Has Microsoft Already Ruined the Xbox One?


Microsoft’s big day at E3, the world’s largest video game expo, has been tarnished – perhaps even sabotaged – before the convention begins. Fans, who have been waiting nearly seven years for the Xbox’s 360 next-generation successor, had their excitement turn to anger when it became clear that Microsoft would require internet connectivity and impose restrictions on how used games are re-sold and shared.

While Microsoft will not require the system to have an “always online” connection, per se, the Xbox One will need to connect at least once every 24 hours to function properly. This alone defeats the purpose of having a standalone console for many, as students, military personnel, and individuals living in very remote areas may not have consistent access to a network. Additionally, many gamers enjoy single-player campaigns – Making them connect to the internet every time they want to play alone at home seems unnecessary. Time’s Matt Peckham wrote:

“Let’s say you leave your console behind for more than 24 hours, maybe for a weekend trip or a weeklong vacation, and when you return, for whatever reason, your Internet’s not working. If I understand this correctly, you won’t be able to play games on the console until you solve your connectivity issue.”

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The second deal-breaker is the Big Brother-esque control that Microsoft will hand down to game publishers regarding the re-sale and lending out of used game software. Leaving that choice up to publishers is clearly being done to fill their coffers, as explained by Forbes’ Mark Rogowsky:

“Publishers can simply make titles unavailable for resale or can possibly charge fees to allow you to “reactivate” a used game — even up to the original price of the game. There is a $2 billion used game market for a reason: Games are expensive.”

Microsoft will take the stage at E3 next Monday, June 10, at 9:30 am PST. It has already been criticized since revealing the Xbox One to the public on May 21, where the Xbox One was introduced as more of an entertainment platform than a gaming platform. Microsoft Senior Vice President Yusuf Mehdi spent most of his time touting the One’s ability to watch TV shows – not play games.

Microsoft also detailed the console’s inner workings, including an AMD APU octa-core processor, 8GB of RAM, and 500GB of internal storage. It will also utilize three operating systems in tandem. It retains a familiar tiled home screen, much like the 360.

Every Xbox One will also come equipped with a built-in next generation Kinect sensor, which comes bearing its own privacy criticisms. The idea of an advanced motion-capture video camera with a wide field of view – connected to a box that functions best when always online – is enough to make George Orwell turn in his grave. Microsoft has stated that the Kinect can be paused and that its settings can be changed by the user.

Time will tell if Microsoft can save the Xbox One before its pre-Christmas launch, but it appears that E3 will involve more damage control than hype.

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