It seems we can't really go anywhere on a gaming site without seeing news about the Xbox One. I know for sure that I'm not helping. And, while I'm not bringing more bad news (really, Microsoft does a good enough job at that), I do want to be able to write down why I'm not excited in the least bit for it.
I look back on the PlayStation 2 as one of my favourite video gaming consoles. It was simple, it took what made the previous generations of gaming good then expanded on it. The games I remembered were bright and colourful, and we saw a nice array of new IPs to keep us entertained. God of War
, Jak and Daxter
and Ratchet and Clank
, just to name a few. Yes, we saw what would be the start of the horrific downfall of Spyro the Dragon
with a horrendously lackluster title and one that was somewhat decent, but overall there were a lot of positives.
To this day, I have a PS2 (not my original one, sadly, but one none the less) sitting in my living room. A nice stack of games by its side. My 10 year old copy of Ratchet and Clank
still in the disk tray. When I boot up the console, it goes straight to my game, provided there is one inserted in the console. If I boot it up without the game in the tray, it'll give me an easy way to manage my console settings and memory card.
It's simplistic. For sure it's incredibly simplistic. But it works. And after 10 years, my copy of Ratchet and Clank
still works as well as it did when I picked it up. There's no effort, no keys, no installing of games to my paltry 500GB hard drive that'll very likely require expansion. It just works.
If I so wanted, I could take my 10 year old game disk to some random stranger and tell them "hey, this is yours." No fuss, I've just given my game away. It doesn't feel like the transference of a license. I gave them a physical media containing a game. It used to be mine, now it's theirs. They can give that game away or they can play it. Again, no fuss.
And this goes to the previous generations, too. Owners of older games consoles and older games? They can still just place in a disk or cartridge and their game will run. Provided the hardware is still operational.
Their consoles won't phone home. There's no worrying about whether or not some malicious bastard in the future will shut down the authentication servers.
It's how we can still have people like the Angry Video Game Nerd
review games from the old NES or Atari 2600. His games have no expiry date. Only the life of the hardware. And it'll be possible to pick up another (obviously second-hand) console, in the event of his failing.
Alongside this, I've lived with some poor net connection at times. There have been entire seasons where, in my old house, my ADSL connection dropped out at least 3 times an hour. That's the average. I literally had to pick up the phone, hit 'call' then hang up to get it to reconnect. It was a pain in the ass. What happens when my game can't authenticate due to having poor connection? I don't know, I've never dealt with this issue in a video game console before. Maybe on some PC games, where I wanted to angrily punch my monitor, but not on a console.
I don't know what Microsoft is intending to do with it. There are still many variables.
And if I'm playing the single-player campaign of a game, let's say an Elder Scrolls
game - for one is bound to pop up on the Xbox One - immersed in the captivating landscapes the game will offer me. Then my net drops out around time for the game to authenticate? That'll just break my immersion. It'll effectively tarnish my gaming experience, all because Microsoft wants to stop the pirates or whatever bullshit they're using to explain it away this time.
And on the subject of piracy, I doubt it'll do anything at all to stop it. Pirates are known to be able to bypass DRM measures. It's within their ability to do so. Someone somewhere will make a program to automate the process for the more end-level pirates. Essentially, the pirates get a better product than actual paying
consumers. And if I'm to pay the price of the game as well as the ever-so-hated "fuck you Australia" addition to game prices, I'd like to be able to get the best damn experience possible.
I want a better product than what the pirates get. I want better service. Making me jump through hoops because the pirates do is just stupid. I may as well pirate it and get the superior experience.
Instead of focusing on what consoles do right - simplicity and a pretty decent lifespan (judging by some older consoles), Microsoft is taking the worst aspects of PC gaming (overzealous DRM policies and general commercial bullshit) and incorporating it into their consoles. And it's safe to assume they won't take the best parts of PC gaming and focus on that, too. I doubt we'll see games on the cheap with 75% off sales, an open market where people can set up their own online game stores and game mods.
Quite frankly, at this point, if Microsoft announced they'd bought off the Pokemon
franchise, made a huge open-world 3D Pokemon
RPG with every single region, every single Pokemon
and maybe a whole new generation of really goddamn kickass creatures then said it was Xbox One exclusive, I'd probably still avoid it. Then cry.
I fucking hope Sony isn't planning on following their lead.
Just to add something, as soon as I initially posted this blog, my father called me. He told me that he's been having trouble with his Internet connection and that his ISP will send a repairman in 11 days time
. If he was an Xbox One user, that'd be 11 days of his console being almost completely useless. I just thought it reinforces my argument and felt the need to add this.