Xbox One, You Still Have A Lot To Prove

By Jared Scott on June 24, 2013, 3:55PM EDT

My expectations were pretty high for Microsoft both at its console reveal and at this year's E3. So I was rather surprised when Microsoft rather a few mistakes during these key presentations. Equally, I was surprised that they corrected them as they have. After learning their lesson at E3, Microsoft just may be able to show gamers that they are listening, and they will do whatever it takes to make the customer happy.

Let's be honest, Microsoft severely shot themselves in the foot at both the console's reveal and at E3. From "It plays TV and Call of Duty: Dogs and Fish" to "Buy a 360 if you can't handle always online," they practically dug their own grave. Yet something happened that I did not expect: they admitted their mistakes and corrected them. "Always online" will be removed by a day one patch, you can play downloaded games offline, and playing used games is no longer a convoluted mess. Granted, they didn't have much of a choice if they wanted to sell the system, but it's not often these days that large companies admit their mistakes.

While my overall opinion of the Xbox One has changed, there are still a few issues that I am not too pleased with. First is the lack of backwards compatibility. Though opinions on this feature or lack thereof tend to be split amongst gamers, it would have been better to keep it. While there are many who still keep their old systems, sometimes that extra clutter is just enough to make gaming a frustration. Plus, it would have been a significant one-up in the battle against PlayStation.

There's also the issue of pricing. From the specs that have been released, the PS4 and Xbox One are nearly identical. This makes paying an extra hundred dollars hard to justify. Granted, there are some excellent exclusives coming to the Xbox One, but is that enough to sell gamers who don't care about a console's brand or watching TV on a console? It's a tough question to answer, and we may not know the answer until the system is out.

Something else that may need to quickly change is the requirement of the Kinect being connected to the Xbox One. There have been rumblings that this might not be the case from Microsoft's North American PR agency, but this is only an intermediary. And with recent controversies in the US involving government spying and phone tapping, American citizens have become rather hesitant about anything with a camera lens or the ability to "hear" peoples' voices. Add this with the fact that America is one of the largest consumers of games, and it makes sense to change this requirement of the Xbox One and Kinect pronto. Plus, Microsoft were one of the primary companies mentioned in the recent NSA expose.

Mistakes and possibilities aside, Microsoft had a strong line-up at E3. From sequels to new IPs, all of the Xbox One games impressed me from a point of gameplay, polish, and graphics. I am especially happy to admit that I was wrong about the new Xbox's graphics. They are far better than what I had thought from the console's reveal weeks back. I was also impressed with the claim that they would still support the Xbox 360 with around one hundred games even with the Xbox One launching this year.

A smile came to my face when Microsoft announced that Xbox Live Gold members would receive two free games each month. Though the first two free games are rather old, for people who're new to this generation it's a decent incentive. I mean sure, they are basically changing Xbox Live into PlayStation Plus, but let me point out that both Microsoft and Sony have been guilty of copying each other as well as Nintendo for years. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so they say.

My feelings towards Microsoft have gone up and down like a roller-coaster. From feeling confused, angry, glad, and even curious, I'm wondering if they won't change again before the system releases. Though they still need to sort out their PR team, the Xbox One has taken a more productive route. With the stances of "always online" and "no used games" reversed, it's safe to say that sales for the Xbox One will be far greater than if they didn't change their decisions. But until the system actually launches, we can only guess how well the world will receive this new generation of Xbox.

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