Wednesday, May 22, 2013
So I watched yesterday's presentation where Microsoft unveiled the next iteration of the Xbox. In fact, I actually watched the presentation by streaming it on my Xbox, which was kind of surreal, because I was using technology that was so uptodate that I was able to stream a fully HD video onto my Xbox where people were talking about how obsolete my Xbox is.
Basically the entire focal point of the presentation was about how Xbox is going to completely revolutionize the way we interact with our TV... because we can now change the channel with vocal commands instead of a remote control. That's definitely neat, but I don't care. I'm perfectly fine using a remote control... and I live alone. If I had roommates, the idea of having to hear somebody in the next room go, "Xbox turn on HBO" would get old real quick. Also... hasn't vocal recognition software been around for years? And, for the most part, people don't care. You want to know how I know people don't care? Cause if they did, Sony would have done this first.
It's kind of like how whenever I pay my credit card bill over the phone, the automated voice on the other end gives me the option of typing in my credit card number or saying it aloud. Why would I say my credit card number out loud? Even though I'm alone in my apartment, I'm just not going to do that. It seems dumb and feels weird. So I'm guessing that even if I had an Xbox One, I'd probably just use the controller anyway.
And if I've spent three paragraphs already just talking about how the new Xbox has vocal recognition, well, that's because that's pretty much all they talked about.
They certainly didn't spend much time talking about games. They mentioned a few and showed maybe ten second clips of some of them that, frankly, didn't look that much more impressive than what's on the current Xbox. And come on... it's the year 2013. Gamers are too sophisticated to care about pre-rendered cut scenes. Either show real, in-game footage or don't show anything at all.
Here was the most telling part of the presentation, or at least the moment that left the biggest impression on me: While showing off how easy and fast it was to switch between the Xbox One and regular cable TV, the presenter said, "Xbox TV," and it instantly switched to CBS showing an episode of The Price is Right.
The Price is Right? Is that really what was on CBS at that moment or was that preselected? Either way... Huh? Why would I care about how instantly I can switch away from my games in order to watch something like The Price is Right? Are the games really going to be that bad that they need to hype up how quickly you can turn them off?
So I can't say I'm excited, but that's only because I wasn't really given much reason to be. I'm supposed to be excited for an Xbox that has a Kinect built-in? I never bought a regular Kinect because I had no interest. This new technology just looks like a slightly better version of the product I already didn't want. And, frankly, there's just something weird and creepy about being able to come home and say, "xbox on," and the machine turns on. I don't really want a microphone installed in my house that is never actually turned off.
All the games have to be installed onto the harddrive that isn't replaceable. That sounds like a bad idea.
No backwards-compatibility. That's not normally a deal-breaker, but considering how the current Xbox has been out for about a decade, that's a lot of games people are going to have to shelve. That's doubly annoying considering how the current genertion of systems has been so notorously faulty.
No used games. Apparently there's going to be some kind of registration process for each game, so if you ever want to use the same game on a different console, you have to pay a fee. That's just insane, and would effectively mean I won't be buying this system. I'm poor. I would say roughly 90% of the games in my collection were purchased used. I simply can't afford to buy games new, at least not when they launch for 60 bucks. So if this console has no market for used games, then they will have pushed me out of the market too.
But, again, being able to switch TV channels with my voice sounds neat.