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The Confusing Aftermath Of The Xbox One Reveal

Yesterday, Microsoft revealed the Xbox One, an all-in-one gaming, er, entertainment console that brings together television, sports, and Call of Duty. Once the announcements were made and the dust had settled, people started getting angry. Why would Microsoft court the enthusiast press — the people whose job it is to inform those who are most likely to be early adopters — for days prior to the event, then only barely mention video games in the reveal of a gaming console?

I’m sure Microsoft wanted to get the business stuff out of the way so they could save the exiciting video game reveals for E3, and I understand that, but their confusing presentation was a very public — and rather spectacular — stumble that’s going to be difficult to recover from.

When asked about the console’s online requirements or the ability to share games with friends, Microsoft’s been dodgy with their answers.

Will it require an Internet connection? Sort of.

From Wired: And what of the persistent rumors that Xbox One games will be “always online” – that is, that single-player games would require a constant online connection to function? As it turns out, those rumors were not unfounded, but the reality is not so draconian. Xbox One will give game developers the ability to create games that use Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service, which means that they might be able to offload certain computing tasks to the cloud rather than process them on the Xbox One hardware itself. This would necessitate the game requiring a connection.

Are developers forced to create games that have these online features, and are thus not playable offline? They are not, Xbox exec Whitten said to Wired — but “I hope they do.” So the always-online future may come in incremental steps.”

So it’s essentially up to the developers whether they want their game to require an online connection.

What about blocking used games or sharing games with your friends?

Regarding the former, “We are designing Xbox One to enable customers to trade in and resell games. We’ll have more details to share later.” is all Microsoft has to say on the matter right now.

As for sharing games, we know a manual install is required, and once the game is installed you’ll be able to play that game even if the disc isn’t in the console. To keep people from buying a game and sharing it with all their friends, once you install a game it’s tied to your Xbox Live account.

From the same Wired report, “Microsoft did say that if a disc was used with a second account, that owner would be given the option to pay a fee and install the game from the disc, which would then mean that the new account would also own the game and could play it without the disc.”

Yes, you can share games, but not for free, unless you use your account. If you want to play your game on your friend’s console, you can do that, so long as your profile is on their console. Otherwise, you’ll have to lay down some money.

Yesterday, when the live stream of the Xbox One reveal had ended, I realized I had more questions than answers. I knew more about the console, but when it came to the things I, as a gamer, really cared about, I was left bewildered.

No backwards compatibility, a Kinect that’s now required for the console to function — that’s especially scary, seeing as it’s a camera that’s always on and connected to the Internet — the conflicting reports on what type of connection the console requires… it was a muddled, frustrating presentation. Looking at Sony’s reveal of the PS4, where they greeted developers big and small to create games on their platform, which they’ve made easier to develop for, I think Sony may have won this round.

Obviously, E3 is everything. Microsoft has fifteen exclusives they’ll reveal next month, including eight new IPs. Hopefully by then we’ll have solid answers for our lingering questions, too, because right now you can be sure Sony’s working on finding a way to benefit from this debacle.

Have a question? Feel free to ever-so-gently toss Adam an email, or follow him on Twitter and Bloody Disgusting.



  • romeostruedude

    The XboxOne reveal was a tragic mess. Lots of misunderstandings and no true focus. And let’s talk about that name first. The Xbox. One. This is NOT the first xbox. I bought that YEARS ago. That cherry had been popped already. And it’s like…WHY?! WHY NOT XBOX INFINITY?! Infinite Possibilities! Never ending amounts of enjoyment! And the NEXTBOX could have been called “XBOX BEYOND”. Seriously. Like Batman Beyond. Or…”Infinity…then BEYOND.” Now? All I need is just ONE good reason to buy this XBOX. Then, I will admit. I thought it looked very nice! Pretty even! But, they should have made a slim of that heavy bulk of…”Modern” tech? Seriously! We live in an era where we could do a lot of things…and creating smaller tech is tough? Having the ability to play backwards capability wasn’t big enough to fit in there? Now I know the PS4 is doing the same thing but at least I know the games will come back in an HD Collection of sorts…but that brings me to another problem that isn’t present with the PS4. There’s the FEE to play used games. (What about families and those who don’t share the same profile? How is that going to work? How do you distinguish when it’s me, the owner, of said game or a friend? Will it be from me having to throw 50 bucks a year to use Wifi I am already paying for?). Then there is the ALWAYS NEED KINECT TO BE CONNECTED to use the Xbox One. Why? So you can spy on us? Are you secretly working to become Skynet Microsoft? Is porn really hard to watch when you are at work? Cause I know a lot of people play naked or has done something “similar” in that state of attire. Then last but not least. The game announcements. The DEALS. This is their big first impression to the world guys! And all we got was FIFA 13? COD: CARDBOARD SERIES? And…that’s it? I heard they wanted to bring in more entertainment like hulu and netflix and stuff I ALREADY HAVE. But, they already f’d up the Xbox360 dashboard with ADS. SO MANY ADS! ADS THAT SHOULD NOT BE THERE FOR THOSE WHO PAID FOR THEIR MEMBERSHIPS! Honestly, does this thing even play games? Were they throwing those games in there just in the last minute cause they realized they were a gaming console? Or was it just for fun? Were they even trying to sway us to get their VcrONE? In any case, for a “FIRST” impression. That was pretty disappointing.

    • huntermc

      I hope that this doesn’t mean that we’ll need to enter a 20 digit registration key for every game we buy.

  • REmake

    I definitely do not agree with “E3 being everything.” In-company live stream events have made E3 a little redundant for me. I’d honestly prefer if Sony and Microsoft followed Nintendo’s cue and started doing direct streams of their own.

    • Adam Dodd

      Personal opinions on the expo aside, both Sony and Microsoft do invest quite a bit into their pre-E3 showings, so for Microsoft to re-capture their core audience’s attention, yes, E3 is everything. If they mess that up, they’re in serious trouble.

  • straighttohell86

    I’m a long time Playstation/Sony fan so I don’t really care about xbox anything, but I also don’t see the point in all the hate on this new xbox, it’ll probably be the same as the 360 just with a little more power. The Xboxone and the PS4 both have pretty weak power specs compared to any basic pc available right now, so it seems strange that those two systems are supposed to be “next gen” when they aren’t even up to par with whats going on right now or last year. These next gen consoles will likely be similar to the last gen, just with nintendo trailing far behind this time around.

  • Jasonicus

    I don’t get what the big deal is. Obviously it’ll play games. Microsoft was only showing what else it’ll be capable of. They have, for years, wanted to make an all-in-one entertainment system and not it looks to be happening. People are dense.

    • Sirengx

      Oh, it’ll play games… so long as you plan on buying every game new or else pay a ‘fee’ for sharing games. Oh, and you’ll have to never go anywhere for more than a day or else you’ll get your games locked.

      So if people complaining about stuff like this makes one dense…

      • Chazz

        The 24 hour thing was clarified already as not being the case, also, who cares if you have to buy games new? Give the developers their money. If you want the game then they’ve earned it.

        And the fee thing? Look at Steam, Origin and uPlay. The future of gaming is single user licences. It’s been heading down that path for ages.

        • Sirengx

          Their clarifications are shotty at best. My husband and I buy 99% of our games new, but there are times we buy them used. We have no problems giving developers their money — however, we share games and having to pay a fee for it is kind of ridiculous (and not everyone can afford to buy all games new). That would add up to a lot of money that shouldn’t have to be paid out.

          I don’t see a problem with giving out a certain number of keys, like some PC games. But charging for every time someone borrows or buys used? You’re already paying for XBL, so why add more things you have to pay for?

          It’s a hot mess, and Microsoft doesn’t seem to be getting any better about it. I doubt anything good will come from their E3 presentation, so I think me and my husband are going to stick with Sony this gen.

          • Chazz

            If you share games it’s not an issue, you just use their account. The only thing you miss out on is achievements…are they that big a deal for you?

            And no, not everyone can afford to buy new games but it’s not exactly fair for the devs/publishers and console makers to shoulder the lesser profits because some people are indulging in activities that don’t fit their budget.

            And no PC game gives out a certain amount of keys. Some limit activations but those are all tied to a single account. But that situation is rare if not completely gone now.

            Again, why not charge everytime? How many people do you know that borrow a game or buy it used that finish it and then go “hey, let’s buy a brand new copy so the people who made it get their cut”…personally I don’t know anyone that would do that.

            This is all more pointless excuse making to hate over a situation that is a non-issue.

  • Daddy-the-Baddy

    What a load of crap. Let me get this straight. I have 2 sons and we have 3 xboxeswe rarely buy the same game. Dead space 3 being the last one. we have about 200 games betweeen us, and we try each others games. So now microsoft is gonna tell me f##k off buy 3 copies for everything? Very rarelyu play my ps 3 , only got it for killzone and god of war, but if this holds up microsoft can take a flying f##k

  • Golic

    I don’t know why any of this is surprising to anyone, Microsoft has been nickle and dimeing gamers for years now; this is just more of the same if you ask me.

  • dirtyghettok

    It is what it is. But I won’t cast any judgement till it’s out… On a side note, Adam, when’s the next Halo night of playing against eachother? I missed the last one and would love to play with our fellow BD crew.My XBOX 360 ‘Halo’ name is ‘dirtyghettok13’ if anyone wants to play in a few hours..

  • Chazz

    It’s like people are being deliberately obtuse about this whole thing. It’s not hard to make sense of what’s going on.

    E3 is just around the corner so of course MS were going to use this initial reveal to show off all the new non-gaming related features. That’s the path consoles are taking, basically becoming an all-in-one entertainment system. Netflix and streaming from your PC etc on the 360 and PS3 were not added for fun, they were added to start bridging the gap between a console being just a gaming device and being an entertainment device.

    And here’s the thing about those complaining about the lack of games being shown etc, “it’s a next generation console. Of fucking course it’s going to have games, and they’re going to look better than this generation’s games. Has there ever been a new generation of consoles that did not A) improve the graphics of the games and B) have a library of games? I feel like the knowledge that the new Xbox would look better than the 360 falls into “no shit” territory. So why wouldn’t they talk about something new the console brings to the table?” -Tim @Cad Comics

    Used games has always been a hot topic but guess what…stop being so damn tight about it. A used game works just the same as a brand new one, there is no downside for the consumer buying a used game. There is for the devs and publishers though so of course companies are going to work on stopping that. They are BUSINESSES. Their aim is to make money. And hell, if you boycott a console over all this, the devs and publishers aren’t going to care because they weren’t going to get your money in the first place.

    The kinect is a major part of controlling the device so of course it’s going to be on. When you’re watching TV, do you take the batteries out of the remote when you’ve settled on what you’re going to watch?

    Being a PC gamer myself, I have no issue with games being tied to an account. Been that way with digital distribution since forever and it’s been hugely successful. So why do you think the physical media side would stick to an older approach that doesn’t work as well?

    Time to stop clinging onto the past folks.

  • randomguysteve

    Gonna pass on this one and keep playing the Atari 2600. At least I can own these games and not worry about wifi or motion control or even using more than one button. Until a console comes out with no compromise, even though it’ll probably be pretty awesome after I get over my selfish desires, then I’ll be here playing Haunted House.

  • ThunderDragoon

    I’m so glad I’m a PlayStation fan because if I was an Xbox fan, this stuff would piss me off. Too many negatives outweigh the positives.

  • Chazz

    Let’s keep this simple.

    Everyone complaining is simply being a dim-witted and self-entitled moron. The technology of the medium has improved to the point where the companies that spend millions on keeping you entertained are losing as little money as possible. You would do the exact same thing in their position.

    Get over yourselves. Like a bunch of spoilt children, it’s really pathetic.

    inb4 wanky self-entitled rage responses.


    I am a die hard Xbox 360 fan, I never touch my PS3 but I was a little disappointed in the show. The stuff they are showing is cool but I doubt ill use much of it. When I buy a system like this I want it for gaming. Hopefully they wow me at E3 with some great looking games and exclusives, I doubt ill switch my choice to the PS4 but they seem to be focusing more on the games and there system seems a little more powerful from what Ive seen.

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