Xbox One Press Conference Summary and Analysis

Sony fired first with its PlayStation 4 salvo and today Microsoft fired back with an Xbox One counterattack. Due to professional conflicts, I am not permitted to write about the performance of executives at the press conference. I’ll leave that to you. Thankfully, I am allowed to respond to any judgements you make about how Microsoft’s executive team did at the Xbox One reveal. For now, let’s do that thing where I make a bullet point and follow it up with rambling thoughts.

Xbox One Will Have an Eight-Core AMD Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) Clocked at 1.6GHz
The CPU and GPU are on the same die, while the system architecture is 64-bit x86. It’s nice to see Microsoft and Sony using x86 architecture. That should make things easier for developers. While there will obviously be differences creating games for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, it should be much easier than previous generations that featured drastically different consoles. One potential issue with x86 architecture is…

Xbox One Isn’t Backwards Compatible With Xbox 360
This counts for Xbox 360 disc games, as well as Xbox Live Arcade games for Xbox 360. I haven’t checked any forums or blogs yet, but I imagine that some gamers will rage about this “issue.” Microsoft could have added an additional chipset for backwards compatibility, but that would have made the console larger and more expensive.

Xbox One Looks Like an Old VCR
I’m digging the looks of the Xbox One. I like the sharp angles and dramatic vent cutouts. If Darth Vader had a bad-ass VCR, it would look like the Xbox One. The lines make it look like a modern version of the original Xbox. I’m guessing that I’m going to be in the minority on this one and that many fans will bag on the console’s looks because it doesn’t have the smooth aesthetics of Apple products. *shrug*

Cloud Computing Continues
Like the PlayStation 4, Xbox One will have several cloud-based features. You’ll be able to access your console’s gaming content, save files, videos, and more from “anywhere.” You’ll also be able to record gameplay clips, upload them to the cloud, and share them with your friends.

Kinect and Xbox One Control Your TV
The next-gen Kinect is a huge part of the new console, with deep integration than ever. One futuristic and potentially cool feature is how Kinect and Xbox One integrate with your television service. The console will feature a UI that beats the crap out of the one most cable boxes use. Kinect’s voice recognition allows you to control the TV. Saying, “Watch ESPN!” to watch ESPN is very Star Trek.

Xbox One Will Have a “Pre-Owned” Fee
RPadholic Smartguy posted a link in the RPad.TV Google Hangout that confirmed that the Xbox One will have built-in measures to combat the used-games market. Xbox One games will have an installation process that’s tied to individual Xbox Live accounts. An undisclosed fee will have to be paid if another Xbox Live user wants to install the game. Personally, I have no problems with this system, but understand that some people do…and am looking forward to the nerd rage over this “issue.”

[Update: The Xbox Support Twitter says that the report on pre-owned fees is incorrect. It’s a little confusing considering that Microsoft VP Phil Harrison was the first executive to mention the fee.]

Xbox One Has Blu-ray, USB 3.0, and WiFi Direct
The first two features are necessary in 2013. I haven’t used WiFi Direct for anything, but imagine it’s useful for quickly connecting peripherals.

The Xbox One Controller is…
The pictures make the controller look cheaper than the Xbox 360 controller, but that doesn’t mean much. I’m guessing it looks better in person. A few of my journalist friends said that they weren’t allowed to touch the controller. Feel is obviously the most important thing. The new controller allegedly features more than 40 improvements over its predecessor. Many gamers believe that the Xbox 360 controller is close to perfect, so I’m curious to see what the reaction will be to the new gamepad.

Halo…the Live-Action TV Show
Steven Spielberg will be the executive produce of Halo: The Television Series, a live-action program that will debut on Xbox Live. The kids will go nuts for this.

Microsoft and NFL Sitting in a Tree
In a move that will be huge in America and nowhere else in the world, Microsoft has the exclusive rights to create interactive experiences that complement NFL programming. Kinect and SmartGlass will be used to enhance the (American) football experience. I’m sure that many of you will love this.

Price, Release Date, SKUs
Those should be announced at E3 2013. You have to save something for later, right?

Your Take
Now it’s your turn! What are your initial thoughts on Xbox One? How do you feel about the deeper Kinect integration? Are you digging the television features? Any opinions on backwards compatibility and the pre-owned games fee? Share your thoughts like a Care Bear in the comments section (please)!

Author: RPadTV

http://www.RPad.TV

11 thoughts on “Xbox One Press Conference Summary and Analysis”

  1. The backwards compatibility issue: I think that’s pretty poor on their part for the digital games bought from the Arcade store. The machine is purportedly powerful and emulating the PowerPC environment shouldn’t be difficult. MS is obviously wanting to stream so why not offer something similar to what Sony is?

    Pre owned fee: this sucks if you want to give a game you have purchased but didn’t like to a friend (hello Iceman) and then they have to pay some fee (can’t imagine it being less than $20). I’m a huge supporter of Steam but at least their content has tremendous sales weekly. You may not have an issue with the system but on principle I do. You no longer actually own anything anymore.

    NFL: who cares? an iPad kicks the crap out of this. Unless MS can work a deal for PPV individual NFL games at $10 per game then I don’t care.

    That cloud computing portion made me think of SimCity and how they need to do complex computation on their servers so my i7 PC didn’t bog down. This of course is all crap and MS encouraging devs/pubs to have the games live in a perpetual world for DRM.

    The TV stuff didn’t phase me since I’m not a tv subscriber and the Kinect stuff came off as very obtrusive. I don’t care to sit in my cave or living room and yell at the Kinect or wave my arms around for a while trying to switch apps.

    I was on the fence about this console before this show and now I’m not even considering it. Maybe if they announce some consumer friendly stuff at E3. Just imagine the pain in the ass it will be when your machine breaks or the hdd crashes.

    1. Fore!!! Also, I wonder if Sony’s Gaikai streaming of old games will be a differentiating factor…and if Microsoft will unveil streaming plans at E3 2013. Many people bagged on the PlayStation 4 reveal, but I liked Sony’s content better. Oh, I should do a poll.

      1. And I hate my PS3. Worst console I’ve ever owned and I have a launch day Wii U.

  2. Backwards compatibilty is something i wouldve loved. What does it matter if it would be bulkier. Its bulky no especially adding the kinect. I dont approve of their emphasis on apps and video streaming. ISPs cant handle it and not all providers want us to bypass their equipment

  3. I may have to abandon my 11-year relationship with Xbox. All I know is that I have a very difficult decision to make next year, because I’m only planning on buying one new console at that time. I haven’t decided if it will be a PS4 or XBone. Hell, I may not buy a new console until 2015 if they keep supporting the 360. At least that way, I’ll know if there are any hardware issues (RROD, anyone?) and should wait to buy a later model at a cheaper price.

    First off is the used game sales. Maybe half of my library are used games. I get them for anywhere from 60 to 90% cheaper than retail. So even if a game sucks donkey balls, I don’t feel cheated because I only paid $15 for a Gears of War game. IF they are going to charge me retail or close to retail to play/install a used game on my console, I simply will not buy it. It’s that simple. If even if it is a negligible fee, I won’t even bother based on principle alone. My library will be a lot smaller. I know there is currently some confusion about this issue, but until I hear from Microsoft that “used games will have no activation or install fee to be played by another account” then I am going to assume they they want to charge something.

    Second, and I know you think this is retarded, but as a marketing tool, there needs to be some sort of backwards compatibility. Consider this: It takes years to build up a gaming library, not to mention a significant investment, money-wise. It makes sound business sense to allow the new hardware to play the older games as the new console builds up it’s own library. If not, you are just screwing over early adopters as they clamor for games in order to justify them spending lots of money on a new console. When the console doesn’t sell enough units, then publishers won’t be too eager to make games for the console. If there are not enough good games for the console, then people won’t buy it until there is a big price drop. If a manufacturer makes a console that is backwards compatible (or virtually or even partly backwards compatible), you are now giving a big incentive and making it easier for gamers to make the jump. Your expensive purchase will be worth it because it will play all (or most) of your old games, either directly from the disk or via an emulator. Hell, I would even be happy if I could download via the new system a games I own on the 360 for free to the XBone. It would be good enough. This will lead to a much larger initial install base and would spur publishers to make games for the XBone only instead of both the 360 and the XBone which you know they are going to do and it’s going to cost them more. To put it from a different perspective; if I am the owner of EA and I have limited resources to make the next Dead Space game, I will ask; “OK, which platforms are we going to make this game for?” My cretins will then show me each platforms’ install base and how much it’s going to cost on each. When I get to the 360 and I see an install base of 76 million and cheap to produce vs. the XBone install base of one million and it’s more expensive to produce games for, which do you think would be the logical choice that I would want to put my resources behind? Backwards compatibility benefits gamers and publishers. It’s a win-win. And don’t give me any of that crap about cost. If you’re going to drop $400-$600 on a console, you really think an extra $50 or so is going to be your breaking point? They don’t even need the hardware, all they need is emulation software to get the job done. One of the reasons that the PS2 was the most successful console of all time is because they had that early “boost” of bringing all of the PS1 faithful over to the new console with the promise of allowing them to play their games on the new system. Publishers took note of the huge install base and went to work creating arguably the greatest gaming library ever conceived. Not being backwards compatible stifles growth of the new console.

    Anyway, my point is that you could quicken the adoption rate of a new console and make it more successful if you just allow people to bring their existing library of games over. It eases the pain of being an early adopter and it helps the publishers consolidate their resources to concentrate on one system per platform.

    I realize you think it’s stupid to have backwards compatibility, but with so many good, cheap games I have left to play on my 360, I’ll have no desire to purchase an XBone until 2015 at the earliest… and I’m sure that that’s something that Microsoft doesn’t want to hear.

    I really don’t care about any of that TV and entertainment crap. If it can’t replace my Tivo or substitute my TV service from Comcast, I’m not interested. I don’t use my Xbox for music and I can watch TV and movies through almost any electronic device I buy nowadays… (hopefully a toaster, one day soon!)

    Also, the Kinect microphone being “always on” is kind of creepy. I mean, I know WHY it has to be listening all the time, but think about it; the Kinect microphone is on ALL the time. It’s attached to a video camera and the whole thing has to be connected to the internet. Am I really the only one that is creeped out by this? Would it be so hard to imagine someone nefariously modding this thing to record what goes on in your living room/bedroom remotely without you ever knowing?

    Lastly, I’ve always believed that Blu-Ray is good for movies, but not so much for games. There is a reason (a few actually) why you have to install the blu-ray games on your machine.
    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2007/01/6658/

    That’s all for now. I’m looking forward to E3 to see which company can convince me to buy their latest, shiny, new piece of crap.

    -M

    By the way, are you planning on falling for the ‘ol “We’re-taking-a-loss-with-this-console” routine again this generation? If so, please let me know ahead of time so that I can stifle my comments accordingly.

    1. Totally agree about the emulation. I find it appalling that people who have spent a few hundred dollars on XBLA are now shafted. The ol’ “Well it’s old stuff and you want new stuff” is just stupid. I purchased Half Life 2 about 8 plus years ago. I have installed it on every PC since then with no issues. The hardware was always different and the OS has changed. Why should a console be incapable?

      Also agree about the Kinect. MS supposedly allows any agency to eavesdrop on Skype, which is integrated with the XBone, and that worries me with the camera and mic. Just wait til they throw a tantrum at having 6 people in your living room to watch the UFC ppv or renting a movie.

      I love shitty features mandated and shoved down the consumer throat.

  4. That’s a pretty bad move on Microsoft’s part to not include backwards compatibility; so much for having one system to take care of all your entertainment needs…

    I don’t mind the look of the system, and the harsher edges look pretty cool now in contrast with other more curvy systems. The reason I don’t like it though, is because I’m positive that they will simply come out with another slim version of this console a year after initial release, and I’d rather just have that in the first place.

    The controller doesn’t look that much different than the 360 controller, and I did expect the next controller to be different, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with the 360 controller. Hopefully this isn’t a major step back in comfort.

    I’m trying to wait to pass too much judgement, but I’m not that impressed so far.

    1. The D-Pad is very wrong with the current 360 controller. I’m really glad they have seemed to address that issue on the XBone controller. Aside from that, it’s fine.

      I also dislike the fact that I can’t use my 360 controller with the XBone. Why?

      -M

      1. Because. That’s why.

        Seriously though when you think about the amount of money invested in these machines due to long life cycles doesn’t it seem very evil to say that everything from the 360 will not work with the XBone? Controllers, games, downloaded games, expensive headsets, etc. You patronize their product for 8 years and then get told to deal with it and buy all new stuff.

        I had a 6 hour drive home today and actually thought about this. If the XBone is trying to be a PC, then why can’t it use previous hardware? I mean my PC can play movies, tv, record tv, check fantasy stats, play games, and later this year it can use the new Kinect. However my PC allows me to use an old keyboard that I love as well as speakers and a headset. It also plays all of my old games since ya know it’s a pretty advanced system. Maybe I’m in the minority but I’m not sure the new consoles aside from Wii U are for a more traditional gamer such as myself.

      2. I actually don’t really have any complaints about the d-pad. I do agree with the discontent of not being able to use any 360 hardware or games with the new system, though. It’s hard to say quite yet how that will really affect my decision to purchase a new system. Either way, it will be quite a while until that decision will be made.

Comments are closed.