If you know me, you know I’ve been one of the most loyal Microsoft supporters of the previous two console generations. When I’m not being a PC elitist (damn exclusives), my first choice has always been the Xbox 360. With that said, that’s what makes the Xbox One reveal so much more disheartening. There’s quite a few reasons why it’s depressing, but here’s the top five reasons that come to mind.
The reveal itself was lackluster at best for various reasons. When you reveal a console, you have to win over the core audience the moment the curtain is dropped. Talk about the past generation and strides to improve on success are one thing and are expected to open any conference, but the words ‘pre-reveal’ should never be the highlight. The Xbox One’s reveal completely ignored the audience that made Xbox a household name and focused on simplistic dashboard apps and interactivity. It was a conference for investors, not gamers – and even investors were turned off by the presentation. So much, in fact, that Microsoft’s stock drastically dropped the day the Xbox One was announced.
I get the motive for the inclusion of “One” in the new Xbox’s name, but that doesn’t make it any less stupid. The Wii was stupidly named as well, but it at least managed to form its own identity. In fact, the Xbox One will find itself struggling with the same problem the Wii U currently has, with consumers confusing it for a previous iteration, thus limiting sales.
Why is it that the code names are always better than the final names? Xbox Infinity is a name that is an infinite times better than Xbox One. Infinity fits what Microsoft is wanting to do. Xbox One makes people think of Halo: Combat Evolved, that behemoth Xbox controller, and the good ol’ days of consoles worth a damn.
The Ugly Design
Okay, maybe this is me being a nit-picky, but the Xbox One is beyond ugly. It looks like a Betamax/VHS hybrid that should have been created in the late 80s when everyone was confused about which format would work in their video player. The controller isn’t bad, but it certainly looks foreign. To be fair, the PS4 controller looks equally as alien, but the Xbox guide button looks so out of place on the One’s controller. It’s like they added a chunk of plastic to the top of the controller just to move it up there. Hopefully there’s more of a technical reason for that, because it’s cosmetically retarded.
The Xbox One is big, bulky and an eye sore. The same thing can be said about the new Kinect. It’s too damn big to sit on top of my TV. If you’re going to create a system that looks to be the size of the original Xbox One, the least you can do is bundle all of the tech inside of it.
The ugly design isn’t exclusive to the physical console, controller and Kinect, but the design of the dashboard itself is also looking incredibly dated. I understand the whole Windows 8 inspiration, as it goes well with their decision to link all home electronics to the damn thing, but it also comes off as lazy and lacks innovation.
The Target Demographic
Who is this thing made for? Obviously it’s not gamers. At least, it feels like gamers are the ones getting left behind as Microsoft focuses on pulling a Wii by luring in the non-gamer crowd by turning the focus to television and sports. Not that there’s anything wrong with television, sports and any of the features announced for the Xbox One… but they simply aren’t selling points.
I can watch television on it? Cool! The Wii U does that and it’s a feature I like, so I don’t mind having it on my Xbox as well. I’ll probably never use it much, but I like that it’s there. As for sports, that’s cool as well. The fantasy football stuff is something I’ll never touch, but additional options for users (read: not gamers) can’t hurt.
The problem I have is that at the moment, the focus is solely on the features that don’t appeal to the average gamer. They appeal to random people from every walk of life that just happen to own an Xbox One. It’s a game console, not a fucking smart TV. It needs to put video games first and market that fact before anything else. Extra features are awesome and can sway the vote in its favor, but without the core audience the Xbox One is destined to play catch-up with the PlayStation 4 this coming console generation.
If there’s one thing gamers hate, it’s… okay there’s a quite a few things, but the number one cause of Internet rage amongst gamers is DRM. We hate it because it cripples an otherwise enjoyable experience when done wrong. A console itself is a form of DRM when you think about it, since you can only play exclusively branded printed discs on it and approved downloads, but that’s well within reason given the nature of the purpose consoles serve.
Microsoft is actively taking away the rights of gamers everywhere with the Xbox One. For starters, no more used games in the way we’ve always known them. This doesn’t affect me personally, since I only buy games new, but there’s a lot of people out there that are locked into the income range that only allows for the occasional used game. They may not be a constant stream of cash for Microsoft, but they are equally as valuable as a gamer that buys a new game every week.
Microsoft’s solution to the used games “epidemic” is to make them tradable only through their own cloud-based trading website. Much like GameStop, expect to get just a few Microsoft banana dollars for something you paid $60 for. Since the disc is just an installer, buying games physically is next to pointless.
Regardless of what Microsoft says, the Xbox One is an always online console. Sure, you can go offline for up to 24 before it checks for an active Internet connection, but the online requirement is always there. This constant alienation of core gamers is really heartbreaking and something that has the best chance of breaking the Xbox One long before it even arrives in stores this fall.
These are just 5 of many problems with the Xbox One. Sure, they are my opinions and don’t reflect everyone in the gaming community, but there’s a good chunk that agree with me. Over the coming months Microsoft has a lot of convincing to do if they want my money come fall – because right now, the Xbox One is dead on arrival in my eyes.
But how about you? Do you still have faith in Microsoft after their pathetic reveal? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.