Verdict: not interested.
I feel like before we begin I need to paste this clip here, because it pretty much sums up everything about Microsoft’s Xbox One reveal event...
For the majority of the Xbox One reveal event I kept wondering when we were going to get to the games. This is a video game console after all, and even if Microsoft wants to branch out to be the one-and-done entertainment solution, they still have to remember where their roots lie with the Xbox brand, right? Apparently, wrong.
I basically watched an hour-long presentation trying to sell me on a potentially $400-600 cable box. Microsoft was acting like what they were offering is an entertainment revelation, like they just discovered fire or invented the wheel, but the truth is, most homes interested in cable already have it and the majority of the abilities that Microsoft was so adamant on pitching with the Xbox One are already in place - the TV guide comes to mind quickly.
But let’s talk games, because Microsoft eventually did get there. So we have EA Sports titles... that was already a given, and something that will absolutely be offered on Sony’s PlayStation 4 as well (outside FIFA 14 Ultimate Team, which is an Xbox One exclusive). We have Call of Duty: Ghosts, which, again, will be on the competition’s console as well. This leaves Forza Motorsport 5 and Remedy’s new intellectual property, Quantum Break, to carry the torch where Microsoft exclusives are concerned. Sure, Microsoft promised 15 exclusives within the first year of Xbox One’s life, but we haven’t seen any yet and probably won’t until E3 next month. What’s that saying about first impressions again?
Microsoft also decided to completely sidestep independent developer support during their conference. That was a big talking point for Sony at the PS4 reveal, and it showed their commitment to games, both small and large. Judging from Microsoft’s event, you’d think their top priority was letting you keep track of your fantasy sports players. These are priorities a gamer such as myself should be justifiably concerned about.
You’d think [Microsoft's] top priority was letting you keep track of your fantasy sports players.
We, too, know the Xbox One will not be backwards compatible, and that includes your Xbox Live Arcade games, which it must be said is the same for the PS4, but the Xbox One will also do its damndest to stop you from buying used games or borrowing something from a friend by forcing game installs and tying those installs to specific Xbox accounts. While I typically buy games new, I do have friends that aren’t that fortunate and ask to borrow my stockpile all the time. Now, in order for them to continue to mooch off me they need to pay Microsoft a nominal fee to unlock the game on their account. Talk about some B.S.
And those are just some of my concerns with Microsoft’s Xbox One. I’m sure I’ll have even more as we lead up to and through E3 in about a month. At this point in time, the “always-on” internet question has not been convincingly answered; the latest reports say the Xbox One has to connect to the ‘net at least once every 24 hours bare minimum for single-player games. That might not be much of a problem for me where I live, but for many around the world that’s a red flag.
I’ll say this: a new Halo game and live-action TV series spearheaded by Steven Spielberg does not make me eager to bend over for Microsoft at this point in time.
I think about the next generation of home video game consoles - both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 - and all I think about is a noose tightening, a cage getting ever so smaller. If we want to continue playing video games on a easy-to-setup system in the living room, then we have to play by Microsoft and Sony’s rules, and those rules are becoming more strict and really, really off-putting. Honestly, I’m far more put-off by Microsoft’s Xbox One than Sony’s PlayStation 4, at least upon first impression.
Point is: the Xbox One reveal confirmed I made the right move putting together a gaming PC a few months ago. I feel I get access to all the games that interest me without all the hoop jumping. Because as I get older my body breaks down, and I just can’t leap as high as I used to anymore.
Since I used an Arrested Development gif in my news roundup post on the Xbox One, it seems fitting to use one more to wrap up my overall feelings on the system.
More Xbox One News!