“XBox One” Really?

So the “first” out of two Xbox announces were given out today at the Xbox Campus in Silicon valley. I didn’t actually get the chance to watch the video feed live as real life came into play, after all, going to the gym and maintaining my body is a little bit more important than watching a live feed of a console that I might not care about…

From the first video that they show off a few hours a go, the system looks somewhat “Bluray Player-like” opting for lots of gloss, but sharp edges with a rectangle design rather then the curves that the XBox 360 had. Like the PS4, the system comes with it’s own version of the Kinetic sensor, that will be sold with every XBox One. The controller pretty much looks very similar to the XBox 360 controller, except bizarrely the guide button has been located further up the controller compared to the precious pad.

XBox One Controller

Interestingly, the Dpad looks different this time, it doesn’t have the “disc” shape that the previous pad had, this time it looks a lot like the typical “plus symbol” shaped Nintendo Dpad; maybe Nintendo and Microsoft worked on some agreement to use that shape, being that Nintendo has many-many patents to their dpad design.XBox One Specs

Pretty much the specifications for the system are a little vague, especially for the processor. But there’s 8GB of RAM, just like the PS4, and features a BluRay drive. What I found interesting is that the system possesses not just an HDMI output, but an HDMI input too; this I can imagine will be used so that you can treat your XBox One as a PVR and record channels from a set top box that might not have a HDD recorder inside. After all, Microsoft appears to be big with the whole “entertainment in one” thing.

Restrictive

Something that scared Kotaku a bit was the fact that Microsoft did mention that games will be locked down to the console. But it was announced later on that there will be some digital distribution agreement that can be made to allow customers to unlock their games from their account and be able to trade in stores. There wasn’t any mention of if you could trade games among friends.

Another irk is the fact that the Xbox One will not be Backward Compatible by discs. Rather, customers would have to purchase and download a “XBox One” compatible version over the internet. To be honest I don’t know what’s better, Gaikai making PS4 players play PS1/2/3 games through the cloud and streamed, or having to purchase games all over again! It does seem a bit crazy. Sure it makes sense from a hardware and manufacturer point of view, but if you have the spec to run it, which I’m pretty sure this machine has, considering it has SIXTEEN times the amount of RAM compared to it’s predecessor, I can’t imagine why they’re not working of a form of emulation. Then again, this is Microsoft we’re talking about, who ditched any more Original XBox backward compatibly with the 360 back in 2007.

Snap Mode

Something that was interesting about the XBox One, is something is it’s Windows 8-like interface called “Snap-Mode”. This allows multitasking within it’s “dash-bar” interface. What you can do is watch TV, but be able to talk to a friend through Skype at the same time, and they’ll appear in cells, like what you see in the GUI interface for Windows 8. Whilst doing this you can then share what you’re watching with a friend who you’re talking to on Skype at the same time. Sounds interesting, but to be honest that just sounds like a lazy example of how to use this function, after all if I wanted to host a movie night, I would invite people to my house, not ring them up on Skype with a XBox One and share what I’m watching online.

ghostface ghostdog ghostback

They showed off a few games as examples for what to expect out of the XBox One’s graphically abilities; and to be brutally honest it’s not wowing me. I’m sure you can get graphics near to this with current generation hardware. The face and the dog aren’t wowing me as I’m pretty sure I’ve seen graphics like this before. Either that or I’m so desensitised by graphics now, that if it’s not stylised or completely crazy, like a Jeff Minter or a Tim Schafer game, chances are I’m not interested. I’m at a point where I don’t care about realism in games any more, after all they’re games, they’re fiction, and will always be something made up. Unless you’re making the next Microsoft Flight Simulator, you don’t need realistic graphics…

So that pretty much sums it up, fortunately I won’t be buying one of these on launch day to regret it later. I’ll leave it to kids who never touched an N64, Saturn or PlayStation 1 before. It’ll be a system that I will declare will be made for the kids and not for the men. I already have a PC that’s pretty souped up for my gaming needs, that and the restrictions on selling your games off after not needing them is a bit of a pain. So it’s a no go for me I’m afraid Microsoft…