hardcore gamers. Except they’re not. Microsoft is trying to broaden their audience. They’re trying to feed casual gamers.
From a business standpoint, I get it. It totally makes sense. You want to sell consoles so you can make your money. It’s a business.
If you ask any developer or game designer if they got into making video games to make money they’d probably say no. Games are made because people have dreams and desires for specific experiences- they’re made from passion. That’s the very first ingredient to any video good game- a passion to create and play.
In all honesty, I’m hoping to be wrong about all this. I guess we’ll find out at E3 next week, though. Microsoft better have some tricks up their sleeve. They need to climb out of the hole they keep digging themselves.