“One” Not THE One, Just Another One And Might Not Be Number One

Why the X1 won't be number one.
This article is over 11 years old and may contain outdated information

By positing the “One” as a media box rather than a gaming console, Microsoft puts itself in competition with so much more than just Sony and Nintendo; everything from Roku to the inevitable Steam box, but its biggest competition may just be the 360 – just as Vista’s biggest competition was XP. 

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What matters to an older gamer (many hours on the Atari 2600) who falls somewhere between my son (avid hard core) and casual gamers – in other words a typical dad who I think is part of the broader target audience MS is seeking.

This convoluted new digital gaming approach: it sucks. Either I own the game or I don’t. Making me buy a physical disk just to activate a digital install is the worst of both worlds. I’m a console gamer, but I’d rather play everything on Steam than buy into this nonsense. Actually, after trying a few Steam installs, it was looking interesting already anyway. After the One reveal, I’d wait to see what the Steam box is about before ever considering a One.

Kind of always on: I hate evasive corporate speak. If the One has to “phone home” regularly in order for it to work properly, that’s always on, and that’s pretty much a deal breaker (brings back bad memories of when Dish required us to run land lines to our DVR’s so they could phone home every day – glad we cut that cord). I don’t appreciate the big brother mentality at all.

No backwards compatibility: this is why the One’s biggest competition will be the 360. At least MS tried with the 360 to have compatibility for some Xbox games. Now the technology exists to do something better (again a la Steam) to keep your old library around (register your copy of the game and play it on a Microsoft version of Steam that plays on the One, for example). Instead, MS is being very arrogant, chiding and deriding those who ask about compatibility rather than apologizing. It’s very possible that newer architectures make backwards compatibility difficult or impossible, but MS doesn’t have to be a jerk about it.

Big brother Kinect: I own a Kinect. It’s kind of cool. But there are times when I unplug it. It has a bad habit of misunderstanding dialog on the TV as commands from me. If it was in my bedroom, I wouldn’t want it on all the time (call me paranoid). If the Kinect has to be on for the One to operate, they can keep it.

Evasiveness: Snap sounds cool, faster, bigger processors sound cool, but it’s immaterial when we can’t get clear answers about always on, cost of registering a used game, etc. etc. MS doesn’t seem to understand that everyone will assume the worst if they are evasive (past history giving us good reason).

Bottom line is MS seems to assume that because we’ve all made Xbox the console leader we’ll be compelled to get the latest sequel. In reality, I’m going to need some very, very good reasons to get one, and so far all I’ve seen are reasons not to, wrapped in some nice but not necessary tech candy.

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