In retrospect, I don’t really have anything to take away from the Xbox Reveal conference yesterday. With that being said, let me make it clear that I don’t blame the system; in fact, I think the system looks great. I blame the way Microsoft handled the overall conference.
An article from Gamefront.com called it a bunch of “hot air,” and despite my love of Microsoft and Xbox, I agree. Aside from Xbox One’s capability to turn your living room into the “ultimate all-in-one, entertainment system,” the press release was not very informative; what little information we did learn about the system was convoluted. It is within this ambiguity that I found fault it in Microsoft’s marketing campaign for the next Xbox. We have been left with little clarity about how the issue of used-games will be approached, how accounts will transfer over, how the perma-kinect will work, or how internet connectivity will be handled. As of now it seems as if used games will be purchasable, but with the added code required it will end up costing the same as new game… because, you know, that makes total sense.
(*Cough* Microsoft… did you learn nothing of EA’s online passes?).
Yet it seems like Microsoft is concentrating on sales right now and less on the larger part of their audience — focusing less on hardcore gamers and more on families.
The questions of internet connectivity, online passes, and used-games are questions that press and gamers have asked since the Xbox One (then the “Durango”) was in development. Yet, after the reveal we are still bereft of answers, perhaps even more so than before. So little emphasis was put into answering these questions and far too much emphasis was on sports and television. I enjoy both sports and television, but I have an Xbox to play video games. I would have preferred to hear about Halo V rather than a brief talk about a new Halo TV series. Although Microsoft does have an audience who will respond extremely well to the content they have created through their sports connections, they have committed a cardinal sin in their rhetoric — they ignored a large chunk of their gaming audience. Sure, I think it will be fun to play my fantasy teams from my Xbox, and I do think some of the perks for it will be entertaining and easy to use. However, by concentrating on sports and television, Microsoft sacrificed it’s own balance, ultimately turning a gaming system with perks for sports and television into (what appeared to be) a sports casting system with the ability to play games. Gah, Microsoft needs to hire some rhetoricians.
Me every time I thought they were going to bring up a video game (other than Call of Duty):
Me when I realized they were talking about Fantasy Football again:
As I said previously, I blame the presentation, not the system; this means that Microsoft does have a chance to recover at their E3 Media Briefing. If Microsoft had gone full-force this time around, they would have no innovative content for their biggest “show” of the year. The optimistic part of me is hoping that Microsoft failed to heavily concentrate on gaming content this time because they wanted to save their best for E3. Can they persuade us? I guess we will find out in June. For now, I am going to try to remain unbiased.
On a positive note, the Xbox One is a sleek looking system and will have much to offer in terms of its interface — but will that be enough to bring in gamers? After my kinect decided to turn off the stream every time commands were made on-screen, I am a little concerned about the constant need for kinect. However, the capability for instant switching and the improvement on Smartglass are pretty exciting. It’s overall specs are similar to the PS4, so I think a large part of it will come down to a battle of usability. I will probably end up getting an Xbox One, but after yesterday I am also much more likely to purchase a PS4.
Regardless, for now it seems like we will all be in limbo until E3. What did you guys think?