The XBox One reveal is not for gamers. The XBox One reveal is for the target demographic, College Bros. XBO, as I’m calling it, is the new console made for college frat guys who can throw away their parents money on a bunch of extras while they chug beer and bet on Madden. Microsoft has done what all great empires do when they neglect their audience, they counted beans.
You can make the guess that Microsoft has a research and development team. That team looks into who buys the console, who spends the most, and what they spend it on. And it is true that Microsoft has a good foot hold in the college age demographic, they buy a lot of games. Same goes for the sports demographic, which buys the latest version of games. But that is a slim line of the people who own and use the XBox 360 console. The people Microsoft has alienated are some of the biggest users of XBox’s and multiple XBox’s at a time. The gaming community as a whole.
Thus far Microsoft has said that you need a console connected to the internet to access full versions and fixes of games. That is a major issue. First, it forces customers to buy internet access just to play a full game alone. Secondly, it puts tournament organizers in an odd position. How do you run a successful tournament with multiple consoles if you can’t connect them all to the internet. And even if you could, how would performance suffer? The next bash to the gaming community is that one game can only be registered to one account. To use your game on your friends system, you have to pay a fee. This is a great corporate idea to drain some direct money from the used market, but what if you just don’t want to take your XBox One everywhere? The games are loaded into the HDD once installed, which means your XBox One is the game library. What if it breaks? What if you just want to take your new game to a friends house? what if you need 15 copies of a game to run a tournament? Do you now have to pay for 15 used licenses in order to promote a community that helps Microsoft?
Indie gamers and developers should also have some immediate reservations. The XBO can’t self-publish games to the Indie Game area. This means your game could have it’s fate fall to the hands of Microsoft and your success could be put up for ransom if they don’t get the cut of your success they are looking for.
But what about what the XBO does have? It has sports. Microsoft has partnered with the NFL to show digital add-ons to your Football viewing experience to make it more interesting and give more content. That’s great, real life is more like Madden and Madden is more like real life. You can also run your entire fantasy league via the XBO and even brag to your friends about it. For people that deep into football, this is great news. You can also watch TV on you XBO and change channels with the connect. This makes sense if Microsoft is trying to make the XBO a replacement Gaming//Television unit for casual shoppers. And that’s how everything feels.
You can see how blatant it is on Microsoft’s part to say that if they give you a sample taste of everything you need, you’ll buy the console without having everything you want. But without being backwards compatible, XBO is aimed at creating a new market of casual consumers tied into a plethora of mini-subscription. I can see the 360 having its sales go up soon, because people who were holding out for what was coming up will get one and all the “still being played” games for cheap. But the XBO isn’t an impressive gaming console. It’s an all-in-one unit that plays games. And with Sony’s gamer driven PS4, is a buffet better than a main course?