Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Xbox One outrage is bullshit


Update:
Apparently Microsoft does give a shit.

If you feel offended or are outraged at the Xbox One announcement and proudly puff your chest out and cancel your pre-order and switch it to PS4. Congratulations to you.

Microsoft doesn't give a shit.

If you proudly hold on to your Xbox 360 games and want to play them for eternity and won't switch to a new console because you can't play your precious old games on it. Congratulations to you.

Microsoft doesn't give a shit.

If you lurk on the second market purchasing used games, or trading in your new games for used games or swap games with more than one friend consistently and you're outraged to learn that sharing with your friends is actually piracy and you won't switch to a system that doesn't allow it. Congratulations to you.

Microsoft doesn't give a shit.

Don't want a system that requires once every 24 hours to be connected to the internet to ensure publishers that people aren't ripping off their intellectual property? Can't stomach the notion that your precious privacy is somehow tied to a device that has to have some sort of connectivity to function yet proudly hold up your Android and shun The Man? Congratulation to you.

Microsoft doesn't give a shit.

For years I've been hoping for this to happen. As a Microsoft fan through and through, I've longed for the days where they adopted the Apple mantra of if you don't like it, don't fucking buy it.

You want the latest iOS for your $900 iPad you purchased three years ago? No. Fuck you.
You want to install iTunes on your four year old MacBook which didn't have an intel chip? Nope. Fuck you. Buy our new ones or don't use our systems.

You can't innovate or move forward if you're constantly supporting old systems. You can't create new and innovative systems if you need to keep supporting the past. Apple learned this a long time ago. Microsoft started to learn it recently. At some point you need to cut off support for Windows XP and force people to upgrade. At some point you can't allocate resources meant to push the envelope and instead are used to make sure a ten year old game works on a brand spanking new system.

NO BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY

People look at this as a money hungry corporation that won't let you play your precious old games on their new system when in reality the program is architecture. You wouldn't buy a PC game and expect it to run on a Mac would you? Sure your old PC games will work on any PC as long as you meet the requirements right? True. But Xbox 360 and Xbox One share only a name. The underlying core system is completely different.

How does PS4 handle this?

Either they're using a very similar chip, or they  built an emulator.
Why doesn't Microsoft use an emulator? Because, say it with me now:

Microsoft doesn't give a shit!

And I love it.

ALWAYS ON
If you carry around a Smartphone that is always connected to a network, then you have no legs to stand on here. Seriously, you're a hypocrite if you have an iPhone or an Android and are complaining about a system which must "phone home" once a day.

You probably have had your Xbox 360 plugged into Ethernet or on your Wi-Fi network every single day you've owned the system. So, are you mad about the lack of choice? I mean, for what? I don't get it. I've yet to hear a single logical explanation to why this is a bad thing.

The only time this would be inconvenient is if your internet goes out from something other than a power outage. Then, yes you might not be able to play your games. But how often does your internet go out? If it goes out a lot, go with a different provider. If you can't, then, as Microsoft put it. Buy an Xbox 360. Some have seen that as a dick move. I see it as Microsoft embracing their inner Apple. "If you don't like it, fuck off."

USED GAMES

I'm not a used game purchaser, so I can't really speak to this market. But I will say this.
This isn't a Microsoft decision. This is a game publisher decision and Microsoft embraced it probably to have more exclusives on their system. If you're a publisher and you can guarantee that your intellectual property isn't going to be rampantly ripped off, who are you going to go with?

Also, the one problem I see with the used game market is this.

When you buy a game, you are purchasing a license to play the game. You own the box, the disc, etc.. but you don't own the "game". You can sell your individual copy once.
The problem comes in when you sell that copy to someone else who is trying to make money off it. The original copyright holder doesn't get any royalties for that and that's not cool.

PRIVACY

Here's the only place where I'm in somewhat agreement with everyone. The Kinect needs to be on for the system to work. The Kinect is a high resolution 1080p camera pointed right at you and your living room [or wherever you hook up your system]. That's scary to me. Considering what we've learned about the NSA's Prism program. 

While the Kinect is an amazing piece of technology which will possibly revolutionize gameplay and television watching, it's the scariest part of the Xbox One, and the thing most likely to be abused.

CONCLUSION

I pre-ordered the Xbox One.  They sold me at their first announcement showcasing all the things it could do with your television and cable system. They basically released a system which was everything I hoped the rumored Apple TV set would be. Granted, I'm assuming Apple has something up their sleeve, but with the gross looking iOS 7 reveal, I'm losing faith in Apple's ability to design sleek and visually appealing things. I used iOS 7 briefly and while the control center is wonderful, the thing looks like something an intern designed with MS Paint.

But that's neither here nor there.

If I were  a hardcore gamer who didn't give two shits about cable television or seeing my fantasy team updated while watching the Bears game, I'd go with a PS4. Seriously, if you game a lot you should buy a PS4. But if you're not part of that 5% of people, and you like watching cable TV and you like the idea of no longer requiring a remote control or memorizing channels, or if you realize that the Xbox One is now a platform and there is now a layer between that system and your television viewing experience and you realize what a group of clever developers could do in that "layer" then you, like me, will probably be intrigued enough to check out the Xbox One.

This talk about Sony winning the console wars is not only foolish but it's meaningless. Years ago MS knew that the desktop would be dead at some point and they needed to get into your living room. They needed to take over the entertainment hub of the average consumers household. They realized the quickest way would be through a gaming console.

Xbox was the start.

Xbox 360 won the console wars of the past due to better games, a cheaper price, an easier to develop on platform, and the ability to serve as a media streaming server.

Xbox One is probably the culmination of decades of planning on Microsoft's part. It's an entertainment system that happens to play games. 

Admittedly they had probably the worst PR week since the old days of bugs and PC-only viruses.
So, to those claiming the PS4 has already won this console war.

Congratulations to you.

Microsoft doesn't give a shit.

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