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May 26, 2013

Xbox One Reveal (Gaming thread)

So Microsoft revealed the console to the mass consumer (reveal to the gamers is at E3) this past Tuesday and for all the rumors, I kinda expected something revolutionary instead of evolutionary. Slightly disappointed in that regards but did they show anything off to make me interested?

Pros and Cons below


Pros:

Controller - Of course, it being a controller that isn't in your hands, all you can go by is photos and hands-on write-ups so this may change once I buy one this fall. But I really dig what I'm seeing and reading, even if it's more of a evolution instead of a revolution compared to the DS4 but when it's improving my favorite controller this gen, I'm quite happy. Thank God that someone is renaming the outdated start and select buttons. Sure, not sexy and not even adding anything new but it's about damn time. Really dig the sticks on the controller, especially with the grip pattern they chose. My hands tend to sweat quite a bit playing games and with the amount that the sticks show, my right thumb shouldn't slip as easily since I use the side of the stick instead of it's top. No more damn saucer shaped dpads, please. Make them clicky without a mush feeling, which apparently they did. I like that the battery pack is integrated in the design instead of what felt like an after thought where it threw off the balance of it. The only things I really feel unsure about is the design of the triggers and moving the system button to the top. Though occasionally in the heat of the moment, you can find yourself struggling to hit the bumpers, the actual triggers were perfect with how smooth they were. Most definitely something that you can't tell till you've had some time with it in your own hands. That system button is frigging HUGE and going to be a bit of a chore to hit if needed (though with Kinect, that problem shouldn't be too big). Also with moving it, it makes the controller look like it's too sparse. Though obviously not with it's innards (especially with a Wi-Fi direct setup and two extra motors also being crammed into it) but it really looks like there is a lot of wasted space though it will make licensed controllers look better due to the extra real estate.

Box - Like everyone else, when I saw it on the stream, the first things that went through my head was "That thing is frigging HUGE" and "Could totally throw that in my av stack". Then I saw the Wired photos and realized that the thing isn't actually that big (designer said that it has about a 10% increased footprint compared to the launch 360 and at least as silent as the slim remodel). As for the looks, they really grew on me. I'm getting older, I actually like not having my electronics look like toys with green and cheap looking chrome on it. Unless your actively looking for it, it won't stick out. Only things I'm not a big fan of is the amount of USB connections (don't have to go crazy like Sony did with the original PS3 but there doesn't look to be enough) and the lack of HDMI audio out. Totally understand why they went back to having a TOSLINK standard as its still the most used audio connection and even HDMI receivers still have a few toslinks on the back for the gap but it would have been nice for people who can take advantage of it.

UI - Admittedly they didn't show anything new on the look of the desktop but they did show enough new features to make you not notice that much. Throwing together the gaming OS and the Windows OS together with a hypervisor a really nice evolution. Is it new? Of course not as pretty much every other electronic item other than your TV has been doing it for half a decade now (minus the hypervisor in most cases). But throw it onto a TV and with a more robust Kinect package into the mix and it becomes quite interesting. Main thing that they didn't mention that bummed me was that with time, the Kinect's speech reconition will become better over time by it's dictionaries learning from users using it (it's how Apple's Siri works). You expect it but not mentioning it raises my eyebrow as even though it's old tech, it still makes for a decent sizzle throwaway mention.

Azure aka "cloud" - More hypothetical than anything as it hasn't really been tested in actually being used in gaming outside of Uncharted 2 & 3, Diablo 3 and MMOs (different level compared to the standard saves and media) but this is where tech has been heading so getting it into gaming now (though late) is the right move. Crazy Ken had the right concept with it's CELL but his concept was based on the hypothetical and using tech in its infancy while now a days, cloud computing is quite mature be it not in gaming. Of course this whole plan really comes down to a few things: Microsoft leaning on companies to implement it, eat the cost of running stuff in the cloud, a massive amount of documentation and hands on tech assistance. Yeah, it's some hoops and there will be teething issues since it's new for the majority of game devs but you need you need to pop that bubble sometime.
Tons of First Party and Second Party games - So they announced that they have 15 games, with 8 of them being new IPs currently being developed to be released with in the year. Don't be surprised that some get pushed back but that's a lot of games from Microsoft, especially in a year's time frame though I guess that shouldn't be too surprising since they've opened tons of new studios these last 4 years but that's a nice way to launch a console. And with Phil Harrison touting a billion first party gaming investment for 2013 alone, that's quite a commitment. Now will they be any good? That's a different question but E3 should be fun on the gaming front

Quantum Break - Really happy to see Microsoft give Remedy what looks like a bigger budget than Alan Wake considering how bad Alan Wake actually sold which is a damn shame (it's a humble bundle this week, no reason why you shouldn't play the series and you too can be disappointed in how low people are spending for it). Only got a teaser but that teaser left a very good taste in my mouth. It's the accumulation of the direction that Remedy has been going towards ever since the first Max Payne. And frankly, outside of Twisted Pixel, they're the only ones who would know how to pull something like this off in this day and age, with combining FMV and actual gameplay. Can't wait to see this game more in depth. Hopefully it's a breakout success for them.

Halo TV show - If you can't get anyone to make a movie because of control issues and budgetary concerns, this is the second best option. No idea why Spielberg gave a gaming history lesson or why his name is attached but if his name can get non-gamers to check out a Halo show, that would be nice. In the perfect world, his name would be attached but it's all in the hands of Stewart Hendler who directed the awesome Halo: Forward Unto Dawn web series. Considering how cool watching Forward Unto Dawn was, there was always a sense that this thing really needed a bigger budget and be turned into a film or show.

Kinect 2.0 - Boy is that one sexy beast, not visually of course as it looks really bulky but it's innards and stuff added SDK. With it's increased FOV, most of the complaints of small apartments. Improved depth sensors, better mic array, yada yada yada.....really, watch this video

Family Gold no more - Should have never been needed in the first place but at least your correcting this wrong. Bout damn time

Cons:

So much focus on cable TV - I understand that when it comes to a evolution console, they need to show the new stuff for the sizzle but eh, it kinda muddles their vision to the mainstream. When it comes to digital content in a videogame console eviroment, Microsoft were the first one to push it and yet the big thing to take away from the reveal to non-gamers is all the stuff your doing with your TV overlay, which is kinda sad. And it really didn't clear the air for them that yes, the focus first and foremost is and will always be videostreaming services. Announcing new partnerships on that front would have been very nice and got Microsodt's message out to people who haven't used the 360.
NFL Partnership - For a marketing partnership, this is a good investment (and frankly surprised in how cheap it is) but the whole thing as sizzle was left lacking. Having the MS branding during games is a nice get but showing off the cross promotion on the XBO being a quick fantasy football score breakdown on the side is really weak to say the least. And it doesn't do much more than that until at least the 2014 season when DirectTV's NFL Sunday Ticket exclusivly runs out.

Forza 5 - I like the Forza series but I was really hoping for a PGR reveal. Not having it is akin to Sony not having a RIIIIIIDGE RACER!!! at one of their launches. Makes sense on a sales point though and it does look pretty but would still rather have a PGR

Not showing the Kinect off during the reveal outside of pinching and zooming - Can understand it not being ready for massive crowds but meh, pinching and zooming when I can just do it by voice just doesn't do much for me. But the tech inside is quite good. I guess the good thing in not showing it is that there was no "Ever wondered what the bottom of an avatar's shoe look like?" moment.

Used games - Obviously the vision was to have games tied to a household but this half-stepping is sad. Should have just taken it on the chin all at once instead of dragging it out. I guess as a PC gamer I just don't see the big point in caring but this is where media consumption is at and frankly I still don't care. I want Microsoft's pure unadulterated vision.

Always online - This is another sad item that their half-stepping is muddling. It amounts to "You don't have to be online to use it but yeah, you really have to be online to use it". The daily online checksum is a stupid idea, considering that they are pushing devs to create always online games. At the very least, if they're going to go this route, they should at least just throw in a cheap 3G chip inside for the first gen of the console and subsidize it like Amazon has with their Kindle. A checksum is barely any data that needs to be sent. I get the basics of boiling a frog but eh. Everything is built to always be online these days so I guess I just don't see the point.

That Call of Duty video - This was an event for the mass consumer and Call of Duty is the biggest franchise but damn was that video laughable. And to use it as a show closer was even more laughable considering what was shown. Only saving grace is if you can give voice commands to the dog partner which would be really cool and use the Kinect in a sensible way.

there, that's it for my quick writeup on the Xbox One reveal.

Kerbal Space Program got an update, which I haven't delved too much into it other than creating a new lander which has hilariously made one of the Kerbal become a permanent resident of Duna, forever to drive alone with no destination on the red planet. I'll do a rescue op sooner or later but first I need to build a new space station as my current one of become way too cramped. Greatest thing to come out of the update IMO is the ability of duct taping a seat to rockets and seeing them burn up in the atmosphere. It's for science. If you're interested in KSP, be warned that the 31st is the last day to buy the game and get all of the paid stuff that is coming later and I believe that the price is also going up, so buy now or forever hold your peace. You can buy it directly from them HERE or a copy from Steam HERE

The End of Curiosity has come to a close and this was the video that was inside, sadly it wasn't a picture of Molyneux's balls

Warhammer Quest from Rodeo Games comes to the iOS store this week for the price of $4.99 with some day 1 IAP

and your cosplay photo

digg this
posted by Gang of Gaming Morons! at 02:10 PM

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