Microsoft has revealed the Xbox One, their “next-next gen” gaming console. The big reveal focused on two key areas – giving gamers what they want and condensing the functionality of various devices into a console.
I was a bit disappointed that in the wake of competition between PC’s and consoles Microsoft has chosen to take the focus away from games themselves. I believe console gaming is still alive because of the games and their loyal audience. This console seems to be reaching for a broader audience which only reinforces the shift away from console gaming.
The ability to record your game sessions to share with friends could be a step in the right direction. Content creators on platforms like youtube are a big part of modern gaming. But I get the impression that this feature was again more for social media in general not for content creators which is a real shame. Giving amateur reviewers and lets play series creators better tools to record game footage could be a great thing if this feature were more fleshed out.
Another focus has been on peripherals like Xbox Kinect to allow gamers to use their movements and voices to control the games. It may have sounded like a good idea on paper but unfortunately most games that have utilized these mechanics have been built purely around a gimmicky control system and have no depth.
A massive issue emerging is that the Xbox One will require you to always have a Kinect plugged in to your Xbox regardless of whether the games you’re playing utilize it.
Another concern is that the camera and microphone built into the Kinect are always active. This seems like a massive oversight to have a peripheral that used to be optional to now be required to play even more so that its always watching and listening to you. Something to think about while you’re in your undies at 2:00 am playing games by the glow of your TV under the ever watchful eyes of Microsoft.
One of the great benefits of console games is being able to share them with friends and family. All games for the Xbox One will come with a one time use activation code and require you to install the game and register it online. While the publishers don’t see profits from reselling games it seems counter intuitive to take away one of the reasons to own a console over a PC or other consoles for gaming.
At the end of the day the reason to buy the Xbox One will be the games. I’d recommend basing your choice of console on the games it offers and the price.