Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Xbox One - My Thoughts.



So it has finally been revealed. The topic of a lot of conversations here in the Asylum for the past few months. Will it have this? Will it do that? Blah, blah, blah...

Only now, we know what it does, and if it will have that, etc. And I must say, we're feeling a little underwhelmed.

We are big Xbox fans in here. It is our console of choice. Not a day goes by that our 360 is not in use. Our PS3 on the other hand, hasn't received any love in months (of course, that will change soon with the release of The Last of Us).

So after Sony's PS4 reveal, we didn't really care. We figured, "meh - we'll pick it up at some point, but the next-gen Xbox will definitely be a Day One purchase", but after the reveals that yesterday has brought us, it's safe to say we're a little disappointed.

Of course, there are things that we're happy about:

- Blu Ray drive (hell yes!)
- 15 Exclusives (although we've yet to see/hear about most of them)
- 500GB HDD (an upgrade from the 360's HDD)
- Gamerscore/Avatar being brought forward to next-gen

And of course, not much games-wise was revealed to us during the announcement, so we'll have to wait until E3 for that, so once those are revealed, I can safely say that the games will be something I'll be extremely happy about (as you'd expect!)

There is one thing that we are absolutely not happy about, and it is that big black cloud looming over the Xbox One, making it a less than exciting new console.

The dreaded preowned games fee.

Here in the Asylum, considering that the majority of our spending money each month goes to Collector's Editions of games, pre order ones at that, we don't have much money left to buy games preowned, but now that this "fee" has been announced, it is pretty worrying. It will make our infrequent preowned purchases become almost non-existent (bar picking up CEs preowned).

I really don't want to be buying a preowned game for £25, to then have to pay potentially £25 (or more!) on top of it to "unlock" it for my account.

A big worry I had when it was first announced was that me and Allan will be sharing our Xbox One, so if it was to lock to an individual GamerTag, and not the console itself, then we'd technically have to purchase two of each game that we both want, which would be an absolute nightmare for our gaming budget. However, Phil Harrison, has come forward to explain this locking in better detail:

"If I buy the disc from a store, I use that disc in my machine, I can give that disc to my son and he can play it on his 360 in his room. We both can't play at the same time, but the disc is the key to playing. I can go round to your house and give you that disc and you can play on that game as well.
What we're doing with the digital permissions that we have for Xbox One is no different to that. If I am playing on that disc, which is installed to the hard drive on my Xbox One, everybody in my household who has permission to use my Xbox One can use that piece of content. I can give that piece of content to my son and he can play it on the same system."

This is some very clever wording on Mr. Harrison's part. He mentions the Xbox 360, and how if he buys a game to play on his Xbox 360, he can still give it to his son to play on his own Xbox 360 in his room. But then he throws us for a loop, by basically saying that it is the same for the Xbox One. 

But it's not.

He clearly states that he can purchase an Xbox One game and once it is installed onto his console, it won't stop his son from playing it... "on the same system".

This is where a big red flag pops up. 

So for families of multiple children, each of whom will no doubt want/get an Xbox One in each of their rooms, not only will parents have to cough up for each console (as let's face it, kids don't like to share a console if it means that they cannot all play games at the one time, instead they have to fight over whose turn it is next), but they will then have to pay for multiple copies of a single game so that each child can play on their own console.

I know the argument from Microsoft will be that "if kids want to all play the same game at the same time on their own consoles at home, then they'd need a disc each anyway" but that argument doesn't fly when the kids usually take turns on each game, since they don't all have to be playing Call of Duty at the same time.

Take Allan's parents for example. He is the eldest of five children. Of course, now we have our own house, there are only four siblings still at home with his parents, but still, each of his brothers (his sister is still a baby, so don't need to worry about her for now) have their own Xbox 360. If brother 1 (let's call him R) is playing Call of Duty: Black Ops II on his Xbox, brother 2 (D) and brother 3 (J) will be playing different games on their consoles.

When R decides he wants to go out to play, then J could take Black Ops II to play, D could be playing Sonic Generations, and then when R comes home, he could decide to play Fifa 13.

Under this new idea, then each brother would have to have their own individual copy of each game, meaning that instead of costing £40 for the parents (and of course, we don't yet know the pricing of Xbox One games), it would cost £120. And when you have 4 children still at home, and 3 of them usually always wanting the latest game to be announced, that £120 easily can double, triple or quadruple in no time, especially in the busier release months, such as September. 

That is just not feasible.

There needs to be some way to make it possible to have the game installed onto a couple of consoles, without the fee. Maybe start the preowned fee from the fifth installation.

That way, if your console breaks, or is stolen, or in situations where multiple children in a single household all want the same game but each have their own consoles, there is no worry of paying over the odds for a game you actually own, just to have it on more than one console.

Another thing, with all the mandatory installs of games, that 500GB HDD is going to fill up pretty damn fast, especially for people like us, who get almost every new release that is out. Blu Ray discs have a capacity of 50GB, and of course, not all games will require all of that, a lot might not even require half of that, but say 25GB is what is used on average on each disc (I don't know if it is, I'm just using a number as an example), then that means once you've got 20 games installed on your HDD, then you've run out of space. 

How is that fair?

Backwards compatibility is something I was gutted about it not being included in the Xbox One, although I do understand why it isn't. I've still got a huge backlog of 360 games to play, but of course, I'll just simply keep my 360 under the TV alongside the Xbox One. But for those who would have planned to sell their 360s in order to afford the Xbox One, this might put a spanner in the works had they been hoping to still complete their old games on the new console.

And last but not least...

Xbox One?
Seriously?
Xbox Infinity sounded waaaay better.

What are your thoughts on the announcement? Let me know in the comments below :)
V.

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