As the murky details of just what the new Xbox one will and will not be able to do, one thing is certain. Microsoft and Xbox are set to lose some pretty devoted gamers to the new PS4 from Sony.
There has always been a conflict between hard-core gamers who would fight to the death in defence of all things Xbox. Sony fans are just as rabidly protective of their gaming console. But since the two competitors first launched the separate, and not equal, gaming systems, there have been things that appealed to gamers from both consoles.
Without getting into a long winded dissertation about engines and technical specifications that would make me drop off halfway through, I’ll get straight to the point.
The biggest issue surrounding both the new Xbox and the new PlayStation are used games. We won’t jump on Sony yet, they are still holding their cards fairly close to their vests and not giving too much away. But Microsoft have thrown down the gauntlet.
The issue of Microsoft “killing” used games has been around for awhile now. The lastest news is that you may be able to trade or swap or even give your old games away, but it’s going to cost you, or the person you’ve traded-with/swapped-for/given-to.
In essence, under the new Xbox one system, you will have to download, or upload if you prefer, your purchased game onto your Xbox. The code that you will enter after buying the game is a “one-time” only code. If you ditch the game and a friend wants to upload it onto their machine, they will have to pay a price to do it.
But here is the good part (spelt bad part really) when your friend uploads your old game, Microsoft will, via the internet connection, erase your copy on your machine. That whole schtick about checking your Xbox every 24 hours suddenly becomes a lot more ominous, doesn’t it.
The 24 hour checking system is the other bone of contention. Forget “Big Brother is watching,” He’s in your darned house. Plus, since all the new Xbox systems will have Kinect as a mandatory part of the console, big brother can listen to you as well. Who needs a phone tap when you’ve got the new Xbox one?
Microsoft have already admitted to providing information to the NSA, what’s to stop them from using the Kinect from providing the government with even more information about you? And before you start murmuring about paranoia, don’t forget, this is the government that brought us drones that can see into our homes.
But conspiracy theories about Microsoft and the NSA aside, it is the gaming issue that is, thus far, killing the new Xbox. Microsoft made it pretty apparent at their “big reveal” that they are expecting CoD, Fifa, NFL and racing games to carry the brunt of the new consoles games sales, oh and don’t forget the exclusive Xbox game Halo.
The news of the new Halo television extravaganza being helmed by Hollywood wunderkind Steven Spielberg was also touted by Microsoft.
In some ways the new Xbox could be seen as a good thing. That Microsoft want to replace your television receiving box, your telephone (Skype calls, wow!) and your computer laptop/PC/tablet sounds great. The new system also puts a lot of emphasis on voice commands. Sure that is pretty neat in a Buck Rogers in the 21st Century sort of way, but seriously, voice commands are great for “in-game,” just ask any Mass Effect fan who couldn’t wait to say “Liara singularity!” But I cannot get really excited about telling my Xbox to put on the television channel I was just watching.
While both Microsoft and Sony have hedged a bit on the used game issue, with both companies saying that the “payment” for using second hand games lay firmly with the game’s publishers, one still has to consider that the whole question of second hand games was their bete noire all along.
Without the two companies grousing about loss of revenue, it would never have become that big an issue. The other issue of Sony not wanting to do “hard copies” of games any longer hasn’t really been an issue with the new Xbox, but then; do they really need any more negative hype?
But so far, the Microsoft Xbox looks set to lose a lot of those devoted gamers who would “rather fight than switch” their system. Fans that, until now could almost resort to violence to stand up for their (pardon the pun) Halo’d system. As more information comes out about both systems, we’ll try to keep our gamer audience apprised of the changes. I for one am leaning very heavily toward the the PS4.
By Michael Smith