X-Box One… B

Ok, everyone knows that Microsoft announced their new console, named the X-Box One. I mean first of all, I gotta say that I hate the name of Nintendo’s Wii U. And as much as I thought that was a terrible name, Microsoft somehow topped it. I mean Nintendo has talked about how people thought the Wii U was a peripheral to the Wii, however at least there is a distinguished name to it. X-Box One has already existed, it was the first X-Box that Microsoft deleted years ago, and so I have no choice but to now call it the X-Box 1 B or the X1B from now on because I don’t want people to get confused with the original X-Box which I will now call X1A. And you see why I hate the name.

Realistically, name means absolutely nothing. It’s the console that counts. Design wise, I do actually like the look of the X1B. Yes it is just a ginormous brick, but the two tone gives it a nice sleek look and I am always a big fan of the slot loading disc drives. The color scheme moving away from Black & Green towards Black & White I think also gives the X-box a more tasteful look. However, the size of the system is huge and seems to be making the same mistake that the original X-Box made. It is surely a sign that Microsoft has no inclination to even try to get the Japanese market anymore but I also think it is a miscalculation to think that Americans even still want larger electronic equipment rather than smaller. In a time when everything else is getting smaller, X-Box got a great deal bigger.

The controller is essentially the same as the original X-Box with some improvements like the battery pack being built into the controller similar to the Wii U’s Pro Controller which is about time. Weirdly, though the controllers from the X-Box 360 do not actually work with the X1B even though they are almost identical to the old ones. I find this kind of strange to be honest. Even if the new ones are using a better technology, usually that sort of thing is backward compatible and this seems like a bit of a money grab by Microsoft to me.1

The kinect. Meh. It can now read what people are doing more accurately which is always good. It can sense your heartbeat too which I find puzzling. This is an idea that Nintendo announced at E3 several years ago. Originally it was supposed to be an add-on for the WIi, but Nintendo didn’t even bother to include it on the Wii U. I feel like Nintendo liked the idea on the surface but never found any game play to make it worth while. Meanwhile, Microsoft likely assumed Nintendo was in fact going to have the functionality on the Wii U and so developed their copy cat toy to again copy Nintendo’s ideas. When they realized Nintendo wasn’t going to do this, they were probably too far into development and just decided to add it anyway without having any concept of why they wanted it in the first place other than to steal Nintendo’s ideas (which now they can’t do). Now it just seems out of place. Realistically, I think that motion game play was a bit of a fad and that is a dilemma that Nintendo is now grasping with. Yet Microsoft is seemingly putting many eggs in that basket even though they themselves think it is a gimmick.

For the hardware, I strongly suggest reading Eurogamer’s summation of the system versus the upcoming Playstation 4. Of course, at this point neither the specs for the X1B or the PS4 have been announced and neither has had people digging through it but it does look like the X!B has a slightly weaker processor, slightly weaker GPU, and much slower RAM. I find this a little puzzling in that Microsoft has always lived and died on the idea that they need a powerful system and that has been the knock on Nintendo for so many years. Certainly it is more powerful than the Wii U but i honestly feel like Microsoft is stepping back and falling into Nintendo’s game which is odd considering they constantly say they don’t feel Nintendo is their competition.2

Microsoft went in saying they weren’t showing games, which they really didn’t. A bunch of EA Sports games that come out every year all the time and that people have got to be getting sick of. A new Call of Duty, like we need another one. A game based on Quantum Leap.3 And a racing game. None of it looked particularly impressive or worth buying the system for.

I guess their big thing is their TV features. You can now turn on your TV and flip channels and what not… well assuming your TV isn’t made by Samsung and has been doing that for a couple years already… and assuming you have cable or satellite TV which more and more Americans don’t… And assuming you are likely going to continue to pay for X-Box Live which is the only system that still makes you pay for that functionality… as if Cable wasn’t expensive enough. I have no intent on paying for X-Box Live or Cable, so I care not for any of these features but it does sound like I’d rather just give my money to Samsung as there isn’t a giant brick in the living room with their TVs.

Lastly, the non-announcements that came out later. The system isn’t always online but does require a connection to play games none the less. They say it is that it needs to connect once per 24 hours, but it is probably far more often than that. At best, once per 24 hours per game. You also can’t sell your game to the local gamestop, well you can, but if you buy a game from gamestop that is used, you’ll bring it home and have to pay full price anyway to actually use it on your own X1B. You won’t be able to play games from the previous system because they didn’t want to write an emulator, even XBLA games you will need to rebuy. And they don’t plan on revamping their support for indie developers which means that the exodus away from Microsoft for quality downloadable games will continue.

Overall, I don’t think the Xbox One B is all that impressive. I was very meh on the PS4, and I’m even more meh on this. Graphics don’t really do it for me anymore, and this system isn’t even doing graphics well. Overall I think more and more Sony & Microsoft are working on building PCs more than Consoles. This system in particular is not a console at all. Which is why I just assume Valve makes a Steam Box so that we just stop pretending that they are even consoles at all.

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Think about it, there are loads of old controllers out in the world already, many are used with the PC as well. If Microsoft didn’t force a switch, no one would buy additional controllers. Nintendo may be in the market of making sure it’s customers don’t pay a ton for its product, but that is not how Microsoft works.
  2. I will say I don’t think graphics power means anything. PS2 and Wii were both the wusses of their generation and both won. Heck N64 was actually more powerful than the PSX, though it lost largely because of storage and Nintendo burning bridges.
  3. I know it isn’t actually based off Quantum Leap but that’s all I think about.