A week or so ago, the Xbox One was announced, and I was there.
Well, I was technically here, sat on my sofa, but I watched it all, the entire announcement because I was wondering about being ahead of the game and getting the console the minute it came out just so that I could be that guy that people were jealous of, where people would come round to my house just to see how it works and the graphics and the games and so on.
So with an interested eye on the future I was there, I watched the announcement.
You know what I first noticed?
I was looking at the audience as the lights went down, and each and every seat opened a laptop so that they could Blog about what they were seeing as they were seeing it. Or maybe they were playing angry birds, or even IRChatting with each other, mocking the dress sense and ages of the people on stage. I don’t know.
I don’t know why that made me angry, but it did. It wasn’t as if I was doing the talking and I suppose those people were invited so that they could inform their impressive readerships about it. Either way, if I’m trying to show somebody something I would like it if they looked, rather than spent their time trying to remember what the last guy said so they could be witty about it. Just record it now and talk about it later.
Enough about the audience, lets talk about what we saw on stage shall we?
Hang on, lets take a little tangent for a second and talk about the PS4 teaser we saw at the same time shall we? If you’ve not seen it then I shall highlight the advert for you. It lasted 30 seconds, and was deliberately blurry so as not to burn you out right away. Through the blur you did get tiny brief glimpses of clarity on tiny focal points of the console.
So what did we see?
The PS4 …
- is black
- has a PS logo.
- has what looks like a disc slot
- had vents
Damn, I’m glad I watched that video.
So back to the XboxOn. Where the first thing you see is the actual console, the controller and the Kinect that goes with it. Yup, the Kinect comes with it and is mandatory, but we’ll get back to that detail.
The XboxWon is a big black squared off box, all in black with a logo, a disc slot and a power indicator, no sights of the connections on the back, and there’s no connection points on the front. So it’s a monolith essentially.
The new controller looks almost identical to the one for the 360, though the battery is integral now, so if you run out of power during a game then you’re stuffed. You might be able to put a cable into it, but you might have to put it onto a magnetic charging dock, there was no mention of how charging works on the XboxDon but you sure can’t just swap out one battery pack for another. That sucks for me.
And then you have the Kinect, which is a black block with an eye that sits on the top of your flatscreen TV. It has no foot, it has a hook-like design deliberately to sit on your flat-screen TV. Do you have a flat screen TV? You better have, and it better be a big one.
Go on then, while we’re on the subject lets just talk about the kinect for a minute. With the new Xbox, it’s always on, and it’s always watching and listening.
It’s listening for magic commands at all times, like “Xbox ON!” and tada, the thing comes to life. Can you picture yourself at anypoint lonely and bored in your living room wondering (possibly out loud) “Where’s the Sexbox gone?”
But on the day you do, you’re then standing in your living room, wearing nothing but a rubber bra, holding a bottle of lube and with your video game console watching everything you do.
Did I mention that it can detect your heart rate with it’s sophisticated technology? Oh yes it can.
Let’s just skip on to one new and exciting feature that comes with your machine, ready and waiting for you to call it into action.
Does that sound fun to you? Does it sound like an amazing innovation so that you can video chat to your friends while watching the big game?
Hypothetical number 2.
You’re upto something naughty in front of your TV. Lets say you don’t even mind that the Xbox is on, maybe even playing a video disc that you put into it. You might even have some company there while you’re enjoying yourself. Now call out the wrong name. All of a sudden you get to see the friend you’ve been thinking about for a while know exactly how you’re thinking about them as they watch you from your own TV.
OK, now you’re not a pervert, and you never do anything at all, most especially not in front of the TV, because who needs visual stimulus for such things? So lets move on to the proper features of the XboxPeon.
The thing has a billion channels and it will know which channel or even programme you want to watch, just by telling it so. “XBOX Breaking Bad” should bring up the latest Breaking Bad, providing it’s on right now. “XBOX BBC ONE” should bring up the latest Breaking Bad. “XBOX Dave” should confuse it right away. I have no answer for that.
The excellent thing is that it can do any of these things instantly. Why would you want a remote control when you can do the job badly and randomly by shouting across the room at something that works perfectly at a tech demo… and then might work at home? In fact, why the hell are you watching TV through your Xbox? Do you really need to add another peripheral in between your SKY box and your TV?
That’s right, you don’t get these channels because your XboxCon doesn’t come with TV, it’s just another way of watching the channels you’ve already got. And how do we mean by a new way?
Well, you can get half your screen disappear when someone skype’s you. Or when you want to call up a browser window. Or a TV guide, that’s totally new, isn’t it? I’ve never seen a TV guide on the screen before. Or how about someone on screen says something that my Kinect doesn’t like. How’s about someone on the Tv saying “XBOX Off”?
People watching the announcement through their Xbox360 while their Kinect was on had endless troubles while the demonstration was happening since the commands the guy was shouting kept taking over their Xboxes. I kid you not.
Bollocks. I have a TV. I don’t need an Xbox to be a TV on my TV that I already have.
It always has to be signed on for you to play on it, even single player, and though that’s a pissy detail from a whiny kid, all of my consoles have been online since I got them.
Backwards compatibility? None. I’m no longer that bothered by this, since I’m not going to get rid of my 360 any time soon.
But one thing is strange… The Arcade games you’ve bought? Gone. No transferring any of those things. You’ll have to buy all new stuff. Pah.
So the big stuff
What fracking games?
EA Sports showed some very impressively realistic footage that would never make it into the actual gameplay. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I hate EA sports games and have no intention of ever buying anything they ever produce, but I’m in the minority. They sell a whole load of them every single year with very little difference between one year and the next and they are notoriously bad for dealing with customers and famous for putting out bullshots for upcoming games.
I forgot where I was.
Oh yes. The EA sports ‘demo’ was footage of things that I’m not going to buy showing details unlikely to show up in the games to people who they despise anyway.
So that’s that.
Call of Duty.
Well, again, no game play. But lots of side by side footage of facial models from previous game as opposed to the new one. And a jungle shot. And a dog.
Big. Fricking. Whoop.
That’s all they show us, in the premise that this reveal is to show us the hardware and what it can do, and Games will be shown at E3.
While we’re on the subject of games, let’s get one thing clear.
You can buy a game. While you own that game (which must be installed onto your machine to play it), everyone can play it on that console. You can even take it to a friend’s house and play it there, providing you log on as yourself while there. What you can’t do is lend the disc to them, they would have to buy it themselves when they installed it online.
You can, for one time only, transfer all rights to a game to one of your friends. (You have to have been friends for over 30 days on Xbox). That would mean that you no longer can play the game, because it’s not yours anymore. However, once it had been transferred then it can’t be transferred again, it would have to be sold on.
So, in conclusion.
I’m not that bothered by the thing. There’s no game that I’ve seen that I would want to play, and probably won’t be for a good long while after it comes out.
I’m a little creeped out by the Kinect being always on and always listening, so the first additional purchase I would get would be a hood for it. I don’t need the Kinect looking at me, and so I won’t have it. It can be connected, but it doesn’t have to see.
And I already have a TV.
So thank you Microsoft. Thank you for providing me with another opportunity to not buy something of yours.