Dis-Kinected: How Xbox One Lost its Identity

john_head By: John

Playing: Mario Kart 8    Watching: Last Week Tonight w/ John Oliver


 

As E3 approaches next week i’ve been thinking back to last years epic news conference smackdown and what has happened in the 12 months since. One year ago we had gotten a glimpse of the Xbox One and what Microsofts vision of that console was going to be. While their was alot of controversy and apprehension about the always online functionality and used game restrictions most people were accepting of that being the future of consoles and were excited about the system. They had what by almost all accounts was a very good E3 conference showcasing lots of games and the reaction coming out was mostly positive. Things were looking pretty good for the Xbox One. Until Sony got on stage that is.

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Sony had a pretty good show themselves. The games looked good and the system and controller were attractive. Overall a fairly predictable but solid news conference. And then the bombs dropped. All those DRM and used game restrictions everyone was expecting them to adopt? Not happening. Similar high price to the Xbox One? Nope. $100 less. Sony had pulled the rug out from underneath Microsoft and stunned the gaming world. Drop the mic.

From that point forward the vision that Microsoft had laid out for the Xbox One was doomed. They tried to right the ship by reversing many of the online policies a week later but the damage had already been done. In everyones eyes Sony was the hero to gamers standing up for their rights and Microsoft was the evil overlord spying into your living room with their diabolical device. Those bastards.

Well, I may be in the minority but I wish that Microsoft had had a chance to implement that original vision and see what happened. Most of the policies were similar to what PC gamers have been used to on Steam for years and people seem to love that system. I think the ideas of having your entire library of games available at the touch of a button without switching discs is cool and the digital family sharing program sounded downright awesome. And last month when they decided to remove Kinect from the bundle they essentially lost the last bit that made their hardware unique from Sony’s.

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 The WiiU has been to able to etch out its own small piece of the pie lately due I think in large part to the fact that it’s quite a different system than the other two. They are going off of the beaten path and doing their own thing. I would have liked to see Xbox One do that given the chance. Make it’s mark as something different from the PS4. The all in one, digital hub for all of your games, tv and movies. Heck, I think it would have been fascinating for them to ditch discs completely! It might have been risky and may not have succeeded, but it certainly would have been interesting.

That all digital future is still coming to gaming one day. Developers want it, hardware makers want it, even Sony wants it though I’m sure they would never admit it. But for now due to Sony’s brilliant strategy, the disappointing performance of the Kinect technology and the inability of Don Mattrick to form a coherent sentence we are left with a system that aside from the handfull of exclusive titles is more or less the same as it’s competition. That’s not a terrible thing but they missed an opportunity to have a console with a truly unique personality. And personality goes a long way.

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