HyperBear (User)

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"Why does everyone have to be so Negative about everything? It's really Depressing!"

The Xbox 180 U-Turn Perspective - From an Xbox Gamer

HyperBear | 456d ago
User blog

Obviously, everyone knows what happened on June 19, 2013 at 2pm on the Xbox Wire, so I won't go into too much detail as it's written in every article on N4G. And I haven't commented as much as I usually do, for the simple fact that I didn't have all of the information to judge the Xbox One and I wanted to keep my 5 Bubbles :D. So here we go...

Personally, I think Microsoft was doomed right out of the gate with their Xbox One reveal. Even if they didn't announce or implement any used game restrictions and/or 1hr/24hr required DRM check-ins, they would have eventually had problems with the Xbox One with: the mandatory "always-listening' Kinect, being too focused on digital downloading and TV integration and the extra $100 price tag compared to PS4.

Now I might get disapproved for this, but I applaud Microsoft for trying something new/innovative and also investing in the future. We always need to be on the lookout for the future, right? However, having said that, they completely bombed and outright pissed off all of us core Xbox 360 owners (Me included) and most gamers around the globe. They tried to imitate and create their own version of Steam, but on a console device using the Xbox branding. While that idea seems great in theory and on paper, it does not work in the real world and here's why I think the Xbox One was doomed out of the gate:

1) Trying to be an Xbox Valve Box. It took Valve several years before consumers/gamers finally latched onto the idea of Steam and the notion that digitally downloading PC games was easier and in most cases cheaper then buying the disc. But it is not something Valve forced upon the PC community and wasn't even supported by majority of the gaming devs and publishers when it launched. Thing is, Valve seen an opportunity, and instead of forcing it upon their potential consumers (Like Microsoft originally did with the old Xbox One policies), Valve kept enhancing it, updating the program and the platform, and to everyone's surprise, Steam caught on. And now Steam is, essentially, the only place to demo, purchase and play single-player/multi-player games on PC. And Valve have also implemented many features including an 'offline' gaming mode, sharing purchases/games between friends and even letting consumers buy disc based games and activate the game through Steam, without forcing it upon it's consumers and requiring mandatory 24hr checks.

2) Microsoft seems to have forgotten what a "console" device is. There's a reason why the feature-set, digital downloading and sharing on Steam works. It's because it's available to Billions of people who use Computers! and computers, for the most part, always have some form of constant internet/data connections. However, when you think of the term "gaming console", it should mean a device that is solely focused on playing video games with a controller. Simple as this: hook up console to your tv, plug the power cord in, turn it on, insert game disk, start playing. Very simple, instant and complete! With the old Xbox One, it was: Hook up console to tv, plug the power cord, make sure you have either a wired/wireless internet connection, turn it on, download launch patch, insert disk, install game disk, check with servers, begin playing. I think somewhere along the line, Microsoft came up with an idea about a hybrid gaming computer device instead of making a dedicated gaming console device (I mean for god sakes the Xbox One has more OS'es on it than all my computers in my house right now) and that is just the wrong product to pitch to the consumers. We all have PC's and tablets that let us do all the "extra" exciting features that Xbox One does, so why do we need another media-device hooked into our TV's? And also, Microsoft seemed to have shifted the Xbox branding from a gaming platform to a multi-media streaming device with TV integration and we don't need that either. We just want a gaming device, with 1 OS, a focus on games and a solid online infrastructure and community to play multiplayer games on, without the need for a constant 24hr check-up if we want to play offline.

3) The digital future is not completely set in stone just yet and is still too early to dispose of physical-based media. According to Pachter, he believes that digital downloads of games, across both console and PC, will have only cornered about 30-40% market-share within the next several years. Basically stating, that physical, disc-based gaming will still be the norm for this upcoming generation (obviously shifts will occur from year-to-year) and digital downloads won't be the standard until the hypothetical "PS5" and "Xbox Two??" are revealed, and that's if gaming consoles last and survive this upcoming generation. Point is, it is still too early to make a 100% commitment to the digital frontier on console platforms. Especially seeing as how 30% of the world still do not have reliable or steady internet connections, or even any internet at all. Plus, everyone having differentiating download speeds and having data cap limits per month, the digital aspect just does not fully work yet, until everyone has access to a steady internet connection, speeds increase dramatically and IP providers increase the data limits or make it universally unlimited without costing a fortune.

I still have hope for Microsoft and hopefully they can try and iron out some of these situations before launch and get some positive news flowing around to increase sales (Possibly make Kinect non-mandatory and release a sku without it for $399 :D), but coming from an Xbox 360 gamer this entire past generation, I can't help but feel Microsoft are just plain lost and confused. Steve Ballmer might have something to do with this, as it's occurred to me that since he took over, my likeness of Windows, Office and Xbox have decreased over time, and I think it does start with him trying to change and enforce too much. Not to mention that there's not one person around from the Xbox 360 days that are still with the Xbox Team at Microsoft now. But all this considered, I still hope for the best and look at the positives. They did revamp their policies and took away the always-on DRM. Yes, they did axe out the family sharing plan, although I believe that was a bad idea from the beginning, especially for devs and publishers. But time will tell, and hopefully come Fall 2014, I will be purchasing an Xbox One and restart my Xbox Live account, but until then, I will stick with my Xbox 360, PC and in November, my PS4.

Thanks for reading everyone! I didn't intend to write this blog, but I was commenting on 2 different articles at the same time and found out I had typed enough to just make my own blog post about it and see what conversations I can start from my thoughts, lol. Thanks again guys!

dedicatedtogamers  +   456d ago
"I can't help but feel Microsoft are just plain lost and confused"

The fact that every single designer/leader/visionary from the Xbox and Xbox 360 teams has left Microsoft might have something to do with that. I think the disconnect you're feeling is due to the disconnect that Microsoft themselves are feeling. They have no identity for the X1. They have no vision for the X1 (they just scrapped that vision yesterday by announcing "no DRM, no installations, no Family Share" ).

When they showed it off May 21st, it was clear the Xbox brand was being co-opted to fight against Google and Apple. Instead of creating a brand-new product line (which hasn't worked out well for them recently), they figured "hey, people watch Netflix on the 360. Maybe we should use the NextBox to compete against Apple".

You bring up a lot of great points in your blog. *thumbsup*
#1 (Edited 456d ago ) | Agree(5) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
HyperBear  +   456d ago
Thanks man, appreciate it!

I agree, it just doesn't feel like the old Xbox team or even Xbox anymore...things have changed drastically from 2005 to now in 2013, but time will tell if they can successfully pull it off.
Software_Lover  +   455d ago
The bubble system sucks. I just wanted to point that out.
FGHFGHFGH  +   455d ago
"And now Steam is, essentially, the only place to demo, purchase and play single-player/multi-player games on PC."

You can buy games from a lot of places on pc, so they have to be competitive on price.

http://www.amazon.com/Game-...
http://www.gog.com/
http://www.greenmangaming.c...
http://store.steampowered.c...
http://www.gamestop.com/pcg...
http://www.gamefly.com/down...
http://www.gametap-shop.com...

You can even buy games from microsoft.
http://marketplace.xbox.com...

You can even buy steam games from other sellers.
On xbox or ps4 only microsoft or sony would sell the games so they will dictate prices. That's why it isn't good for consoles. Microsoft wasn't trying to be like steam, they were trying to be like games for windows live, which is not popular on pc. (You need to make a GFWL account, xbox account, and you have to be signed in online just to save your game) Steam is popular because it is consumer friendly. (compared to others)
HyperBear  +   455d ago
Yeah very true. I never knew there were that many online retailers selling digital games, but it makes sense. With so many competitors in that space, Steam needs to change its prices to separate them from the others.

But my point about Microsoft trying to be like Steam was in that as far as an all-around digital gaming service/marketplace and online network, Microsoft was trying to imitate Steam's policies and procedures but for the Xbox One. And my point was it just does not work for gaming consoles. And you bring a good point in consumer-friendly. Another reason why Xbox One's old policies wouldn't have worked, is Microsoft wanted the Xbox One to be a gaming computer and be all digital, and that's not what consoles are supposed to be (Well not yet at least).
rainslacker  +   455d ago
Really well thought out blog.

I'm not an Xbox gamer, but really have nothing against the prior or current Xbox brand. Have some issues with MS itself, but overall I think they make good software products, and crappy hardware products.

Xbox itself was a combination of the two. The 360 was a very nice gaming machine(disregarding hardware issues). While having to pay for online sucked, it held it's own against some extremely strong competition...competition I might add that hasn't been around since the NES/Sega days.

When watching the reveal, the subsequent press releases, and post-E3 press talks, I couldn't help but feel that Xbox was no longer a gaming machine. Side note: the actual E3 conference made me like the brand for it's gaming capabilities, it was a great E3 showing IMO. However, all this other stuff seemed to be made into a bigger feature than the games itself.

I know the gaming media, and internet users may be partly at fault here, but realistically, when you have policies that are so against the grain of the current industry, it's only to be expected that people would be pissed.

MS tried to bring about this idea of a living room centered around it's device in the most anti-consumer sort of way. They tried to hard to be something that they're not. It tried too hard to compete with too many markets at one time. This isn't what made the Xbox line so great in the first place.

It seems to me, that the Xbox is not a gaming device, but a deluded fantasy on the part of MS to think that they can rule their customers. They seem to believe that they have unfettered power over it's user base. And worst of all, instead of trying to improve on the services you mentioned in your blog, only looked at the most cursory of evidence of why those services were successful to begin with. They don't seem to realize that it's not that DD is becoming widely accepted because that's the way the industry is going, it's becoming accepted because it offers some value to it's users. That's what MS forgot to give...the value. The fact they kept touting the value of their system only shows how disconnected they are from the gaming base.
#4 (Edited 455d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
HyperBear  +   448d ago
Thanks man, and you bring up some good points.

Fact of the matter is, I think Microsoft have forgotten what a gaming console is supposed to be about, and instead created essentially their own computer (ala. Xbox One - Microsoft's first company branded computer that's not the Surface Tablet). And that is not what a console gaming device should be. And yeah your right, Xbox is not a primary gaming device anymore. Granted they had an impressive E3 with lots of games announced and shown, but I think they are too focused on the other features like TV Integration, Media/Entertainment/Social Apps, Multitasking, Mandatory Kinect, etc. and not primarily focused on what made Xbox what it is today, which is having different gaming experiences.

And yeah, obviously Digital Downloading and Cloud Computing will evolve and become standard in several years time, but right now is not the right time to be releasing that kind of a product. Especially when DD is still not as popular as physical disc-based ownership. And Cloud Computing for games: be it streaming already developed games or using CC to offload tasks while playing games that utilize it, while it is definitely the future of game streaming and development, not everyone has the ability to have an always-connected system, nor want an always-on console.

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