The Xbox one has been officially announced. The device is being described as more of a gaming device, but also focusing on TV and internet.
“We put you at the centre of a new generation of entertainment in the living room,” said Don Mattrick, president of interactive entertainment at Microsoft.
The Xbox one is…well, a box. It seems a bit of what I expected it to look like, so no surprises there. I actually kind of like the design, but the design itself does not define the system.
“We put you at the centre of a new generation of entertainment in the living room,” said Don Mattrick
The details of the device are as follows:
- Integration with live TV, music, movies and games
- Remarkably sharp switching from games to TV, the internet and other functions
- 8GB ram
- Blu-Ray drive
- 64-bit architecture
- Silent operation
- Built both on the Xbox OS and the Windows kernel to bring new levels of performance to the living room
- Improved voice control
- Upgraded Kinect that is so accurate it can read your heartbeat when you exercise
- Updated controller with integrated battery, precision D-pad
- Integration with Smart glass – an already announced method to control your Xbox with tablets and phones, including Android and iOS devices
- New Xbox Live service – “more powerful, more personal, more intelligent” built on more than 300,000 servers
Now, the Kinect integration and the response time look amazing. I have to wonder though how this will react in real life? The average person’s internet speed will not allow such a fast reaction time when pulling up internet explorer and other features that will rely on the internet. I also have to wonder how the reaction time will vary when multiple applications are running on the device. The downside is that the Kinect is required for use. I understand that it could not be built into the system because not everybody has the space to place the console directly in front of them. However, the kinect is just as boxy and large as the console itself. I would have hoped for a smaller, less conspicuous design.
Since the Xbox is a gaming system, we are all interested in the launch titles, at least the few that have been announced thus far. The list is less that impressive so far, in fact they are almost exactly what I expected.
- FIFA 14 with exclusive Ultimate Team features
- Madden 25, NBA and UFC games
- Quantum Break, a new action-adventure
- Forza 5
- Call of Duty: Ghosts
Most of these games seem to be staples, guaranteed sellers, and in my opinion almost stale. Don’t get me wrong, they look amazing but they do not sell the Xbox for me. Of the games listed, I am most excited fro Quantum break. I hope we see more at E3. They say that Microsoft Studios will release 8 brand new franchises within the first year of the launch. I would love to see what they have to offer, and hope they cover more than Sports, FPS, and survival.
Overall, I got the feeling that Xbox One is no longer branding itself as a gaming console, but instead a multi media device. I actually felt like they were, for most of the broadcast, trying to combat APPLE TV (even their name, Xbox One is reminiscent of the third generation iPad just naming itself the iPad) rather than Nintendo and Sony. And even then, they seemed to be going after Nintendo more than Sony. Many people I have talked to use their Wii U while watching TV, Netflix, etc… It has become a part of their TV time. Microsoft seems to be going that route also. I am okay with that, but I wanted to hear more about the gaming aspect. I would have preferred they focused more on the multi media aspect at a later time and focus more on the gaming that I would be buying the console for. They seem to be focusing on the aspects that Wii U lovers admire about the console, the ability to game, watch TV, etc…all at the same time.
In my opinion, Nintendo is a step ahead in this race, however Microsoft is very close behind. In fact, pricing would be the final factor in my decision making process here (if I already didn’t own a Wii U). I would essentially use both the same way, but the Wii U Gamepad is a bonus for Nintendo, in my opinion. The Xbox One, a catchy name, looks amazing, and I cannot wait to see it live. Backwards compatibility is a concern for me. I know that back in the “old” days, we didn’t worry about such a thing, but it has become more and more important than in the past. The reliance on online connectivity is also a concern. Is it always online, is it not, or did they just redefine what always online means?
Another concern of mine is the ability to play pre-owned games. According to Microsoft, a game must first be installed onto the console. If the disk is then placed into another console, Microsoft will charge a yet unnamed fee to install the game on that console. This will allow a gamer to install a used disk, and make Microsoft additional money. Microsoft later stated that you can play your games at a friends house as long as you are logged into your live account. It is also being said that you might be able to “trade” your games online, however no further details are available.
Regardless, I was happier with this presentation that Sony’s presentation. So, I would say that Nintendo still has my vote for Next Gen leader, followed very close by Xbox One, then trailed by Sony. Before people argue about lack of games on the Wii U (Wii U has over 40 by the way), we have no idea how many games Microsoft or Sony will have after six months, so I believe that we should save that argument until that point in time. I would say that the power behind the unit is also not a factor in my decision, but the quality of games (not quantity). I also believe that pricing might be a huge issue here. I would be surprised if the Xbox One is priced less that $499-$599, and the PS4 about the same. As a parent, and someone that knows a lot of parents, the $299 price tag on the Wii U will be a no brainer for the holiday season. In fact, a high price tag for either Sony or Microsoft could actually sell more Wii Us this holiday due to the sticker shock alone. However, if they can get down to $399 I think they will be competitive.
Of course, the ranking above is my personal opinion. There will be some Sony and some Microsoft die hard fans that will argue differently, and that is okay. We will not know who truly wins until there are comparable sales figures between the three. I should also mention that I am a Nintendo Fanboy, and a Playstation Fanboy, and an Xbox Fanboy, and an Ouya Fanboy, etc… I am a gamer, and I don’t discriminate against any console. I will eventually purchase a PS4 and Xbox One (unless Sony or Microsoft would like to send me a unit to demo and report on) and I will love both for whatever unique experiences they give me while gaming. And that is what I am looking for, unique gaming experiences, innovative games, intriguing storylines, and an overall great experience. I don’t want verbal arguments over why they are better than the other two (let the games decide that), over hyped and under delivered promises, or even childish bickering from their developers. I want a solid console that does what it is intended to do, play fantastic games that draw me into their worlds.
What is your opinion so far? Who has the lead, which console will you buy? What are the pros and cons of each so far?