Editorial: Microsoft Disappoints Gamers Once Again

No, not the first Xbox, the Xbox One!
The Xbox One, in all of its small amounts of glory.

Tuesday brought Microsoft’s long-awaited riposte to the PS4 and it goes by the horrendous name of Xbox One. Microsoft, however, was not content with only the name being a disappointment, and over the next hour, proceeded to cement that gamers should really just avoid the Xbox One entirely. The event was not without its share of humor though. My favorite part was when Don Mattrick (who is surely on a list of sex offenders somewhere) said that the Xbox 360 was leading in sales, which must mean the PS3 and Wii no longer exist since both consoles trumped the 360 in sales. Aside from the humor, the rest of the event was quite disappointing.

What was initially the most controversial rumor, the always on internet requirement, ended up being a bit of a stretch, at least for now. The Xbox One will not require a constant internet connection at launch, but it will need to connect at least once a day. It is easy to imagine that later in the life cycle of the console an internet connection will be required, especially since Microsoft is aiming to future proof the Xbox One. Their thinking is that while it is impossible to improve the hardware on a console after release, it is possible to use the cloud (another buzzword that was used in nearly every sentence during the event) to handle computations that are too complex for Xbox One’s “revolutionary” hardware. Of course, unloading more and more computations to the cloud will eventually result in the constant internet connection that many fear.

While Microsoft dispelled the internet requirement, they did reaffirm a fear for many gamers. Once a game has been installed to the Xbox One’s hard drive, it will be locked to the Xbox Live account of the person that installed it. People who want to purchase a used game will now have to pay an undisclosed fee to Microsoft in order to play their previously owned purchase. Another issue with having to install all games to the hard drive is the announced size of five hundred gigabytes. With three operating systems and a mountain of entertainment bloatware, Microsoft has already conceded that the “Xbox One system software uses a significant amount of storage; less internal storage will be available to users.” To pile on, the hard drive will also not be user-serviceable and I would wager that it will be towards the lower end of read/write speeds. To Microsoft’s credit, external hard drives will be able to be connected through a USB 3.0 port and function exactly as the internal drive does.

Xbox One PlayStation 4 and Wii U Controllers
Having a controller be the best looking piece of a console is never a good thing.

The third pedophile to hit the stage (Marc Whitten) spoke highly of the updated Kinect that will now be forced upon all consumers that purchase the new Xbox. According to Microsoft, the Kinect has been updated to make it easier than ever to use, which is not saying a whole lot. Improving the Kinect was a necessity as it appears to be used for everything, not just to make a gamer look like a moron waving their hands at the TV. With the Xbox One, gamers now have the ability to shout random commands at the Kinect to go along with new hand motions that look even more ridiculous than before. Leading up to Xbox One’s reveal, Microsoft was not shy saying that Kinect would be a huge part of the console, and after the event, it appears that the goal is to exclude the controller while not playing a game. It also would not be a surprise to see Microsoft attempt to push Kinect exclusive features in multi-platform games, much the same way Nintendo attempted with the Wii U’s tablet.

After using all of Tuesday morning to disappoint gamers, Microsoft decided that Wednesday would be the indie developers day to experience their own disappointment. While both Nintendo and Sony allow indie developers to self-publish their titles, Microsoft announced that their indie publishing policy would remain unchanged. Currently, indie devs are locked to either sign a publishing deal with Microsoft Games Studios or a utilize a third-party publisher to get their games on XBLA. Indie devs are able to self-publish using Xbox Live Indie Games, however there are financial drawbacks to using this service as opposed to the much more popular XBLA. Microsoft has received its fair share of criticism from indie developers for being so difficult to work with, and it does not appear that this will be changing anytime soon.

The lone difference is that one can play Call of Duty: Doggy Edition.
They look the same and have (almost) the exact same functions!

Microsoft fans have been waiting impatiently since February for the Xbox One reveal. To almost completely forsake their fans in the very event they made possible is the building blocks to a betrayal nearly equivalent to what Nintendo did with the Wii. Gamers across the USA and Europe were excited to see what Microsoft would be bringing to the table in terms of gaming experience enhancements. Instead, they were treated to nearly an hour of jackasses talking about how the Xbox One is a Roku that can also play video games. The most important thing in terms of gaming that was announced (besides dogs being in the next COD) was that the Xbox One would have fifteen exclusive games in its first year. I will be shocked if more than four of those games are not FPS titles.

In one hour-long event, Microsoft disappointed the overwhelming majority of their fan base. They have promised to talk about games at E3, but it is clear that games are about the last thing on their mind with the Xbox One. There are still Xbox fanboys out there that cling to the idea that E3 will make everything alright, but if those are the only people that purchase the console, Microsoft will be looking worse than Nintendo in a year. Last generation, Microsoft was the first to the party and still finished last in sales. After Tuesday, it looks like a very good bet that they will be bringing up the rear in sales once again.

15 comments

  1. A friend of mine excitedly announced on twitter after the event that the ability for both her and her partner to both play the same game on their own gamer tags was a reason to instantly preorder the console.

    The next day I explained (very slowly) that it was only due to Microsoft that she had any fears in the first place.

  2. All Sony has to do is not sit on their own balls and they got this gen in the bag. And, not to take credit away from Sony, this seems to be just their luck. Baring this current gen, which didn’t go so well for them by comparison, Sony typically had either lack luster or inept competition, making theirs the console de jure. Guess I know what I’m buying.

    And this console reveal was a train wreck of violent proportions. The unanimous disgust is remarkable in itself. Even the Xbox fanboys at my job were turned off by the mountain slide of horrible news.

  3. My fear in all of this is that somehow, mob idiocy will prevail and the ‘features’ such as the intrusive camera/mic combo, the lack of self-publishing indie titles, the constant fees to play games off of their initial installations, and so on, will become the industry norm. Idiots make many things possible, as we’ve seen again and again. I am literally tense with concern.

  4. No that’s a pretty fair concern, actually. I’m holding Sony in a better position next generation out of a lack of information as much as anything, frankly. All they have to do is basically say, “yeah, us too” in regards to some of these terrible decisions MS has made. I have more faith that the Xbox fanboys will jump to Sony than I do that both PS and Xbox fanboys will jump to PC…which would be the only thing for it at that point.

  5. To Microsoft’s credit, external hard drives will be able to be connected through a USB 3.0 port and function exactly as the internal drive does.

    Ah, one small sliver of light shines from the clouds. It has caused me no small amount of consternation that the 360 was incapable of letting me use files on my external hard drive. I ended up needing to set up a something-or-another with Vuze in order to listen to my music while playing games, rather than waste space on the 360’s hard drive.

    That being said, the used games policy is just too much for me -at least until I see the price and how they plan to address rentals.

  6. Confronted with people upset about the charge to play used games on the Xbox One, Microsoft said,

    “We will have a solution – we’re not talking about it today – for you to be able to trade your previously played games online.”

    Microsoft are working hard to SOLVE A PROBLEM THAT THEY CREATED. No doubt, once they have done this (spoilers: it will involve giving them money), they will then CROW ABOUT HOW THEY HAVE SOLVED THIS PROBLEM.

    What a bunch of cockbags.

  7. @Lusipurr They are doing a bit of the same with the indie publishing situation as well. They are exploring the option for self-publishing, although the fact that one of the main publisher’s for XBLA is fucking Microsoft Game Studios, I see them doing all they can to prevent the self-publishing option. Nothing like having two giant pieces of the pie.

  8. Prediction: The used game fee will be the same [or very close to] full price.

    Prediction: Any trade-in policy implemented by Microsoft will be even worse than Gamestop, as a complete lack of competition in this area will allow them to be as miserly as they wish to be.

    Prediction: All Xbone games will be unplayable when Microsoft shuts off the authentication servers in ten years time.

    Prediction: Sony will also allow publishers to block used games [hence good guy EA announcing an end to online passes], which means that I probably won’t be buying a PS4.

    Prediction: Microsoft’s 400 million dollar splurge on an NFL partnership will be money terribly spent, as this content will only appeal to a North American market; a market wherein the 360 was already the dominant console.

    Prediction: The Xbone will only have 5gb [or less] of RAM which is available to developers on account of all the OS bloat.

    Prediction: A fair proportion of Xbone games will have a resolution that is lower than 1080p [900 x 1400?] – this is because the PS4 is significantly more powerful, and the easiest way to get the same core visual assets running on the Xbone [after dropping AA] is to lower the resolution.

    Prediction: Kinect will now be able to see black people.

    I will be shocked if more than four of those games are not FPS titles.

    Prediction: At least half [probably more like three quarters] of Xbone exclusives will be cheap and gimmicky Kinect games.

    Statement of unassailable fact: No one has a valid excuse for being surprised by these developments – the wind has been blowing this way for a number of years now. Microsoft only supported gaming while they saw it as serving their own self-interest, and these days they are too preoccupied chasing the coat-tails of Apple as a digital services gateway to give much of a shit about servicing the needs of gamers.

  9. @Julian We don’t always agree, but I concur with you on every prediction you made. Also, the new politically correct term is goblins, not black people. Everybody knows the original Kinect was not able to see goblins because they had to smile to show up, and nobody was smiling while using the original Kinect.

  10. That was a pretty crappy show, I just watched. Microsoft just helped perpetuate the stereotype that Americans are assholes by having EA and Activision as the only two game companies to make an appearance. I hope plenty of people buy Xbones and none of those customers buy games. Hahaaa! My only concern now is what Sony is going to do with used games. If they could just do the right thing regarding this ONE thing, they could be the heroes of the newest generation of console wars.

  11. About the fee for used games on the Xbone: I think it’ll start out as something low and slowly creep up throughout this generation as Gamestop and other retailers lose more and more of their share of the game sales.

  12. If Microsoft could provide me with the above experience, then I may feel more favourably disposed towards their shitty Xbone. Sadly, the truth is far more banal and annoying.

  13. “Prediction: All Xbone games will be unplayable when Microsoft shuts off the authentication servers in ten years time.”

    Yep. I feel people should be freaking out more about this.

  14. Eh, I think the used game lockout/fee is possibly the worst idea ever for a system. Imagine if Ford or Toyota forced people who bought used vehicles from private sellers to pay a $2000 fee for not buying the car used or through them. It’s greed on a whole new level, and if it happened in any other industry, there would be massive outrage.

    Why hasn’t a game journalist just flat out asked them “Why don’t you believe people should have a right to sell their own property without you being involved as a middleman? You don’t think it’s a bold and greedy assumption to think you should get a piece of profit from someone else’s property by locking used games out of the system?”

    This video pretty much sums up what I think about the rest of the reveal.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyD1VlQdj2s&feature=share

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