Lindsay Rants: The XBox One

Posted: May 27, 2013 by theelindsayclarke in Games
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And now for something completely different.

Alright, so clearly Microsoft has fucked up. I’ve heard so much, I’m not even sure what to believe… mostly because I don’t even want to believe what I’ve heard.

     So, where to begin? Well, first off, something small and stupid that bugs me. It’s called the Xbox One. Like, why? Who went to school for marketing and business and thought that it might be a remotely good idea to call your third console the Xbox One? Come Christmas, the original Xbox will be flying off the (Ebay) shelves as poor, innocent parents purchase what would sensibly be referred to as ‘The Xbox One’. A lot of Call of Duty-loving 12-year-olds will be having a sad Christmas. But hey, it could be worse: they could be receiving the Xbox One.

Now, there’s a lot of stuff I read online that I find so very hard to believe (and yet I’m starting to think a lot of these rumours may be true). I’m just going to sum them up quickly, in fear of feeding your falsehoods. I’ve heard that Kinect will basically be scoping out your living room. This one kind of went in several bizarre directions. I’ve heard they heat monitor you (okay, that one just seems silly). I’ve heard it will be used to see how many people are in a room, and prompt you to pay more to watch movies when a certain amount of people are watching your TV screen while you use the Xbox One. I heard from one source that you won’t be able to play second-hand games on it at all (because everyone reacted so merrily when Capcom tried that with Resident Evil: Mercenaries), and I heard from another source that you have to pay extra to play second-hand games. Oy vey.

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I’ve heard there will be no backwards compatibility, which would surprise me 0%. What’s really silly about a system lacking backwards compatibility, at least in my mind, is that you have a lot of teens/young adults playing games on your console. They don’t have huge houses with amazingly large living rooms to play Madden on. They’re playing in their bedrooms. My game corner in my room has no space for a new console. Literally none. So am I going to give away my 360 and the 14 games I have for it, the hundreds of hours of playtime I’ve put in? NOPE. And even if I did bother to, who would take them? EB/Gamestop gives awful, awful amounts of credit for games, my 360 is already refurbished, and everyone already has a 360 and all of the games I have on it (possibly even on consoles that aren’t the 360, but that’s a rant for another day).

Now for the more viable things I’ve heard. That is, these are the One’s “selling points” that Microsoft themselves mentioned during their conference. The controllers were made to be more comfortable, apparently. I can’t say I ever had any real problems with the old controllers though, and I have teeny little lady hands and carpal tunnel. So, cool I guess? They seem to be smaller this time around, so that more members of the family can enjoy the Xbox experience. I guess that’s for the kids… and maybe grandma. But wait, isn’t Nintendo already the family entertainment company in video games? I never thought of Xbox as kid-friendly. I thought of it as the console with no games of its own.

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So how about the games featured for the Xbox One? There were basketball, football, car racing and soccer games. Yay. There was also something called Quantum Break, but they only teased us with it before moving on to God knows what. There was also a new Call of Duty. What a bloody snore-fest.

Oh, also, the One responds to a person’s voice. So, if I go, “Xbox, on,” it turns on. Because our complaints about the motion-sensing power-on idea clearly dictated that we wanted an even more frustrating way to turn on our bloody consoles. And during the conference, it was stated there would be “no more manual logins”. Jesus Christ, I’m terrified the only way you can turn the One on will be your voice. What if I’m a mute? What if I want to play Xbox at 4 in the morning without waking my family? I’m just going to have to assume his words weren’t literal, for my own mental health. You can also switch between watching TV, playing some non-existent games, listening to music, and whatever the hell else you really feel like doing with your video game (let me repeat, VIDEO GAME) console, with your voice. So if you’re trying to play your sports games and your little sister keeps asking, “Can I watch TV now?” every five minutes… it’ll switch to TV. Let’s give them points for entertainment value, though. Obnoxious siblings everywhere will have fun for hours.

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What also kind of bugged me about this whole thing is that they made it seem like it’s such a pain in the ass to hit TV on your remote control. Are we really that lazy, western world? And this fact just gets downright silly when you learn that a lot of using the menu is motion-controlled. Because hitting one button would ruin my entire evening, but having to get into a position so I can flail my arms is exercise. Where is the logic in any of this? Seriously, I’m a film school dropout and I’m figuring this out, Microsoft.

The console also goes to what you were last viewing as soon as you start it up. That definitely will never, ever lead to embarrassing situations (damn, I can’t watch Jersey Shore on it… not that I would anyway…).

 

Most of the conference was about how you can go on Skype while watching Star Trek while watching The Price is Right while Facebook stalking your ex while doing yoga while watching sports. I guess video games really aren’t just for nerds anymore.

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But wait. Why am I even using the words “video games”? As I sit here writing about what I see at this conference, they haven’t bloody mentioned anything about games, except when listing all the stuff you can do with the One. This sentence is highlighted in red so I remember to come back to it when they start talking about games. Why? ‘Cause I’m fucking bored. I don’t watch TV, I use Netflix. I hate sports. I have the internet on my phone and my laptop. I don’t need that shit on my consoles. It’s been half an hour, where are the video games? And oh my gosh they’re talking about computer power now or something, I don’t even know anymore, I’m texting my boyfriend, honestly. They keep using the word games but then changing the subject to keep my ears pricked. Oh no, they mentioned EA, it’s all going to be sports games. No way is this happening… it’s happening. It’s all about Fifa. It’s all about fucking Fifa! After they talked about Fifa, they interview athletes. It literally had nothing to do with video games. The athletes weren’t even like, “this game is so much like when I actually play basketball”. They were like, “when I play ball, I like to stand on the balls of my feet”. At this point, I’m pissed off I even decided to watch this conference.

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They used the words “only on Xbox,” though. That was pretty amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before.

Anyway, now that I’ve had my meltdown…

The graphics for the sports games didn’t look that great really. Everything looked very cartoony. Maybe sports games fans won’t mind, I wouldn’t know, I don’t play them. And of course, there are tons of people who do, but I’d like to hear about video games that are more… video game-y. Something with plot and characters. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with sports games, but they tend to be more for the casual gamer, so it’d be surprising if people who play sports games would even bother watching an Xbox conference. They’re probably off getting laid or something silly like that.

So what do I get, 40 minutes in? Quantum Break. And there are real actors in this game, as well as GCI, which is cool. And I’m getting really excited to hear more about it after the 30ish second preview, but they’re already onto another topic. So much for that…

Apparently the One will have 15 new games coming out after its release. But there are hardly any games coming out WITH the console, so don’t ask me who’s going to bother buying it.

After those game announcements, there was more talk about TV, and I’m really sorry but I skipped it. There’s going to be a Spielberg-headed Halo show. Which is still like, ‘meh’, because Spielberg’s been hit-or-miss for so long that I don’t even know if it sounds cool. Plus it’s probably only going to be viewable on the One. Plus, plus, that’s not actually a new game. It’s a show based on a game.

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The conference ends with the speaker going on about how they’re going to launch a game by a beloved gaming company. The farce is over! Except the game is Call of Duty. And you get to have a dog in war now (and I’m super-against bringing animals into warfare so I was beyond turned-off to hear about this). So you can play as a dog soldier, but you can’t play as a female soldier? Ouch, guys. Just remember, females fighting for your country, you’re not important enough to be characters in video games. Because dogs are people, too. But you aren’t.

At least people will buy this game. Call of Duty is also mostly for casual gamers though. And this game looks even more generic-FPS-y than other COD’s. Which means even COD is going downhill. So for the entire hour-long conference, there was 30-40 seconds of completely non-casual gaming.

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Honestly, Xbox one seems to be Microsoft combining the family-friendliness of the Wii, the tablet control of the WiiU, the basic uses of a laptop, the basic uses of TV, the menu of the 360, the controller of the PlayStation, and the motion-sensing technology of like, everything ever. Thing is, everyone already owns all of those, and they still have their individual uses, so what the hell is the One even good for? It’s like the old saying goes: you try to please everybody, you’ll end up pleasing no one.

So, I don’t really know who the fuck Microsoft was expecting to sell this console to. Midgets and dwarfs that have finally been given equal gaming rights? Parents won’t like hearing that their living rooms will be monitored, even if that was just misinterpreted. If it’s in any way remotely true, they’ll think twice. Teens won’t be able to afford the console’s new games all the time, and they’ll have a hard time getting second-hand games. 20-somethings won’t have room for another console. Casual gamers, their implied target audience, won’t buy a brand new system just for a couple sports games. Hardcore gamers haven’t been offered a reason to purchase the console upon its release. Maybe Call of Duty fans with spare dough will bother. Some of them. Guess we’ll have to see how much the Xbox One goes for before we can even try to figure out a target consumer. I know I personally won’t be purchasing a game console that can let you watch movies, monitor your house, and use the internet, but doesn’t allow backwards compatibility.

In closing, Microsoft has completely lost their shit. It’s times like these when I think to myself, “PC gaming master race”.

 

Honestly, every time someone said, “Xbox, go home,” I burst out laughing.

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