Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!


Posted by Rampant Coyote on May 23, 2013

The big XBox One (“XBone”) Reveal has just happened – the next-gen XBox! Woot!

Except… I dunno. Maybe as more details appear, I’ll get more excited, but I’m not too excited.

For one thing, they are going for the, “This isn’t just a game console, it’s your home entertainment system!” approach that served Sony so well for their PS3 launch. Oh, right, it was kind of a dud, wasn’t it? Well, maybe it’s just one of those things that failed because people didn’t spend enough money on it. Brute force for the win, right?

Okay, strike one. Let’s keep going.

Secondly, while they have apparently backed down on (or never really entertained) the “Always Online” requirement, instead they have a “Must be online daily” requirement.

Ah, that’s fine, then. We’re only going to be a little bit pregnant.

“There are many devices in your life that require the Internet to function,” Microsoft VP Phil Harrison explains. Which is absolutely true. But my gaming console isn’t one of them. Heck, I’m still pending an XBox Live update for my XBox from 3 months ago. I still use it, just… not online. And my GPS? I updated it a few weeks ago online, but otherwise, it’s not online. My phone? No, I don’t have a data plan for it, it’s still a “dumb phone” and works fine. My new tablet! Ah-hah. Except… well, half of the time when I use it I’m either not online, or not using it’s online capabilities. Playing games, watching stored videos, reading books (which I side-loaded)…

Yeah, my computers are mostly online devices, but for many years I was a busy computer user and never or rarely “online.” For a while, “online” meant “connected to a local bulletin board over the modem.”

So no, as a matter of fact, most of the devices in my life don’t have an online requirement. It’s just you and your new XBox, Mr. Harrison.

But more to the point – what this really means is that you cannot buy games for the XBox. You only rent them, but you pay full price as if you are buying them. But someday, Microsoft is going to pull the plug on you, and mock you for being such a whiner about it. Strike two.

Mock you? Yeah. I think Microsoft has proven that its personnel are happy to mock. Like in the case of Adam Orth. Or – from Don Mattrick, who explained on the lack of backwards-compatibility with previous XBox games, “If you are backwards-compatible, you are really backwards.”

Oooh, no backwards compatibility, and an attitude about it to boot. I’m not gonna call that a strike three, but it’s missing a brownie point that would have encouraged some small amount of leeway from me. What? You claim only 5% of customers play older videogames on newer systems anyway? Maybe it’s because you make it such a PITA! Hey, here’s a stat for you… how many Desktop Computer users use older software on new computers with a new operating system? I’d guess well over 90%!

Anyway, I could make some inappropriate (but also very analogous) jokes about how Microsoft only wants to force us a little bit to submit to their cloud servers so they can “best service” us. But I’ll leave that to other people, ‘cuz I’m above that and stuff. Bottom line – it’s still the worst of both worlds for me. It’s both a service and a product, whichever is advantageous to THEM. Not to me, the customer. And while I can still play games just fine on my fun little museum of older consoles, this one comes with an expiration date on it at which point the device will self-destruct… they just won’t tell us the date.  I’m not okay with that.

And now another one… developers. Microsoft has nuked XNA, is nuking self-publishing on this device, and is getting rid of XBLA. Indies have so far not received invitations to the party. This may not ultimately be The Way of Things, and so everything may be warm and cuddly by launch, or shortly thereafter. It’s possible. But so far… it sounds like Microsoft is closing up the system. Indie, go home! Striiiiiiiike three.   I’m out.

I guess I might be going back to Sony after all. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it, babe? Or maybe the Ouya is all I’ll have time for. We’ll see. This can all change in a heartbeat, and maybe I’ll be a gushing XB-one fanboy in a week or two. But for now, I’m feeling XBoned.

Filed Under: Biz - Comments: 17 Comments to Read

  • McTeddy said,

    I’m disappointed to be saying this… but I think this might my last generation. I have no desire to purchase any of the next-gen systems.

    The XBox revealing was the worst though… because NOTHING appealed to me. “Spend hundreds of dollars and you can watch TV on your TV!”

    Really? Thats your big reveal? I don’t need to use a remote control?

    I think I am officially a PC gamer. Scary thought.

    *Note: I still HOPE for the Wii-U to get some games. I really want to like it…

  • Califer said,

    I shouldn’t have even done the last generation. I have a Wii with two games, and a XBox360 with zero games that I only got to do XBLIG (Spoiler alert: I didn’t make enough to cover the cost of the 360 on sale).

    PC on the other hand. I have more games there than I have time to play.

  • Corwin said,

    Preach it Bro, PREACH IT!! Totally with you on this. Wouldn’t touch it with a 10 meter pole never mind 10 foot. Hope this becomes an Epic Fail.

  • Xian said,

    I really don’t prefer one console over the other, but this time I think Sony has the upper hand, at least out of the gate. Their unveiling was completely different than the Xbox One – they came out strong on the gaming front.

    The one cool thing I saw recently about the new Xbox One was not even shown during their presentation – Illumiroom

    I think the name is going to cause some confusion among consumers too. One thing I had heard at the 360 launch was that they didn’t call it the Xbox 2 because they didn’t want to be perceived as being behind the PS3, 2 vs 3. Now it’s going to be PS4 vs XB1. Some consumers might even think that the 360 is the later model, after all it comes after 1.

  • Xenovore said,

    Completely agree! Microsoft just continues to demonstrate how completely out of touch they really are with what consumer need and want. (And “XBone”, awesome! I’m calling it that from now on.)

    I’ll admit that I like the look of the XBone, but beyond that: forget it. Nothing compelling whatsoever… Games? I can already get most of what I’d want on my PC, and what I don’t have there (e.g. fighting games) I have on my PS3. Other media? PS3.

    A couple years ago I wouldn’t have said this but now: I’m finding myself getting more excited about Android and Linux these days. Anything from Microsoft? Meh.

  • Xenovore said,

    @Xian: Agreed on the naming. What happened to the rumored “XBox 720”? It makes logical sense and looks/sounds much cooler. “XBox One”? Boring, unimaginative, ostentatious even.

  • Didacsoy said,

    Well, you mention some very valid points, but you didn’t even got to the problem of having a damned camera on your living room/bedroom which is always awake and that you cannot disconnect (source: http://penny-arcade.com/report/article/the-kinect-is-mandatory-and-cant-be-turned-off-welcome-your-new-motion-sens ). Knowing how “tight” security typically is around MS products… is it a surprise I am even afraid of having one at home?

    Suddenly the OUYA is sounding more and more tempting… I will be expecting your comments about it!

  • Walter said,

    I already have an Xbox 1, Microsoft, and it sounds a million times better than than the new One you’re promoting. (Though I would have appreciated that backwards compatibility with the Dreamcast that Sega was begging you for.)

  • Xbone said,

    It’s been, I dunno, almost 12 years… can you stop capitalizing the B in Xbox already?

  • alanm said,

    Never owned a console. I’ve never seen the point of paying more for a worse gaming experience and a more limited selection of games. Over the long term, walled gardens will always fail.

  • Xenovore said,

    @Didacsoy: Did not know that! Thanks for the link. . . One final reason to say “Hell no”.

  • TheBuzzSaw said,

    This post is spot on. Microsoft needs to be confronted about its lies. It wants prospect customers to swallow the online requirement under the guise that we live in a world where “everything requires an Internet connection”. As you’ve so elegantly outlined, that is simply not the case. None of my devices give me attitude about a lack of Internet connectivity. Sure, I lose a feature or two, but the bulk of the product works fine.

    Microsoft, enlighten me: what does the XBONE require Internet for? No, don’t give me your canned responses of “updates”, “bringing you the best service”, etc. What part of the XBONE *cannot* function without Internet?

  • Anon said,

    What lots of people don’t get is that *they* are the goods that are being sold. The console and the games are only the means to do that.

    MS will collect user data like:
    – what did you play? how long? how far (did you finish it)?
    – what TV program did you watch? how long?
    – what disc did you view?
    etc. etc.

    I strongly suspect that every proprietary web-capable console already does or will do the same – except they don’t come with sensors like Kinect out of the box.
    That’s why Kinect is included as a standard – even for those gamers that don’t need/want it.

    This will give them endless capabilities to collect user statistics: How many people are watching the movie? How do they watch it (being attentive or distracted)?
    I’m sure they come up with way more creative stuff than that, though.

    See it this way:
    The Xbox One will be the first widely used (as in “used in living rooms”) statistics collection device – that the cattle that is being analyzed actually pays for…

  • Anima said,

    Actually I read an article yesterday that Microsoft has patented the technology to bill a streamed film according to how many people are watching it. And I don’t mean how many TVs. They use the kinect camera for that, by identifying individual people in front of the TV.
    While a patent doesn’t mean all that much, you can see the hopes of the executives shining trough.

    Does that count as more creative stuff?

  • LateWhiteRabbit said,

    Whelp, congratulations to Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. They’ve officially made me feel old. I’ve bought a console from every generation since the Atari 2600 . . . and for the first time not a single console in a new generation interests or excites me. Everything Microsoft is offering with the Xbone is something I can already do on my PC with more agency. I think I’m cashing out my chips and becoming an exclusive PC gamer.

    On one positive note, the Xbone controller improvements look amazing and sound great. Hopefully I’ll be able to buy one and use on my PC for gaming like I do with my Xbox 360 controller. That was literally my only positive thought watching the reveal, “Hmm. I hope they’ll update Windows so I can just plug in the Xbone controller and play.”

  • Anon said,

    Jep, read that too. It was sometime in 2012 so they (Microsoft) went in prepared. Naturally. Which is why Kinect2 comes with every console even though “core gamers” *will* opt for the gamepad >90% of the time.

    Older folks remember that MS desperately tried to go into the TV business, with MSNBC being something of a second choice after they couldn’t establish their own big network.
    I guess selling out the audience is the way to go nowadays – they are only following Google, Facebook etc., after all: You don’t need to provide the content, the user is! And then you sell it to the advertising industry or directly to your clients (Microsoft owns image libraries – why shouldn’t they build their own ad agency?).

    And for the record: I strongly(!) believe the PS3 is already doing this to some effect and expect the PS4 to follow suit.
    Why? There is way too much activity on the network connection and especially if I have just watched a movie…
    The difference is that my PS3 doesn’t have a camera or a microphone connected to it – and neither will a potential PS4 in my living room (haven’t decided yet by a long shot).

    I absolutely don’t see myself needing voice commands to switch the damn thing on etc.! I don’t see a more efficient way to operate a home entertainment system than with a good remote control. In fact I’m using a Harmony One (ha ha) right now with my PS3 and stuff.

    A quadriplegic may see this differently but I doubt that a games console with a movement sensor will be his first choice anyway…

    The truth is of course that voice control is nothing more than the “trojan horse sales argument” to market the console.
    It’s just like back then when we Germans were forced to accept the Euro as our new currency. Their trojan horse argument was that there was no need for currency exchanges when doing holiday trips (we Germans travel a lot). This was of course true for European countries that use the Euro but the real consequence was that while the wages were converted accordingly many products got a hefty price increase.

    The only party to really profit from the new currency were of course the big corporations that import a lot of stuff and generally handle money in other countries. For them the value of money did increase – for us poor citizens it was the other way round…

    So, back to the Xbone: What we will see is some people relishing this gimicky function (showing off to family and friends) and most of them ignoring it – all the while the microphones and the cameras are still pointed at them. I wonder if it is even possible to operate the console without them?

    About backward compatibility:

    I don’t care either way as I only have an Xbox “1” and no 360.
    However, I do think that Don Mattricks statement (“you are really backwards”) is incredibly arrogant and a piss poor choice of words. If I were a 360-owner I wouldn’t even consider the Xbone now!

    If you don’t believe me (even though I’m an old fart and no highschooler with hot hormones): I won’t prolong my paid Flickr-account thanks to their new product and pricing strategy, which CEO Marissa Mayer defended with the same tactics: “There’s no such thing as Flickr Pro today because…there’s really no such thing as professional photographers anymore.”
    So much for the funny antics of Yahoo!, mother company of Flickr…

    I can understand a company like Adobe intentionally letting customers go with their new strategy (Creative Cloud only) but at least handle it professionally and not in a customer degrading manner!

    Obviously the new American business manager breed tries to spearhead the field with aggressiveness and open arrogance now. Soft skills, good communication – the things the very same persons expect from their employees is apparently nothing they need to care about any longer.

  • poopypoo said,

    It’s so ironic, isn’t it? MS, who basically STARTed the indies-on-consoles craze, is not going to see it through (now that it is profitable). Sony, whom I boycotted for years because of their stupid proprietary memory formats, is going to be the only compnay whose console I own this upcoming gen. Umless the steambox is good – in which case, everything truly will have come full circle, up is down, girls are boys, console gamers have joined the pc master race!