Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Xbox One: A rope of Sand

I hate talking about self indulgences. No, wait, that's an absolute lie, I love talking self indulgently. Everyone does it, talking about things that make them happy in some way. Even if it's just talking about "ooh, we've got to help the farmland critters from being made into tasty treats and wearable cleats!" people only talk about that because it makes them happy in some way. Whether it is the thing itself or the reaction they get from talking about, pretty much every conversation is self indulgent. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, it's basic pride and yes, in general, we're taught that pride is a bad thing, a sin even. So we talk about the little sins, the peccadilloes, the little things that we can take a small amount of pride in because modesty is so much better which leads me to the Xbox One.

For those of you unaware of what the Xbox One is, it is the third video game console (I know, why is it called the One if it's the third...I'll get back to that...) by the mega-corporation Microsoft, who brought you other such fantastic things as Windows 8 (you mean people on desktop pcs didn't want tablet software running their systems?!) and the Zune (which, by all accounts, was actually a decent piece of hardware, just had the bad luck of running against the apple-ites) and okay, yeah they did do good things like basically popularise home computing and make the industry what it is today.

The Xbox One is the third machine they made for the sole purpose of playing video games...well, I say sole, they actually marketed it as a home media centre, able to watch tv, play games, listen to music etc. i.e. a machine that does the function of several machines, an "all in one machine" if you will (and that, my friends, is where the name comes from, told you I'd get back to that!), which, if you're a gamer like I am, was a worrying noise for Microsoft to be making. It makes sense from a business sense, more generalised content means more sales right? But it also means a lower degree of emphasis on video games, you know, the thing that made the previous console (the Xbox 360) a genuine contender for the crown of Console King (what is a handheld gamer to a console king, what is a console king to a PC God?! I joke, I joke, all three types have merit to them....unlike tablet/mobile gaming, fuck those so called "games") and it shows.

Well, that's not entirely true. The thing that is really hurting the Xbox One at the moment is a lack of titles. Surely this a result of Microsoft's broadening of their scope for the console. Not exactly. The Playstation 4, it's prime opponent (Nintendo, with the Wii-U, just sits in the corner with its fingers in its ears, repeating over and over to itself that "gamers just want more mario with more costumes, more mario, more costumes, more mario, more mario, more mario...") who in the lead up to both consoles release dates put the emphasis on gaming, again and again, and mocked and derided the TV-centric model of the Microsoft effort.

Yet, here we are, five months down the line and both systems don't really have that "game", that title that sells systems. As good as Titanfall is, all the great publicity it gets, is basically for naught. It's available on Xbox One, sure, but it's also available on PC and even the Xbox 360. The PS4's major release, Infamous: Second Son looks fairly fun (on a more personal note, it looks to me like Aaron Paul with Powers simulator, which, if they had followed that path, would have been a far greater title) but in terms of enticing people on the fence to buy a £350+ console for? Don't get me wrong, I bought an Xbox One partially on the back of the Titanfall release, but mostly it was out of a desire to throw my hat into the ring now. I'll be buying a PS4 somewhere down the line, but that the Xbox One, Microsoft, who disregarded games in basically all their speeches have that slight edge at this point in the race (an edge that will continue to grow as shown in this video), are moving back to games being the focus, its a good time to be a console gamer. 

At least, it will be, when we actually get some decent titles out, come on man, give me something I can't live without, not a numbered sports title/last gen port like what we currently have! Later taters!

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