Thursday, May 23, 2013

Xbox One: The best way to wave your hands and yell at cable TV



Now we can watch and listen to you 24/7 in true 1080p!

The Xbox One is real, and it's coming later this year. There is a lot we know and even more we don't it seems. While many were pleased with Microsoft's announcement there were a lot of people out there who cried foul. Does it play used games? Can I play offline? Why no backwards compatibility? Why does it look like a VCR? Does it play games at all or is it just another way to watch Netflix?



As a lifelong gamer I'm always excited about new consoles. I bought the Xbox 360 and the PS3 at full retail price within the first month of their release because of my desire to play the latest games on my fresh HDTV. I want these devices because they are shiny, new, and will make my games look even better. This time I'm not entirely sure I want the Xbox One. Will I buy it? Eventually sure, like all the cynics out there we are gamers, and as a gamer I will always want to play awesome games with my friends in any way I can. That in mind, its baffling why Microsoft didn't emphasize games the way Sony did with their PS4 announcement.

Watch LIVE TV, ESPN, NFL, and surf Web. Sometimes games or something.

Microsoft has always said they wanted to be the all-in-one box of choice that we use to consume our entertainment. They made some amazing inroads with the Xbox 360 by adding Netflix, HBO, ESPN, and even TV Service in some markets around the world. With the new Xbox One Microsoft hopes to be the absolute center of your living room. I admit the ability to instantaneously swap from a game, to a movie, to live TV, and back again is pretty amazing. Nowadays, however, I rarely use my consoles to watch TV and movies because we built a Home Theater PC. I think for those who don't want the hassle or don't have the know how to make their own HTPC the Xbox One is a great choice for controlling their entertainment. Especially if the Kinect sensor is as accurate as portrayed. This is something I can see getting for my Mom so she doesn't have to worry about all the remotes and can control her whole TV with just her voice and her hands, not to mention Skyping from the living room with her grandchildren.

Now I'll have to put on pants to make a Skype call

So games. I was stoked to hear that they are coming out with 15 new IPs this year and 8 of them will be exclusive titles. The reason to buy a system is the games it'll play. With almost every game being developed for a multi-platform environment both Sony and Microsoft will need as many exclusives as possible in order to sway buyers. Some of the biggest concerns though have been if the system will allow used games to be played or if it will require a constant connection to the internet to even work. Unfortunately Microsoft has been tight lipped on their actual used game policy. You think they would've figured this one out ahead of time, but for now all you will hear is rumor. So far on their official Xbox Wire blog they stated the system will play used games, but that is about all we know.

Used games? That's so 2013

On the same website they state the system will not require a 24/7 connection to the internet, but there are reports from different gaming sites talking about how the system will need to check in the with "cloud" 1x every 24hrs or else it will actually not work correctly. Until I hear a definitive answer I'm not sure how I feel. On one hand I don't like the idea of not being able to use my console because Comcast is experiencing an outage that lasts a few days. On the other hand, my internet has only ever been down for a few hours at the most, but you know what I was able to do during that time? You got it, play some motherfucking xbox. I hope they do the right thing and let us play our systems when we want.

Guess I'll play you guys never

I can actually understand why there is no backwards compatibility this generation. I mean, it was poorly supported with both the PS3 and the Xbox 360. Sure, over time there were more and more games that would work, but honestly this many years into the console's life cycle I don't know too many friends who talking about not being able to play last generation's titles. For one thing games today require more space than the current DVD storage system that the 360 uses. It was basically a given that they would put in a Blu-Ray drive, which had to have made Sony smile a little. But even with an entirely different hardware architecture you think that they might have had the ability to emulate or just install a chip that could run the 360 games the way the original PS3s had an Emotion Engine CPU to play PS2 games.

You must choose, but choose wisely.

In general I'm excited by seeing 2 new consoles coming out. Both the PS4 and the Xbox One are still a better choice than the WiiU and I will probably end up buying both at some point. But with this new generation I feel a bit different. I've been playing on my PC more than ever since I upgraded from a mid-range 2005 gaming rig to a mid-range 2013 machine. I've even recently started streaming a bit on Twitch.tv, which sure the PS4 is supposed to support that, but at what quality level? Do you know how much time it takes to get your XSplit settings looking good? I mean, I can plug an Xbox controller into my PC and play games that look better than what these new consoles can show me. I think the Xbox One will be successful, but both Sony and Microsoft better come out of the game swinging at E3 this year and show us gamers what we really wanted on 5/21/13...games.



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