Last year, I had the gleefully wondrous opportunity to pretend to reveal information about the Wii U and its alleged rainbow-cookie distribution technology and delivery system. I am proud to announce that I can once again reveal features that may or may not actually be coming to the next Xbox console.
Microsoft held a press conference in the back of their company limousine last night, where only a few people attended. They were focused on advertising the new console they’ve been lying about working on, which is called the Xbox 720 Xbox One. I thought we already had an Xbox One, but apparently that was just called the Xbox. Then we had the Xbox Two, but it was actually called the Xbox 360. Therefore, it is safe to assume that the new Xbox One is 359 steps backward. Or is it?
The real reason for the name “One” is because only one person will buy it, though Microsoft insists the naming is focused on the system’s all-in-one design. You can play games, watch TV, and browse the Internet. (Psst. The Xbox 360 can already do this, at a fraction of the price. Actually, so can any decent modern desktop PC. Even your phone or your tablet can do this.)
We don’t know how much it will cost, but expect it to cost a lot. Why? Each console comes with a brand-new Kinect accessory, which you are forced to use whether you like it or not. It’s true, the console will not run with Kinect unplugged. The new Kinect has better specs, leading me to believe that the original Kinect was deliberately released unfinished.
The almost-perfect Xbox 360 controller has apparently had over 40 “tweaks” to improve the controller itself. They also say that the controller will be more ergonomic, which I argue isn’t feasibly possible, as the Xbox 360 controller already snugly fits my hand and is intuitive to use. The controller will now vibrate better than it did before. Good news for the people who stuff their peripherals down their pants for instant gratification, bad news for the people who buy this system pre-owned.
Because they don’t know where that controller might have been.
The Xbox One uses Blu-Ray discs, so expect the announcement for a re-release of Metal Gear Solid 4 shortly. On the inside, the console is more like a PC than before, but houses an outrageous eight-core processor and a meaty 8GB of General RAAM.
The console runs a three-tier operating system, which launches as a basic bridge screen that can be used to switch between the Xbox OS and the Windows OS. If you’re aware that the Xbox OS is built off the Windows 2000 kernel, then you’ve already made the joke “Windowsception”. The benefit of having the system running two operating systems as virtual machines within the base OS allows the user to have a game open and a web browser open at the same time, where they can be put alongside of each-other or one as a window within the other.
I have to admit, this sounds really cool. The feature is called “Snap” and Microsoft spent a long time talking about why it’s great—which it is. A good feature and long overdue.
Saying “Xbox On” activates the Xbox One’s built-in robot mass-murderer functionality, where it grows legs and arms and strangles everyone in the house. Microsoft insisted that the problem was merely a bug that would be ironed out before the release. Actually, that phrase will start up the console and send you to a personalized start-up screen, because apparently the Kinect can do voice recognition now.
[In all honesty, the new Kinect sounds and looks incredible.]
Microsoft detailed lots of TV functionality, which doesn’t matter to me, because I already watch TV on my TV and don’t need to plug a device into my TV to watch TV on my TV because I already watch TV on my TV. Funny that.
15 titles are currently in development, and 7 of them are new IPs. One of them is called Quantum Break, and is being developed by Remedy, the creators of Max Payne and Alan Wake. The previous sentence made you pre-order the console. Microsoft and Activision are extending the timed-exclusivity of Call of Duty content, meaning Xbox One owners will not be able to escape the wrath of thirteen-year-old campers on Xbox Live.
Speaking of Xbox Live, apparently the new Xbox Live will be fully integrated with the old one, meaning your achievements and play history transfer over. Achievements are getting an overhaul—there will be many more of them. When you unlock Achievements, the console will record the footage, showing the whole world how you glitched those Achievements unfairly.
Let’s have a quick-fire list of points I don’t like so much:
- Kinect is mandatory. Microsoft employees are either “spies” or “voyeurs”.
- Any software you want to play has to be installed to the device. The good news is you don’t need to insert the disc afterwards.
- Xbox One doesn’t need to be online all the time, but does need to regularly check licenses. Rumour is every 24 hours—my Internet isn’t that good, or on that frequently.
- Cloud functionality tracks licenses for which software players own. Friends can’t play your game unless you’re signed in.
- It is not backward compatible—really. The main excuse is that the system architecture is different, which I’ll buy. But the system is an eight-core beast—surely Xbox 360 could be emulated?
- Xbox One doesn’t block pre-owned games. Instead, you’ll be required to pay a fee for playing the pre-owned copy. After which the game is linked to your account and can be re-downloaded at any time (like Steam).
By the way, the fee for a pre-owned game is the full price of the game. We’ve been told to consider it as buying a brand new copy of the game.
I’m sticking with my current console line-up for the time being. Sega has announced a three game exclusivity deal with Nintendo, for Wii-U and 3DS. I don’t need anything else in my life. I don’t need any unrivaled devices in my home, thank you every much.
Well, we’ll see… Come E3, when the games are revealed…
So, if games are full installs and do not requrie the disk, what’s stopping someone from purchasing a game at the store, and following GameStop’s 7 day return policy and just returning it the next day? My guess is this policy will no longer apply. Or perhaps there will be a way to unassociate the game with your account, and that they’ll have the ability to check that online when returning the game. You’d think Microsoft wouldn’t care about this, but then, how would they get their used-game-repurchase fees if there wasn’t vendors to actually sell the used games to people?
Looking back, I’m so glad they did a 180 on most of these.