Xbox Bro: Why This Is Not Necessarily a Bad Thing

Many were unhappy with what the XBOX ONE showed us. I think that we should be excited instead

Now I realize that this article will have to do some heavy lifting to convince the unsatisfied masses who witnessed Tuesday’s lackluster Xbox reveal. In fact, the reveal went so poorly Microsoft stock prices dropped during the stream.

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While I won’t try and dissuade you from believing that Microsoft dropped the ball on what should have been a mind-blowing event, I feel that the small amount we were shown actually proves that Xbox One (X1) will still be a serious contender in the next console life cycle.

Despite all the hate over the “Xbox Bro,” there is something we as “geek/nerd” gamers need to come to terms with: we are not the only ones playing anymore. We might be the core demographic but we are not longer the sole patrons. That is why, on some level, many were confused on the decisions made not only during the reveal, but also in the overall development of the system.

Let’s break down what we were shown during the X1 reveal.

 Oooh! Shiny!

Shiny, indeed. With the X1, you will be able to control all of your household entertainment needs with just your voice (and a few awkward hand waves).

The new system says it is all-inclusive and will integrate your social media, actual media, and games with real life – a goal the 360 has been working towards over the past 8 years.

We will be able to instantly switch between live TV, music, games, and movies. The Xbox Guide brings a new way to watch TV, by simply talking to change channels or find programming. Snap Mode allows us to multitask between say, playing a video game and watching a movie similar to PIP television systems. (Author’s Note: That feature was short, but I believe has the potential to be very useful in the life of the X1.)

They gave us tech specs on the console itself. Although it is not as powerful as it could be, it is more than enough to meet the demands of game developers will put on it. Microsoft is bringing us over 300,000 servers to power the Live community, as well as Cloud technology.

This was the positive part of the conference, and shows hardcore gamers they were not forgotten in the X1 development. It highlighted new tech and features meant especially for gamers. It gives game developers the ability to access a worldwide multi-data epicenter to drive gaming computation. It gives gamers the ability to improve and choose their own matchmaking. It allows the thriving online community DVR to record and share gameplay experience, something that we now have to spend $200+ on a capture card to do. 

After that, the conference began to go downhill for most. They focused heavily on sports, from ESPN to EA Sports titles. Even though for many, these overlap with their love of gaming, the fact that this was so heavily focused on shows that Microsoft was preaching to the wrong crowd. When they tried to sell fantasy football live updates and partnership with the NFL, that’s when many realized the event was a lost cause.

Snippets of pre-rendered gameplay was met with a severe lack of enthusiasm. Even Remedy’s Quantum Break failed to sway, despite its tempting blend of beautiful graphics and live action actors.

Speaking of actors, even when CBS’s Nancy Tellam and 343 Industries’  Bonnie Ross came to reveal the live action Halo TV series in partnership with Steven Spielberg, the crowd responded with silence. More likely annoyed they were being advertised about a TV series rather than the console they came to see.

The rest of the reveal focused on Call of Duty Ghosts, a title that I already explained did not show us anything groundbreaking.

After all is said and done, gamers around the web were complaining about what they had just seen. People are already saying that Microsoft has lost the next console life cycle; that they have relinquished their crown and instead are working to appease the casual market. The reign of Xbox is over.

Or is it…?

In fact, let’s look at the first time this all supreme 360 console was released to the public. A little program in May 2005 called MTV Presents: The Next Generation Xbox Revealed. 

Elijah Wood and MTV are the first things that come to mind when I think  “Hardcore Gamer Demographic”

So throughout the 21 minute event we are laden with such Bro-tastic™ spectacles as the stars of “Pimp My Ride” creating a Frankenstein portable original Xbox, crowds of paid “fans”, tons of 2005-era celebrities, pro-gamers playing Perfect Dark Zero (while talkin’ mad smack, yo), and a concert performance by The Killers.

Just what I wanted in my next gen console!

During E3 coverage, they focused on the interchangeable face plates, shooters such as Call of Duty: 2, sport and racing games, and “hardcore” games such as Condemned:  Criminal Origins.  

Features such as chatting online, playing music online, and watching movies highlight the (gasp) social aspect of the new console.

“Why can’t we focus on the hardcore like the good old days?”

As you can gather, when the Xbox 360 was released, they too, focused on the casual market. They only had 18 games ready on launch and most of the titles were games that were meant to entice new gamers to buy the system. They lauded the functionality of the device for the masses, and over time help deliver the best gaming experience for hardcore gamers over the past 8 years.

Microsoft knows that the hardcore market is already sold on buying the next generation. They know what we want and need, and will deliver those hardcore features once the new system has established itself in the eyes of the masses. They aren’t abandoning us, but rather adapting to a changing gaming culture. The vision of not only Xbox system, but entire console market has changed.

Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are all trying to make their systems essential living room accessories. They are trying to tie all household amenities into one concise unified machine, something that should appeal not only to Joe Schmo, but to gamers like you and me. 

Microsoft has brought us features, that while not entirely devoted to video games, are concepts that many have wanted in our technology for years.

 How many people first said “Why would I need/want a camera/mp3 player/internet with my phone? I already have stuff that does that!” We applaud companies like Apple who brought us technological integration, but demonize Microsoft when they try the same with a gaming console.

In fact, they are giving us features that would be available for “the master race” gaming PCs, and making them better.

Other products like laptops, tablets, even phones will natively work with the X1. If Microsoft is going to total entertainment integration with the system, this feature is essential for keeping everything connected.

We are complaining that they didn’t give us what we wanted, even though we didn’t know what we wanted. What we have been given is a sneak peak into the system. And it immediately does not meet our unreachable expectations. Think back to every other console reveal. Did any of them not disappoint our high expectations? 

We already curse the X1 even though we know nothing about what it will offer in the long term; a mistake that we’re going to kick ourselves about in when we’re looking back. Right now we think that the “Xbox Bro” is forgetting about who is important in gaming.

What it shows to me is acceptance. Big names and companies are partnering with Microsoft in delivering their entertainment system promises. They have faith that the X1 is going to be used by not only the hardcore, but everyone else as well.

Gaming is no longer a “nerds only” club. Jocks, popular kids, even artists are each putting their own touch into the market. The sooner we learn to share our love for the games, the sooner we can realize that good things are waiting down the road.


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Author
Lui Galletto
If you are reading this, I have been kidnapped. They are forcing me to play video games against my will. Send help