zerocrossing (User)

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"Video game journalist and gamer enthusiast."

Xbox One: the console that divided a fanbase

zerocrossing | 269d ago
User blog

Let me just get a couple of things out the way before diving into the topic at hand. I am not a fanboy, I know most of you hear this all too often from those who end up being blatant fanboys, but trust me I am not one of them. I've had pretty much every major console release ranging way back from the NES all the way up to my current consoles (the PS3, Xbox 360 and the Wii) and have enjoyed each one of them although obviously some more than others.

I have never passed on buying a console due to me disliking a company or their business approach/philosophy, because honestly there has never been a need for me to do so before, however I fear that I may not be able to say this much longer, and if my fear becomes a reality then Microsoft will have no one to blame but themselves. I know full well that no company is my friend but at least both Sony and Nintendo try to appear as if they respect my intelligence, and above all else respect my desire to play games un-impeded and un-restricted. But wait "Video game companies are about making money" right? we hear this all too often these days as if purely stating such a thing excuses poor business practices, but then who are we who call ourselves "gamers" but those of us who are apparently only fortunate enough to be able feast on the fruit of their proverbial money tree because we provide it sustenance, these companies would do well to remember that without us that money tree they're so proud of would wither and die and with it so would our reason to support them. My point being here is that we needn't tolerate those companies who screw over their consumer base in the name maximising profits, but we do so because we are afraid of loosing the franchises they posses, if only we were brave enough to stick up for ourselves it is more than likely that these companies would sweeten the deal before they see their business crumble at their feet.

Well that's food for thought I suppose.

Anyway, so now to the topic at hand. Ever since the Xbox One was announced along with the controversial DRM plans Microsoft wished to force on us (their faithful longtime consumers) there has been a great divide, a divide between those of us who wish for their consumer rights to remain in tact and dislike the idea of a potentially intrusive and restrictive console entering their homes no matter how "futuristic" some of the other more seemingly positive features appeared to be. And then there are those who do not care about such matters and only wish to play games, no matter how intrusive or restrictive the console they purchase to do so may be, but seemingly all too eager to believe the corporate PR spin that spoke of the original plans for the Xbox One being "the future of gaming" instead of seeing the PR spin for the bait on the end of a lure, there to lure you in so they can yank the hook. Basically, if you're thinking those controversial DRM policies won't rear their ugly head in another shape or form once the Xbox One reaches a decent install base, then I fear you may be being a little too optimistic, Microsoft and certain publishers stand to make considerable profit if such features like the used game restrictions were implemented, but it would a;so be at the cost of our rights to ownership.

I would go into more detail over Microsoft's plans to implement watching TV on your TV through the Xbox One, but I think we've all heard enough about that, if I had to say one or two things about it though it would be this. Attempting to create a games console that is also an "all in one multimedia entertainment device" is an admirable feat, but if these new features come at the cost of our gaming experience then that console may be doomed from the start, the very fact that the Xbox One runs three separate operating systems simultaneously is already a cause for concern because that is taking up additional processing power that could potentially be going towards pushing the boundaries of console gaming, also don't let this "Cloud computing" nonsense fool you, the most reliable and direct answers we have so far is that cloud computing will help improve online gaming by providing improved servers, while those who state that cloud computing will boost the specs of the Xbox One by that of three Xbox 360's have had their claims dismissed by those in high enough authority on the subject to know that such delusions are but a mere pipe dream.

I do realise what I've said so far sounds a little like I'm trying to bash Microsoft and attempting fear mongering, but I'm truly not, all I am trying to do is state my legitimate concerns, concerns I feel that many passionate gamers and fans of Microsoft are not willing to acknowledge due to their un-wavering faith in a company that may not have ours or the games industry's best interest in mind.

Let's talk a little about this years E3 for a moment, now to be honest when it comes to next gen gaming, or more precisely the games shown at E3 2013, I saw few games on any console that I would say truly blew me away (but then again I'm hard to impress) it seemed to me that far too many of them looked like current gen games with beefed up graphics and some added processing power to help handle more on screen action, but that's the problem with trailers isn't it? you don't really get a feel for the gameplay until you get hands on with the finished product. Anyway, when it came to Microsoft's exclusives and their plans for future IPs I wasn't exactly put on the edge of my seat by some of what was on show, Ryse: Son of Rome looks like an attempt to fuse the now tired tropes attached to the post Modern Warfare FPS genre, with that of an action game creating somewhat of an "action warfare" hybrid, but instead using ancient Rome as the setting. It's an interesting concept but the execution looks a little off IMO, and lacking that "future of gaming" factor the devs were so keen to repeatedly mention this year, QTE driven combat, forced linear progression, giant set pieces (sigh) well we didn't really think we'd seen the last of them, right?... but do we really need more games with giant set pieces yanking our heads out of the action like attention seeking infants? Apparently so otherwise us gamers might get bored of the constant generic gameplay... IDK, maybe it was just a bad first impression for me, but you know what they say first impressions count for everything.

We also got to see a "Halo trailer" (or better yet a short teaser to generate hype) but hey I'm a Halo fan, althugh I honestly think the series peaked at 3 and I never really did get hooked on 343's take on the series in Halo 4, but if they can make the franchise as relevant as the original Halo: combat evolved then count me in, however I just don't see that happening but Id be happy to be proven wrong.

I will say that if there was one Xbox One exclusive game that surprised me it was "Titanfall" Mechs have always held a special place in my heart so an online FPS with large pilotable mechs running around is a dream come true, it's unfortunate then that it's an Xbox One exclusive, something which is still very odd to me because the game is primarily an online FPS, so even after having purchased the game full price gamers still won't honestly be able to play it unless they are paying customers of Xbox Live (actually you know I've never understood why so many gamers are willing to pay for Xbox Live when they bought the right to play the game online along with the disc, oh well so long as everyone willingly paying Microsoft will keep charging I guess) if it comes too it I'll consider potentially missing out on this great looking game as my way of standing up for my ideals.

I'm almost sure by now some of you probably think me anti Microsoft, right? Well again I assure you that is not the case. I'll tell you now I had every intention of purchasing Microsoft's yet to be announced console before the official reveal, but due to the aforementioned actions of this one very ambitious company I have become incredibly conflicted, you see I still would very much like to purchase the Xbox One once it is released, but I can't in good conscience do so, and that is because I whole heartedly disagree with Microsofts current philosophy, sure they may have gone back on their plans for draconian DRM, always on and 24 hour checkins, but the very fact that they tried to implement such arguably awful features has left a bad taste in my mouth, and to make matters worse we find out shortly after that Microsoft is also in cahoots with the NSA, a notorious data mining company. Coupling this new found knowledge along with the fact that the Kinect 2 "will always be listening" oh I mean except when it's turned off and only listening for key words... Yeah, really not so sure I believe that one, but hey I'm a sceptic by nature.

I can recall someone once saying something along the lines of "why do you have a problem with a company spying on you if you have nothing to hide?" this is kind of a stupid question in my opinion but I'll humour it for the sake of this blog. Well you know what, I can't speak for everyone but I kind of like my privacy, many of us are aware that we are already being spied on, on social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook but look how that's turned out, people say something stupid but innocent or make a harmless joke, and then they get dragged off prison for it. Imagine for example that you're just sitting watching TV or playing a game and then you happen to make an innocent joke about a certain topic of subject matter only to find out your Kinect has recorded what you said and Microsoft then passes it on to the authorities, you could potentially end up getting slapped with a court hearing because of a petty misunderstanding that arose in the confines of your own home, pretty ridiculous I know but it's frighteningly all too possible the way things are heading.

It is honestly more than likely that if Kinect 2 were to be used by Microsoft and the NSA for data mining that whatever gets recorded would just be used to tailor ads to individual customers, not that this takes away from the fact that a company is spying on it's consumers, but it's better than having to be careful of what one says in their own home.

I just want to announce before I end this blog that at the time of writing I am still very much on the fence in regards to purchasing the Xbox One, I have mentioned many reasons why I am currently apposed the Xbox One but most likely Microsoft once having released the console with strive to create a strong gaming community well into this new gen, the issue here then is them having to regain my trust, or on the flip side it may be I who has become disillusioned with a company who wants to be at the forefront of change.

Well anyway, I hope you understand my reasons for being cautious of purchasing the Xbox One and I also hope that no matter how much of a fan you may be of Microsoft that you at least take on board some of the points I made, and not just pass them off as ramblings of a "fanboy".

Sorry for repeating myself but I just want to stress this point one final time, I'm not anti Microsoft or pro the other two, and if you still wish to purchase the Xbox One then by all means please do so, I simply wanted to voice my opinions and concerns and hopefully make others who are not so much in the know, a little more wise to the situation.

Thanks again for reading my blog, as always if you want to add something or disagree with any of my points please feel free to leave a comment.

HammadTheBeast  +   269d ago
Good blog.

It's kind of like Sony did with the PS3, they made a huge price jump from the PS2 which divided the fan base by a lot.

Either way, I'm blaming the "curse of the third console".
zerocrossing  +   268d ago
Thanks for commenting.

Pretty much yeah. Sony certainly made a few mistakes with the PS3 early on but they managed to make up for it later down the line, so it is possible Microsoft could do the same.

I think Microsoft's ambition to be at the head of "all in one multimedia entertainment" got the best of them and ended up back firing, they tried to enforce unnecessary restrictions in the name of new features that could be seen by some as detrimental to actually gaming with ease, but we already have enough hoops to jump through to play games as it is.
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shivvy24  +   267d ago
Nice blog ! Lol its gotta be the 3rd console curse !
Tetsujin  +   269d ago
My biggest concern with Xbox is how exclusive the games really are? Patience brought me Mass Effect 1 to the PS3 (took forever though), and a few other "once exclusive 360" games; yes I owned a 360 twice (once in 2008 and again Xmas of 2010) and from a personal stand point there wasn't many games that interested me that PS3 already didn't have (or that kept my interest longer than a couple of hours).

With the whole "Dividing the fanbase" comment I can see this next gen with Xbox doing just that; and also with the recent shift in power at MS I don't hold as much confidence with how things will be handed within the first couple of years, especially with someone who is unfamiliar with gaming and what the fans want.
BillytheBarbarian  +   269d ago
Sony did the same thing with Ps2. Grand theft auto, vice city, san Andreas, Mgs2, and afew others were timed exclusives. Why do people hate on MS for doing the same thing as competitors.
_FantasmA_  +   269d ago
Nobody is blaming anyone. But you xbots are really strange people. You brag about things that you don't actually have. I remember when you guys would brag about Bioshock, even though it was on PC. You guys brag about Call of Doody maps, that are on PS3 a month later. And you brag about party chat. LOL. Party chat. Double LOL.

PS3 gets permanent exclusives, and even then PS3 fans don't brag like the xbots. You guys are way too overprotective of M$ and deep down its costing you more money to have less games on a less reliable system with less features. But hey, maybe you have money trees...
SilentNegotiator  +   269d ago
It isn't 1999 anymore, buddy.

Ps2 might have had a lot of temp exclusives (along with one of the most robust set of exclusives of any console ever conceived), but Ps3 did not.
zerocrossing  +   268d ago
It is a cause for concern, there's been many supposed Xbox exclusives that have ended up finding their way over to the competition.

My view? I think there's two possible future outcomes. Either the cost of developing AAA games is going to increase by such that it becomes near impossible for publishers to have their game exclusive to one console, or the difference in power between that of the PS4 and the Xbox One may force developers to stick exclusively with Sony, or gimp out their games so they function well on both consoles.

It is still possible that the Wii U may play a hand in the decision publishers take with exclusives, but we won't know until it's install base increase.

So pretty much what we've seen happen already, but in a whole new gen.
BillytheBarbarian  +   269d ago
I think we're headed to a digital world but MS is bringing that reality too soon. I know Xbox ushered in broadband only consoles, HDD out of the box, and HD graphics to take advantage of HD TVs and that worked out as Nintendo and Sony later followed that lead. Those advantages were looked at negatively at first as well. But now look, those features have become the norm.

We'll have to wait and see how it plays out. History shows that MS is usually on top of it. Until then PS3 and 360 have more than enough games to tide me over for at least another 3 years. I'm in no hurry. I'm still enjoying this Gen.
JohnCartenper  +   269d ago
The only discs I still use are for the PS3, on Pc I've been all digital for years now.

Honestly I find it annoying to be forced to change disc everytime I want to switch game.

It feels ancient compared to Steam or any pc game, where I can launch whatever I want everytime I want with a click of the mouse/ button on the controller.

So do Blue Rays compared to digital copies. But at least in that case there's a big difference in PQ.

WHile the game plays exactly the same whether digital or disc.
Hell, actually digital copies load faster.
HammadTheBeast  +   269d ago
Yes, but no one sells disks for computer games now.
BillytheBarbarian  +   269d ago
I agree. I like showing off my physical collection though too.
JohnCartenper  +   269d ago
@Hammad

I think you have it backwards.
It's not like people were forced to buy digital because no one would make retail (disc) copies anymore.. the opposite.
People stopped buying discs cause digital copies were cheaper and you could get 'em hassle free in a few hours without waiting for delivery or going to a shop.
Same could happen with consoles.

Besides, they DO still sell physical copies of PC games.
ravinash  +   268d ago
Facts is both PC and console have digital and phisical copies.
However Console still tend to cost more and the price goes down a lot slower than say the games on Steam.

The other issue is when I update my PC, I know that I can download my game again from Steam and it will still work.
I can't update my PS3 if I still want to play my old games, so I'll have to hold onto the disk and the console.

In 10 years time, if I want to play my old game at least I know that I'll have the disk to play it from.
DigitalRaptor  +   266d ago
I only buy physical packages PC these days if the game means a lot to me or if it's a unique collectors edition like The Witcher 2 Premium Edition or the upcoming Dreamfall Chapters.

If changing discs annoys you then there's always the digital option. Every PS4 game, and I'm pretty sure this applies to XB1, will be day one digital. You should also be able to instantly play a game before it's downloaded which is pretty novel. However, I'm not going to support a digital option that prices games at $10-20 above its retail worth like we've seen on PSN. If all digital is to be a feasible future on consoles, they need to stop jacking up the prices.

There's providing options and then there is thrusting something on people that is not appreciated.
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SilentNegotiator  +   269d ago
"broadband only consoles, HDD out of the box, and HD graphics to take advantage of HD TVs...Those advantages were looked at negatively at first"

....where? Bizarro World?
BillytheBarbarian  +   269d ago
Broadband wasn't widespread yet...sounds familiar doesn't it?
SilentNegotiator  +   269d ago
Microsoft isn't pretending like console-wide DRM is the future anymore. You can let it go now.

Internet will never be widespread enough (Not just because of availability; also because it's an expense), or 100% reliable, to get all of the potential customers.
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zerocrossing  +   268d ago
Not sure I ever heard anyone say HD gaming is a "bad idea" but I guess back then HD TVs weren't such a prominent household item.

Digital gaming on the other hand is more varied in it's potential to do good or ill, Steam may have found success but Valve worked hard and created incentive for consumers to not care so much about actually owning a physical copy, where as in the console scene we still have old digital games being sold at full price while their physical counter part is sitting on the shelf with a big half price sticker plastered over the the box art.

So is it any wonder console gamers are weary of an all digital future?
zerocrossing  +   268d ago
Digitally distributed games are definitely the future, it's more beneficial than disc based gaming and you can have your game with you mere hours after it's released.

However there is also the issue of ownership, with digital games we can no longer trade our games in for cash back and in store credit, or trade between family and friends, not to mention the fact that we're still being forced to pay the price for a brand new hard copy sitting on the shelves.

As far as I'm concerned these companies that are all too eager to push for digital distributed games haven't proven themselves to be trustworthy yet, if they want us to go digital then give us reason to trust them and incentive to give up our rights of ownership, they should try reducing the price of digital games for a start.
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LoveOfTheGame  +   268d ago
If only there was a way to have the benefit of digital games but still retain the ability to trade in the physical copy for credit and buy used games.

Oh wait everyone voted against that.
DragonKnight  +   268d ago
@LoveOfTheGame: Oh wait, you're wrong.

Everyone voted against Microsoft imposing conditions upon whom you can sell/trade to and for how much you can sell/trade for. There was even the probability of having to give the publisher a cut of your money. THAT'S what people voted against. Get your facts straight.
LoveOfTheGame  +   268d ago
@DragonKnight
How am I wrong, are we still getting a console that allows us the convenience of digital games and the option to sell them back in the sense most of us do today?

I'm not saying Microsoft should go back to their ways of DMR, but, to me, the benefits of their system outweighed the negatives and they could provide a different, and in my opinion better, system than we currently see with today's consoles and the PS4.

I am, however, still a little confused why they couldn't keep all the plans they had and just add the functionality of playing offline if the disc is in the drive.
DragonKnight  +   268d ago
You're wrong because you made the claim that people were against digital selling/trading/renting and that's not the case at all. People voted against Microsoft's insane control methods in that system. It wasn't enough that they had this "we're doing you a favour" attitude, they had to add in "but we're telling you how you can make money and from whom you can make money."

There were little benefits to the end user and all benefits to Microsoft and publishers. Their system was designed to go after Gamestop, and ironically they still have no problem making deals WITH Gamestop.

The system as it is now works perfectly fine. Developers and publishers are just looking for anything to blame for their lack of profits. We've been through blaming rentals, too many consoles on the market, demos, piracy, used games, next is going to be gamers themselves because their expectations are too high to be profitable with and they'll revert to "mobile is where it's at" so they can slack off and make more money. This isn't anything new. We've seen this happen before. Microsoft were trying to be greedy with their restrictions and people called them out on their B.S. Plain and simple as that.
Dr Pepper  +   269d ago
@BillytheBarbarian

"...and HD graphics to take advantage of HD TVs and that worked out as Nintendo and Sony later followed that lead. Those advantages were looked at negatively at first as well."

Who exactly looked at "HD graphics" as a negative? When the 360 launched, it wasn't forcing you to buy a high definition television to play games.

Edit: Oops, didn't reply to your comment.
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BillytheBarbarian  +   269d ago
People with SD TVs.

You'll be saying the same thing about digital games in 5 years.

...how quickly people forget.

No one remembers complaints of small text in early 360 games?
Godmars290  +   269d ago
I still feel that the XB1's online requirement, even if its only the one time, is going to cause issues for a few who have no internet access. That MS wasn't even think of customers like that.
Dr Pepper  +   269d ago
People with SD TVs could still play 360 games, regardless of small text in some games. I would like to see your crystal ball though, since you seem to know what I will be saying in 5 years.
SilentNegotiator  +   269d ago
No one viewed it as a "negative" that text took advantage of HDTVs.

Just that it should be a freaking option to be readable for the majority of gamers without an HDTV at the time. HDTV adoption wasn't even 65% until 2010. Dead Rising came out in 2006. There's no way HDTV adoption rates were even close to 50% in 2006.

It's bad development to make your product have poor compatibility.
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Godmars290  +   269d ago
@SilentNegotiator
People did take Blu-ray w/PS3 as a negative while the HD-DVD add-on for the 360 was plus.

And stressing one more time the utter online dependance MS planned for the XB1.
jessupj  +   268d ago
Exclellent blog.

I'm still very against MS and the XI for numerous legitimate reasons. First and foremost is the strong possibility that history repeats its self and MS stop releasing exclusives for the XI like they did with the 360.

However, if you, Zero, decidied to get an XI I wouldn't be against that at all because you've obviously looked at the facts of both consoles and wieghed up the pros and cons.

A lot of fanboys instantly label me as a fanboy because I strongly dislike MS, but like you, Zero, I have taken a step back and looked at all the facts and come to a rational conclusion based on my preferences. A fanboy is someone that blindly defends a company and ignores the facts. I always have an open mind and if MS started to have a genuine passion for the industry and gamers I would easily change my opinion of them.

What severely annoys me is people blindly defending MS (and Sony, but more so MS because of said reasons) and will blindly buy the XI because of their bias without looking at all the facts.

In any case, I think MS have done a lot of damage to themselves. While X1s wil still sell fine I think PS4 sales are going to be significantly more and rightly so.
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zerocrossing  +   268d ago
Thanks for commenting.

Well the chance that history does repeat itself is all too likely as far as I'm concerned, and that is one of my main reasons for me not wanting to purchases the Xbox One. If in the end you do decide to let Microsoft new console pass you by then I completely respect your decision to do so, as you obviously keep yourself well informed in regards to your purchases.

Also, thank you for understanding why I'm still on the fence when it comes to my stance with the Xbox One, I honestly agonised a great deal over this blog (probably a little to much) but only because I wanted to make certain that my points were valid and weren't misunderstood or viewed as a fanboy whine.

As I stated earlier there are numerous valid reasons to not purchase the Xbox One, but it really just depends on everyone's individual opinion on what is most important to them when purchasing a console.

A big issue we have amongst gamers is understanding the difference between people who dislike a console or company because they dislike certain features or their business model/philosophy, and those who dislike a console purely due to them being a fanboy. You can usually tell the difference though, while one side can construct a list of valid points that lead to their dislike, the other side rants and raves about how the other consoles exclusives suck and (insert popular console exclusive here) doesn't.
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ravinash  +   268d ago
I would have to admit that I favour Sony over MS, but during that period between when MS announced it's DRM plans and when Sony said they were not, I was really worried that Sony were going to do the same thing. (Mainly because I thought MS would be mad to try and impose such a thing if the competitor was not).
If Sony had, then I would probably end up going to PC!

As for the spying thing on the Xbox1, interesting argument.
I do agree that there is a danger there as if the tech is there in the room for you, the power that be will try to use it in cases of interest.

But, something more real would be the how they gather information for advertising.
The problem with this is MS have control of the system and have their business partners. So would MS allow Sony to advertise their console via their advertising system? I wouldn't expect so.
So what about other services? MS partners would not want you to see ads from their competitors, so there will be services out there that you may not ever hear of.
How you would make an informed decision on which product to buy or which service to use if you are not aware of all the options?
It would be a major consumer rights issue, but with the DRM issues it seems that MS aren’t to concerned about that.

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