Microsoft’s Xbox One Reveal – Apparently Gamers Aren’t Important Anymore

*Update 2 – Ok, os the always online rumour is even more true. It turns out the Xbox One needs to be connected to the internet at least once every 24 hours. This could have been something to announce during the conference instead of sweeping it under the table.

*Update – Ok, so the always online rumour is actually partially true. You need to register your game to your account after buying it. If you do not have the internet access required to register the game, you cannot play it. Also, used games require a fee to activate, and that fee is said to be the entire price of the game. Source – http://kotaku.com/you-will-be-able-to-trade-xbox-one-games-online-micros-509140825

The new Xbox reveal event has just ended and we can finally stop wondering what the name of the system will be. It won’t be the Xbox Fusion or the Xbox Infinity, instead what we’re getting is the Xbox One. It is a simple name that signifies a new beginning much the same way the 360 sort of did in its own convoluted way. The name is certainly apt because the Xbox One doesn’t seem to have anything to do with people who play video games. Over the course of the relatively short and poorly organized event, we got a lot of announcements and pretty much none of them had any relevance whatsoever to video games. There are some interesting applications for the Xbox One for those who still enjoy cable television and less antiquated multimedia. However, if you are someone who enjoys playing video games, which I’m assuming you are since you’re reading a video game enthusiasts blog, there was little to nothing there for you. There have also been some major announcements coming from various sources after the event instead of being dealt with inside the event. I cannot even begin to stress how embarrassed and horrified I am to be a gamer right now when one of the biggest companies out there has decided to completely throw away the core audience in favour of fantasy football.

It’s like the last one, only 359 less.
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Microsoft began the conference by showing us the actual physical console. This was a smart move as Sony was heavily criticized for not showing the box. The actual console looks very much like a box, which makes a lot of sense. It is far more angular than the more rounded Wii U for example, and ends up looking like something out of the early 80s or late 70s. This isn’t a bad thing. The aesthetic is good and unique. In a time where everyone is abandoning corners, Microsoft seems to be embracing them, meaning that their system will stand out a lot more. They also revealed the new, fairly large Kinect 2.0 sensor, which will come with each system as Kinect will be completely integrated into the Xbox One. The controller has also been redesigned, I think. They said it was redesigned, but it looks identical to me and nobody has had any hands on impressions so I can’t tell. There was a promise of a better D-pad, which is good because the Xbox’s D-pad is one of the biggest problems in an otherwise excellent controller.

It’s not elegant, but it is different.
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Kinect was the name of the game during the conference, especially early on. We saw that Kinect can be used to turn the system on, switch between games and television, the internet, and various other applications. This is all well and good, however, this is not a particularly major leap for Kinect, which can pretty much do these things already. The new picture in picture concept for apps is interesting, but we did not see how you could actually interact with them, other than the fact that you need your phone. This leads me to think that it will be primarily superficial. More importantly, this feature has no impact on gaming. Picture in picture isn’t good when you need the whole screen to actually play the game, and Kinect has not once shown to be a good gaming device over the years since it debuted, which is incredibly sad considering even the much weaker Wii had its few moments of brilliance.

How about you make a single good game for this first before you declare it game changing.
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As part of this reveal, we learned that Microsoft is going to have an unprecedented partnership with the NFL. This has nothing to do with video games, but instead Microsoft will be the console of choice for those who want to be especially pushy with their fantasy football leagues. You can taunt others, and keep track of the scores automatically via a downloadable app. This part of the conference took up a couple of minutes and then about a dozen more later on in the conference, and I can see no reason why this was. Microsoft seems to be really proud of its incredibly superficial partnership which doesn’t bring it any exclusive games from a company who licenses a whole ton of games being released on its competitor’s system. This was the low point of the show and I had trouble even watching it, it was so asinine.

I don’t know. This looks the same to me.
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The two big exclusives we got were Forza 5 and Quantum Break. Forza 5 is the newest game in the wildly popular Forza series, but we didn’t get any gameplay footage. Instead, we got a video that showed us some less than impressive graphics with no mention of any new features at all. It was disappointing considering that Forza is such a big system seller. Quantum Break is made by Remedy, who made the fantastic Alan Wake and the beloved Max Payne series. I have no idea what the game is about, but we did learn that it won’t be pushing too far past current gen graphics. What we got was a mostly live action video with in-game footage of a ship being crashed and an end bit that made it look like a standard third person shooter. I don’t know what to think, but Remedy has a good track record and this game will likely be great. We also learned that Microsoft will have a special relationship with EA, which means absolutely nothing considering EA said the identical thing about the Wii U and have since abandoned it.

If games were movies and not games, I’d be impressed. Until that happens, show us gameplay or don’t bother.
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The biggest reveal of the day was that Steven Spielberg is making a live action Halo television series, which will be exclusive for the Xbox One streaming service. This is great news for Halo fans and they should be very excited. However, this announcement has nothing at all to do with the Xbox One. They didn’t highlight their premium television service or show us anything that would make this announcement any less weirdly placed. Halo is Microsoft’s biggest exclusive series, but instead of showing us a new game, or at least teasing us with an E3 announcement, Microsoft completely jumped over gamers and decided that we want a television series more. It was maddening.

Take a series known for its multiplayer and make it something you watch. That’s the ticket.
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Microsoft did announce that they would be releasing 15 exclusives in its first year, 8 of which will be new IPs. On its face, this is excellent news, as Microsoft’s greatest weakness this generation has been its lack of exclusives, something Sony has been destroying them over. It is smart to rectify these mistakes. However, short of the two mentioned above, we did not get any word on any of these exclusives, so it comes across more as a boast than a promise. After all, Nintendo’s famous promise that Pikmen 3 and Rayman Legends were launch window games still sits fresh in my mind. Then there’s the fact that most Kinect games are in fact new IPs, and all of them have ranged from bad to terrible. This leads me to believe that a good half of these promised games could wind up in the shovelware bin.

Launch window my ass.
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Closing out, Microsoft showed us a trailer for Call of Duty Ghosts, which will be this year’s instalment of the Call of Duty phenomenon. It is, however, not exclusive and will be available on the PC as well as the PS4, and probably the PS3 and Xbox 360. This part of the conference was laughable as the developers told us that sliding was a mechanic only available in the next generation, or that motion capturing a dog can only be done with the power of the Xbox One. It was embarrassing for everyone involved, and I feel bad for the developers having to portray themselves like such idiots over the web. Minutes after the conference, we learned about many of the major questions we had going in. The Xbox One will not require an internet connection, so nerds everywhere can calm down. The system will not be backwards compatible, which was expected, and various other third party games such as Watch Dogs and Thief have been predictably announced for the system. More sadly, Microsoft will be charging fees for installing second hand games as a way of curtailing the second hand market.

Watch Dogs – it’s for everything!
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This was a bad conference. We didn’t get to see the system in action at all, with no actual gameplay footage. As such, we have a lot of promises that anyone with even a modicum of intelligence should be rolling their eyes at. E3 is coming up and we’ll see more then, but this was a major reveal event and it ended up being more about the NFL than Microsoft. Sony used their event to show off exactly what their system could do even if they didn’t show off the system. Why did Microsoft decide to completely abandon this approach, instead deciding to show us nothing of the console? I learned more about the Xbox One after the event than during it. That is unacceptable. All we know is that Microsoft will continue their love affair with Kinect, and that they just don’t seem to think that gamers are important to them. This is a sad development, and I hope they change their tune before they release the system. If they do not, then I hope they fail miserably, because I don’t want to be part of a gaming industry that thinks the way Microsoft has shown us they think.

– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer

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2 thoughts on “Microsoft’s Xbox One Reveal – Apparently Gamers Aren’t Important Anymore

  1. Interesting closing statement "If they do not, then I hope they fail miserably….".In my opinion the reveal event was boring and poorly planned. Majority of the viewers (online and in person) were serious gamers or tech enthusiast, and the event did little to excite them. I am also concerned about the XBOX OS and Windows 8 OS merger. Why is MS pushing so hard on getting Windows 8 on XBOX? It's a gaming system, not a PC. With a new clunky OS running in the background, it's likely to have high hardware failure like XBOX 360.

  2. Strange, your post was automatically flagged as spam. Sorry about that. My closing statement is more than a little hyperbolic, but it does illustrate my point well. If Microsoft does pull all of this off and makes a mint, all gaming devices will follow suit. This is dangerous and I'm worried about them being able to needle their way in.

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