What I thought of the Xbox One
When Nintendo revealed the Wii U I was both skeptical yet intrigued. The idea of putting a screen in a controller seemed unwieldy but I think even the harshest critics have to admit that as a peripheral it has lots of potential. When Sony announced the PS4 earlier this year I was mostly unimpressed. It seems like a powerful system, but as far as new features go, Sony played things relatively safe. After seeing the Xbox One, Microsoft’s new “gaming” console, I am shaking my head in disapproval. The system is being branded as an entertainment console capable of playing games, television, sports “all in one.” As I predicted last week, the console will require constant integration with the Kinect in order to function, it will play Blu-Rays and it lacks backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games. Perhaps out of the three new consoles of this next generation, the Xbox One has had the worst reception among gamers. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to matter. The Xbox One could sell very well, despite what us “core gamers” think of it.
Despite what you may think of the Kinect (Microsoft’s hands-free motion camera), it has sold incredibly well. As of last February, the 360 has reached 76 million in sales while the Kinect has sold 24 million units. That means that one-third of the Xbox audience owns a Kinect. The Xbox 360 sold well initially because of its software; it had the best games available. But as the competition, mainly the PS3, gained momentum Microsoft decided to shift their focus to non-gamers. As a business strategy, this was a brilliant move by Microsoft. The shift in the target audience has made Microsoft a lot of money. Unfortunately this move also alienated their longtime fans, who are much more old-school and passionate about games than the average joe that Microsoft began to market to. A new console would allow Microsoft to reach out to both gamers and non-gamers. Unfortunately the Xbox One didn’t do this, and that is where it failed to impress me.
For the last two years Microsoft has alienated and seemingly ignored their “gamer-consumers”. The Kinect (a device that caters primarily to non-gamers) has been overwhelmingly prominent at the E3 Press Conferences (an event that is mostly watched by gamers), the Xbox Dashboard is now cluttered with ads and features unrelated to video games. The 360, which once had a commanding lead over the PS3 in consoles sales, slowly lost exclusive games as the PS3 gained momentum. Mass Effect, Limbo and Bioshock were all ported to the PS3 after initially being released only for the 360. My point is that the Xbox is best known for being a gaming console for gamers. Even the Kinect is a sold as a “gaming peripheral.” The Xbox One is not a “gaming console” but instead an “home-entertainment device.” You don’t even need to look past the name, Xbox One referring to it being an “all in one” console.
The Xbox One is incapable of playing 360 games; not even downloadable titles. However if you bought movies and music on the 360, those will transfer over just fine. If you were in that 60 percent of Xbox owners who didn’t buy a Kinect, you’re getting one now and it will always be on. In fact, the console won’t even turn on unless the Kinect is plugged in so let’s hope it doesn’t break down. Also the days of lending games to your friends are over. Every game requires a mandatory install (the game can be played while this is going on), this also is getting rid of used games. The system will require an internet connection to verify that a game has been bought new. Whether or not this means the system requires a constant internet connection is uncertain. Microsoft is laying down several restrictions to all of their consumers, gamer and non-gamer, so they can maximize their profits.
The Xbox One is focusing almost entirely on their casual consumers when it should be doing the opposite. I’m not a big fan of the PS4 or its heavy emphasis on social media, but at the very least the features such as streaming gameplay videos, revolve around playing video games. Microsoft seems to have forgotten that the Xbox is a gaming console. I’m disappointed by the Xbox One but in no way surprised as it’s culmination of everything Microsoft has been doing with the 360 for the past two years. At this point in time, I can’t imagine myself ever buying an Xbox One.
But I’m only one person. While several gaming sites share my disapproval of the Xbox One, mainstream news outlets have the opposite opinion. They are all impressed by Microsoft’s console. Maybe the Xbox One will be like the ipad, a device that sells well despite a loud minority. Microsoft doesn’t have nowhere near the brand-power of Apple but I don’t think this means the console will fail to sell. While I don’t approve of the Xbox One it definitely has a focused audience, something that Wii U is lacking which is why it’s struggling in sales right now. Microsoft knows exactly what they are trying to do with this new console, and if succeeds it’ll be for that reason.
Posted on May 23, 2013, in News and tagged brilliant move, gaming, longtime fans, Microsoft, new xbox console, next generation, target audience, television sports, Video Games, Wii, xbox 360 games, Xbox One. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.