A photo of the Xbox One, stolen off the internet
After a record long console generation (8 years, double the 4 between Xbox and 360) we finally get word of the new Xbox One. The first impression is that nobody in MS marketing knows how to count. We went from 1, to 360, to 1 again. Of course, no first console is called “One” in its lifetime but for the first time ever the numbering goes backwards? Reboot perhaps?
All jargon aside, the only, and I mean ONLY reason the 360 was called such was because in the battle-that-never-happened of Xbox 2 versus Playstation 3, which sounded better? Remember, consumers are stupid (see the Twilight films). This time around, I think they’re going for a play on words, ie, Xbox One sounds like “Xbox WON”, some sort of subliminal advertising. As Red Letter Media would saw “You may not have noticed, but your brain did”
Click below to read more of my impressions.
MS showed us a lot more in their reveal than Sony did, and by that I mean the actual console and even the insides of it. The guts are almost exactly the same layout as the current Xbox Slim, except the heatsink is larger (they’re taking no chances this time) and it’s a slot-loading slimmer Blu-Ray driver rather than the clunky full-sized PC-style 5 1/4 DVD drive.
Here’s what I see by looking at the photos from Wired:
- There will be an external power brick. Internal power circuits = heat = failure. After a billion dollars lost, MS is going to be very conservative about this.
- The design already looks very optimized, a far cry from how the 2005 model 360’s looked.
- The chip under the Blu-Ray is the Southbridge, the IC that takes care of IO ports, controllers, communications, etc.
- The 8 digit LED’s are probably developer debug.
MS used a lot of buzzwords in their speech today, none of which matter because the big question on everyone’s mind right now is “Can it play used games?”
Here’s my guess for how it will work:
- You buy a game at the store still because a) There isn’t enough broadband to support 30 gig games b) Retail stores want physical games to sell OR a high markup on hardware (Apple)
- You install the game to HDD before play (like PC has done for seventy million years)
- You can run the game off HDD without the disc. Let’s face it, installing to HDD but still needing the disc on 360 is fairly lame.
- The game loads incredibly faster and streams much better textures because developers don’t have to dumb down the data rate to what a DVD can do.
- Your Blu-Ray drive is barely used, increasing the reliability of the console (RROD aside, the DVD was another larger failure point on the 360)
- When done with a game, you “de-activate it” from your account (like switching iTunes or Adobe to a new computer) and then take the disc to the upscale pawn shop known as Gamestop.
- You wonder why the HDD is only 500 gigs when a Blu-Ray install will take 10-20 gigs thus limiting you to around 20 games total installed.
- You also wonder why used games are such a big deal when Apple and Steam make money hand over fist, with absolutely no way to resale.
Used games sales are one of those “can’t see the forest for the trees” situations. For decades publishers worried about piracy, all the while Gamestop was cleaning up with the used market. Suddenly there’s this new, phantom menace and it’s not the one you spent so much time worrying about. See also: Concern about kids playing violent games when the real issue is childhood obesity caused by a sedentary lifestyle. (Soda doesn’t make you fat, Soda + Inactivity does)
If [anywhere but South Korea]’s internet was up to the task, we’d have download-only console already, completing solving the used game “problem”. But we’re not there yet, so we’ve got to deal with a disc/interest based solution. Cracking down on used sales is one of those “who blinks first” scenarios, and it looks like MS just blinked. Don’t go rushing to PS4 in revenge just yet, because in their desire to be publisher-friendly (adios Cell!) they’ve probably done the same.
Here are my hopes for this new console:
- If you’re a media hub, work quickly. My Xbox 360 these days is just a Mad Men / Breaking Bad adapter, and it seems to take 10 layers of menus to open a new episode of Don Draper standing in an elevator.
- If you’re going to tie a Kinect to every box, I should be able to walk into my living room as say “Xbox, play the latest episode of Pawn Stars” or “Show me the latest movie releases excluding Adam Sandler”
- Do not have analog face buttons on the controllers. I hack a lot of controllers, and that feature is really annoying on PS3.
- Fix the D-pad by spending 3 more cents on a secondary PCB for it.
- Has a new hi-polygon version of Fallout 4 that doesn’t run on older consoles or even my PC.