XBox ONE: Next-Gen Gem or Doomed Debacle?

XBox ONE: Next-Gen Gem or Doomed Debacle?

During the weeks prior to May 21, 2013, I can remember often pondering just what Microsoft could possibly reveal to the masses with their big upcoming announcement of an event.

I was thinking all over the place, wondering if they were going to show us something that would very easily blow Sony and Nintendo off the gaming grid altogether, or if it would be more like a rushed product that would get shoved out the door just in time for the holiday season to rival the PlayStation 4’s release.And when I later found out that this major announcement would even be aired on television, I made sure to DVR-record it, so I could witness this with my very own eyes – and then it happened.

Throughout the late afternoon of May 21, I was able to see photographs of the unveiling via news feeds, along with some articles and related material, but that wasn’t enough to satisfy my ever-growing curiosity.  Then the very moment I got home, I immediately hit the play button on my DVR and braced myself for what I was about to see next.

As I watched and listened attentively, I kept waiting to be wowed — which sadly, I was not.  During the first half of the announcement, I found myself repeatedly thinking, “That’s great and all, but what about the games?”  As a dedicated gamer myself, sure I was glad to learn of the new hardware specs, how the Kinect sensor has become even more integrated with the console, and how you can now literally run two programs at once, but I seriously just wanted to know about the new line up of games!

During this whole presentation, I found myself becoming increasingly annoyed.  For starters, it was nothing like what I thought it would be.  I thought for sure that there would be much talk about game graphics and gameplay, as well as launch titles and future titles down the road.  To make things worse, not once was this new piece of electronic machinery referred to as being a gaming console — instead, my ears got treated to such phrases as “home entertainment system” and “intelligent t.v.”!  If I didn’t know any better as a gamer and consumer, I’d swear that Microsoft was presenting some fancy new HD multimedia PC made specifically for television.

But wait, things get even more interesting.

Just when I thought my disappointment of the unveiling couldn’t possibly get any worse, it did.  It seems that at least at this moment, if you plan on watching cable or satellite t.v. programs via XBox ONE, it has to be compatible with the accompanying cable/satellite box (if applicable).  Meaning that said cable and satellite providers will need to buddy up with Microsoft to allow this to happen.  Since I’m more of a casual television watcher, that didn’t matter much to me.

What really got to me though is this potential “new game vs. used game” issue.  It seems that even though Microsoft will allow the system to play used games, users will have to pay an additional fee to activate the used game on their XBox ONE account, on top of whatever they paid for the game itself.

What does this all mean?  It means that in theory, depending on this ‘activation fee’ and used game prices, gamers could essentially end up paying plenty more money to play previously owned titles on their system., but it all depends on the actual prices.  This could really drastically change used game sales as we know it.

So overall, my whole take on this major announcement left a mighty unpleasant taste in my mouth, and right now I don’t see that taste getting any sweeter unless Microsoft adds plenty more gaming sugar to their next-gen “recipe”.

Sean ‘ToonBoy’ Boley

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