Steve on the Xbox One “reveal”…I think?

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The Xbox One! A new generation of Xbox filled with blip and blop and terramegatronabyte magic! A new Xbox, something I have waited years for, is finally revealed! Hurray for science and stuff! Hurray for the industry and hurray for stuff!

No. What a complete disaster this reveal has turned out to be. It is a complete mess. I heard the details of the reveal about a week in advance but couldn’t say anything because of the threat of Microsoft ninjas coming to kill me by stuffing non-disclosure agreements down my suitably beaten up neck. It was killing me not to say anything about it (you may have noticed that I am violently opinionated) until now!

Firstly…Xbox One? Kind of a weird name but you can see why they named it that way. The whole idea is that you can plug your Sky+ (or whatever cable you have) box into the Xbox and stream TV through it by saying “Xbox, Watch TV”. Nobody cares Microsoft! Have I missed something here? Has there been an epidemic where people are pissed off about having to switch the input back to TV? You just, you know…press the input button on your remote, it’s really not that hard.

Kinect 2.0 let’s you use your voice to switch to TV mode or Movies, or Netflix or Music or whatever. “Xbox, Movies.” and such. Nobody cares! I think it’s hilarious that Microsoft have spent the last 3 years telling us to get up and active with Kinect and now they are using Kinect to keep us sitting in one place constantly, not even using our index finger to change the freakin’ channel?! “Xbox, Watch TV” you say? Xbox, Go Home…you’re drunk.

Now I know people are saying that this is a really cool feature, and it is I guess, but I really just want my game console to play games first and foremost! Anything else is a bonus so why the hell did they spend so long talking about it when they were launching a new games console?! The answer is simple. They don’t see it as the games console anymore. Now it is an “Entertainment Box” full of “whole new experiences”. That’s fine but fuck off out of the way so I can play games Mr.Bell and Mr.Whistle! These are things that are available only in the US at launch so nobody cares, Microsoft. And for the love of Satan herself will you please stop using the word ‘experience’! It was used so much at both PS4 and XBO reveals that it has lost all meaning. Buzzwords are second nature to these people. The whole thing was so masterfully scripted that it was hard to notice anybody having any experience other than trying not to mess up their lines. Synergy. Multiply. Going Forward.

Okay so lets talk about the games part of this games console reveal. There was FIFA and Call of Duty…again. A totally new Experience folks! Science be praised! Call of fucking Duty again? You closed the show with Call of Duty again? TOTALLY WHOLE NEW EXPERIENCES! #Hashtag

Now you can slide, shoot out of cover and seamlessly jump over walls! Wowsers are currently flowing through my trousers! It’s a totally brand new experience!

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FIFA looked pretty great as did the rest of the EA games. I’m dying to play the new UFC game but these are all games that I have played before. Hardly next gen new experience. The one damn new IP they showed was that Quantum whatchamacallit and I still have no idea what it was about. Also they showed Forza 5, cars are now shinier in mega HD. Science be praised. They then revealed the realease window and bang…that was it. I was sitting there watching it at work absolutely gobsmacked! I couldn’t believe how poorly this highly anticipated reveal was handled. It leaves more questions than anything I have ever seen. It is an complete disaster. Considering the PS4 didn’t set the world alight I was expecting Microsoft to come out swinging…but I suppose they did.

The came out swinging with their ginormous man bits. We are Microsoft and we won! Good job guys! Look how popular we are! They came off very cocky to me and at the time I was loving it to be fair. Xbox 360 was comfortably the best console last-gen I don’t think that is even a discussion, but don’t they just know it.

The opening video made absolutely no sense. It featured lots of people looking active and applauding themselves. Every culture and ethnicity is featured. People say things like “I want to be free”, “It’s for me” and other verbal diarrhea (called marketing) that has as much affect in real life and real conversation as a bumblebee attempting to ride a greyhound to victory at a local dog track. They show every culture, every colour, and every age and then turn around and spend the entire reveal aiming the console at a mid-twenties male who plays sports games, watches action movies, has a tablet or smartphone, has a fantasy football team and plays Call of Duty while waiting for his Kinect-ordered pizza to arrive. The whole thing was so odd. They drove a message of including everybody, then a fat 25 year old and the result is this…I have no idea who this console is for! Disaster.

20130522-110052 p.m..jpgThe New Xbox Market. Their Gears of War Online Clan is called “Sunshine and Rainbows”.

I realise that this “Part 1” of the reveal was aimed more at showing the entertainment side of the console but I think it was handled awfully. Think about it…do you think this magical casual market watched the press conference? Not a hope! It was we, the gamers, that watched it! By Microsofts reckoning the casual folk were too busy tearing their hair out while figuring out how to change the channel back to TV mode without the help of a talking camera.

The problem with not revealing the whole “Games” part is the misconception it leaves. People do not know what this box is. It’s the Wii U all over again. Nintendo made a dogs dinner of E3 2011 and to this day people still think the Wii U is simply an incredibly overpriced additional controller iPad thing for the original Wii Console. True story. Trust me…I put up with this every day.

But misconception is the growing legacy of this god-awful reveal. They still have not announced the biggest issue with this new console, nor have they cleared it up. It blocks pre-played games. This is not me just saying that or reporting confused news from IGN and Gamespot. It does not play used games. Fact – as of last week. Fact. The disc installs on the system and then becomes effectively useless. Fact. I cannot reveal my source on that but if I am willing to stick my neck out in this then I must know something right? Trust me on this. In the words of Vince McMahon “You can take that to the bank!” If it were untrue then why have Microsoft not come out to put out the raging fires of speculation? It because it’s true.

The second user (according to reports) must then purchase a pass from Xbox Live to access the content. Which, to be fair is nothing majorly new. This previously only blocked online features of the title but the new box simply denies access to the disc. This is the worst possible news for customers hoping to pick up a shiny new Xbox…and even worse news for Retail.

Blocking used games will ruin this console. PS4 has the technology in their offering to do the same but they are letting the developers and publishers pull that trigger…Sony want nothing to do with it. “A console for developers BY developers!” Remember? As Rory pointed out yesterday it will be very interesting to see what Sony do with their first party titles. Will Uncharted 57 be blocked for a second use? After how poor, clunky and frustrating the PS3 was I cannot fathom Sony rocking the boat as they sail on this wave of optimism they are currently experiencing. Even I, Captain Xbox Fanboy, want a PS4…and I despise Sony and the PS3.

Blocking a used game cripples buying power for the gamer. People simply WILL NOT pay full price for 10-20 games a year. You are looking at €500-€1000 a year for a gamer on top of your Xbox Live subscription…as well as the bills for your constantly online console. “But Steve, it’s not a constantly online console!” Yes it is, how else to you think they block pre owned games? Use your brainheads people!

You can certainly see the point from their side. Used games affect profits for publishers and they have been trying to rid the industry of them for a decade. What they need to realise is that people buy games more when they can trade in against the price. It’s a simple fact in this crazy business. If people cannot trade they cannot buy…especially these days. Game shops are down year on year on year on year and hopefully we are bottoming out just in time for the new generation, but then they pull this crap. This move (if done by both consoles) will cripple the industry and close businesses. I don’t think it’s outlandish to suggest that this dumbass move will ruin Xbox and cost people jobs.

Even worse is this word “Used” games. If I give my game to a friend to try out he will be expected to pay a fee to unlock its sweet sweet content. Why? I payed for a physical thing I should be able to do whatever I want with it. If my mate wants to try out a game I own before buying it why stop him? It makes no sense and it is pure greed.

But the very worst thing about this move is the following. People cannot afford to buy games all year round without either trading in or buying a used copy. This is a no-brainer. So what will they do? The last gen went on far too long leading to sequel after sequel after sequel of terrible games that should never have been released but amazingly sold consistently. I am looking at you Assassins Creed! This led to a lack of creativity by developers and a laziness by publishers who ordered that same crap to be pumped out year after year. People got bored of this and here we are now at the dawn of the generation. New games, new ideas and a rejuvenated retail environment for an excited audience. Perfect, no? They will kill this. People will be less likely to try out a new franchise for fear of wasting a hard earned 50 bucks and being stuck with this disc they cannot trade in. I don’t care who you are, what you earn or what you are worth.. 50 bucks is a lot of money in anybody’s life. So what happens…people buy Assassins Creed, NFS, Battlefield and of course the obligatory Call of Duty each year, every year to play it safe – putting the industry back to square one. Back to a play-it-safe, unimaginative, deeply boring seen-it-all-before environment right out out of the gate. The only difference is that the graphics are prettier on the barrel of the Call of Duty gun you get to stare at for the next 8 years. Hurray for stuff. Lap it up you pigs but I want nothing to do with a world like this. Maybe that’s why Sony are turning my head.

20130522-105012 p.m..jpgTotally New Experiences! Look at that sweet 4K-ready Grey and Brown! Quick! Shoot the grey and brown things at 60FPS!

Retail busted their asses to get the Xbox 360 to take on. We all got behind them and it became the winner of the generation. This is all while Sony were firing the sun, moon and the stars at us to get similar treatment! At one point I had two free PS3s! It feels as if Microsoft have forgotten who helped them win and turned around to spit in our faces flaunting their success. They need to realise where they were and where we helped get them.

If Microsoft go through with this I can see no future for them and that is the last thing I want. I love Xbox but this new model of greed is too hard to accept. I reserve judgement on my purchase until E3 to see what they say on the matter. The Internet is exploding with negativity on the used game block and they must be listening. Hopefully they will reverse this decision at E3 publically and we can all go back to being excited by the new Xbox One, but if I were them I wouldn’t wait until then. The damage is already done and they don’t want to be another Wii U. Sony must be loving this, Microsoft are digging their own grave and it’s killing me to say these things.

Phil Harrison said on the topic of the used game block “Don’t worry gamers, we got your back.” You sure did mate, the knife is wedged in there.

Steve

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About thecityfathers

We sit around all day stroking our beards, clucking our tongues and discussing what's to be done with this Homer Simpson
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