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!