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Opinion: Xbox One is a desperate prayer to stop time Exclusive
Opinion: Xbox One is a desperate prayer to stop time
May 21, 2013 | By Leigh Alexander




Gamasutra editor-at-large Leigh Alexander wasn't particularly impressed with today's "groundbreaking" Xbox One unveiling.

At the opening of Microsoft's Xbox One reveal, my first thought was that I feel old: An amped movie trailer soundtrack accompanies the pan-out on the big Reveal Tent on the company's campus, and I couldn't be gladder not to be there: No wristband, no ambling in line for logo lanyards and pounding sizzle reel, no obligatory applause for yet another annual lime green laser light show. Other people are excited about this, probably. I'm not. I'm become the jaded cynic, destroyer of dreams.

Yet by the end of the console event, I sat disoriented, feeling like I'd seen one of the Big Three take a hard left into a past decade, a fictional privileged nation where everyone owns a giant television they want to talk to, where they entertain themselves with high-end fictional simulations of football season and futuristic, nebulous wars abroad. Where we supposedly want whole-body play. Where the fantasy is that all our living rooms are big enough for that.

The beginning salvo of the theoretical "You" at the center of the living room experience took me back to 2006, where we all giggled a little when Time Magazine's person of the year was "You," complete with mirror on the front of the print magazine. That wasn't long after the Xbox 360's late 2005 launch. The world has changed a lot since then, but you wouldn't know it to look at the presentation.

I didn't have to attend the reveal event to watch it; I streamed it on a PC and took notes on a netbook. I talked to a friend about it on an iPhone. I participated in, processed and ultimately covered the announcements across three different screened devices, none of which was a television. Yet in Microsoft's world, the TV is still the core of the theoretical home for people who want "immersive worlds and epic battles".

My parents and their Boomer friends have those theoretical American homes, the kind with the spacious sofa and the dominant television altar, where they mainly watch on-demand recordings of cable shows. They don't want a game console. They don't want to talk to their television either. I've got friends who love immersive worlds and epic battles, sure. They have thousands of dollars in student debt and tiny, impermanent living spaces; their generation isn't exactly about to broadly become the next generation of home owners. We play games on consoles and we watch shows on television and we Skype and Tweet from laptops, netbooks, iPads, PCs.

We have compensated for the diminishing ideal of "the living room" by multitasking. We're an ever-widening generation of multitaskers, of distractionware-devourers. With the Xbox One, which looks remarkably like a 1980s VCR, Microsoft seems to have acknowledged this somewhat, recognizing the disadvantage of accessing a walled garden anything less than instantaneously.

"The Entertainment Altar"

Its "Snap Mode" promises to let you interact among multiple programs simultaneously without exiting them, like lots of us have been doing on tablet devices and in browsers for the last few years, now. Yeah, we're accustomed to using multiple social and entertainment applications simultaneously -- but it's funny Microsoft thinks we want to do this on a television screen. There's Skype, they say. Has anyone ever wanted to use Skype on their TV, instead of at their office workstation, on a tablet passed around a party, on a laptop nestled in bed? Do they want to? During a... video game, during a television program?

Let's say you did want to do all of this: you kind of need a huge TV. You need an Entertainment Altar where instant voice command is a cool-future status item, where everyone is wont to sit As A Family in the thrall of the Entertainment Altar. You need to live in a fantasy of the privileged that is diminishing amid an economic and technological disruption where it's hard to believe this kind of device is going to be broadly relevant.

It needs nothing less than broad relevance, after all. Microsoft likes to say phrases like "more [something] than ever before" -- what about more money than ever before required to make games for high-end technology? Is there any overlap between the sort of NFL-loving, status-chasing American home that would lavish upon a living room Entertainment Altar and the sort that would desire yet another hyper-real fantasy of war-play, ever more hyper-real, so that now you can see the fine hairs on a man's forearm and the capillaries of his eyes before you shoot him for points? In a multitasking culture, is this the way to make the TV broadly relevant?

I mean, if I wanted to be on the forefront of the video game industry, given the current shift in the way our demographics earn income and use devices, and given the current fatigue with arguments about what, exactly, our role in influencing entertainment culture and in pioneering the medium of creative play ought to be, I might want to tone it down on the whole "more fetishistically real weapons of war than ever" thing. But that's just me.

The thing is, developers will have to want to spend a lot of money making games in order for consoles to matter to gamers, who now have endless less expensive, more open, more accessible platforms on which to play and socialize. And in order for that expense to seem logical, a device like the Xbox One will have to appeal to a much more revolutionary audience than the exact same one that moved the Xbox 360 at the beginning of the current generation.

The company said "groundbreaking," "immersive" and "connected" more times than I could count during this presentation, yet this is a rich boy's black box for playing Call of Duty and Halo on -- and even that assumes fans of those franchises can and will continue to invest in the living room fantasy, will continue to invest in the same game mechanics, the same brands, the same ideas but with better graphics. This is what our advancements have bought us? This is all?

"A movie-soundtracked prayer to stop time"

They'll show us more games at E3, they say. Yes, we are always being promised more in future. We are tired of buying consumerist fantasies. This isn't revolutionary. This is arrested development, the last gasp of the console generation, dropping names and making obeisances to live actors and television and film personalities as if this were still a prior age's clutch backward for creative legitimacy. It is a movie-soundtracked prayer to stop time.

Not only am I unmoved by this "groundbreaking" reveal, but I can't imagine who reasonably would care -- except for the most high-end, most traditional niche "adult gamer" fan who does not represent a broad enough cross-section of the market to stay viable, who never will.

So maybe what I feel isn't old. Maybe what I feel is moved on. I'd like to see the console industry move on too, but judging by Microsoft's performance, it doesn't look good.


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Comments


Robert Shivery
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I too was unimpressed with the overall display of "next generation" promises during the Xbox One reveal. I myself do not utilize my Xbox for Television/Entertainment purposes. I am a gamer. By that very premise I demand to see or hear something other than the typical "we are bringing social gaming to the players, editing, cloud storage and streaming". These have all been things that every one of us have been hearing and reading about for the entirety of this short year of 2013 so far. I was hoping to see something that would draw me as a "gamer" back into the Xbox mousetrap, instead I find myself growing distant from the system…looking for a console which was build for the gamer, rather than the total entertainment connoisseur. My last hope rides on the reveals of E3, which will be the deciding factor in whether I will remain with the system I have had for so long. Microsoft will have to promise me something more than just 8 exclusive releases.

Allan Munyika
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"Microsoft will have to promise me something more than just 8 exclusive releases."

That's all gamers want really but truth be told the problem of a lack of exclusives is not the hardware manufacturers fault but the fault of the game development industry, it's getting increasingly expensive to develop traditional AAA games which consoles are known for and publishers will try and increase their ROI by making games multiplatform. I have no reason to believe that this trend will change anytime soon and to be honest the 8 exclusives might be the most MS will ever reveal at any one time simply because they are trying to push their new product, as the Xbox One matures they will no doubt be lesser exclusives.

Wylie Garvin
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@Allan: Gamers' expectations for a AAA game are so high now, that its difficult to make games they will pay $60-70 for without that huge expense. Its true the industry should try to find less expensive ways of making content, but the bar has been raised so high over the past 10 years. Gamers expect every game to have the breadth or depth of something like Skyrim, Assassin's Creed N, Borderlands, Mass Effect, etc. All games where I got dozens or hundreds of hours of entertainment out of them, for less than $1 per hour. But there's no escaping that it takes several years, and a team of hundreds of people, and a seven- or even eight-digit budget, to develop these huge AAA offerings.

Robert Shivery
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All good points of view, maybe I was looking at it from more of an outside perspective…I was really expecting them to show something that would be unique to the experience of the gamer. Instead I suppose we will have to rely on the developers of the games to bring that to us instead. Changed up my perspective a bit, thank you.

David Serrano
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Allan Munyika

"That's all gamers want really but truth be told the problem of a lack of exclusives is not the hardware manufacturers fault but the fault of the game development industry,"

True. But at the same time, console manufacturers know it will always be in their best interest to appeal to the widest audience possible. And you don't need to be a game design or marketing expert to understand more of the same would not appeal to a wider audience. So when Microsoft approached publishers about launch titles and publishers offered "safe" shooters and sports games.... Microsoft should have countered with "we want Madden FIFA, COD and Halo... but we also want The Sims, Skylanders and new IP's targeted at players outside of the 13 to 25 year old male demographic." Because the focus on bro-dude centric titles actually involves far more risks than a balanced library of games would have.

Damien Styles
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@Wylie: I too will not purchase any device that forces its users to be monitored in order for it to bring custom ads. If you hate the Xbox 360 UI now, well the Xbox One will be that much worse. Most likely that's why they are requiring at least an internet connection every 24 hrs and the Kinect camera must always be connected. That way the data can be transmitted to be sold to the highest bidder. This article posted before or during the initial launch of Kinect pretty much makes it all clear as to their whole plan.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/11/15/microsoft-exec-caught-in-priva
cy-snafu-says-kinect-might-tailor/

Now the Kinect 2.0 will be that much more advanced and we start seeing interactive ads. This will most likely water down achievements by unlocking them by doing crappy things such as watching a commercial, season of a show or buying product and holding it up to be scanned. The new achievement system as we know it might be ruined and pretty much an insult to our intelligence. This might appeal to the non-gamers but the core audience will be outraged. Hopefully these dumb consumerist achievements will be separated from in-game ones. I guess we shall see once E3 arrives and all these questions will finally be answered.

Eric Leslie
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As one of the "niche 'adult gamer' fan"s you mention, I'm similarly unmoved by anything I've seen from Microsoft OR Sony.

I find myself agreeing more and more with the folks who have said that the Wii U's failure is not a signal that Nintendo has failed at messaging (though that's certainly true) or that the Wii U is a doomed platform (that also may be true, hard to say), but that anybody trying to launch a new console in 2013 has a seriously tough row to hoe.

In 2006, people were jumping out of their chairs to hear about new hardware. The 360, Wii and PS3 all promised to do things so much better than the previous generation, with so much more fidelity (either of graphics or of input) that we couldn't throw our money at the companies delivering them fast enough.

Now I don't know anyone genuinely excited to buy a new console. Sure, people will do it, out of obligation to a hobby we love and a hope that good will come of it, but nobody's EAGER to put Yet Another Three-to-Four Hundred Dollar Box in their living room. They've made a strong push for it as a media box, but you know what? I don't need another one of those, either, even if it Skypes. I can HDMI my laptop to my TV for free, thanks. And without backwards compatibility from either the One or the PS4, early adopters have that much more to think about, and I think "to wait awhile and see" will be the sensible option for a LOT of them.

To abuse a phrase, winter is coming. I don't think this is gonna go particularly well for anybody.

Bob Johnson
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I just see games that aren't interesting. That rely too much on better production values. That to me is the problem. And really the challenge of any console even back in the day is to give you enticing new experiences in order to get you to open your wallet.

I also sense that bullshots whether still pictures or trailers or celebrity endorsements or canned demos or constant adjectives with no beef ring hollow in today's connected age.

Apple and Jobs taught us to get excited about products being demonstrated without smoke and mirrors that are available now or in the next month.

But that may be just me. Maybe the kids and laymen swallow this stuff hook, line and sinker.

And who knows what games we will get out of this whole generation. You never know where a system seller is going to come from.

Kujel s
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This will be the generation gamers return to gameplay and forget cinematics , the casuals (and their hardcore varient included) are branching off from us. In time gamers will play on proper consoles like the Ouya and Wii U and everyone else will play/use media centers like ps4 and Xbox One.

Carlos Rocha
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I really want a new console, so... nice to meet you :)

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Bob Johnson
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Well 1/4 of a 60" screen 10' ft away isn't that big. My ipad on my lap 12" away is probably bigger. Nevermind that for these snap screen experiences MS wants you to use Smartglass to control them. Why not just use your phone or tablet in the first place? Makes little sense to me. Think about it. To control your xbox you have to go into an app on your phone anyway. And then do you think fantasy football stat apps or chat apps or netflix-type apps will be better supported on the phone with its much greater install base or on the Xbox?

Devin Winterbottom
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Perhaps the Xbox One isn't for you, or even for your friends, but Microsoft likely don't care all that much if you buy it or not. It's not for you, and it's probably not the best device for the highly mobile, transient, urban generation displaced and in between the home they grew up in and their first 'adult' home.

Microsoft, their research teams and their agencies know considerably more about the kinds of homes people live in and their device usage patterns than you and your friends living in Brooklyn do, Leigh. It's a wonderful place, I lived there for 10 years on and off, but it and SF have very little in common with the other 95% of the country.

Lena LeRay
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I come from Alaska, which has an overabundance of space and many houses, and what she says about young people who really want the consoles having limited funds to spend and cramped conditions is still true there.

The young, excited-for-games people who do have a TV-centric living room are sharing their apartments with 2-3 roommates who are also gamers. They'll all want to play together. And for THAT purpose, their living room will still be cramped if the games require a bunch of moving around. How many people have a living room with space for four people to flail their arms in front of a Kinect simultaneously?

Besides, even if conditions are different in the majority of the geographic regions of the country, a great percentage of the population is crammed into the east coast.

Michael Wenk
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Huh? You can defend "Microsoft, their research teams and their agencies know considerably more about the kinds of homes people live in and their device usage patterns than you and your friends living in Brooklyn do, Leigh." ?

Seriously? You're talking about the group that seriously thinks Windows Phone has a chance in hell? Or the surface can actually take the Nexus line of tablets let alone the iPad? Really? It seems to me that MSFT doesn't know its ass from a whole in the ground.

Tim Burris
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@Michael Wenk: Microsoft doesn't care if the Windows Phone sells well. It's a patent farm.

Thomas Rader
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@Michael Wenk
Windows Phone is actually a really good product. You should try one and see for yourself instead of regurgitating what you read on the internet blogs bashing it you find when you intentionally search for them.

Also, it makes no business sense to not be in the tablet and phone market if it's the future.

James Barnette
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@Michael Wenk:

MSFT Stock price of the last 6 months says they are smarter than you.

Harry Fields
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@Michael ... from 2.x % to 5.x% market penetration in a quarter suggests there may be life to the Windows Phone yet. The product is actually great. Yes, maturation of the ecosystem is still needed but as that comes, the Windows Phone will erode iPhone and Android Phone share to a respectable point. It may not become number one, but it could become a very respectable number 3.

Kelly Johnson
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I've had the xbox 360 since it came out. It has been evolving to what it is now for years. I don't buy it that it requires a large living space. I've been couch surfing for weeks and my 360 and 32 inch tv travel with me quite easily and I use my smartphone as a wifi hotspot so I'm always ready to set up anywhere. I use my 360 mostly for the media apps and I make daily use of Netflix, Youtube, Amazon Prime Instant, ESPN, and HBO GO. It's actually a good alternative for anyone who doesn't have cable like me.

At the same time I feel no need to upgrade from my current xbox 360 Elite which is doing it's job just fine. At this point I don't see a compelling reason to get the new console. I have a PS3 just for Blu Ray movies. Also, I have never used Kinect and really don't want to.

Rob Graeber
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Your Xbox and 30 inch tv travel quite easily? Not sure if you're joking.

Victoria Earl
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Good points on all counts, and great piece.

I missed the presentation itself, but I noticed something odd while skimming through the reveal website. Every time the text describes a scenario more specific than "watching TV" or "playing a game," it describes either sports or... well, no, just sports.

What's baffling is the fact that sports are the only specific examples used in the text. I don't want to "check sports scores in the middle of a game" or "chat with a friend on Skype while watching the playoffs." I particularly can't "imagine the player stats in [my] sports game being updated automatically based on the weekend’s results" - in fact, I couldn't even understand it the first time I read it. There's nothing wrong with giving sports fans something to be excited about, but when that's the only angle they're using, it makes me wonder if I'm even in the target audience for this console.

They did include a variety of shows and movies in the example mockups. It's just too bad that the text didn't back that up.

Kevin Clough
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I think the focus on sports is because that is one of the few things that many people still watch live. The social functions they are trying to tell us we need are based on live TV watching and that is declining rapidly. It is just a matter of time before even sports start to be available when we want them.

Justin Keverne
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For all of its North American focus the type of person and the type of family the Xbox One event seemed to be built around is one that's still common across the United Kingdom. Swap out NFL for the Barclays Premier League, and Madden for FIFA and I can easily see twenty and thirtysomething men crowding around a TV to watch games and shit talk with each other. I can see the same men buying the new Call of Duty on release, and doing exactly the same, or the new Forza.

Amanda Lee Matthews
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Unless they want to switch sitting around talking for sitting by themselves and skypeing, and have just been waiting for a device that allows them to do that with sports... I don't see why they would buy the Xbox One in the first place.

Titi Naburu
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"I can easily see twenty and thirtysomething men crowding around a TV to watch games and shit talk with each other."

When you watch football, you don't play games.
When you play games, you don't watch football.

Robert Green
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I have to agree with a lot of this. In practice, I can't imagine many people wanting to watch a movie trailer on part of their TV while watching another movie on the rest, controlling it with their smartphone or tablet. And in the hypothetical scenario where they do want that, surely they'd just watch the trailer on their phone/tablet instead, right?

It's great that they're making a system that can multitask fluidly like that, but they haven't yet made a good case for why the TV should be the place to do all these things.

Andreas Ronning
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Explain to me how Americans see it so convenient to disregard the global market when their competition is all over it? It continues to baffle me just how willing USAnians are to think they live in - and business is conducted in - a bubble.

The entire presser consisted of MS systematically alienating the rest of the world with promises of a technology and services none of us give a shit about. It was incredible to watch, and the loudest urging I've yet received to go buy a Wii U and support the industry where it actually needs support.

Vitor Menezes
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I'm not convinced most of these features are desirable to most USAnians, either.

Casey Dockendorf
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The insdustry as a whole seems to be gravitating more and more towards focusing on "what works" more so than world wide sales and grand ventures. MS has proven to be more successful in North America than anywhere else in the world so why double down on efforts to include international when that's just not where their market has proven to be successful?

James Barnette
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they make these statements because the numbers back them up. They make more than enough money on the XBOX NA titles that they could care less about the rest of the world sales. And to be honest as long as there is a console ban in China that makes the USA the larges Video game buying population with by far the widest margin of disposable income. these are facts whether they offend you or not is irrelevant. it is just the way of things. The money that the blockbusters alone make in NA justifies these things. as a matter of fact the NA sale are more often equal to or are greater than the rest of the world combined. so no NA does care what you think.

Casey Dockendorf
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I agree and disagree with this article simultaneously. Some good points are made but I don't agree that it won't or can't work! What Microsoft is doing here is similar to what Nintendo aimed for with the Wii, making the living room a gathering place for friends and family. A sort of PC Hearth for today's modern family. I think nintendo saw some success with this but the lack of support from 3rd party put an end to all of that(IMHO: not the casual vs hardcore market that some people seem to tout as being the cause of it's demise). However the family of "privelage" mentioned in the article is far from extinct it's just not as robust as it once was.

At the end of the day what Microsoft unveiled today was the bare bones of what this device can potentially become. It obviously has the capabilities and hardware to compete with the PS4 in the 3rd party games market but that isn't the only place they are looking to profit. The consumption of media in the home is higher than it ever has been due to the rise of internet connected televisions, online network and cable services, and interconnectivity between devices. Microsoft is betting all of it's chips on a media hungry generation being their bread and butter, not just "hardcore" gamers complainging about the glory days of $60 games that last 20-40 hours and then shelved. "But at least I get to own something" is the battle-cry of a generation of gamers being ousted by microtransactions, subscription models, and games-as-a-service.

David Serrano
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Nintendo's goal with the Wii was to create a new market by serving people who Microsoft and Sony ignored and dismissed. Nintendo succeeded because they developed games that could actually be played by friends and family. Microsoft and Sony did the opposite with the 360 and PS 3 and it doesn't looks like anything will change on the new systems. They'll offer the same types of games which have already proven to be unappealing and or inaccessible to the wider audience and demographics. Self casting shadows and subsurface shading won't change this.

And if media hungry consumers are in the market for a multifunction living room device... is Microsoft the company they'll turn to? Because Microsoft is not a name most consumers associate with personal devices or electronics.

Thomas Happ
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I think Leigh is right. They are confused about their target audience. Like at the start of the presentation, you see all those "I'm a PC" type folk who really don't look like gamers. They might want some of these features, but not at the price of video game hardware. It's more like something that would be built into the TV itself and not an expensive peripheral to it.

David Serrano
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Whoops... please ignore lol...

Alfa Etizado
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*yet this is a rich boy's black box for playing Call of Duty and watching Halo on

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Jon Boon
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@ Dave Smith It's almost like you haven't heard of Wal-Mart or McDonald's...

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David Serrano
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Dave Smith

Henry Ford and Clayton Christensen would argue otherwise.

Justin Freeman
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That you equate the entire possible market for a video game system with your SF journo friends is indicative of the continued social primacy of the You bubble you are trying to will into irrelevance. That you lash out against the privilege inherent in a device like this while flaunting your having "processed and ultimately covered the announcements across three different screened devices" would be ironic if that term held any meaning anymore.

Yes, a console that must hook itself up to a television in order to function will privilege the television. In a world where every product must be THE product, and where everything must have marketing weight in order to attract bloviating like this, it is not especially surprising that microsoft is attempting to turn the necessity of the television in the realm of console gaming into an inspirational force. There's that You Bubble, again: how wonderful and culturally relevant that I can sit on my ass and swap between entertainment inputs with the sound of my voice. That it attracts a response that pretends to cultural relevance is indicative of its already established success. Whether it fails or not, Microsoft has convinced you that the attempt itself holds significant cultural cache. That's a play from the Apple book, which now defines our relation to just about everything. I'm certain one of the three screens you referenced belongs to them. As for the inherent assumption of a Big TV, welcome to marketing. If they tell you you need one, you'll want one if you fall into the demo they are interested in. Look at advertisements, all of which exist in fantasy lands in which every white family owns a giant TV, in which every dudebro lives in a loft with an even bigger TV, praise unto Jesus. Lets call up our token black friends, all of whom act like us. You'll note that the Xbox conference also assumes you have an expensive smartphone, which now acts as a remote control because using a 400 dollar device to change your channel is "more convenient" than using a ten dollar one. But you didn't mention that particular privilege, because it happens to pertain to you. Whoops.

I'm not going to buy an Xbox One, because the Xbox One was not made for me. To pretend that it should be made for me, or to express angst over being left out, is to subscribe to the social mindset of the You Bubble that produces things like this conference and this wonderbox.

Mike Jenkins
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Easily the best thing I've read on gamasutra in some time, Justin.

Nicholas Capozzoli
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"That you equate the entire possible market for a video game system with your SF journo friends is indicative of the continued social primacy of the You bubble you are trying to will into irrelevance. That you lash out against the privilege inherent in a device like this while flaunting your having "processed and ultimately covered the announcements across three different screened devices" would be ironic if that term held any meaning anymore."

Hear, hear!

Chris Hendricks
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"Also, you'll buy one. Everyone in this thread will buy one. Of course everyone will. It's rare that someone who keeps up with games wouldn't have a 360. Unless the Xbox One tanks, any game developer should own one."

If you're developing certain kinds of games, then I guess your statement holds true. For me, who really doesn't care about first-person-shooters, sports games, or anything smelling of "horror", neither the Xbox nor the Xbox 360 has had any appeal for me. And the Xbox One has not proven itself any different (other than focusing less on games entirely).

Justin Freeman
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@Jay

I almost certainly will not buy one. That was not an idle threat, it was a simple statement of reality. I very rarely play what are ridiculously called "AAA" games, and when I do they are all on PC. I own a 360, but I haven't used it in a very long time. I do not own a PS3.

Luis Guimaraes
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Not buying One. No reasons two.

James Barnette
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This might be one of the dumbest post I have ever read. Maybe if you got a better education you writing and you income would increase and you could stop hating on those that have better.

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Justin Freeman
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@Dan

I'm sure Sony is extraordinarily interested in buzz words, Dan, and I'm sure it makes you proud to parade around one focus-tested PR policy set over another, but the fact remains that the PS4 is a video game console, and as a video game console it will require you to plug it into a screen sufficiently larger than the one on your phone if you are to play any of its games. If you really believe the particular form factor of the HD screen you happen to to be attached to at any given moment is indicative of class, I heartily invite you to travel outside of your room and into the world at large, where actual class manifests itself.

WILLIAM TAYLOR
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"Yeah, we're accustomed to using multiple social and entertainment applications simultaneously -- but it's funny Microsoft thinks we want to do this on a television screen"

I do. There are so many pretty obvious applications for this in gaming. Stuck on a quest? You don't need to find where you sat your smartphone down at to check a wiki. It can just be on the screen while you're playing. If I'm lost in a stage and decide to goto YouTube to get the answer, I don't have to keep looking up and down from my phone to pause the video while I interact with the game. I can just have it all up at once.

I don't see how that is a bad thing or backwards. I think Leigh lives in an alternate world where people don't have tvs, living rooms, or entertainment centers (never heard it referred to as an entertainment altar before). Maybe in California that's how life is, but I can say I've never experienced a world like that. This article just seems out of touch to me. Then it's capped out with a line suggesting that only the high-end niche gamer could have seen something to enjoy. Really? Football and Call of Duty are high-end niche things? You sure its MS that's out of touch?

Chris Pasley
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I was actually happy with the presentation, as a user of the device. My 360 is mostly used by me and my family as an entertainment center - Hulu, Netflix, movies. Only after they all go to bed do I get a chance to game. I recognize that the X1 will be a great gaming device, but what really interests me is the instant switching thing. I hate how long it takes to go from one app to another, especially when we've gone cable-free and everyone is used to instant channel switching.

I'm not a fantasy sports player either, but I thought the ability to watch your fantasy rankings live next to the game was brilliant. That's a huge "hardcore" market Xbox has never really been able to grasp.

The fact of the matter is: I'm a gamer, even if I'm slightly older and have a wife and children. The Xbox needs to be more than just a gaming machine to justify its place in my world, and improvements to the other side of it will be nothing but welcome to me.

Bob Johnson
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@william

But you need your smartphone as a controller to search for the answers to your quest. MS sure showed that off. Using a controller and Kinect voice to search for answers is asking for a headache. So why not just search on your phone?

Luis Guimaraes
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Don't get stuck on a quest in 2013, just follow the giant golden arrow on your screen, it's the one that shines like a metal lure.

WILLIAM TAYLOR
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@Bob I see no downside to having the information that I need on the screen that I need it rather than having to first find a device then keep looking up and down at my TV and phone.

I don't view this addition as a "game over, they won the console war," but this is something I wish I had now on a regular basis. Really, ever since I found out about Gamefaqs I've wished to have this feature in a console.

Sorin Sandru
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Being an avid gamer i wasn't really all that impressed either. The only thing that peaked my interest was the fact that Kinect 2.0 was improved drastically. Otherwise it's just another run of the mill consoles with nothing new to offer to the table than further stifling game technology with the added bonus of not being able to play offline for longer than a 24 hour period.

What was more disturbing is the fact that next gen games presented look like something from 2007 and people are still excited about it. I'm thinking of CoD looking worse than the first gen Crysis and the new Killzone engine showing of really old tech as well.

I'm really crossing my fingers that developers will instead start developing games for the PC as the main platform from now and port them over the new gen consoles seeing that they are pretty much a PC with a different OS as of this point.

Dana Laratta
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I for one am just grateful to finally be WAAAAY ahead of the curve as I already have an XBox one with dozens of games for it.... :)

...even in the name, they are somehow not looking forward, generating confusion while doing a poorer job of capturing the concept touted as the inspiration for the name XBox 360.

Phil Maxey
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This machine is a media entertainment center, that's fairly obvious. It's not a games "console" in the traditional sense of the word.

We have been moving towards this point from the start, a coming together of various forms of media player for many years, Hi-Fi, DVD/Blu ray, streaming and games are now all brought to you in the form of one box.

And in that regards it's obviously the most advanced media player we have ever seen.

But personally after all this time, whether it be as a Playstation or Xbox player I expected something not just evolutionary (which this clearly is) but revolutionary.

Caulder Bradford
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I can't help but feel that this article is as much an unintentional commentary on how my generation is a big sorry lot of failures, as it is intentionally a critique of Microsoft's lack of perspective on where gaming is heading. Yeah consoles aren't really innovating, but then what in the industry really is right now? It's a depressing state of affairs all across the board as far as I'm concerned, with maybe the exception of PC gaming.

TC Weidner
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@caulder what is innovative right now?

Just wait til you get to try an Oculus Rift, my god its the biggest leap in gaming in decades. People are going to be amazed.

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TC Weidner
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@andrew have you used it? I had no problems with games that had me in a seated position.

Granted Tuscany can be a lil weird, but the rollercoaster and space ones are great.

Alan Rimkeit
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I see no specs. Why no specs Microsoft? I just want to know what is in the hardware. Why did they not tell us what is in the box?

Justin Freeman
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because the specs have been an open secret for about six months. look them up.

Alan Rimkeit
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I have Justin, where are they? I can't find any definitive answers to the processor. I know the clock speed of the PS4 proc, but not the X-Box One's. Can you shoot me a link?

Maria Jayne
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They did give us three specs, just only mentioned two of them because their competitor owns the the third.

Blu-Ray player (Shhh that's Sony)
8GB Ram < actually useful Info
5 MILLION TRANSISTORS!!!! because it sounds big and impressive.

Wylie Garvin
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@Maria: It was 5 billion, and yeah that's a pretty useless metric because a large percentage of them are cache memory. :P Perhaps something like 1.2 billion are the CPU, and another large chunk belongs to the GPU, and the rest is cache memory.

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Caulder Bradford
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Yeah the living room still seems like a pretty happenin' place to me. When I'm actually out and about I like to NOT be on my stupid phone or whatever. I like to be low-tech when I'm in the real world, but sit in front of a screen when I'm home. I'm irritated by all the people I see who are playing a dumb game on their phone, frantically texting, etc. at a restaurant or concert.

Caulder Bradford
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Yeah Oculus is cool! So there is that I suppose :)
But it's not certain if AR/VR is gonna take off anytime soon. I hope it does though.

Jason Carter
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For some reason I have a feeling Google Glass is going to break through AR. We'll see though, making games for use on Google Glass would be really awesome.

scott anderson
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Google glass isn't really AR, even though the early concept videos showed AR functionality. There is potential for both Meta and CastAR to deliver immersive AR experiences, however.

Benjamin Quintero
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This article has some pretty venomous hatred. Leigh, Microsoft did not beat you up and take your lunch; they just put a product out there and are hoping that people will buy it. How is that so egregious? Sure it looks like it could rupture your spine if you tried to pick it up, and it looks to have the same old broken 360 UI design, and it continues to pander to armchair quarterbacks and frat boys who only own CoD, but it is what it is.

I think Sony did a fantastic job of showing us a powerful piece of hardware that I'm sure will come in at a price not obtainable if I were to build it myself. Their conference ran much longer than Microsoft but at no point was I bored. If nothing else I got to hear a story about a man who got tear-gassed at a protest, then dreamed of having super powers (and I'm sure he envisioned a cape).

There has never been a keynote from The Big 3 to go by without someone raging against them like it just took their lunch money. I get it Leigh, you REALLY like your iPhone. That doesn't mean that the living room is dead or that Microsoft is wrong to target the 18-25 dude bro; who, sorry, is still very much relevant. I have no doubt that these will be selling with some sort of "buy a Windows PC or Phone, get an XBox One for $199" kind of back-to-school deal. And the cycle of CoD, Halo, and Fortza will resume from there.

I just want a console to put my disk into and it boots the game. My dream is long dead. But I'm still hopeful that the TV gaming experience can be great. I love PC, LOVE IT... But to be honest, it is riddled in driver bugs and crashes from impossible configurations of hardware. This is exacerbated by playing the most bleeding edge games on the most bleeding edge video cards and processors. The one true strength of a console is the stability of the platform while playing the latest and greatest games at an affordable price. If any of The Big 3 forget that, then they've already lost.

A homogenous hub has been Microsofts goal since the beginning, are you that surprised? You know X BOX, where X = anything/everything. It was always going to be the Media Center box in the living room. They kind of lost their way a little with the Xbox 360 but they are back on track. The real answer to our question, "will this succeed" is going to be this Holiday season. If the football dads and the soccer moms buy this for little Jimmy so he can Skype with Grandma then we'll know that all is lost on the console front and PC will be the place to find games again. Thankfully I just upgraded my PC; my body is ready!

It's going to be a long road for all 3 consoles. If all else fails, nothing trumps skepticism like a good old fashion price drop =). That being said... I'm still going to trade in my 360 for a PS4 *waits for thrown shoe*

Jon Boon
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Nothing that Microsoft or Sony has shown has impressed me in the least (I wrote Nintendo off long ago). I am going to hang on to my existing system (3 PS3's, for the record), and just play those games that I have a huge backlog of.

Not only that, I will wait until a system actually wants to cater to the gamers that already follow it, not trying to go after the mythical market that "they could get" at the cost of everyone else.

What would be smart is if no one bought into their hype and failed to buy their systems. Then maybe the companies might start rethinking their tactics.

David Paris
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I didn't find his article to be randomly venomous, rather it addresses a valid question - is the new XBox targeted at a market that really does reflect the current consumer experience?
rn
rnFor me, clearly that answer is no. Which is pretty sad considering I have multiple XBox/360 releases to my name ;) If we were still living in the 80s, with fat wallets and ever-growing living space, then maybe this sort of product would have been spot on. Instead, times are tighter and anyone trying to sell me a new console has to answer exactly what new capabilities you're going to sell me for all this extra money I'm spending on your hardware instead of directly sinking into more games for my existing platforms.
rn
rnSony's latest announcements reflected the same feeling of being absolutely out of touch, touting all sorts of undesirable features and add-ons that will make the gaming experience more intrusive and annoying instead of more desirable.
rn
rnThe really clear message to me from the announcements for these two systems: Good times ahead for the PC market.

David Serrano
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David Paris

Steve Jobs said most people don't know what they want until you show it to them. Microsoft's approach seems to be let's show them everything and hope they find a feature they like. They designed the console for everyone and for no one.

Amanda Lee Matthews
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I do want to use those things on my large tv in the living room (which is the focus of my family's house). But here's the thing - I already do. Via the pc that is connected to my living room tv. Everyone that wants to do these things on their tv, already are. Every single thing mentioned in the Xbox One reveal, I am already doing on my computer. Even voice commands - that's built into Windows 7.

Xbox One would have made sense 10 years ago, when people didn't have computers connected to their TVs, cellphones that can do those same things, etc. Why would I want to pay more, to do what I am already doing, but not as well? Xbox One showed both a disconnection with what people actually want, and a disconnection with how people are using their OS.

Their one smart move is going for both TV and sports. Pretty much the only people still watching TV (other than the elderly that would never buy a console) are the sports fans. The Xbox One could give sports fans to what the everything-else fans already have on computers, phones etc. But if that is their only audience, they will be screwed when sports eventually go online, which I expect will happen soon.

Jeremy Reaban
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Computers have always been better and more versatile than consoles. So why do consoles exist? Because they tend to be cheaper and easier to hook up to a TV than computers.

David Serrano
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The problem is there is no single feature which makes the console worth buying and there are no combinations of features which make it worth buying. Not easy to pull off but they did it lol!

Michael Ball
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"I'm become the jaded cynic, destroyer of dreams."
So you've finally opened your eyes? Welcome to /v/, Leigh. We've been expecting you.

Max Haberstroh
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I can't believe there are people in this thread trying to say that people don't really sit on the couch and play games like they used to. People will buy this system, and will use it's features. You might very well be one of them

Thomas Rader
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It's the classic "I don't use this type product now, and I'm unimpressed that the next generation of it does the same but better and feel the need to write about it on the internet".

Jed Hubic
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This looks awesome to me. It will obviously play games and do much more. It's also doing something new and giving more reason for everyone to have a console in their living room, thus making gaming even more of the main stream and legitimate. Hearing people bitch about the new Xbox is pretty hilarious to me. Complaining how a system is crap because it appeals to the adult semi non gamer is exactly what I think someone out of touch would say.

This seems like the 360 / PS3 reveals all over again. Super pumped for MS! PCs are cheap and can play any game basically now so at least there's a console trying something new, but yah I guess it's ok to complain about the same old AAA games but but not the same old boring console business. Either way I'm pumped! Especially as a WP8, Win8, and game dev, things are looking good.

Matthew Doss
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I don't think pointing out the faults with how they're targeting "adult semi non gamer" means that you're out of touch. I can tell from your post that you're excited, and thats well and good.

However, the problem with how they're targeting people is really quite simple. It can do TV! Great, can't my TV and Tivo? It can skype! So can my phone, my computer, and tablets. It can Netflix! Again, so can every device I already have. I could go on, but I think it would be easier to approach this from the other side.

The only feature(s) the Xbox has that my current tech doesn't is the ability to strip my content for me and charge extra for increased licensing if I have too many people in the room. I don't have always on microphones or cameras running (although it's always possible something snuck by my security on my phone). That about sums it up.

So, in short the issue here is MS is pushing tech that many people already have and are using. The only added benefit is giving MS more control over how they manage your content, and paying them to do it. Why should I shell out that much money when I've already paid for hardware which provides the exact same features?

Had this been the 360, it would have been received much better than it is now. Unfortunately, MS is way behind the powercurve on technology that people are using and are trying to cover for it now. I'm sorry, but trying to draw customers in by attempting to create hype for features they've already got ready access to is really destined for failure. Granted you're always going to have the "but dude bro, it's an xbox and it's awesome" types but let's face it. Those types are going to buy the console regardless of the "features" or lack thereof.

Kyle McBain
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As a gamer I am embarrassed. I feel like games are being put on the back burner just so some short-term profit can be made. In a generation from now what will games be and how will they affect us? This is not the right direction to go in. I think Amanda Lee Matthews is right when she said this would have made sense ten years ago.

Don't know a whole lot about the PS4 but still love gaming on my PC. The Wii-U has some appeal to it for me as well. The systems control fascinates me and I am really looking forward to playing Nintendo in HD. At least Nintendo has what is called integrity and still has a focus on the game.

Will probably ditch the console all-together though and just keep the PC running.

David Serrano
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On the bright side, the beauty of the free market is when existing companies fail to meet consumer demand... there is always somebody waiting in the wings to exploit the opportunity. It may not happen this year or next year, but somebody will eventually step in to fill the void MS and Sony have created.

Alex Covic
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So, Microsoft reloaded their "Living Room Entertainment System" pledge. This truly feels like "Xbox 1" times. Let them? Only ironic, how the architecture panel afterwards emphasized, how XBOX ONE, as a system, is "dynamic", while the non-tech message is: people sit on their (mythical/imaginary) couches (="static")?

It is a bet they make and want you to join, as game (and all-sorts-of-media-content!) developers. Your choice. Let them share their market research data with you. Ask for it. Further, tracking consumer biometrics and behavior via the new Kinect, might sound appealing to some of you. Be assured, TV executives ("Goodbye Nielsen ratings"), ad/marketing businesses (and lawyers in Europe) are loving it too!

If their bet makes only 10% opt-in, of all the console (or rather Smart-TV!) buying consumers, they are successful? They will miss a lot of people. Every company does.

The darker truth is: the overall pie gets bigger while the console part of it gets smaller? Video game (profits) shifted to mobile devices with the younger generations. It only started? No living room electronic "Altar" (McLuhan?) - this mythical fireplace from the late 20th century - will change that?

In the end: young people like to move, old people like to sit? I don't need research data to know universal truths like this. In my case, I rather like to sit in the kitchen, never the living room. But that's just me.

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Jed Hubic
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Agreed Matthew, the thing is all the people I know legitimately love a lot of the stuff their XBox can do and use it all the time. I think this is just the kicking and screaming period as something becomes a little less hardcore and people who feel excluded put it down. More options on a powerful gaming machine, pretty much a win.

It's like saying Samsung is out of touch for making a phone that appeals to lots of people and does more than just make calls/texts. The idea of what consoles can do will slowly change and all the naysayers will have a hard time admitting how much they end up using it (prediction).

Also the whole rich boy argument is stupid. How many people in the states had homes foreclosed and cars repossessed? I'm pretty sure people who want an Xbox will try to get it. The author's comment on that already shows he's not fit or showcasing enough intelligence to have a real argument on this. The new annoying trend in gaming, the anti-gaming gamer.

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Bob Johnson
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The rich boy crux was a bit much. First go into the hood and everyone will have a big screen tv. People in the hood had big screen tvs before HDTV. That is why they are still in the hood. The second item you will find in thie hood is a videogames console. Ok I half joke. But when I was 19 and delivered pizzas on the side it seemed like it.


Second, do the inflation math. Consoles were $200+ 15-25 years ago. Wth inflation those consoles are higher priced than today's consoles. Same with games. Minimum wage in 1986 was around $3.50/hr.

But the rest of her disappointment I am on board with at least most of it.

Jarod Smiley
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@David Paris What are you talking about? Sony's PS meeting was almost directly talking to devs and the ease of the machine compared to PS3's architecture. Cerny told stories, went into details about specs, and showed there vision for the platform. Everything they demostrated about Streaming, having a player help you out through the internet, sharing screenshots and your best gameplay moments were all presented as SUPPLEMENTAL to your gaming priorities. I have no idea what conference you were watching, but it was almost the exact opposite of what MS did with Xbox One. Is was completely focused on gamers and developers, and since then, all Sony has been about is PS4's ease of use, being open to indy's, and looking for new people to make games on there platform.

PR or not, Sony's presentation was not clueless or lacking of focus. Whether it pays off or not remains to be seen, but I just had to post a disagreement to your claim that Sony seemed out of touch. They seem as if they were talking directly to gaming sites and forums with there spec sheets and "for gamers by gamers" slogan lol...

Kujel s
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"talking to devs and the ease of the machine compared to PS3's architecture" Because the ps3 was such a nightmare to develop for they are worried people wont support them this gen!

David Paris
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Sony's presentation felt like they were selling their box as the combination of a console and Facebook. Facebook is a loathesome platform for gaming, not so much for what it could do, but for the business models that have taken hold there. Oh boy, I can spam my friends for in-game stuff while I play? Really? Sony looked at the social media model and thought _that_ was a good idea to duplicate? This stuff is a blight on the face of gaming, Sony should be avoiding it like a diseased corpse.

Kenneth Poirier
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The most disappointing thing for me was the fact that just about everything they showed us at the reveal were things that they could already do on the xbox360 with a dashboard update. I don't need to get a new xbox to watch tv. I get a box that does that with my cable subscription. If they want me to shell out 3 to 4 hundred dollars for a new box, they better have something more then fantasy football.

Bob Johnson
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Hehe I was thinking the same thing. It is a great point. And maybe an achille's heel of MS's strategy so far. You don't need a $400 box to watch Netflix. I also dont see tv watchers going for this elaborate setup. GoogleTV seemed to show that no one wants a box on top of a box either. Making the box on top of the box cost hundreds more won't help.

Eric Pobirs
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This article told me a lot more about Leigh Alexander and her circle of friends than it did about the product it claims to discuss.

Yet another entry in the endless whinefest from the generation that thought it a good idea to take on six figure debt to obtain a degree in underwater basket weaving.

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Justin Kwok
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In my opinion, the reason why I was incredibly disappointed is this:

Gamers wanted a new way to play games. They got an old way to watch television.

TC Weidner
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agree 100% Justin.

exactly, our current way of watching TV ( which is to dvr everything except live sports) works juuuuust fine.

Stephen Bouren
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I thought the Xbox One reveal was an absolute dud, but I can't go along with Leigh's attack on it at all.

Who are these people with laptops and $800 iPads that can't afford a 37" HDTV? A quick look at BestBuy.com reveals a 39" LCDTV for $299. Not exactly something that is limited to the "fantasy of the privileged" or "the most high-end, most traditional niche 'adult gamer' fan." And yet Leigh seems to be saying only the richest of the rich have such an Entertainment Altar™ in their homes. Huh?

Leigh's article comes off as bizarrely classist. Inappropriately so, really. Xbox One is a consumerist fantasy? Haven't all video game consoles been consumerist fantasies? We're not talking about a refrigerator here. We're talking about, and have always been talking about, a relatively expensive machine with which to while away one's spare time. I understand not caring about video games. If you're done with games, fine. No problem and good luck in your future endeavors. What I don't understand is attacking anyone else that's interested in the Xbox One as a spoiled, silver-spooned, soulless consumer. I especially don't understand the criticism as aimed at Xbox One specifically given that every game console since forever has had a relatively high price of entry attached to it at launch. Even so, nothing about the Xbox One made me consider for even a second that it was somehow a declaration of war on apartment dwellers and folks under the age of 55. Just a weird and off target editorial all the way around in my mind.

Lorenzo Gatti
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Not everybody lives in the USA; there are people with a plentiful entertainment budget but a small home. My TV is a decent 21'' CRT, and when it dies it won't be replaced by a flat panel larger than 23'', because it wouldn't fit in the corner of the living room.

A large TV is indeed an "entertainment altar", and affordable prices don't make it a smaller commitment of time, space and lifestyle.

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Alan Rimkeit
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This is pretty hilarious and spot on.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/7358-Xbo
x-One-out-of-Ten


EDIT: I also have to say that between the massively tepid response of the market to the Wii U and this train wreck that is going to be the Xbox One Sony has it in the bag. PS4 is going to dominate what is left of the console market.

Lincoln Thurber
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Microsoft trying to capture the ‘living room’ television with an adjunct to a cable box in 2013 is like Thomas Edison trying to capture the 'oriental carpeted' parlor in with a crank phonograph in 1950. Wrong device placed in a room we no longer use in modern homes.

People are ‘cutting the cable’ and discontinuing their cable TV subscriptions, and now Microsoft is making agreements to give the cable industry one last gasp. That seems like the leather industry supporting ‘Buggy Whip’ manufactures in 1910, because if there is one industry we should be fighting to save it one that an anachronism to modern technology.

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David Serrano
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Microsoft and Sony could have stuck it to cable providers by building a smart card feature into the consoles.

Bob Johnson
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I think you can sum up all the angst by saying why did they even bother with the bullshot hour yesterday? It was listening to a used car salesman for 60 minutes 6 months before you can test drive the car.

Amir Sharar
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Unless I'm misunderstanding, I feel, in some respects, your response mirrors some things said about the iPhone initially. Particularly this sentiment, "...I can't imagine who reasonably would care -- except for the most high-end, most traditional niche "adult gamer" fan who does not represent a broad enough cross-section of the market to stay viable, who never will."

The iPhone seemed like an incredibly niche, needlessly high-end, "wearer of too many hats" piece of expensive machinery to many people.

This box is an attempt at expanding the market, and expanding the device to cover more than interactive entertainment. Movies, Sports, TV programming, and Music...apart from Books/Magazines, they nearly have the entire Entertainment industry covered.

This understandably doesn't resonate with your common gamer, or game developer. What does are game announcements, and technological improvements. But here's the thing, those are a given, and secondly, it makes more sense to speak to gamers at E3, and developers at BUILD shortly thereafter.

I am interested in what you really wanted to see though. As a gamer, I wanted to be impressed by the visual fidelity, the promise of improved online gaming (which, in a sense, was touched on, but not explicitly enough). As a small developer I was interested in self-publishing opportunities.

In that sense, I was disappointed. What this does mean though, is that E3 (and BUILD) should be good. Well, very good if we assume that they won't spend much time re-covering ground covered with this presentation.

This show got the laser-scanned dogs, the Price is Right, the "What's on MTV?", the Halo: The Television Series, the awkward Skype chat, and the even the hardware close-ups out of the way. What seems to be remaining, is pretty much what we want to see. More games, more about the improvements to Xbox Live, more about how we'll be seeing larger scaled online titles, more about how the new controller features work...more of all the other stuff.

In a sense too, I think we are spoiled, or just too used to "here's a machine that's more powerful". I know many who weren't impressed with the PS4 showing. The reality is that PC technology is now more powerful and won't fall behind consoles for brief moments in time as they did in the past. Software wise, it's ingenuity on these new machines that will engage us. Seeing the same games with better visuals won't.

MichaelVaughn Green
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"Yet in Microsoft's world, the TV is still the core of the theoretical home for people who want "immersive worlds and epic battles".

Great point! It seems at this point, that Microsoft would be fine with abandoning games, in the hope that they can find a lucrative market with television audiences. But, as we all know, that demographic is changing and becoming less irrelevant.

Casimiro Barreto
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Microsoft will discover the pains Google, Apple and others suffered in the field of "internet TV". TV content distribution/broadcasting is a wasp nest where current middlemen don't keep quiet when newcomers menace to disturb their environment. Also content providers (like HBO and others) are not happy with initiatives that menace to concentrate distribution. In short: an "all in one" device that provides TV from a single provider will raise all kinds of reactions from cable companies and content developers/providers.

Titi Naburu
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"content providers are not happy with initiatives that menace to concentrate distribution"

There's internet. Anyone can distribute anything directly to customers without middlemen. Except for internet providers, credit cards and computer manufacturers, but those are commodities.

Erik Sofge
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"...feeling like I'd seen one of the Big Three take a hard left into a past decade, a fictional privileged nation where everyone owns a giant television they want to talk to, where they entertain themselves with high-end fictional simulations of football season and futuristic, nebulous wars abroad. Where we supposedly want whole-body play. Where the fantasy is that all our living rooms are big enough for that."

I'm consumed by jealousy over having not written those sentences. I'm not convinced that we're seeing the death knell of consoles, in general, but your critique of their home entertainment focus, and apparent disconnect from reality (not everyone happens to live in palatial Redmond estates with sprawling home theater setups), is the best I've read so far.

Damian Hallbauer
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I can use all 8 cores for embarrassingly parallel tasks like particles but my typical physics engine uses one thread to solve all the physics in one frame . pile some high kinetic energy stuff together and it can really lag the pipeline..to 10 fps or worse At most the engine could be divided into 2 threads.

So this 1.6 Ghz clock speed per core is downright depressing unless i am missing something. When it used to be 3.2 Ghz x 3 core. 1 core for physics 1 for AI, 1 for pumping graphics.. thats a typical game. Some algorithms just arent parallelizable like stacking boxes. Only good thing for me as a PC developer is that its an x86, but there are tablets with specs like this. I was hoping for at least double single- thread performance than the 360..

Michael Bakerman
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I think Microsoft's main goal with this system is two-part:

1.) Appeal to Americans as the quintessential American TV/Sports/Media entertainment system. An NFL fan (a gigantic market in the US, no doubt), may see XB1 as a true must-have, where Nintendo and Sony simply dont offer anything to their tastes. Also (from what I've heard through the years), Xbox has never truly done well in Japan. Perhaps they're either cutting their losses with appealing too generically internationally, and/or perhaps, trying to broaden this USA-dudebro-media consumption lifestyle elsewhere in the world?

2.) Don't just compete with Sony and Nintendo, but take the fight to Apple, Google, etc., and get EVERY home media-user on board with a Do-It-All machine. I feel like this system is only one-foot in the "console-war" and really taking the front to the entire home entertainment market. That alone may keep it thriving if it catches on.

Erik Waananen
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Thank you, Leigh, for sharing this opinion piece. It mirrors my thoughts exactly and outlines what I think is genuinely the biggest question our industry faces today. It's not "What features do consoles need to succeed?" or "How do consoles reach the largest audience possible?" but simply:

"Is console gaming still a relevant and viable way to consume games in today's industry?"

And in looking at both consumer trends and wants, as well as what console manufacturers are aiming to deliver this hardware generation, I would wager that the answer to that question is a pretty resounding "No."

Casimiro Barreto
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Although I agree with much you said about "sociology of gaming" and the decadence of living room as an altar to TV, I have different feelings.

Microsoft presentation displeased me too. But in different ways.

First, in the announcement of a "groundbreaking gaming platform" they spent about 50% of time talking about TV. And despite all this use of time they didn't let clear the business model they intend to impose. For starters: how XBox one integrate with current cable TV services? Will Microsoft become an internet TV provider? If so, what are the network requirements, what are the localization aspects, what kind of subscription will be required from users? Prices? Packages?

Yet regarding Internet TV, Microsoft promised a TV Recommendation system. TV recommendation systems are under academic study and scrutiny for decades and many of the open points regard to ethics (program/channel shadowing, user data gathering and sharing). But they happily skipped any consideration about "how user data will be shared" (even saying that recommendation will be influenced on "what your friends are watching"). Oh... and they skipped any commend about "channel neutrality" in the recommendation system...

Then, it was spent 25% of the presentation showing a "new revolutionary interface". Again, interfaces are cool, but not something that'll rock the gaming market. Particularly, the insistence in Kinect and voice commands raises lots of eyebrows. But, as you said, perhaps their intended market is the upper class people that don't have small living rooms... (or don't play in their cramped bedrooms).

In the little bit reserved for games, they showed some quite incomplete games, made some promises and said people will see more at E3... No hands on, no nothing...

And they left audience with lots of open questions: the "authentication" issues (authentication via internet required at least once each 24hours), the "cloud issues" (games may have scenes calculated at cloud and uploaded to the console), the "used games issues", etc.

Making a long story short: Microsoft messed everything, again. Perhaps it's time to call Bill back from retirement...

James Barnette
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Oh some of you people need to get over yourself you act like this relatively new group of people that downy own TVs and down want them are the norm or even a large percentage your not!. Your just a bunch of neck beards with egos. 90% of homes have TVs and their are in a family room. It is just you lonely geeks with no life family or friends other than those only that live like that. do you really think that these decisions that MS has made would have been made without a lot of market research and statistics to back them up? and quite frankly I bet even more than half you that are bitching saying that the new xbox is crap and wont be getting one. will all have one within the next 2 years.

The fact is there are infinitely more of us suburbanites this nice living rooms and big ass TVs than there are of you brooding neckbeards that hate on everything.

"Is console gaming still a relevant and viable way to consume games in today's industry?"

yeah that is same dumb ass kinda statements that we hear every year the day before the call of duty numbers get released and every damn time you guys get proven wrong.

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David Serrano
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After reading the comments, I think between now and E3... Microsoft should hold another press conference to put what they showed us into context. Because in the absence of context, the product (and Microsoft's motivations) may have been misinterpreted. So I'd like to hear Microsoft's rationalization for the new console.

If the Xbox One is the result of years of market and audience research, they should share relevant facts so journalists and consumers can understand the logic behind the console. Beyond this, they should explain why they believe the types of games they showcased in the reveal will appeal to the majority of consumers in light of the ESA's demographic data on gamers and years of declining AAA sales. They should explain why they believe there is an unmet demand for more set top box and multimedia features in video game consoles. They should explain why they believe consumers will be willing to pay a premium for a product which consolidates features they already have and use on other devices. They should explain what consumers will gain by purchasing the Xbox One (which may or may not work as advertised) instead of simply continuing to use the devices they already own. They should explain why it will make more sense for consumers who don't play games to purchase the Xbox One instead of a smart TV or devices like Tivo and Apple TV. They should explain why it will be in the best interest of consumers to invite Microsoft into their living rooms as a for-profit middleman between them and other service - content providers.

Honestly, I think Microsoft's rationalization for the console was the average consumer is a mindless fool who will buy anything if they spend a sufficient amount of money on marketing and astroturfed hype. But I'd like to hear Microsoft make a rational argument as to why I'm wrong. Because while it's extremely unlikely they will change my mind about purchasing the console, they could change how I'll view Microsoft as a company going forward. I'll forgive a horribly misguided but honest attempt to improve an existing product. But I won't forgive corporate selfishness and intentionally attempting to mislead consumers... again.

Heng Yoeung
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the short answer to why someone should purchase XBox 1 is, it'll make MS profitable.

the long answer is, it'll make MS profitable.

In all honesty, I think the XBox 1 will be profitable like MS intends. The product is geared to the new generation of gamers who chew up CoD and spit it out and then chew it again. A bunch of suckers.

David Serrano
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Heng Yoeung

The people who enjoy playing COD games aren't "suckers," but they are problematic for the rest of the core audience. Because in reality, action - shooter multiplayer fans only represent a small and demographically narrow subsegment of the audience. So while franchises like COD, Halo, Gears of War, etc... may be extremely profitable for the developers, publishers and Microsoft, those types of games only reflect the preferences of in a best case scenario, 20 to 22 percent of core players. But since the large developers and publisher have grown so risk adverse, this narrow subsegment now has a massively disproportional level of influence over practically all core game development. Developers and publishers are allowing a tiny minority of consumers to steer the overall development focus instead of the majority of consumers. Which is why franchises like COD (and multiplayer in general) have become the tail wagging the dog.

The point is the average core player shouldn't resent FPS - multiplayer fans because their preferences are so narrow. He or she should resent them because they are preventing the AAA development community from creating the types of games most core players would rather play.

Brandon Maynes
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If I cant trade or buy used games, MS can go to hell. End of story. I hope this Xbox ends the whole division.

Alex Covic
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I would tell you: "used games need to die. End of story."

There is no such thing as a "used" video game.

Try it, buy it - or not. But there is no such thing as "trade it", if you don't OWN anything about it, except the (limited) license to play it.

The unfunny irony is, as long as there is retail, this idea of "used games" will exist.

Titi Naburu
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Alex, there's the concept of used disc. Retailers sell discs to consumers. Players play the game, then they resell their used discs. Not now.

David Serrano
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@Alex Covic

"if you don't OWN anything about it, except the (limited) license to play it."

The game industry can argue that consumers don't own the copies of the games they've purchased until it is blue in the face. The truth is if the game industry had a legitimate legal argument or claim, GameStop and other resellers would have been shut down years ago. GameStop is still in business because it's not a legitimate legal argument and courts have started to officially rule as such. Last year, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled:

"An author of software cannot oppose the resale of his 'used' licences allowing the use of his programs downloaded from the internet. Such a transaction involves a transfer of the right of ownership of the copy. Therefore, even if the license prohibits a further transfer, the rightholder can no longer oppose the resale of that copy."

Translation: consumers in Europe can wipe their asses with resale restrictions in a EULA for any type of software. When game developers and publishers accept payment in exchange for a copy of their product (physical or digital), they surrender legal ownership of the copy. Ownership is transferred to the purchaser. The purchaser is free to resell the copy they legally own, they are only restricted from selling reproductions of the copy. Which in the words of Jim Sterling from Destructoid: "effectively dissolves the idea that gamers pay only for licenses, and asserts that they have paid for an actual product that now belongs to them."

So this "idea of used games" will exist as long as developers and publishers need to accept money in exchange for their products.

http://www.destructoid.com/eu-court-rejects-eulas-says-digital-ga
mes-can-be-resold-230641.phtml

Richard Black
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My wife is a die-hard Xbox 360 gamer, or I should say was, the Xbox One announcement is moving her to PC. I think I can thank microsoft now for shaving down the amount of platforms I have to subscribe to. I didn't pay attention to the announcement because really the only reason I play on xbox anymore is co op with her, but even she was like nearly everything they announced could already be done on a smart tv and she wasn't paying extra for it.


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