Gaming Magazine

XBOX One for All, All for None

Posted on the 23 May 2013 by Findthebluekey @FindTheBlueKey

Xbox-One-ConsoleFor those of you who follow me on Twitter, you’ll know with assurance that I had more than a few problems with Microsoft’s recent reveal of the XBOX One, and this goes beyond cementing my hatred of the notion of ‘The Cloud’. From their treatment of used games, to their almost unsettling focus on sports and all sport-related activities. There seems to be no shortage of contentious issues coming to light, but paramount amongst those is what appears to be a complete lack of regard for a core gaming demographic.

Had you not known better going in to the conference, one could almost miss the fact that this was a gaming console at all.

The route that Microsoft seems to be going is an attempt to take over your living room, to be the ‘go-to’ device for all your media consumption. With a great emphasis on live tv, original content, internet browsing, Skype calls, social features and streaming, they seem to be gearing it up to compete in the media box market.

Oh, did I mention it plays games too? Ya, it does that. Now, moving along to more sports!

Say what you will about the number of social and media streaming features that were revealed at the PS4 launch, at least most of them had to do with gaming.

In all fairness, yes, I know that the landscape of the industry is changing, that the expectation is that your device will serve more than one purpose. I’ll be the first to admit that I love it when my devices can take on several roles. My console can stream Netflix? Great! That’s one less thing I need to switch for. But my gaming experience begins to suffer for it? Well, now we have a bit more of a problem.

Surely the headlining appeal of an XBOX is still gaming, at least at launch? People looking for streaming content and media can already find that experience for much less than the inevitably $400-$500 price tag that the XBOX One will carry at launch. Will the media-streamers be the ones lining up on launch day to get their copy, and following the release of your titles religiously? Absolutely not. At best, the majority of them will be waiting a year or two for the price point to drop. For now, they can live with their non-voice controlled streaming solutions.

To me, I see four separate categories of users that Microsoft is targeting. Pure Gamers, Gamers who will use Media, Media Users who will Game, and Pure Media Users. When hardware prices are high, and software still has the same price point as ever, you better believe that those first two categories are going to carry you until the first price drop.

I realize that E3 is still yet to come, and that many of their gaming titles are yet to be revealed. And I go in to E3 hopeful for some stellar titles. But I need to keep in mind that this is the XBOX that Microsoft wanted us to see first, this is the impression that they wanted to give, and this is the direction they as a company are following. As part of the ‘core gaming demographic’, I feel a bit unwelcome.

But are the ‘core gamers’ a dying breed? With CoD and EA Sports making money hand over first, its not difficult to see it that way. Maybe that’s the way Microsoft sees it too. But it doesn’t mean I need to be any happier about it.

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