Monday, June 10, 2013

X-Box One: A "How To Kill A Console" Rant.


This is gonna be a quickie.  It's about the X-Box One, and it is a new revision to the textbook on ruining a console.  To be fair, I'm more of a PC gamer, but I have and love both the XBOX and 360.  Well, more love has probably gone to the original, but that's a side-story.

Oh, speaking of the X-Box 1, We'll start with the obligatory "Name makes no sense" entry, calling it the fucking "one" as if this is a very bad pun on the concept of a square serving as a zero, and move on to a file-photo.

X-Box One.  Image Courtesy of Forbes

Now then.  Right off the bat, Kinect.

Kinect Is Terrible

The sub-title should give it all away, really.  I mean, really!  The Nintendo Wii was great, in terms of its motion controls, mainly because they were still controls.  You held them in your hand.  Sony ripped it off, but Kinect went a different way.  And, I can respect them for that.

However, the Kinect has added absolutely nothing that I can think of to gaming.  Sure, I guess it's kind of neat to be able to wave my hand and make something happen on the screen, and I can maybe see that being incredibly awesome in an adventure/puzzle game (think Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People) , or an RTS.  But action?  First-Person Shooters?  Platforming?  No.

Moreover, the Kinect functionality of the 3rd Box is going to subtract something from gaming.  We all know what it is, by now.  It's "Privacy."  Namely, the fucking thing spies on you!  Yep, Kinect's camera must be on, must be attached, and will watch you walk into a room.  So, basically, it's spying on you.

Privacy > Piracy

Oh boy, speaking of privacy, here's a conundrum - who is watching what I do with my games?  Well, if I want to return it, re-sell it, loan it to a friend, or whatever, guess what?  It's a fucking hassle!  It's neat that I can sign in to any XBox One and play my games, I guess, but if I try to "lend" my game to a friend, I can do it once.

Okay, time-machine time.  Back when SNES was still the top dog, my friends and I used to loan each other games all the fucking time.  "What's that?  Secret Of Mana?  And you've already beaten it?  And you're working on Earthbound?  Dude!  Can I borrow it for a week?  I'll let you borrow my Final Fantasy III(6) if you need something in the meantime!"  No more.

Did I mention that, to fight piracy, the "One" is always going to be online?  Yeah, this is another of those stupid gimmicks designed to fight piracy.  "OH!  But now you can run for up to 24 hours off-line!"  "It's a smoother experience!"  "You can have Facebook!"  No.  No, and no.  That's ridiculous, and you're ridiculous for thinking that's a good argument.  Always online?  That shit sounds like a wet dream for the makers of PRISM, the (latest) major scandal involving internet companies like Verizon sending the private data of American citizens to our government in what is certainly a breach of the Fourth Amendment.

Look, I get that piracy might be kind of an issue, but it's apparently an issue reserved for PC games, due to the ability to bring greater game-copying software and distribution to bear.  And, moreover, according to this chart it's not really much of a problem!

Image courtesy of IGN

So with PC gaming set to eclipse console gaming, and with the technical capabilities of consoles having proven pretty much unable to hold up to the versatility and power of a PC - not that they really need to, because "better graphics" are pretty much not a concern anymore - this anti-piracy effort is essentially, as always, bullshit.

Oh, and did we forget the Playstation Network Outage?  Hold on!  Add one plus one real fast, and you get the obvious:  "What happens if Microsoft's network gets hacked or otherwise crashes?"  That's right, you have an expensive brick on your hands - oh, oh, wait, after 24 hours.  How expensive?

Price Tags Talk

By this point, I'm obviously not in the "going to buy this thing" camp.  Two generations ago, I owned all three systems - X-Box, Game Cube, and PS2.  Why?  Because all three were reasonably priced, had reasonably priced and accessible games and controllers (Oh, and the "One" doesn't use 360 controllers.  Ha-ha!), and I liked what it put out.  The X-Box actually was probably my #3 console, with mainly Halo/2 to tide me over; the GC had Smash Brothers, Metroid Prime, some Zelda iteration, and even Phantasy Star.  The PS2?  Oh boy - that system kicked ass!

So why did I ultimately opt to get a 360 first?  And a Wii second?  And a PS3 not-at-all?  Well, economics was a huge factor.  Wii's were un-gettable, PS3's were we'll get to it!, and 360's were applicable!  It also had Halo 3 to serve as a killer app, plus GTA4, plus Final Fantasy support (I never got around to it), plus the Live Arcade or whatever it was that I got Sonic, Scott Pilgrim, and other stuff from.  In other words it was a solid, reasonably accessible, reasonably priced console with reasonably fun games.

Oh.  And here's what really killed the PS3.

You fucking knew it was coming!!  You fucking knew it!  The PS3's fully decked-out model sold for $599, with it's 1/3rd-the-memory selling for $499.  This with virtually no games?  Screwattack did a virtually flawless explanation of why that console had such a shitty life.  Did it eventually stabilize?  Sure!  But it got its ass kicked - hard - early on, largely because it's price point and games simply didn't match up.

The "One?"  Well, it's set to release at - surprise! - $499, as compared to the 360's $399.

The X-Box Breakdown

Let's recap:
 - Five hundred bucks for a system that...
 - Demands to spy on you so it can...
 - Connect you to the internet, another demand...
 - Cannot function without the internet...
 - Could well be leaking your private information to the government...
 - Doesn't allow you to freely move your own games...
 - Isn't something you can purchase if you live, say, in upstate NY due to lack-of-internet...
 - Has a stupid name...
 - Has games which might or might not be good, but can't be just fucking played...
 - Oh, and costs five hundred fucking dollars!

Hey!  Hey!  Here's a newsflash:  The "market" speaks.  That means that consumers have a voice, and when they like something they buy it.  When they don't they don't - and they often buy something else.  You want some real, hard truths about this system?

According to Haverzine, sales of the Nintendo WiiU (Another stupidly-named console) on Amazon's UK portal jumped 875% after the specifications of the "One" were announced in May.  That's specifications, like all the privacy/Kinect crap.  This astronomical price was released today.  And the Wii U's deluxe model is $349 regularly, a full hundred-and-fifty less than the default "One."  Whaddya wanna bet that, regardless of what happens with the PS4 announcements, sales of the Wii U continue to skyrocket as the "market" showers disapproval on Microsoft by feeding Nintendo?

After all, while all I might get out of a Wii U is another meh Mario game, at least I know Mario isn't demanding to watch me wander around in my living room while he's jacked into to the internet in order to stomp a few Goombas.  If you know what I mean.