Yesterday Microsoft announced the release of the successor to the Xbox 360: the Xbox One. While some mothers may be confused as to why their children want a console that came out in 2001 (I stole that joke from my friend Chris’s Twitter), most everyone will know that this is the next step in Microsoft’s gaming development. I had some thoughts while following the press conference and reading about the Xbox One. Check out some of those thoughts below.
More than anything, Microsoft wants the Xbox One to be the entertainment hub for the entire family. Gone are the days when a gaming console was just used for playing video games. These days I use my Xbox 360 more for watching Netflix, ESPN and listening to I Heart Radio. The Xbox One is being built from the ground up to be so much more than a gaming console. Microsoft wants it to be the central location for all of our gaming, entertainment and even communication needs. Why stop playing a game to take a Skype call when we can just add it to the side of our Call of Duty match? With so many different screens and games vying for our attention, Microsoft hopes that the Xbox One will stand as king of them all. Unfortunately, instead of becoming our one stop place for gaming and entertainment, I fear it will become just another stop in an already crowded schedule. Instead of simplifying our gaming and entertainment choices, it will just add one more thing we have to do, one more distraction to keep us from fully engaging with the real world around us. That’s a worse case scenario, though. I still think it will be awesome to say, “Xbox, watch Sherlock” and have Benjamin Cumberbatch’s interesting mug pop up on my TV.
Unfortunately the Xbox One will have no backwards compatibility. There is some answer for why it won’t work but all I heard was “blah blah blah more money blah blah corporate synergy.” I really don’t care that much about backwards compatibility but, if I do get an Xbox One, I don’t know if I’ll have enough HDMI ports on my television. My real problem isn’t with backwards compatibility; it’s with the fact that I’m backlogged with games I need to play. I have numerous Xbox 360 games I haven’t even played. If I wanted to finish those games before I got an Xbox One, I might miss the next generation all together.
Pricing and Release
Which really brings me to my main thoughts about the Xbox One. Do I really need another gaming console? I have an Xbox 360 that barely plays games as it is. I just beat the main quest in Skyrim and still have a bunch of other quests to finish. I’ve got games that I haven’t even played once. I’m barely using my Xbox 360 as it is, so why do I still feel the need to save $600 to buy an Xbox One in November? I don’t know if that’s how much the console is going to cost or if it is coming out in November. But if I type “Xbox One $600 November” enough maybe it will help out my search engine optimization. I know I don’t need an Xbox One but that doesn’t mean I don’t want one. I don’t know how to resolve that tension but I’m sure my much more responsible wife does.
The Xbox One didn’t blow me away but that doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s a cool piece of technology. Like any console, though, the real draw is the games. If the Xbox One has amazing, exclusive, can’t miss games, then it becomes an amazing, can’t miss console. As with any new piece of technology, though, we need to acknowledge how it can hurt and help our humanity. We’re so much more than bags of flesh looking to be entertained and our entertainment choices need to reflect that reality.
What are your thoughts about the Xbox One?