The Truth About Xbox One David D. Nelson July 19, 2013 E3 has come and gone, Gamescom and TGS are closing in, and it’s almost that time again. Yup, my favorite time of the decade: new console season. As much as we’d like to think all gamers follow this stuff as religiously as the rest of us, reality has proven to me time and time again that the average consumer is misinformed or uninformed about their potential purchase despite all the information at their fingertips. It doesn’t help that employees in brick and mortar stores typically have either a personal or corporate agenda when “informing” prospective buyers about the new consoles. This business has become more cutthroat than it used to be by my estimation, and I think the best way to combat that influence, along with misapprehensions based on internet chatter, is to ignore just about everything except the truth as it currently stands and what logically follows from it. Since Microsoft has had a little more difficulty getting their message across I wanted to just draw everyone’s attention to what I see are the key advantages for purchasing this console, sans all the extra noise. The consumer knows what appeals to them right? They don’t need a lesson on that from me. Snap Mode Activate! In today’s world you’ve got to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time, and do a video chat, and have a text conversation, and tweet the fact that you just stubbed your toe. The multitasking realities of our age weren’t lost on Microsoft when they decided to make the Xbox One an impressive multimedia device, thus they imbued it with basic multitask switching and the Snap feature. The operating system is set up in a forked manner, meaning very different tasks like a game and a movie can run side by side without any problems. That lets you switch between them without processing problems. Aside from just instant switching, “Snap Mode” will allow you to bounce between and among running apps and TV as fast as ideas occur to you. Currently when I’m watching TV and my mind wanders I usually drag up my laptop and look around for whatever scratches my itch. I know that’s outdated and a lot of you bring out your tablets or phones instead. With the Xbox One you’ll be able to keep that all integrated on your TV. Did you just see a commercial for Call of Duty: Ghosts and decide to cave on your promise to yourself that you’d hold off this year? Tell the Xbox One “Snap Mode Internet Explorer,” then log into your favorite retail site and put in a pre-order, then snap to Twitter and tell everyone you caved, then log into Facebook and tell everyone you are going to commit terrible acts against them with a sniper rifle, and still get back to your TV show before the commercials are over. That’s just something I made up of course, but the point is the apps all run simultaneously and you can switch between them easily. Kinect Fully Realized To the Xbox 360 the Kinect was a peripheral camera aimed mainly at motion gaming with Microsoft slowly rolling out improvements like voice commands. The new Kinect is an integral part of the full gaming and multimedia package this time around. It boasts some major improvements too. It has two cameras with 1080p resolution shooting at 60 frames per second. The field of view is 60% larger than the original Kinect, making it a better fit if you do your gaming in a bedroom instead of a living room. The new cameras will react faster to your movements as well, potentially exponentially reducing the frustrating lag in motion games. The cameras along with the microphones will do a better overall job of “knowing” you. This should allow for a person to take their experience with them just by bringing their face (and body presumably). Since the Kinect will be able to recognize you, applications ought to include something like instant user settings changes. If you’ve ever had a party gaming experience where you’re constantly flipping the Y axis between players you’ll know how helpful this could be. The new Kinect should have a better shot at having cool new uses in hardcore games and for those of you with families the experience for casuals and kids is going to be that much better. The Cloud Don’t space out. I’ll try to make it simple because this thing matters. In my day Cloud based gaming meant playing Final Fantasy VII, but things have changed. Basically, the addition of cloud computing allows the Xbox One to let somebody else handle your processing for you. This would allow the Xbox One experience to get better over time since the console itself wouldn’t be doing all the work. The cloud was the best reason to keep the Xbox One connected online most of the time, but since certain ideas have been scrapped prior to release that leaves us wondering where cloud computing stands. I have to do some speculating based on experience here but I don’t think there will be much of a problem now that the system can stay offline. Xbox Live subscriptions were huge, I think most Xbox gamers liked to be connected as often as possible anyway so cloud features probably won’t be derailed now that online connectivity is more of an option than a requirement. One bonus is that games with an integrated multiplayer feature like Forza will literally be a new experience every time. Single player experiences can be better too, imagine avoiding technical issues like frame rate hitches and screen tearing due to processing walls. Smoother games and dynamic experiences are things that all gamers should appreciate. Another feature of the cloud is that developers get backdoor access back into their game. Instead of waiting for issues to pile up and then releasing patches, developers will be able to make instant changes to their games, including alterations to the achievements system. Imagine a weekend where rare achievements are up for grabs, or on-the-fly special holiday items in game. How do we know they are serious about all this and “the cloud” isn’t just a talking point? Microsoft is kicking off this shindig with 300,000 more servers to handle the load. Microsoft Is Rich This is one of those facts that people can argue over until they are blue in the face, but on its face, this is a plus for people who get the Xbox One. If you watched E3 you saw that Insomniac is making Sunset Overdrive in conjunction with Microsoft Studios. That means the game won’t be going to PS4. But Titanfall? Dead Rising 3? I can pretty much assure you those games will land on the PS4 at some point. This means you’ll hear a lot of “We have no plans for other platforms at this time” when the press asks third party developers exclusivity questions. For now though Xbox One adopters have the benefit of early access to whatever titles game developers are willing to sell to Microsoft as a timed exclusive. You can expect the same treatment when it comes to downloadable content, as often as is possible it will be coming to the Xbox One first. So if you just can’t wait to get your hands on things as soon as they are ready you can bet on this console always being first in line for the goods. We already know Battlefield 4‘s Second Assault DLC will be timed for it and there’s no reason to believe Call of Duty won’t keep up the same relationship. There you have it in a handful of colorful points my dear consumers. If this sounds like the console with the experience you want to have, I say jump in. dirkradke Microsoft has had a problem with there message because it is mostly unpopular not because they don’t know how to communicate. I’ve had people ask me who care nothing about games or even technology ask: “Why is everyone hating Microsoft right now?” — When people go online, they are making the choice to do it themselves. When Microsoft tells them they have no choice and previously it never mattered it becomes more about control than about freedom or features in the minds of those online gamers. They tout you will be able to make Skype calls. One of the most popular ways for soldiers to call home is Skype, and because X-Box One used to require an always on connection and would be region locked they couldn’t use it for that purpose. I doubt the military would allow it to hog there network and it would be security issue as well. Then there is the economic factors. In this country alone there are 30,000,000 people of the right demographics such as age, affluence, desire, etc. to purchase the next X-Box and they wouldn’t be able to because they live in an area where the Internet connection wouldn’t be good enough. The icing on the cake – Microsoft said all these things were features and necessary for DRM (Digital Rights Management). Fortunately, for all concerned Microsoft reversed all or most of these policies probably because of economic factors. I mean when you keep hearing PS4 pre-orders outselling X-Box One by 4-to-1 in your home territory it kind of tells you I don’t want what you’re selling because the other guy has something much better. The good news for Microsoft — in a few months when the next X-Box releases – no one will care and all will be right with the world and Microsoft going back to the drawing board on how to control it. By the way — I liked the article. SiliconNooB Well, to be fair, it really doesn’t help that M$’s Xbone PR message changes from one week to the next… First it was about TV and Football, then it was about games. First it was about restrictive DRM and forward-looking digital features, then it was about no DRM, region free games, and stripping away the digital features that some people were looking forward to. This leads to a situation where many consumers no longer know what the console is about, and who it is intended for. Rocamx great article David, i really like the new way of the Xbox Brand, MS needs to fix communication problems and share all new features and details about the XB1. I just cant wait to get my hands on this console! chrisdog Pathetic.. everything on that list can also be done on PC and PS4 or is total Bullshit. No publisher is going to spend money on kenect… Only first party will do that and we all know how first parties are for XBOX. And cloud is a total joke… the reason why PC does not use cloud is bandwith and latency/ spideynut71 Speaking of “pathetic”…. And no, the reason PC doesn’t “use cloud” is because the PC is a moving target, hardware wise, so it would be pointless to try it. The advantages of the cloud on XB1 will become more and more apparent, as devs reveal ways they’ll leverage it. It won’t be in the form of improved load times, or better graphics…but more things like what Turn10 is doing. If you’re already connected to the internet, and playing a game, the cloud features will be there. I’d wager few gamers actually play offline much anymore, because they want to know when/if their buddies are online; that’s because of the community MS has built with XBLive. The-Master Both Mass Effect 3 and Skyrim only used voice command, nothing else. Doesn’t mean the technology is there and included in the box that the developers will use it in some interesting ways. Just look at the Wii U, most games made aren’t using it’s full potential with the touch screen. Face it, it’s not everyone that wants the kinect and they don’t want to be forced fed it when they don’t want it. Most kinect games sucked bad on Xbox. That’s a fact, just look at the ratings, worst part is, you won’t be able to upgrade those games with the kinect 2 because it’s not backward compatible. Cloud Gaming that improves the graphics means that Microsoft will need to have processors on their servers to “enhance” the experience instead of having it being provided by the console itself. Just a waste, you can expect your Gold Subscription to rise with the cost of having those features, when, alternatively, you could have had a better console for cheaper. Don’t get me wrong, I do think it’s a good technology, it’ll be really interesting to see what they’ll do with it. But if your Gold Live subscription rises up, then it’s not worth it. Developers will make games for the DS4 just as they did with the PS Move, it’ll be “compatible” meaning that you don’t really need it to play, but if you do have it, then you’ll have a better experience and they’ll use it. Nathan O Reason being is a developer can’t depend on the player to have the required peripheral to make use of these features and therefore it is hard to justify spending the time a resources on them. This won’t be a problem with the XB1, so expect to see more games trying to utilize the sensor in interesting ways. ME3 and Skyrim were done as an afterthought and were relatively easy to implement as the voice recognition software is built into the kinect SDK. SiliconNooB ” It’s the PS4 that won’t see 3rd party devs wasting time/effort on anything camera related….which makes that gaudy blue light on the DS4 POINTLESS…because of the PSEye being optional.” That is actually a selling-point for the PS4. spideynut71 That fact that a major new feature of the DS4 is useless without buying an optional peripheral….thus giving devs no reason to support it…is a selling point? I don’t see any rational, sane person buying what you’re selling, dude. SiliconNooB I don’t know of a single gamer who wants motion controls shoehorned into their games, so yes, the absence of motion controls as standard on the PS4 is a huge selling point for me, as was the fact that Nintendo decided to dispense with motion controls on their Wii U. XBO FTW! You can’t be serious. SiliconNooB Of course I am. Ramasez <<< Gamer and don't want that shit. XBO FTW! You must play on the ds right?! Ramasez Lol haven’t owned a Nintendo product since the Gameboy Color. Nathan O Not to me it’s not. Vita integration is a selling feature but now that console costs 650$. Sheldon Prescott LOL someone must’ve “sharted” in your breakfast. Guest He’s just another poor N4G pauper. XBO FTW! You mad? Kreator XBO FTW! Pauperhomocomingdown Oh boy, I guess you upset the $0ny PauperStation community at N4G (news for Ga yz). But you are completely right MS has the money to destroy $0ny (cwutIdidther) a million times over. Elsie Paroubek Nobody wanted windows 8, Nobody wanted Surface and Nobody wants XB180. Nathan O That is very narrowminded. If MS continued on the path they were on they would be bankrupt in a handful of years. We are at a transitional phase right now, and BTW, Win8.1 may be the best OS MS has every put together if you would just take 10 minutes to learn how it works and not act like a stubborn a-hole. mako_zero It’s everything about the money. Most CoreGamers will buy both consoles. But CoreGamers are a minor audience. The CasualGamers decide the ConsoleWar. And for CasualGamers are 100 bucks more or less a heavy argument. Remember who won the last Battle: Nintendo. MnMan $100 is small in comparison to the extra value in the device. But that is very hard to get the message out. It is hard to tell someone they’ll spend $560 on PS4 if they are buying Eye + Move + Nunchuk + universal remote, all devices that Sony has invested in. They just say “But it says $400 on the box”. What I find interesting is that the “hardcore” gamers that make up the internet minority consist of fanboys, whose decisions were made up, gaming hobbyists who spend as much time on internet as gaming, and multi-console owners. None of these people are necessarily the key beneficiary’s of what X1 does on top of gaming (i.e. where the extra $100 goes). But when some dude bro is over at his dude bro’s house and he starts snapping, hot swapping, calling commands, and playing some 1:1 boxing game I have a feeling they will be impressed. caca I think that XBOX 360 will be the first and last microsoft console for a million of people. Tarson I will say Titanfall may end up on PS4 eventually, but Dead Rising 3 won’t. Dead Rising is an Xbox Exclusive, and has been since the first Dead Rising game came out. It will never go to the PS4. Scouser How do i have Dead Rising 2 for the ps3 then? Nick Calandra That’s the only one they released on PS3. The original never came to it either. Kinda weird, but the stories barley intertwine together so not too big of a deal. Tarson I don’t know why Dead Rising 2 came out for PS3, but Dead Rising 3 was built for the One. Tim Green wow first time i didn’t hear someone rippin xbox one a new asshole.. good points, good article.