Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Xbox One Reveal

Will Microsoft's new system be your One and only system?

Ladies and gentleman, Microsoft today has announced their new next-generation device, Xbox One, the successor to the Xbox 360. After months of rumors and speculations, we are given a name to the device and an actual display of the product itself! (Sony, take note!)

The new Xbox One system unveiled! Source: IGN.com please visit their great site!
Now, there were many mixed feelings out there for the Xbox One reveal, and I decided to wait until the end of the conference, after much of the news has been spilled, the fanatical cravings satiated, and the adrenaline rush dropped. What exactly has today's news brought us, and what will this mean for the future consoles?

A Console Stays Connected, Always!

Remember the time Nintendo touted WiiConnect and their WiiConnect24, as having a system that would always be "On" and "Connected?" Yeah, no one does, cause they never delivered. The Xbox One touts as being an always connected console, that will allow players to receive content, remain on, and connects to the internet for updates (constantly.)

Microsoft hopes you will keep your system connected to the internet, because many of the great features they showed today, require online connection. This is nothing new, we live in an always connected world today. Our cloud storage systems enable us to keep our documents, pictures, and other files on the go. We can play a game on our iPhones, and continue on the iPad. Steam lets us save games on one computer, and play on another from the same account. Google has a music service that lets you upload your music files (20k to be exact) and listen to them on any web connected device. So, why can't Microsoft create a system that requires an online constant connection to enjoy its services?

Well, I personally have nothing against the use of features that require internet, nor do I have anything against the use of games updating constantly and offering content after its release, but what I do find absurd is a system that requires a constant connection in order to actually PLAY your games.  This is likely going to sour some people, and when your internet company can be unreliable or you have almost no internet access (college dorms, unable to afford, etc.) this can be a very problematic system for those who just want to, play games.

It will be interesting to see how this develops over time and how people and Microsoft themselves will react to this situation.

Microsoft Isn't Just About Games

OK, I know their stance on the Xbox name and brand has changed from a "Hardcore" gaming machine, to now an "Entertainment Hub," but if you had any sliver of hope that Microsoft's newest system was going to bring you back to those simpler times where your gaming system was just meant to play games, well I'm sorry to say, but it will do more than that.

And why shouldn't it? That's a great thing, to have an all-in-one box, it should be worth every penny it is, except we have no price or release date information... yet.

Look at the many ports! Source: IGN.com
So, with Microsoft's shift into an entertainment hub, what does this mean for gamers? Will games no longer be gracing the system, will there be no exclusives on their shiny new Xbox hardware to display the true raw power this system holds? Well, pretty much you shouldn't worry.

Microsoft has announced there are exclusives and new games coming, but we'll probably have to wait until E3 to hear anymore information on that. Microsoft's Xbox One reveal consisted of Call of Duty, EA Sports, and TVs, Movies, Skype, Kinect, and other features the system can do.

Now, having said that, we did see Microsoft drop the interest of exclusive IPs and original games late in the 360's life cycle. They focused heavily on obtaining downloadable content (DLC) from games as timed exclusives or exclusive to the system only. (See Call of Duty DLC)

So that leaves us with this one question...

Will Xbox One's Features Sell the System?

The newest Xbox is destined to be your all-in-one system and entertainment hub, the central apparatus to your living room's coffee table. It wants to be the thing you turn on first, if not second after your television, and it wants to always be on.

Looks familiar at least... Source: IGN.com
Here is the thing, we have already devices that give us television, internet, movies to stream, blu-ray players to play BD media, and gaming systems to play games on. Now, with that said, there isn't to say that some of these devices may be separate for some people reading this, but for some people out there, you likely already have a device that does some of these things. (Like an Xbox 360).

So, what "new" stuff does this system do? Sure, you have the ability to switch between applications, you can multi-task, and you can play new shiny games. The problem isn't that Xbox One does this, but that it is EXPECTED already. Xbox One so far, hasn't shown anything that really could give us something new and different. In a reveal about the new system, you have an audience of gamers who wanted nothing more than to SEE GAMES! Why? It is probably because we are GAMERS and we want to play GAMES.

Here is where the reveal fell short of hitting any expectations. Microsoft unveils a system, and its first uses and first half of the conference, it talks nothing more than about the UI, Kinect, Movies, T.V., and Skype. As for the latter half, we get Call of Duty, teaser trails, and EA Sports.

If there is one thing missing, its a whole genre of games ranging from Action to Puzzle to Simulation and so on. It has really not shown off why I personally will want to spend any (likely) large amount of cash on it day one, because overall the system is just reiterating to me that things like the Xbox 360's last half will continue in large strides throughout the years.

What say you? Do you agree or disagree?
Xbox One: Microsoft Shifts Gears For Next Gen