Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Xbox One

Here's how you can tell what Microsoft cares about in this generation: a breakdown (by percentage of time spent) of what Microsoft talked about in the "Xbox One" reveal that just concluded.

Out of roughly 65 minutes:
31% It's an A/V receiver to control your living room. Voice commands for everything. Multi-tasking. "Seamless" app switching.
20% Call of Duty Ghosts.
11% EA Sports.
11% Other games (Forza 5 and Quantum Break). 15 exclusive games and 8 new franchises coming from Microsoft Studios in the year after launch.
7.5% Halo TV series.
7.5% NFL Deal (television, some fantasy league thing).
7% Discussion of the hardware itself. Nothing we didn't already know about, basically.
3% Cloud features
2% "Smart Glass" feature means your tablet or cellphone will work as part of the Xbox One platform.


What didn't get mentioned?

Used games? As we know them today, forget it. From Chris Kohler:
“On the new Xbox, all game discs are installed to the HDD to play,” the company responded in an emailed statement. Sounds mandatory to us.

What follows naturally from this is that each disc would have to be tied to a unique Xbox Live account, else you could take a single disc and pass it between everyone you know and copy the game over and over. Since this is clearly not going to happen, each disc must then only install for a single owner.

Microsoft did say that if a disc was used with a second account, that owner would be given the option to pay a fee and install the game from the disc, which would then mean that the new account would also own the game and could play it without the disc.

That's not much of a surprise, and it's also not a surprise that they didn't mention it, because remember: "hide what they won't like."

Launch date? Not a word.

Price? Not a word.

Backward compatibility? No.

So we had an hour+ presentation that specifically mentioned four EA Sports games, Forza, Quantum Break, and the newest Call of Duy. That's a game every 9 minutes, basically.

With the last generation, the focus seemed (at least initially) to be on what you could play. With this generation, the focus is clearly on how to use your game machine as something other than a game machine.

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