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  • Writer's pictureJamiex66

Microsoft, Clear As Mud

The Xbox One has been officially unveiled and to Microsoft’s dismay, it seems feedback on the console is centered on confusion. Much of the press leading up to Microsoft’s next-generation reveal was surrounding the much talked about always-online feature, and if the system would play used games. After the console has now been officially announced, these two issues should have been clarified, confirmed, or debunked. Explaining to the fans that have been following these rumours if they were indeed true, or unmerited. Fast forward 24 hours and Xbox fans are still left wondering. Will they have to pay fees to play used-games? Will gamers have to connect their consoles online regularly? 

Always-online has been a great topic among Xbox One’s reveal since the rumour originally started. With many locations across the globe struggling for sustainable and efficient internet connections, many hoped this was incorrect. Microsoft has been able to avoid confirming the always-online functionality, simply because it isn’t. Then why I am talking about it? Microsoft Executive Phil Harrison told Eurogamer that the console will require online connectivity, once every 24 hours. So as much as they technically haven’t lied to consumers, they also haven’t been very up-front on the issue.

Consumers who watched the reveal or heard the news somewhere else and heard Microsoft announce Xbox One as not being always-online, have been fooled. It may not be always-online, but as a company wanting your consumer base to invest in their latest piece of technology, one that will be around for many years; wouldn’t it make sense to be honest? Bear the brunt of negativity alongside the concrete details, rather than hide behind correct terminology.

Sure they never lied, but they were not completely honest either. This is a worrying sign for the consumer, since a company is trusted to give their fans the facts. If they however skate around the issue, playing word games with a major factor in the consoles features, what other features could garner the same attitude?

When it comes to used-games and their ability to be played on multiple systems, the confusion continues. Xbox One owners will be able to alter parental controls to allow multiple games being played throughout multiple Gamertags, since the disc is installed on that console it will now be recognized with that machine. If you go to a friend’s house, you may play this game but only if you log-in to your Gamertag the game has been registered with. Once you sign-out, this game is now no longer playable unless re-purchased, so one would assume this will be the same for used-games?

These fees that are meant to accompany the re-purchase of pre-owned titles has not been confirmed, instead they have been said to be revealed at a later date. Yet Gamestop’s own President Tony Bartel has stated, “Both Sony and Microsoft have said games can be resold and that’s exactly what we anticipated,” But at what price? If we purchased a pre-owned game, how much money will we part with to then allow this game to be installed on our console? With Xbox One’s strong showing of support from EA, is it a conspiracy theorist to suggest this is why EA removed the Online Pass? Maybe. But the fact these fees were not nipped in the bud is something fans that rely on used-games as a means to continuing their hobby, should know.

Though we have no concrete information on either issue, since Microsoft’s team has continued to dance around the topic, providing muddled information for the gaming media. This is an issue that should be addressed sooner rather than later. The longer they allow rumours and incorrect information to spread, Xbox One’s image begins to suffer. With many fans already disappointed with the unveiling we received, the last thing Microsoft want is to destroy their customer excitement before leaving the gate.

Even though these issues are apparent within many gaming minds, the idea of games being left-out of the consoles reveal is another topic of conversation. The fact is we were told by Microsoft this reveal wasn’t going to be gaming heavy, sure we got told about EA’s sporting franchises, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Forza, but Microsoft’s heavy hitters were certainly behind closed doors. This was something that shouldn’t have surprised many in conclusion of yesterdays reveal. Having confirmed 15 exclusive titles coming to the console in the first 12 months, including 8 new IP’s is a strong sign. We know one IP will be Remedy’s latest TV/video game title Quantum Break, with another being Crytek’s roman first-person title Ryse.

This is great news for Xbox fans looking for what lacked on the Xbox 360, exclusive titles. The problem is until we get confirmation on what these titles could be, they could be anything. Kinect Sports 3, Kinectimals 2 or even a new version of Lips. So even though it is a very strong indication Microsoft wants to correct the exclusivity issue previously, there is no guarantee these games will be of the Halo or Gears of War quality we have come to expect.

The concrete information we have been given is Microsoft’s focus on being the entertainment hub. Their focus was clear, we do more than just gaming. With robust TV integration, the ease switching between broadcasts, using voice functionality to improve usability and a refined HD version of Kinect. These may not tickle the fancy of many gamers, but it is undoubtedly the strong focus when the dust has settled from the Xbox One reveal.

Microsoft has confirmed games will be a focus for Xbox One, in the coming weeks at their E3 press conference. With such confusing messages, muddled information and the lack of selling the console to the gamers that originally made the system a success. This is going to be an important E3 for both Microsoft and the Xbox One.

Jamie Briggs manages Analog Addiction and you can like them on Facebook, follow his daily life on Twitter @JamieAA and his videos on YouTube.



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