What the community thinks of Xbox One

By Ozzie Mejia, May 23, 2013 9:00am PDT

Like the rest of the gaming world, the eyes of the Shacknews community was on Tuesday's Xbox One reveal event. Some enjoyed the hardware and entertainment features, others are taking a wait-and-see approach until E3, but many others left the event disappointed. To help gauge our community's reaction, I reached out to some of the longer-tenured members of the Shacknews Chatty community for their thoughts.

David Craddock, author of Shacknews' DNA series and longtime Chatty member, was disappointed by the event's overall focus. "I'm a gamer first, a general-entertainment guy second," he said. "Sony's PS4 unveiling back in February spent some time going over hardware and social media this and that, and then they focused on games. Developers came up on stage and seemed excited to show off interesting products in the triple-A and indie space. Even the PS4's social features tied back to games: use the share button to share screens and videos of your games, watch friends play a new game to decide whether it strikes your interest, give friend temporary control of your system to help you get past a tough spot in a game. Microsoft's Xbox One unveiling did nothing for me. I have boxes that can stream TV shows and social-media-ize my life. They're called smartphones. Microsoft graciously spent a few minutes promising droves of new IPs for their system--but offered scant specifics save for a new project from Remedy."

BeowolfSchaefer (Erich Geiger, maker of the DayZ 2017 mod) adds that this isn't the kind of material that gets gamers pre-ordering in droves. "There were some annual stalwarts we all knew were coming and a lot of sideline stuff about TV, social and Kinect," he explained. "Those are great things but nobody camps outside a Gamestop for the ability to watch TV stations they already have or the modern equivalent of The Clapper. It does seem like the onus was on Microsoft to really hit a home run after waiting so long and I didn't see that. Neither of these presentations convinced me to buy their respective consoles, but Sony at least showed me some interesting games and I appreciate their apparent push toward increasing support for indies."

Microsoft's event was heavy on entertainment, but light on gaming content

eonix (Polycount's Adam Bromell) recognizes Microsoft's rationale in their approach. "Many expected this to be all about the games, where we'd learn about newly developed IP's and next-gen iterations on our favorite titles, all while showing off the prowess of the new system," he said. "I had read a Tweet from Notch that said something like, 'I wanted a game console, not a voice and gesture-based TV remote box.' My reaction is -- Well, of course it's a games console. Great-looking games are inevitable. And someone standing up there for 60 minutes with a controller in their hand playing games is, unfortunately, not very exciting. I said this in the Chatty and I'll say it again here: They've sold us on the games, Microsoft and Sony alike. We're gamers--it's a no-brainer we're going to like some games and hate some games. Now it's up to them to show us why we want their console."

eonix added that Microsoft wanted to focus on how the Xbox One would enhance the overall living room experience. MercFox1 (Billy Spies of the Gamers After Life podcast) is wondering how all these pieces will come together and whether the publishing giant may be in over their heads. "I'm curious to see how trying to dominate the living room will work out since they're going to have to play nice with domestic cable and satellite providers, game companies, and content creators," he said. "Sony may be playing safer by focusing on things they have greater control over (i.e. games) instead of big swaths of multimedia content."

The overall living room experience is all well and good, but Craddock was disappointed by Microsoft seemingly putting games on the backburner. "Gamers don't seem interested. And who can blame them? Three months ago, Sony showed me a game box first, all-in-one living room conqueror second. Microsoft touted a Halo TV show and plans to shove a camera in my face while I play games. Yes, E3 is only 3 weeks away--I'm sure Microsoft plans to shower us with first-party games at the show of shows. At least I hope so. I'm no console-wars fanboy, but as of right now, Sony has my vote for next-gen."

eonix sees things differently and sees a method to the publishing giant's madness. "It almost feels like Microsoft and Sony aren't worried about us with this generation," he stated. "Us, the 'hardcores,' the folks who buy XBLA and PSN titles, the folks who love Skyrim, Bioshock, Uncharted and Metal Gear. Fat Princess, Journey, Trials and Castle Crashers. They've already got us in their pocket. If I think about the presser in that light, it makes a lot of sense. They needed to show us what the console(s) can do that isn't related to games, to sell us on them, while still making the rounds amongst the less 'hardcore' and showing that, yes, these will have new Madden's and, yes, they will have new Call of Duty's."

Rampancy (Mike Tipul, maker of Enemy Starfighter) concurs and notes a console evolution. "The event surprised me at first, having very little to do with games for the first half," he began, "but when you look at how close E3 is, Microsoft's strategy makes more sense. I would be very surprised if they didn't have a lot to say about games in the coming weeks. It's also kind of interesting to see how consoles are maturing, becoming more than just game-playing machines. There's a lot of horsepower in both the PS4 and the Xbox One, and there's no reason they can't do more stuff. It reminds me of how cell phones evolved into smart phones. The tinkerer in me wishes the OS/hardware were more open, though, but I really doubt that is going to happen."

Still, it's going to take more than an "all-in-one" entertainment experience and a couple of exclusives to keep the attention of longtime Shacknews Chatty moderator Rauol Duke. "I was a total 360 fanboy the whole generation," he said. "But in the last year Xbox LIVE Gold has become increasingly outdated and useless compared to PlayStation Plus. Indie developers seem to be leaving in droves from Xbox to PlayStation this time, and that space is increasingly where the added benefits come from. There is no huge gap in cross-platform games and exclusives aren't a huge library in the blockbuster space--Halo, Gears of War, Uncharted, and God of War. Where are Fez, Guacamelee, and Journey? Fez has jumped ship to PC and left the 360 version to choke on Microsoft's policies. Sony showed some cool new things like having friends be able to take over your game, and streaming video gameplay being a major thing. Xbox has football. Like the game on TV. Free over-the-air TV."

While some Chatty community members have dabbled in various areas of the gaming industry, they are fans and consumers before anything else. First impressions mean everything and the Xbox One did not leave a good one with much of our Chatty community, who are among the demographic most likely to pre-order consoles or buy on day one. However, one thing everyone was able to agree on--everyone's attention will now be focused on what Microsoft offers up at E3.

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