Saturday, 8 June 2013

Is the Xbox One already doomed?

It's been a rocky couple of weeks for Microsoft. First came the bewildering press conference that introduced the world to their next gen console: Xbox One, where most were left with more questions than answers. Then we've had a trickle of information about how the Xbox One's more controversial aspects (i.e. DRM games, 24-hour online verification, game loans) are actually going to work.

It doesn't look like good news.

So what do we actually know about the console? Microsoft have stated that while it won't have to be always connected to the internet, it must find a connection every 24 hours otherwise you can't play any games. Period. They console us by saying we can still watch live TV and Blu-Rays, but that makes little difference. So, if you've just moved into a new house and the internet company are going to take a couple of weeks to set up your connection then it's no games for you.

There was also some worry around the simple ability to lend out your games to friends and while Microsoft has clarified this (mostly) it's really not exactly what people wanted to hear. It sounds like it's going to be a much more complex procedure than it needs to be. Apparently you may only lend a game out once and the friend who is receiving the game must have been on your friends list for a minimum of 30 days. This seems utterly convoluted and I hope that the rules surrounding this are refined soon.

Similarly, MS confirmed that you can indeed trade games in...sort of. The big fat caveat is that the retailer must be signed up with MS to be able to trade-in used games. Furthermore, the license states that the person buying the used game will be unable to then go on to sell it again. This isn't 100% clear at this point and MS seems to be being a little cagey on the subject.

While we're still waiting on further details for a few of these things, one thing we do know is that Kinect can be paused, but not turned off. Also the microphone will always be on, but MS say that they won't be sharing user data without permission from the user. However, with the recent news about Prism I'm very wary of this feature.

You can't say that MS has exactly been up front with everything. Now there are rumours that the corporate giant is doing devious things on Reddit and possibly paying off third party developers to not show PS4 games at E3; it's really not looking good for them.

Because of all these shortcomings (to put it mildly) comment threads and forums are in uproar about the new console, many vowing to either get the PS4, should it be any better, or give up consoles altogether and head into PC-territory.

Personally, the Xbox One isn't getting any of my money. I've just invested in a new gaming laptop because I figure I might as well switch over. I may get a PS4, but after all of this I'm really not hopeful for the future of consoles.