May 23 2013 11:00am

Gaming Roundup: Meet the Xbox One

Gaming Roundup: Meet the Xbox One

Unsurprisingly, the gaming news du jour has revolved pretty exclusively around Microsoft’s official Tuesday unveiling of the Xbox 360’s successor: the Xbox One. While there have been months of build-up for this next-gen console, including its fair share of controversy and leaks of system specifications and features dating as far back as last October, the general public has not been able to set eyes on the device itself until this week.

As it turns out, Microsoft’s new console—first known as the Xbox 720, then code-named Durango—has finally settled into the official moniker of Xbox One. Initial reports speculated that Microsoft had chosen this slightly-pretentious name in hopes that gamers would ultimately condense it into the significantly-more-pretentious handle: “The One.” Of course, this being the internet, it was only a matter of minutes until the somewhat less-flattering nickname of Xbone was trending worldwide.

Gaming Roundup Meet the Xbox One

So what will the Xbox One actually do? Aside from the obvious—make games look slightly prettier—the new console additionally includes a Kinect, a new operating system, and a renewed focus on becoming an all-purpose media center rather than strictly a gaming console (so it turns out developer Jonathan Braid was right when he said Xbox was no longer all about the games). The beefed-up Kinect turns the Xbox into a voice-activated device, has significantly improved musculoskeletal detection, and can reportedly even detect your heartrate while you play. The enhanced hardware specs will certainly improve performance, and the heavily cloud-based OS will allow users to instantly resume saved games or paused movies and TV shows, in addition to potentially resuming your own personal saved games on different consoles—for example, at a friend’s house—simply by logging into your own Xbox account on their device. However, Microsoft placed the most emphasis on the Xbox One’s capability to improve... your TV watching experience? Wait, what?

Yes, you heard that right. The Xbox One is re-defining the next generation of entertainment and shattering the boundaries of your TV... by letting you watch TV more easily.

With all that said, the console’s reception in the gaming community was lukewarm, at best. Why? While IGN has compiled an excellent FAQ covering the key issues, the following GIF, found on Joystiq (via Kotaku), sums up the negative reaction most effectively, courtesy of David Fincher. (Warning: NSFW laguage.)

Meanwhile, in not-so-Microsoft-friendly Japan....

In other gaming news this week, Joe Biden talks a violence tax, The Last of Us still looks amazing, and Telltale looks to build on the success of their Walking Dead games. Read on!

  • As anticipation builds for Naughty Dog’s latest and greatest offering in the third-person survival genre, The Last of Us, let’s check in briefly on how the game is looking.

If there are games you’d like us to cover or blogs you think we should be following for more news, please let us know @tdelucci or @pritpaulbains.

1. wingracer
Well that's a deal breaker for me. I will NOT be getting an XBone.
Jenny Kristine
2. jennygadget
They're targeting a broader audience...but (effectively) don't let you play used games and require than you connect to the internet once a day?

I don't think that works how they're expecting it to work. O.o

As I said before, I know we're such a tiny part of the market share that we don't even count, but Microsoft just made their new system incompatible with most library gaming programs that I know of.
Chris Nelly
4. Aeryl
I'll probably get one 8 years after it comes out, that's how long it took me to upgrade to the 360, but that's because I'm poor.

The built in Blu Ray is cool, I haven't done that yet either. I have U Verse which is already capable of using the XBox as a receiver, but I don't use it that way.
Pritpaul Bains
5. Kickpuncher
@2 jennygadget - Ah yes -- I recall you bringing that up in the Always Online post.

I didn't even touch on all of the other ways they're locking down the system in the post yet, either. They're basically killing XBL Arcade off as a venue on which Indie developers could self-publish, as well, which is a massive blow to the Indie gaming community.


I'm still hoping there's more to the daily online connection thing than we know right now (perhaps updates *won't* be mandatory in the end), but as it stands, things aren't sounding promising in that regard. From what I've heard, the PS4 at least will avoid this specific pitfall.
Pritpaul Bains
6. Kickpuncher
@4 Aeryl - Yeah, I usually end up waiting awhile before upgrading as well.

Gives the console a bit of a chance to build up a solid gaming library, find its feet a bit (*cough* stabilized builds that don't RROD *cough*), and the automatic $100 price drop usually kicks in within 2-4 years of release. Many pluses to waiting.
treebee72 _
7. treebee72
I love the commenters on the IGN article about how since they are always online, everyone else in the world must always be online too!

I feel like we keep having the same discussion about internet availability/connection over and over and over again...
Joseph James
8. wjames1204
It seems that Microsoft is truly interested in continuing their wonderful tutorial on how to create products that eliminate potential consumers. With all the backlash they've received from the Windows 8 release, I would think they would consider treading lightly in regards to the kinds of concerns that have risen with the X-box One.

For a company that broke so much ground since it's creation, it seems to underestimate the effect these decisions have or will have on the people they have served or could serve in the future. Without giving the consumer options, you automatically limit your audience. Businesses need to find a balance between a.) business decisions b.) those consumers who want the product to be "X" and c.) those consumers who want the product to be "Y". Throw in "Z" as well since people all want something different, but generally making a product/service that casts a wider net (aka a balanced product) is going to generate more interest, sales, and success. Microsoft isn't a niche company that targets a particular group of consumers; it offers products that a majority of people can or do want/need. However, it's slowly making business decisions that are targeting certain audiences and leaving others without a need or desire for their product. In a sense, it's moving potential audiences into untapped audiences by limiting interest from that potential audience.

I'll support the Piracy concerns the company faces and truly hope the best for them in reducing the issue, but in truth working to eliminate piracy in this way will also have a cost: eliminating actual consumers. There are other ways to prevent piracy that wouldn't necessitate account-based, online requirements. In few years it will be interesting to see statistics on how successful X-box One and Windows 8 were.

I'm rather spoiled in that I have nearly every console since the Gameboy and SNES with a few exceptions. I've been a gamer much of my life and have enjoyed new consoles as they arrived. S0, for me, "The One" has a fitting name: as in "The One I will not be buying".
Pritpaul Bains
9. Kickpuncher
@7 treebee72 -- I hear ya. I was hoping to divert focus from it a bit by not highlighting it too much in the post this week but the issue is just such a lightning rod that it keeps coming back up no matter what.

@8 wjames1204 -- Yeah, some of the choices are perplexing, to say the least. Ultimately I'll probably end up picking up the console, but it certainly won't be anytime soon.
10. Drakhoran
It seems Microsoft has been uncommonly honest and frank in naming the new console Xbox One. I presume this is One as in

One Box to rule them all, One Box to find them,
One Box to bring them all and to Redmond bind them

I particularily like how the microphone and camera of the Kinect is now somehow required for the console to function, and the micophone will always be listening, even when the xbone is off. That's almost literally out of 1984.

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