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A harsh but honest criticism of Xbox One

I can safely say I’m known for my harsh criticism of Microsoft, not just here on N4G but all over and even among friends. The root of my disparagement is often dismissed as blind fanboyism and I understand this need to discredit my opinion in the absence of a compelling argument but, whether you believe me or not, it actually stems from what was once great admiration. Admiration of great hardware, forward thinking and a huge investment into games, which, since the release of Xbox 360 has been slowly chipped away until there’s nothing left but bitter resentment over what could have been. This isn’t one of those fanboy disclaimers, I’m not asking you to suspend your disbelief and make the assumption that my opinion is worth reading, to be perfectly honest I don’t care what people think of me, I just want to get this off my chest and a personal blog seems like the perfect medium.

Lack of games, too much focus on near-worthless TV features, confusing name, mixed messages, confirmation of DRM and used game consumer roadblocks; these are the things most people took away from the Xbox One reveal. I cannot understate how much of a catastrophic failure of messaging and coordination Microsoft displayed during that entire day; it’s like the many PR heads of the MS hydra were blindfolded, tied in knots and had no idea what the other heads were doing. It was an unmitigated disaster among which the only possible positive announcement could very well turn out to be a misleading half-truth.

Starting with the box itself, when I say box I REALLY mean box because that’s pretty much what it is, a big black box with another black box next to it. I know that looks are subjective and, although I find the whole thing a hideous monstrosity, there are others who will be happy with that 80’s VHS/betamax style. What is harder to argue for is the size of the damn thing, it looks massive. It’s so big in fact that I may not be able to fit it on the floating shelf below my wall mounted TV and, from what I can make out, it doesn’t look like you can stand it on its side.

The second conspicuous flaw lies in the concept of the “one box to rule them all” approach MS have taken here, even the name, Xbox One, seems to suggest that they want to be the only box in the living room. This, however, is simply impossible for so many reasons, starting with the obvious need for a cable box input to get the TV feature to work. Then there’s apparently an IR sensor that needs to be connected in order to be able to change the channels on your cable box using Xbox, that’s four boxes so far including Kinect. On top of that the 500gb HDD is not going to be anywhere near enough to store all your mandatory installed games, movies, music etc; which means an external HDD is pretty much going to be necessary. That’s five boxes on your shelf/cabinet (six including the PS4 you will need in order to play games - joke), I’m sorry but that just makes Microsoft’s vision seem utterly ridiculous to me. This is exacerbated to the point of lunacy when you also consider the power brick that will undoubtedly make a less-than-welcome return.

Let’s go back to the one seemingly positive thing to come out of that terrible day, “15 exclusive games, 8 of which will be brand new IPs”. The moment I heard those words there was a rush of excitement, as if it was all going to be alright but then my brain kicked in and quickly put a halt to that crazy dream. Let’s face facts here, this has to be one of the most misleading promises ever made in one of these conferences. It’s a glaringly obvious ploy to get the core gamer onboard without actually having to show anything to back those words up with. We all want to believe there will be 15 awesome games within a year of launching but, staying realistic; you have to admit the nearly stone cold fact that a lot, if not most, of these will be both Kinect titles and XBL games. While there’s nothing wrong with having games in this respect, the promise of 15 new games and 8 new IPs just seems like an over-reaching exaggeration born of desperation to keep an audience that have been clinging on for dear life in hope of new games for what seems like an eternity now. It’s a promise that is easily kept but the misleading nature of its announcement will inevitably lead to disappointment, which is a low tactic in my eyes.

We’ve been encouraged to look past the lack of gameplay or lack of anything game related at the Xbox One reveal and “wait for E3” by multiple sources from MS, a sentiment that has also been echoed by the many fanboys in forums around the net. As far as the gaming aspect of Xbox One goes I’m inclined to agree with them, however, does that really make up for the outrageous infliction of DRM, mandatory Kinect and used game pay-walls? In my honest and humble opinion, no, it does not. There has to be a line drawn in the sand by gamers, a message sent out to manufacturers and publishers alike, ‘this line you DO NOT cross’ and we need to enforce it with our wallets. I’m actually a little shocked that people are using the “just wait until...” argument in support of MS, I mean really, what game-related announcement could they possibly reveal that would make the issues at hand here OK? I for one can’t think of anything within reason.

The fact that MS thought they could announce their new ‘games’ console along with such terrible anti-consumer practices without causing outrage among gamers is testament to just how disconnected and arrogant they have become as a company. Microsoft believes they have you, they believe they own you and they believe they can use you. Use you to get their poisonous foot into a market of living room only media freaks, which, in all probability, doesn’t even exist.

It’s for those reasons that, unless MS do a complete U-turn on almost everything they’ve revealed so far, they won’t be getting my money this time. Until that day I’ll quite happily continue to watch Microsoft shoot themselves in the foot repeatedly, in hope that one day they eventually get the picture. I’m certainly not stupid enough to fall for false promises of 15+ games and $1billion investments into ‘games’ without one shred of evidence to say that MS give even the smallest hoot* about gamers.

*edited for bad language after biting my tongue, hard.

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dedicatedtogamers1755d ago

Excellent blog. You sound like the sort of gamer I'd invite over to play games on the couch with.

I also balked at the "15 games in the first year" announcement. Partially because of this: but partially because I've heard the same sort of promises from every. single. console. launch. ever. The number of games does not mean they will be worthwhile games.

HammadTheBeast1755d ago

Agreed. We all remember the "EXCLUSIVE STAR WARS GAME!"

RoninRaven1755d ago

I agree wholeheartedly with everything written above, unfortunately many 360 owners (restraining myself from saying "Xbots") just don't get it.

With all due respect to everyone that has ever played a game at least once in your entire life, the people that will buy the One are a living testament to what a consumption driven society has deprived us of, which is, the ability to think for ourselves.

These people have no idea what DRM means, or shrug off the idea of not being able to share their games, they think Kinect is a improvement, all because they refuse to think, and accept someone else doing it for them. Coming from an ex communist country I gladly invite these people to move to North Korea, they will feel right at home.

Valenka1755d ago

I understand what you're saying but I have to disagree for just one reason: just because someone purchases the Xbox One does not mean they lack the ability to think for themselves. It could be the simple reason of the Xbox One appealing more to them than a PlayStation 4.

However, at this moment given what we know about the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, how the Xbox One could be more appealing is beyond me, unless you care more about playing fantasy football and watching television on a video game console more than actually playing a video game.

RoninRaven1755d ago

The Xbox One brings nothing new, nothing needed, it's a forced attempt by Microsoft to enter your living room and in the future control it.

I have nothing bad to say about the product itself it just shouldn't have the Xbox logo on it.

darthv721755d ago

I dont think its really about bringing anything "new" but more about bringing more conveniences to a single device.

i mean we are already seeing home theater PC's in the living room, smart tv's and even both the ps3 and 360 expanded into more than just gaming.

MS has been refining their entire ecosystem into a convergence of entertainment. Entertainment encompasses: tv, movies, music AND games.

Like it or not, both sony and MS are not just competing with each other but a whole bunch of other conveniences that rising smart devices are starting to popularize.

grayfoxx8811755d ago

I will be watching the Microsoft E3 presentation, but not because of the 15 exclusives the company is boasting about. I want to know more about the DRM, their used game policy, the issue with the HDD, and why Kinect is mandatory. I am sincerely hoping all of this is addressed by Microsoft. I see no reason why it shouldn't be, but I'm not holding my breath.

Sony needs to state their intentions as well. I know we have received some statements regarding the issues I've listed above, but I want concise answers.

Sure, next gen games are going to look great, but unfortunately they will not be a selling point for me until I know exactly what I can and cannot do on the PS4 and Xbox One.

DragonKnight1755d ago

If you want answers, then Shuhei Yoshida trolling the world the other day, and then Kaz reiterating that the PS4 is a console for gamers, should be enough for you. Sony's also already said that nothing in the PS4 will be mandatory. No mandatory internet connection ever, no mandatory camera connection ever, nothing.

darthv721755d ago

quite simply, that is an impossibility that even sony cannot guarantee.

Sony had to design the platfrom to be accommodating to the needs of the developers. So if a dev wishes to impose any specific requirements, such as drm checks, the system is able to do it.

Now Im not saying sony isnt going to require such things from their 1st/2nd party studios. This is about the larger majority of 3rd party studios that sony said would be up to.

Now if the overwhelming majority of 3rd parties do impose these things, sony has to let them because they are more concerned about being their friend than to stop it from happening. Perhaps even get a cut of the proceeds in the process.

Ive said it before. Sony putting it on 3rd parties does not absolve them from the situation because its still their platform, their service and ultimately their decision to let it happen.

How does taking the neutral approach solve anything?

DragonKnight1755d ago (Edited 1755d ago )

"quite simply, that is an impossibility that even sony cannot guarantee."

Disagree. Games =/= console. Requiring online for a game isn't the same as requiring it for the basic function of a console. Publishers can't force Sony to make the console itself require a connection anymore than Sony can tell publishers what's allowed in their own games.

"Sony had to design the platfrom to be accommodating to the needs of the developers."

That doesn't have to mean a constant connection.

"So if a dev wishes to impose any specific requirements, such as drm checks, the system is able to do it."

No proof of that, and Sony's own statements about the console being capable of functioning totally offline poke holes in that theory.

"This is about the larger majority of 3rd party studios that sony said would be up to."

It's what is up to them that's the issue. Online passes are up to them, but online passes don't prevent a game from being played, only a portion of it.

"Ive said it before. Sony putting it on 3rd parties does not absolve them from the situation because its still their platform, their service and ultimately their decision to let it happen."

Actually it kinda does. All publishers would want the same, regardless of whether they actually admit it. So then the choice is not letting any publishers put a game on your platform, or letting them take the heat for anti-consumer tactics. Sony may not have to bow down to the publisher the way so many erroneously claim that they do (afterall, publishers need a platform to make money), but they also can't afford to help out their competition by disagreeing to EVERYTHING. So Sony's neutral stance is designed to make the publishers the bad guys while Sony says "hey, our games don't have this so you're still being looked after with our console."

Also, you just flip flopped. First you said Sony has to accommodate these people, then you said it would be their fault if they did. Which is it?

darthv721755d ago

made the platform accommodating. Meaning they made it work for how the developer wants to use it. Such as if a game is coded to do a drm check or not.

the only way that would not work is if the user never puts the system on the internet. Similar to games that required a hdd on the 360 while others did not. Games that did not require it, still worked but games that did....didnt work as well or at all and essentially it was the game that either convinced the consumer to buy the hdd or they took the game back.

That is how sony plans to run their studios but they dont run the 3rd parties. If this business is about getting developer support, the platform holder will do what is needed to secure that support. Even if it means taking the middle ground on a topic such as drm.

They wont enforce it but there 'may' be others that will. And when people buy those games they either have to connect their system to the internet to play or they take the game back.

If it is such a compelling game....people will do whatever is required to play it.

And i didnt say its sony's "fault" but they do hold a level of responsibility in the matter. Having some of the responsibility and assuming blame are two different things.

sway_z1755d ago

Excellent reasoning, you formed a constructive and compelling argument.

My fellow Gamers, leave the fan boy thing to one side if you will, and ask yourselves... a consumer, who really has the power?



Themisterphenix1755d ago (Edited 1755d ago )

I respect you opinion of the Xbox One!I also agree your allowed to have an voice!The only thing I have a problem with is your wrong about the size of the XBOX One!The Xbox One is about the same size of a Xbox slim,maybe a tiny bit bigger!

I do like the way you voiced your opinion with the flaming and fanboyism at its core!

GalacticEmpire1754d ago (Edited 1754d ago )

It's bigger than an old PS3 fatty in every way but height and my fatty doesn't fit on my shelf lying down.

Well it looks massive from the pictures to me anyway. It wouldn't be so much of a problem if you can stand it on it's side, maybe you can, we'll see.

Software_Lover1754d ago

That link states that its shorter on height and length (front to back) than the fat ps3.

GalacticEmpire1754d ago (Edited 1754d ago )


You're right, my bad, either way it won't be ideal for me unless I can stand it up. I wish that was the only problem with it :-/

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