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Is Microsoft out of touch?

So the Xbox One was revealed yesterday and the consensus from a huge numbers of gamers, is that they hate it. While Sony isn’t doing everything right with its next-gen system, it does seem to have done one thing: listen to consumers and developers. But Microsoft, it just seems completely out of touch. If it’s listened to anyone, it’s game publishers.

Looking at the big Xbox One reveal, you’d be forgiven for thinking Microsoft was launching a new television service or its own TV hardware (which arguably it is) for the amount of times its spokespersons mentioned “TV” or “Television.” This raises eyebrows and red flags for many people, for several reasons: 1: The majority of people watching the reveal are gamers, they’re far more interested in gaming than TV watching. 2: TV is a dying medium. Streaming and on-demand services, recorded shows to skip adverts; these are the futures of media viewing, not advert interspersed programming. 3: People can already switch between TV and gaming in an instant if they want, it’s called an input select. My TV is connected to my aerial socket, my console(s) to the other AV inputs. I hit one button on the TV remote to jump between them. Explain to me how exactly the Xbox One is going to do anything outstandingly different than that?

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If ever there was a time to bring back the wooden console, it’s now. Source: Kotaku

But that’s just one of several “features” of the new system that makes it sound like Microsoft hasn’t quizzed anyone about what they want in a new games console. There’s the privacy concerns. Sure if perhaps a few years ago when Facebook was new and fresh and everyone was sharing everything you could get away with saying there would be a microphone equipped camera that was always on and connected to the internet in your living room; people might have accepted that, but now? New waves of privacy advocates are spreading, with services like Kim Dotcom’s Mega leading the way. A lot of people, especially more educated parents, don’t want their kids to have a camera on them all day that could potentially be hacked. We know big companies get hacked and so do consoles, it happens all the time.

Then there’s the issue of used games requiring a fee in order to be activated. Has Microsoft not listened to any of the raging that’s been going on in the past year in the lead up to this reveal? Every time a rumour appeared that suggested the next Xbox wouldn’t support used games, people went into a frenzy. People like to buy used games and people like to share games among friends, or take a console to a mate’s house or perhaps give games to charity shops or send them as care packages to soldiers. None of that is doable now unless your pal logs in on your machine first or you’re willing to pay a fee on top of the game’s price. Microsoft knows all this stuff and it’s actively choosing to ignore it.

What about no backwards compatibility? Admittedly Sony is making this mistake too, but with the recent surge in retro gaming through software like MAME, ported titles from the past onto XBLA, the increasing values of collectible consoles from yesteryear, shouldn’t Microsoft consider at least allowing Xbox 360 games on its new system? That would certainly give it a much bigger game library on launch day than the 10 or so titles that it’ll end up with. Again though, screw that right? It’s got TV connectivity.

KitGuru Says: What did you guys think of the unveiling? I must say I’m just really unimpressed. Microsoft had so much lead up time with rumours and speculation and bitching from the press and consumers to deliver a console that ticked everyone’s boxes. It might not have known what we all really wanted, but it was clear what we didn’t want and so much of that is present in this “next-gen” system that just feels so restrictive and uncharacterful of what people want from a games console. 

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