Why I won’t be buying an XBone

Last week saw the full announcement of the XBone, aka XBox One, and the PlayStation 4.

I currently have an XBox 360 and a PlayStation 3.  The XBox was supposed to be the game machine I use to play Forza 3 & 4, and also to turn into a classic arcade game box.

Sadly it’s not turned out that way.  See, yes I have Forza 3 & 4 and I like both games, I don’t play them a lot but when I do, I play for a few hours.

Turning my 360 into the classic arcade game box?  Not so much.  The games are great and fun, however Microsoft has started removing games from the XBox Live Arcade game store and it seems that all of the arcade games I wanted to download, but was taking my time downloading – almost all gone.

The XBox Games Store/Marketplace was pretty cool and at one level is still quite cool.  Being able to buy games online from work, and have it automatically download to the console by the time I got home was pretty cool.

I guess I’m just disappointed that games are being removed from the store.  I can guarantee that Sony has not been doing that with PlayStation because Sony is gamer focused.  I can pretty much find every older game that has been available since the start of the PlayStation launch.

So that was the first straw.  If you make it available, making it available for a long time, don’t just delete the games.

The amount of advertising, I still maintain, bugs the hell out of me on the 360.  Now, Microsoft has said the amount of advertising will be reduced on the XBone.  I am skeptical, and given I would be paying a premium price for a console, and paying for XBox Gold – the advertising seems gratuitous, and given I’ve worked with businesses in the digital advertising space, I have a good idea Microsoft is racking in the money for ad impressions.

The DRM space also has me concerned.  I do let my close friends borrow my PS3 games to give them a try, and they let me borrow their’s.  While I’m not exactly new to gaming (Commodore 64, Amiga CD32, Dreamcast, Game Cube, Wii, WiiU PS3, XBox 360), with the previous console generation, I’ve had to learn what games I really like.  I’ve really come into my own.

Not being able to try a game out ahead of time is a concern of mine.  I don’t want to spend the money.

Now, Microsoft has said you can lend out a game once to your friends and that you can login to a friend’s console and play a game.  This intrigues me and maybe this is what gets around my issue.  It remains to be seen how this works.

The context of people saying that games will drop from $59.99 down to $39.99 or so, I have to admit I am very skeptical.  There’s no way the game companies, the licensors, etc… are going to reduce the price of games even if DRM is applied to games in a strict way.  Microsoft reduce the price and use Steam’s model?  Ha!  Borderlands 2 is the same price on Steam as it is in stores right now, so don’t give me that.

The requirement to call into the mother ship every 24 hours is ridiculous and this is my biggest issue.  The dismissive attitude of Microsoft about this is probably the biggest reason why I am not buying an XBone.  I’ve been to way too many countries where net access is spotty and not reliable even certain places in the western world.  The rest of the world is not Seattle, Microsoft.  There are no benefits or advantages to having to connect every 24 hours It’s just not required. Simply connect every time the machine is turned on.

I don’t want to be dismissive and naive that the online gaming industry is not going to go cloud based.  We’ve seen it with digital music and I would say a good portion of games I have on my 360 and my PS3 are downloaded.  And those games are not easily shared – although if you do login with your PS3 credentials on another PS3, you can download and install those downloaded games. I have two PS3s here that I do that with.

The final thing for me about XBox is, honestly, the games aren’t there for me, at least on the 360, to warrant getting an XBone.  The graphics were also better on the PS3, it it just seemed to be a more well rounded system, games-wise.

That said, I have to admit, if I were to get an XBone, I would be interested in – Forza 5, Quantum Break and Crimson Dragon (for Scott),

Surprisingly I’m less worried about the voice command aspect of the XBone.  I just know that the first thing I’ll say when I walk into someone’s home who owns an XBox  One is “XBox on”. *GRIN*

I have no doubt that Kinect is going to be great on the One, but I really dislike playing Kinect games.  I also dislike playing Move games on the PS3 – In fact, I traded in a bunch of my Move games because I’m simply not playing them.  Move and Kinect?  They’re not really that great.

The TV functionality – I’m neither here nor there about it.   I already choose to turn on my amplifier to watch TV – why would I want to turn on both my cable box and XBox just to watch TV?

  • For the sake of voice commands?  I have to admit, I hate voice commands, it makes me feel like a real dork, even with my 360, it’s faster just to use a controller
  • For the TV guide?  My experience with using TV guides with Web TV (when I had a TV tuner card for my old PC), even Nintendo TV has been lacking, even worse in Canada as we often get forgotten.
  • I don’t even using the TVii functionality on my WiiU, so why would I bother on XBone?
  • So I can watch TV and Skype at the same time?  I don’t think so.  I’d prefer to be present to the person I’m Skyping with.
  • Getting stats and such about the program?  See TVii above.
  • Play movies?  I have an Apple TV, a PS3, XBox 360, iPad, a WiiU and even my TVs to do that with.
  • Exploring the web on my TV?  Again, there’s no need, even with SmartGlass.

The TV functionality seems really gratuitous.

Sadly for you Microsoft, I’m not willing to buy a $499 dongle to play Forza 5, though I would LOVE to play that game.  If you’ve done one thing right, it’s what you’re doing with cloud gaming – specifically Forza 5 is VERY cool.  I’d be worried about all the cars that would get scratched up with how aggressive I am with that game.

Beyond all that, another win I would say the XBone has is the controller.  I like the design and look of the new controller over the PS4.

BTW if there is one game I am looking forward to on the XBox 360 – Max and the Curse of the Brotherhood.  This may be the first game I would finish through to the end.

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