I am still shocked on how underwhelming/ridiculous/farcical/absurd/(insert adjective) that whole show and console was. Disregarding some of the Ubisoft and Konami ones this was one of the worst press events in recent memory, which I wasn't expecting from Microsoft especially after the great Sony event and especially when you're launching a new once-in-a-decade console.
Comparisons between the PS4 and new Xbox will inevitably come up and my take on it that Sony sold me on the PS4 straight away after their event. They didn't do it because of the hardware specs (even though I did get a small geek boner) but their ideas, the vision of what their next console would represent. This by no means was mind blowing stuff but for someone who has been playing video games for over 20 years and had very low expectations from Sony, it made me genuinely excited the way I haven't been about games in a long time. Again, we don't know for sure if Sony will deliver but at least they sold me the dream.
So what makes someone like me who is usually an introverted person and suffers from dyslexia write such long post that will probably get passed as a fanboy rant do you ask? Well, even through I'd heard the rumors that new Xbox would not be as powerful as the PS4, by small difference but enough to fuel fanboy comments and GameTrailers comparison videos for years to come, Microsoft, arguably the biggest software company on the planet would more than compensate with software features. They would a killer feature that would make an early adopter and enthusiast like myself buy the console day one, I mean I spent £400/$600 on the Wii U day one and I've only used a couple of time, but hell if I regretted it. That didn't turn out to be the case. I was really to put it mildly and here's some of the reasons why:
1) Calling it the Xbox One. What, do you mean the first Xbox? The one to rule them all? Neo from the Matrix? The HTC One? They should have just called it the New Xbox or just The Xbox, what the hell call it the the Xbox 720 still a better and less confusing name than "The One".
2) Actually nevermind, the name makes perfect sense, it's as big and ugly as the original Xbox so it makes sense. I mean couldn't they have come up with better design this huge/ugly/rough box that looks like every generic Workstation/VCR/DVR from 20 years ago? I'd imagine people would argue that Microsoft is a software and not a hardware company, and I say BS to that, I'm typing all this on a Microsoft SideWinder keyboard and mouse, some of the finest peripherals out there. But hey, at least it's go a an Xbox logo that light's up, right?
3) Again, nevermind, the design makes perfect sense again, this is a DVR, which can play games, if you want it to. This is the moment I literally yelled WTF!? whilst watching the stream. I couldn't believe it. Sure it's 'neat' but this isn't your killer feature, this isn't how you one up Sony. Who gives a f**k about watching TV on your Xbox? Who gives a f**k about watching TV in the first place? Sure people are consuming more digital content but they do it through streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu etc. or downloading it of the Internet legally or otherwise not through their damn TV channels. Theres no way for me to prove but I'd stake my life in saying that most people buying an Xbox wouldn't even connect it to a TV that receives any channels on it, think of all the college/uni dorms or kids bedrooms that don't even even receive any channels. It's a nice feature to have but to dedicate specific hardware and tout this as you killer feature to gamers is really dumb. But hey, I can swap channels instantly, right?
4) Xbox Live, man, still no justification on why am I paying for this online Tax, to even get the most basic of online functionality that is free not only on the other consoles but on every device that is connected online. Think about it, I mean what are you really paying for? The ability to connect to the Internet, your friends and watch Netflix, thats basically boils down to. All these experiences are free and I would argue better on other devices and platforms once you've paid your Internet service, so you'll excuse if don't feel like paying the Microsoft bouncer again. People will argue that it costs money to run those services and you'll no argument from me there, but, I would say that: a) Microsoft decided to create this walled garden out of these services that historically have always been free or cost very little but through their implementation cost a lot more and b) already takes a cut from every game you buy to pay for those services in the first place. If they're saying that's not it enough then that's their damn problem from implementing their expensive walled garden, all I know is, comparatively, to other platforms or services it is not a good value proposition. Not when companies like EA and others charge for online passes (I know they said they wont anymore but just you wait for the punchline) and the best argument they put forward for Xbox Live Gold is access to Apps all of which are FREE and better everywhere else.
Microsoft could offer online play for free to silver members, charge for Gold, make profit and offer a good value. For example they could offer dedicated game servers to gold members and you know that if you'd ever played a Call of Duty, Gears of War were serious about them you'd pay extra for dedicated servers if you could. They could offer Netflix, Amazon, Hulu or whatever with your subscription and charge a bit more every month for the service.
5) The always connected console with an mandatory all-seeing Kinect is a serious privacy concern. No, really, think about it, the Kinect will be packed with every console and from what they did show it crucial to consoles functionality and it will not function without it. The problem is that this console will always be on and most people will always have it connect online, meaning there will be an always, if not watching at least always listening device in your living room/bedroom listening to everything that's being said. Call me paranoid but I don't want that, especially from a company like Microsoft. All I'm saying is you make sure you unplug the whole console when you're done.
6) DRM. Microsoft still hasn't made things clear on how they'll implement DRM in the new console, sure there's been articles from different websites saying that games will be playable offline and that used games can still be played but we haven't heard that from the horses mouth themselves. There has been to much uproar for this to have been just a miscommunication, and considering EA just announced that they will discontinue online passes makes me even more skeptical. I don't believe this is just me being paranoid, I mean sure you could argue that this is just a ploy from EA to improve it's reputation after all the recent public debacles they've, but online passes were not one of them. People begrudgingly more or less accepted if you bought a used game, especially from EA, you needed an online pass, and in some cases retailers included one with the game, so for them to scrap this scheme, which I'd imagine did earn small amount of money is very curious. I'm still waiting for the punchline from EA, but either way Microsoft has publicly cleared things up and from the looks of it we wont find out until the console is out.
7) No new games or that matter games that matter. Rumors before the show were that they weren't going to show many games, but man they weren't kidding, it was a wasteland. My gripe isn't that they didn't show too many games, I understand that they wanted to be more media focused but to spent over 40 minutes talking, for what seemed to me absolute nonsense about specs, transistors and other completely irrelevant topics that weren't expanding on their media focus. Then to spend another 20 minutes on Call of Duty, which I would seriously argue looks worse than Crysis 1 running on my old Dell Vostro laptop (yes I played the whole of Crysis on a laptop) and Forza 5, which I know they're good games but the best thing I can say about it that looked like every racing game I've ever seen, especially visually. Not even going to touch on EA sports. Whatever, all of this is subjective but what I want to say is that somehow they managed to a lot bs for an hour and a the same time barely touched on anything.
8) My last point maybe a bit contentious, but, I just could not believe how American the whole show was, and please don't take that as derogatory remark or to have a negative connotation against America or Americans. What I mean by that remark and this may be a bit too much hippie thinking than I'd like to admit, but I truly believe that games are a global phenomenon that transcend borders, languages, ages, genders, creeds, and have brought people from all aspects of life to create this global inclusive community, for better of worse, even Call of Duty players. GiantBomb being a great example. Unfortunately that Microsoft event felt anything but inclusive if you weren't an American, which if you are I can imagine it was just a normal press event and here wasn't one specific aspect of that event that I can point out as being egregiously offensive, it was the vibe coming from the whole event. It a bit hard to describe but the feeling I got once the show was over is everything that was shown only applied if you lived in the US and if you didn't well, screw you basically. I understand that most of the large gaming and tech companies are US based and that the event was broadcasted on a US channel, I mean that's nothing new lost of stuff tends to be US or Japanese focused and I sit there with envy hoping they're will be released where I live, but this is first time I felt excluded, offended and a bit hurt after watching such an event in the 20 something years I've been following this stuff. I really was not expecting this from an event held my Microsoft of all things on an international launch.
Anyway it's 4am, I have to get up in 3 hours to go to work, I've been writing for over 6 hours straight (take that dyslexia). I don't know what came over me, I'm usually like a hermit that just likes to watch from the sidelines but after watching 'event' as a gamer I came out disappointed and betrayed. By saying that let me clarify that Microsoft does not owe me or anyone else anything, even though I've spend a far too much money on games I've enjoyed my time playing those games but I feel that feel that they've betrayed my trust in them. In the grand scheme of things a moot point as I'll probably buy the console like all others but wanted to vent my feeling and see if I'm the only who felt that. Let me know in the comments.
P.S. F**k you Microsoft for making feel as if I don't matter on you press event.