13 Disappointing Things About XBox One… And 3 Things That Should Give You Hope

XBoxOne

In the wake of February’s uninspiring press conference revealing the Sony PlayStation 4, great hope for the next generation of gaming was pinned to Tuesday’s big reveal showing the world the next XBox. Sadly, the only thing Microsoft truly revealed was disappointment. The XBox One, which is apparently a game console that does just about everything except cook dinner, was an hour long announcement that was long on hype, but short on substance.

Granted, it’s just day one, and there is an awful lot yet to be defined, but here’s a list of thirteen things that weren’t so good about today’s unveiling … and three that are pretty great.

1. The death of pre-owned games? There’s probably no party at Gamefly or Gamestop tonight. One of the “features” of XBox One is that each game will require a mandatory installation on your system’s hard drive. If you want to take your game over to a friend’s house or play on a second XBox One in your own household, or even buy a used game, you will have to pay an undetermined fee. Microsoft is mum on the price customers will have to pay to meet their demand, but it will likely be high enough to put an end to the pre-owned game market. My guess is that this will face a court challenge. First-sale doctrine has long supported the right of consumers to resell goods once they purchase them. The XBox One’s version of copyright management looks like it’s trying to circumvent that law. Besides, it’s just stupid. If I buy a truck and you are moving your apartment, you shouldn’t have to pay the retail price of the vehicle to borrow my truck for the weekend.

2. Internet is mandatory. Microsoft has now said that the XBox One does not need an always-on connection, but has hinted that it may come over time. While we’ll have to wait and see on that, a required Internet signal means no more taking the XBox to the rented lake house or ski lodge, and no playing anywhere your ethernet cord or WiFi can’t reach. And the heck with you if your Internet connection is down. Go read a book.

3. The biggest game innovation in Call of Duty? Dog. It seemed like the better part of Inifinity Ward’s presentation of Call of Duty: Ghosts was spent extolling the amazing addition of a dog in the game. Hopefully walking him is not a mini-game. I think their second biggest point was character customization. This is next generation? Color me underwhelmed.

4. Kinect is still here. The Kinect is quite possibly the worst peripheral in gaming since Nintendo’s Power Glove. Anything that doesn’t work because it’s mounted too high or too low or there’s not enough lighting or too much light is horrible. Then there are the small bedrooms and living rooms where users have to sit so close to the unit, Kinect won’t work for them at all. The Kinect is so bad that it has driven my kids to tears of frustration on more than one occasion, but Microsoft doubled-down on it and the XBox One will not operate unless the Kinect 2.0, included with each console, is attached. Think about that for a second: a potentially always-on device with a camera and microphone and Internet connection in your living room. Yay.

5. All the major reveals were about television. XBox will now allow me to watch television on my XBox. It will also show new content that might be of interest to me. You know what else does that? As GeekDad Curtis Silver points out, my cable box. Microsoft says that now my television and I “are going to have a relationship.” Well, I’m thinking I may want to see others.

6. Blazers and jeans. They don’t make you look cool. Just because you say you’re a huge Halo addict, I’m not so sure. Your $200 slacks and Botox injections make me think otherwise. An Ivy League diploma and 80 hour work week may boost profit margins on games and game consoles, but it doesn’t make you one of us.

7. Voice recognition and gestures. If I ever end up standing in my living room, waving my hands and yelling at the television, I’m hopefully 90 years old and ready for the nursing home.

8. The name of the thing: XBox One. This is the third iteration of the XBox. Can’t Microsoft count? Or perhaps, maybe “One” refers to hopes of it being the only device you’ll need, but as far as names go, it’s number two.

9. Are there games on this game console? Oh wait, you say. There were EA Sports titles — and Call of Duty. But these games are available on seemingly every system ever made. Saying EA Sports and Call of Duty are going to be available for your system is like saying “also ships with a power cord.” There was also Forza and Quantum Break, but with the exception of the latter, there’s still nothing unexpected.

10. All hype, no gameplay. In line with the previous point, thirty-five minutes into the XBox One reveal, they finally got to games. But even here, it was all hype. Despite being told we would see gameplay, we did not. Cutscenes and trailers do not equal gameplay.

11. They made a deal with the devil. As an XBox fanboy, nothing freaked me out more than when I saw that Microsoft entered an exclusive deal with EA, the only company to win Consumerist’s worst company in America twice. EA is a company whose entire business strategy seems to be built on screwing over their customers and the gaming industry. Buying out studios and shutting them down, nickel and diming customers at every opportunity, forcing DRM on everyone, stopping support for games early, and not allowing online play between international regions are just a few of the reasons EA is a bad company — and Microsoft is embracing them.

12. Design. When your sleek, new console has all the shape, style and hard edges of a brick, guess what comparisons you’re going to draw?

13. It’s official. Game companies no longer care about you. Unless you fall under the umbrella of casual gaming, you are no longer a large enough demographic to merit their attention. Even though XBox was built on the support of gamers like you, you are no longer their chief concern. Everything about the XBox One speaks to year-long focus groups evaluating the desires of the larger casual gamer market and Microsoft’s attempt to capture the living rooms of those who think iPhone games are pretty great. The XBox One is about sharing photos and listening to music and watching television and searching the Web and, when you’re done with that, maybe playing a quick game. It used to be that great games sold consoles. Now it’s just great marketing.

But there were a few bright moments…

1. New franchises. At the conclusion of his talk, Microsoft exec Phil Spencer made note of fifteen exclusive games being available at launch, including eight new franchises. When so many new games are simply sequels, new IP was a truly exciting surprise and one that shows that maybe Microsoft hasn’t forgotten true gamers.

2. Jaw-dropping graphics. The light reflecting off RGIII’s helmet as he broke through tackles and the scarred fingers, dirty fingernails, and hairy arms (what a selling point!) on Call of Duty: Ghosts were very impressive. Multiple light sources, better shading and a higher level of detail all worked together to give hope for really good looking games.

3. The controller. Yes, it looked the same, but the XBox controller is the best controller in gaming. Having the courage not to change it must have required some restraint, but kudos for staying with what works.

In a few weeks, we’ll learn more about the XBox One at E3. Perhaps some of these points and features will be clarified and will be less of an issue than at first glance. Or maybe, in the words of the recently Microsoft employed Adam Orth, we will all just have to “deal with it.”

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About Dave Banks

I work. I play games. Sometimes I work at playing games.

About Dave Banks

I work. I play games. Sometimes I work at playing games.

56 thoughts on “13 Disappointing Things About XBox One… And 3 Things That Should Give You Hope

  1. Lots of very good points made here…the fact that they made such a big deal of the dog in COD kind of says it all doesn’t it?! Although I’d take issue with the statement, “Game companies no longer care about you” – with PS4, Sony seem to be developing a machine that is first and foremost a gaming console, so I think when I finally come to upgrading from my 360, that’s what I’ll be buying

  2. I personally can’t stand MS’s approach on xbox live, i really have no desire to watch live tv, minus sports events, and may no longer even have a cable box this fall. So i guess the main feature they were selling is meh.. Sony’s psn plus has 4-5 games per month, and i feel like they actually care about the consumer and the little guy.

    • I’ve had Playstation plus since last July and I can safely say that I get on average 2 AAA high ranked games for free each month plus loads of smaller games and 20-80% discounts. I love it! I own so many games now that I never would have purchased but ended up loving them. Like Zombie Tycoon 2, just a $10 game but I got it for free and it’s so fun. Critter Crunch I got for $1.40 (80% discount) and it’s my families favorite game right now. I also got to sell my copies of Bioshock 2, Just Cause 2, Boarderlands, Darksiders, Dark Souls, Rachet & Clank, Little Big planet 2, Infamous 2 and a lot more because I got those for free after I already owned them on physical disk.

      Xbox live gives no free games.

      Xbox has no free exclusive content like PS gamers get in all the best AAA multi plat games which looks like it’s going to continue that way seeing as how Watchdogs and Destiny have been confirmed to give PS4 free exclusive content and how COD Ghosts has confirmed only timed exclusive pay to play DLC on Xbox One.

      I really hate xbox. I would never consider owning one purely on the fact that it’s the only gaming and streaming platform pay to play or pay for right to pay for streaming sub. Add that to the past scams and I can’t stand the company. Xbox is only good to keep Playstation on it’s toes in a competitive sense.

    • Oh yes, get rid of the cable box!!! We did about 5 years ago and we LOVE it! My daughter was 12 years old at the time and even she was complaining that television programming was junk, so everyone in the family made the decision together. Now we all spend more time talking to one another, reading, and you know, constructive things. My husband is now enjoying wood carving, I am growing everything under the sun; I now have over 70 different beautiful plants in our lanai and my daughter (now almost 18) is, dare I say it? READING books for fun! My husband does miss his sports, but we can usually find what he wants to see on the computer, which we have hooked up to our big 42″ television. We also now have what we call “Movie Monday”. On Monday nights we all choose a film to watch TOGETHER. Oh, and the best part; we are saving $116.00 a month =) I just can’t encourage you enough, please, get rid of the box, you’ll be glad you did.

  3. This sounds like another big bonehead move on the part of Microsoft. They are already taking heat over Windows 8 being part of the reason behind the drop in PC sales. You would think they would take a lesson from the New Coke debacle but I’m guessing Steve Ballmer’s ego is too large to admit making any mistakes.

  4. also believe the new controller at least has a good d-pad, i couldn’t use the old controller because the d-pad was AWFUL! They fixed that which was good. But if they don’t fix xbox live(requiring me to pay to get basic online play/netflix etc), i will never buy one.

  5. I may sink into a depression. I really LOVE my Xbox(s). I can’t believe I might have to pay $60 for a game and not be able to take it from my living room to my bedroom. That’s just ridiculous! I also completely agree with the utter disappointment I felt when all they could feature were sports games *eye roll* and Call of Duty. I don’t care about those things they are just easily updated/duplicated every year nothing new games that pander to the lowest denominator. But I happen to think this of sports in general so maybe I’m violently biased. I also don’t have cable b/c I use my Xbox for netflix and hulu so this whole watch tv thing does nothing for me.
    I completely agree that the focus seems to have turned away from the gamer and toward the general media consumer. Know where your bread is buttered Microsoft!

    • “I can’t believe I might have to pay $60 for a game and not be able to take it from my living room to my bedroom.”

      That’s were the author here makes assumptions.

      My guess is that the thought is developers will implement an EA style model (one which they are actively bailing on because of how unmanageable it takes to have authentication systems).

      Single player allowed without content locked for online play. But multi-player content open for anyone who has a code that is tied to the account. So for example… I own 2 xboxes… I can take my BF3 game… and play between two consoles. I needed one code that tied to my XBOX live account… but wouldn’t let other xbox live users play on my consoles with out their own $15.00 code.

      This is also where the “secondary game market requriing a full retail purchase to play” is clearly not the case. It’s again another assumption by the author. I say wait it out to see how developers plan to deploy games on this platform. My guess is that they will look and either mimic the EA model or abandon the idea of restricted content purchases altogether.

      • Like I said I really LOVE LOVE my Xbox and I really hope you’re right. I’m a happy camper as long as I can keep using my Xbox as easily as I do now. When my little one is ready for bed I can put her to sleep and adjourn to the bedroom for a Sherlock or Doctor Who marathon via netflix or play some Skyrim and move back out in the morning for some Sesame Street. I’m really excited about having the blu-ray incorporated as well. I really really hope you are right. ^_^

        • Too bad Xbone can’t play 360 games. Where ps4 can so u can’t play skyrim. But the Netflix is nice. Too bad you have to pay for it from live then also pay netflex itself too. Also the fact that the Xbone is almost $100 more than ps4. But that’s fine. Waist your money on one then have to buy another 2 because of poor quality and whatever the new “red ring” is where the PS4 will probably run 5 times as long. I actually like the new Xbox. It put Sony on its feet and made them make a better consol while at the same time running Microsoft to the ground.

    • lol ;)

      Then again, I think it matches better to pro level audio gear now and would look nice in a rack environment. Maybe that was the father’s input on making harder for kids to scatter everything across the floor and take it from room to room? ;)

      • I like the curvy, small footprint Xbox as it is now since it fits neatly in it’s little cubby with the Wii. By no mean is it’s the new blockier Xbox 1 not going to have a space in it’s own cubby. I just prefer curvy and small.

  6. Dave, an outstanding list of things to think about. I’ve been wanting to purchase a console for ME (not my 6 and 3 year old boys), and now I’m not so sure about the Xbox One. May start looking elsewhere.

  7. Your post covered all my concerns and more. I’ve resisted getting a game console, but my kids are reaching the age where I’m itching to get one. I was waiting for this hoping for “One” machine to rule them all…but I don’t see it. Here’s my issues…
    1) I disconnected my DVD player and gave it to the kids to dissect. I use Netflix/Amazon/Plex for all our content.
    2) I pay TiVo $100+ per year to DVR shows I can pickup with my antenna. I was hoping the Xbox could replace the DVR, but I have only seen reference to a “Game DVR”. Huh?
    3) I didn’t see enough to say that this could replace my Roku and AppleTV.

    I’m thinking I may be better served to buy a used Xbox 360 and games while keeping my Tivo and Roku hooked up.

    • Why are you so blind? PS3 is a far better entertainment hub than 360 and you won’t have to pay for xbox live just to access basic features. 360 you cannot use the browser, streaming service or online play without paying for xbox live which is $300 every 5 years.

      All other gaming platforms are free online play. All other streaming platforms do not charge a sub before you can buy a sub to netflix or like service. I don’t care if you get a PS3 or not but anything is better than a 360. Roku, Netflix enabled Blu ray players, smart TV’s, even Wii and WiiU are okay options. PS3 is my favorite since you get so much out of it:

      PS3 – blu ray, 3D blu ray, upscale DVD to HD, Internet Browser (Pandora music and whatever you want to do on the net), Free online play, Online movie rental, Streaming services (pretty much all of them) and it also auto connects to windows 7 or windows 8 PC or laptops that are on your network. It will use them as your home media server. I have an office PC and it has all our itunes and amazon music, videos and our family photo’s on it. I can now access all of that on my PS3 on my big screen TV with my surround sound.

      • The least appealing feature is blue ray. I haven’t bought a DVD in years, sold all my disks, and let the kids dismantle the player.

        I’m not sure why PS3 hasn’t been on my radar. I don’t know a single person who owns one and the people who have XBox are happy with it. I’ll take a closer look when I’m ready to buy, but the XBox Live subscription isn’t a deal breaker for me.

        Keep in mind that I’m not a serious game and I require parental controls on whatever I get. I have a Wii and my kids have been happy with it, but it is such a crummy underpowered system.

  8. Excuse me but DISAPOINTING PS4 RELEASE? Dude it was a blast, 2 hours of all about PS4, the console, the capabilities, the games and developer after developer praising the hardware and giving their support.

    Xbox was the failure announcement. PS4 has had nothing but good press except from loser biased dumb ass sites like this who want to see xbox and their pay to play $300 every 5 years POS succeed.

    • PS4 release was a disaster. No form factor. No backwards compatibility when SONY OWNS the blu ray disc architecture. They have a decent online multimedia counter presentation which is going to be interesting to see how they go. But ultimately it’s going to be a preference to brand that makes you decide to go with Sony or Xbox…. or both (or neither if you are PC gamer).

      • Xbox one will have no backwards capability either. It’s about the system architecture not about blu ray.

        However! Due to gaikai PS4 is going to be streaming PS1, PS2 & PS3 games. Sure we have to see how this plays out but Sony said they hope to bring every title ever to the PS4 this way.

        Also the PS4 has the video capture and share option along with spectator mode so that you can watch a friend play a game, coach them and even jump in and take over their character. Not only all this but it has a separate processor specifically for this purpose so that it’s all seamless and gaming or streaming video will not interrupt gameplay.

        Plus the biggest factor. Free online play, Free exclusive content and free games with optional service PS+.

        ***nothing has been confirmed about PS+, there will likely be a multi tier service with PS4 but base will be free****

        The free online play and free exclusive content has been confirmed. Sony re-affirmed when PS+ was announced that online would always be free and it’s already been announced that Destiny and Watchdogs will have free exclusive content on PS4. Assassins Creed is likely to announce the same soon too.

  9. In re: point #9:
    What does that make the WiiU, given that EA has been rather… *ahem* forthright about not porting anything to the system?

  10. Microsoft may successfully argue that First Sale doesn’t apply. You aren’t purchasing the game, you are purchasing a license to play the game and access the game content, as specified in their standard software shrinkwrap license terms. All the content creators are starting to sell licenses instead of rights to content, because it gives them more control over usage of the items, and under that sort of contract law, the fee may well be legal.

    Standard disclaimers apply to this being my own opinion and me not being a lawyer, etc. etc.

  11. I am a huge fan of the 360 and the subscription doesn’t bother me but i was looking forward to the Xbox One and the always on doesn’t bother me but the main thing is with the used games. I shouldn’t have to pay to take a game that i already payed for bring home pay again and may not even like it

  12. Didn’t read the other comments but it seems like whoever wrote this article didn’t even watch the unveiling. The Xbox One will not always need to be on, they explicitly said that. It is a new, improved kinect. You say there are no games, but later mention there are 15 exclusives, including 8 new franchises. That is a lot better than Microsoft has done before. As for call of duty, there is a lot new besides the dog, mainly the customizable characters, freerunning transitions, and dynamic maps.

    • Xbox one will require an internet connection, last I heard one hour a day minimum.

      It also will only play used games after a fee is paid.

      The good news is that you can take your game to a friends house, sign in as yourself and then not have to pay for the rights to access.

    • I’m with Josh. In the last 24 hours, bashing the Xbox One reveal has become the cool thing to do, largely based on misinformation or the fact that more games weren’t shown off.

      If only there was a specific forum for companies to demo their new games… oh, wait. E3 is right around the corner, and MS clearly said they’re going to reveal games then. By contrast, it would be weird to promote the Xbox One’s multimedia capabilities at E3, so yesterday’s reveal was the perfect forum for this. I think a lot of the whiners are being intentionally obtuse.

      Since this is GeekDAD, I’ve got to say, I think the voice recognition and gesture controls could be a cool way to get my daughter into gaming and technology in general, since she currently has trouble manipulating the Xbox 360 controller. I also think that the “Input 1″ philosophy is very non-gamer wife-friendly (she was impressed with the live TV demo), but I’ve got to say HDMI pass-through is disappointing. I was really hoping for an integrated tuner and DVR capability.

    • Microsoft clearly states (in fine print of course):

      **Features and requirements are under development and may change prior to release. Available features and content may vary by country. Broadband internet (ISP fees apply) and advanced TV hardware required. Games and media content sold separately. Xbox Live Gold membership, paid subscription and other requirements apply for some Xbox Live features.

      This was copied and pasted from Gamestop.com. Notice the Broadband internet and ADVANCED TV Hardware REQUIRED. Microsoft is famous for breaking promises.

      What is even more disappointing to me is that my daughter and I both have been Gold subscriber’s for 7 years running and we don’t even play online games. Unfortunately you need to be “Gold” just to have access to all content. We are BIG gamers, we have 2 XBox 360’s, 2 WII’s, 2 DS’s, 1 PSP, 1 PS3 and 1 WII U, but I still favor my XBox and it’s controller. That has started to change recently along with my attitude towards the entire gaming industry. I have started to go the way of STEAM, so much so that I bought a new XPS just for that purpose. But I surely will still be buying the new PS4, but not the new XBox. That’s it for Microsoft in my house…

    • What’s funny is battlefield has had dynamic maps since bad company 2. Lol. COD is becoming NFS. A game a year and it still remains the same

  13. I found both reveals disappointing. but as a long term Xbox player I was gutted m$ forcing a camera and Mic into everyone’s home when it was clear most people didn’t want bundled Kinect is to me disturbing the 150$+ that you will end up paying for your bundled Kinect should have been spent on a better gfx card and more/faster ram. cause of current specs it is hugely underpowered for its 9 year lifecycle.
    way to drop the ball m$ I bought both last Xbox,s on launch but I wouldn’t touch this with a bargepole. and I can see it failing hard because the people who buy consoles on launch are mainly core gamers ms you can keep your crappy media hub I already have a smart tv/phone/tablet that does most of what Xbox one will dO. much to my disappointment my money will now be going on a gaming pc ( ps4 looks better than Xbox one more of a game’s machine but hate the pads and have doubts about online service )

  14. The games seem to be licence based so the First Sale Doctrine would not apply. However, with all the news about MS allowing these games into the used game market, I have to ask – is it legal for us to sell our software licence of the game? … because the law says we cant? But I assume there is a work around since the copyright owner of the content we access through the licence is involved in the resell process

  15. Renting games from the local Redbox might not be possible for the Xbox One, eh? Unless they plan on doing internet rentals.

    This concerns me for companies that have data caps.

  16. i agree it gliches all the time and if you put your memory stick/card in it it wipes out all your memoey onit it the most rubbishs game consele ever built ps4 an the xbox360 and ps3 is better then every thing

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