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Xbox One Revealed!

OK, forgive me if this entry is a little all over the place, but I’m writing it immediately following the reveal of the new Xbox and I’m still reeling. In a good way? Well…

First, some background. I watched the PS4 and I made a whole bunch of dumb sarcastic tweets about it, but I can honestly say those tweets and comments were in good fun, and I most likely will get a PS4 at some point in the future when the game library grows a little.

I did the same sarcastic tweeting in reaction to the Xbox reveal, but I honestly can’t tell when the good natured banter stops and the mean-spirited anger starts. You see, the Xbox reveal was awful, and I’m about to explain why.

First of all, the basic facts. It’s going to be called Xbox One, in tune with the fact that it’s now an all-in-one entertainment unit. Kinect is pretty much integrated into it, allowing the console to use full motion control and voice commands. It’s going to have 15 exclusives, 8 of which are apparently new IPs (although Microsoft didn’t go into great detail about these). There will also be more information at E3 in a few weeks.

But here’s the problem. That presentation didn’t make me want to find out more information in a few weeks. Sure, the conference raised questions, but not the kind of questions that make me sound excited, especially since a couple of my questions are “why?” and “are you sure you have games?”

The reveal started out in a mildly impressive manner, with Microsoft’s representative turning on the console and navigating the menus without even touching a button. The voice commands were certainly an “ooh” worthy feature, until logic comes into play and you realise how frustrating this feature could be if it mishears you or you simply don’t feel like talking to your console like an old spinster talks to her cats. It also became a less impressive feature every time he told the console to “go home”, which sounded less like he wanted to go to the home menu and more like he wanted the console to sprout legs and get out of his sight because he’s embarrassed by its drunken antics.

It also didn’t help that during this demonstration not one gaming related feature was shown. Microsoft were very keen on showing how easy it is to watch TV and switch channels without using a remote and isn’t it great that you can just say the channel name and it automatically changes and wow…ignoring the fact that people typically don’t buy a games console to watch TV. Oops?

It didn’t stop there. They were keen on pointing out the new Kinect’s features, like the ability to monitor your workout and turn the Xbox into your own personal trainer (it’s unknown as of yet if the Xbox will have a drill sergeant voice yelling at you the entire time, but I’m sure this will be revealed at E3). It can even read your heartbeat apparently, which sounds less exciting and more like we’re edging closer to making Skynet a reality. However, again, Microsoft have missed the mark on what people expect to be able to do with a games console. Now what was it again?

Perhaps it was the ability to browse Internet Explorer while you watch a movie? Yeah, that’s why people want games consoles, of course. Wait, it isn’t? Well, what do they want?

Oh, that’s right, video games. You’d think after spending a good fifteen minutes talking about things that aren’t games, the games they’d eventually reveal would be stellar world-shattering events, right? The first developer to come out was EA Sports, revealing that Xbox One would have FIFA, Madden, NBA Live and UFC games. Yes, the same games that have been released on every console in existence annually with minor additions since the nineties. Wonderful.

The next announced game was a new Forza, a racing game. What makes this different to other racing games? It looks a bit nicer, apparently. Hm. There was also a vague trailer for a game called Quantum Break that was clearly designed to get people asking questions and wanting to know more, but it went too far and was so vague it was easy to forget it happened.

At this point, they immediately broke down the game chat again to announce that there’d be a Halo TV series, claiming that it’d be a new way to interact with your TV…but neglected to explain how. But hey, here’s Steven Spielberg! He’s involved! And Indiana Jones 4 had aliens from another dimension. His name isn’t always a seal of quality, you know.

Then there was something about a partnership with the NFL to create a special MURICAN FOOTBALL channel, but my eyes glazed over at this part and I don’t know the specifics. Please note: this isn’t a special NFL game, but a “special” way to watch NFL games.

And then they wrapped things up by revealing the new Call Of Duty, whose sole improvement over existing titles seems to be that there’s a dog. Activision have been acting like this is a revolutionary new thing, despite the fact that Haunting Ground and Dead To Rights had this exact same thing on the PS2. But hey, DOGS! WOOF WOOF YEAH!

And then the conference just…ended. Yes, that abruptly. That was all they had to say.

They claim they’re going to show more games at E3, but they did little to tease people and make the gaming audience excited for this news. They may have announced fifteen exclusives titles, with eight of them being new IPs, but with barely a glimpse of any of them, the only conclusion is that many of them may be sports-related or Kinect casual games that no one particularly likes, because we have little to suggest otherwise right now.

Still, at least there was a dog to spark things up, but when Call Of Duty: Haunting Ground is the best you have to offer, it’s a bit of a concern.

So, in conclusion, the Xbox One has a nonsensical name, relies too heavily on Kinect and non-gaming gimmicks, has no interesting exclusive games and, according to one of my Twitter followers who kindly linked me to an article on the subject, will have a paywall for used games, and potentially has the option built in for developers to make online-only games. So their answer to the “always-online” rumours is essentially “no but yes”.

Congratulations, Sony. The eighth generation is in the bag for you. And the stock market agrees, since Sony’s stock shot up following the reveal. Microsoft, when even the stock market thinks your games console is bad, maybe it requires a major rethink.

I’ll leave this blog on this highlights reel that’s doing the rounds:

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