Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Xbox Phantasmagoria

Microsoft recently unveiled its next generation Xbox, the Xbox One. The buzz around the internet has been mostly positive. After a long silence, Microsoft is hitting hard on all three fronts; hardware, software, games. The specs for the console are as good as or slightly better than announced for the PS4. Microsoft is upping their game on Xbox Live as well as with the OS for its next console. It’s more streamlined, closer to a PC system, and they are using better, more and stronger server technology. Lastly after an anemic last few years of publishing games Microsoft is promising 15 new games in the first year, with 8 all new franchises. The news was good, but there were dark clouds on the horizon.

Microsoft is seeking to gain control of the used game market by deciding how gamers can resell their games through mandatory hard drive installation. Kinect is legitimately amazing on the Xbox One, finally, it is however mandatory. Microsoft in every way seemed to have a far more impressive machine than the PS4, yet at every checkpoint there were roadblocks to fun. No self-publishing for indie developers and too much focus on entertainment rather than games are two big examples of high profile flubs in their message. It’s not over, this wasn’t E3, and neither Sony nor Microsoft is really getting into hard details of launch schedules or dates.

Gaming is business, its big business, but to make a lot of money, you need a happy consumer base. Every article I read, every comment I perused seemed to be one part amazement and one part disbelief. Microsoft seems to have only learned one thing from the 360 generation; entertainment means dollars, whether or not that keeps the gamers happy, only time will tell.

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