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Is Microsoft committing to too much with Xbox One?

Wednesday, 22 May 2013 02:00 GMT By Naren Hooson

With Microsoft’s Xbox One now unveiled, many are thinking they have taken on more than they can handle and are heading in a direction that could estrange the gamers. Several leading games analysts are now commenting, with varied opinions.

Starting with DFC Intelligence’s David Cole, he delves into Microsoft’s option to move further into entertainment at risk to alienating gamers, courtesy of Games Industry. “The concern with Microsoft is that they are going after a need that isn’t really there. Yes, it is convenient to have your game system play video but there are all kinds of devices that do that. If a consumer is putting that kind of money down they want the system that plays the best games.”

“With no backward compatibility the Xbox One is starting from scratch. Microsoft had a huge success with the Kinect and that could be their downfall. The Xbox brand resonated primarily with a core gaming group but they shouldn’t assume that means they will automatically stay around. Sony learned that lesson the hard way in the transition from the PlayStation 2 to the PlayStation 3.”

“In the US Microsoft has a major advantage but they could easily screw that up very quickly. We only need to look at Nintendo’s disastrous recent product launches for a lesson. This will be a marketing game and right now Sony seems to be winning,” Cole warned. “Pricing is likely to be a key issue and that has not been addressed at all. Hardware price, Xbox Live as a mandatory subscription, bundles with entertainment providers and other cost issues will be the real key. We expect a lot of great exclusive content from both Sony and Microsoft but how they package and market it will be what matters at the end of the day. It is still too early to make any major calls.”

On the other hand Wedbush Securities’ Michael Pachter remains optimistic and likes what Microsoft are offering. “I’m actually pretty happy with what I saw. I don’t think this is going to be a poor seller; I think the odds of this thing selling poorly are pretty low unless it’s a thousand bucks.” His prediction is that Xbox One will retail for around $400 and that subsidizing of the hardware from cable providers is likely to happen.

In contrast to Cole, Pachter sees the move into the wider realm of entertainment, and perhaps away from core gaming, as a positive. “It’s very much an entertainment focused box. They only gave us a glimpse of games. 15 exclusives and 8 new IPs, that’s pretty cool… But they kind of did exactly upside-down what Sony did. Sony was all games all the time and this was all entertainment, saying games would be at E3. The gaming press was really excited by the games focus by Sony, but I think this has more mass appeal and I think E3 is a games focused show so I think maybe that strategy is smarter.”

Pachter’s view does appear to be one of “bigger is better”, expressing little concern for the lack of indie focus, something that Sony has put a lot of emphasis on with PS4. “It’s great for the development community but really not that many people buy them, so I don’t know… I think Sony wants to win on game content and maybe they will but we don’t really know what Microsoft has got yet,” he commented.

EEDAR’s Jesse Divnich on the other hand believes the console will be the best of both worlds, delivering the next step in entertainment while staying loyal to the core gamers. “The Xbox One is an evolutionary step in the entertainment consumption experience. Microsoft has been battling for control of the living room since the launch of the original Xbox in 2001 and has since proven they’ve seen eye-to-eye with how their audience consumes entertainment content. The Xbox One stands to provide the total living room experience for the entire family, while at the same time not alienating the core gaming consumer or the core gaming experience. It’s an impressive leap forward and one that will resonate well with the North American audience.”

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31 Comments

  1. JB

    http://kotaku.com/xbox-one-does-require-internet-connection-cant-play-o-509164109

    “Kotaku: If I’m playing a single player game, do I have to be online at least once per hour or something like that? Or can I go weeks and weeks?

    Harrison: I believe it’s 24 hours.

    Kotaku: I’d have to connect online once every day.

    Harrison: Correct.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. jmg24bad

    I am facepalming soo hard.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. JB

    http://kotaku.com/you-will-be-able-to-trade-xbox-one-games-online-micros-509140825

    “The bits that are on that disc, you can give it to your friend and they can install it on an Xbox One,” he said. “They would then have to purchase the right to play that game through Xbox Live.”

    “They would be paying the same price we paid, or less?” we asked.

    “Let’s assume it’s a new game, so the answer is yes, it will be the same price,” Harrison said.

    But that doesn’t mean used games are dead. In fact, Harrison told us, you’ll be able to sell your Xbox One games online.

    “We will have a solution—we’re not talking about it today—for you to be able to trade your previously-played games online,” Harrison said.”

    ———————————————————————–

    Update – Microsoft’s Larry Hryb has issued the following clarification:

    Another piece of clarification around playing games at a friend’s house – should you choose to play your game at your friend’s house, there is no fee to play that game while you are signed in to your profile.
    What this means is that if you take a game to a friend’s house and try to play the game on their system using their account, you’ll need to pay. If you take it to their house and try to play it on their system using your account, you won’t need to pay.

    In other words: playing while you’re there is free. If you want to lend it to them for a few days/weeks? They’ll have to pay.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Stephany Nunneley

    All that is pretty much in here JB. http://www.vg247.com/2013/05/21/xbox-one-does-not-require-always-on-connection/

    #4 2 years ago
  5. JB

    Sorry i`ll delete it Steph ^_^

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Stephany Nunneley

    No don’t!! :) Today was overwhelming with news here and new there. Just pointing it out! :) Didn’t want you to think we were slacking or anything :D

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Erthazus

    ““The Xbox One is an evolutionary step in the entertainment consumption experience. ”

    O’RLY?

    Xbox One is a VHS player that will run games in 1080p so far.
    Such an evolutionary step for … ?

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Erthazus

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KbWgUO-Rqcw

    #8 2 years ago
  9. JB

    Ok, Ill leave it up then ^_^

    It`s the X-box (D)one for me. No way I´m gonna buy this “entertainment hub bs”.

    This is a bigger screw up than Windows 8 ever was, which in itself is quite the achievement >_<

    #9 2 years ago
  10. G1GAHURTZ

    Why in the world would people go to a website to complain about having to use the internet??

    FAIL.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. G1GAHURTZ

    I don’t think that there’s any doubt that the Xbox One is a much more powerful proposition than the PS4, based on what we’ve seen so far.

    It certainly appears at this point that when it’s connected, and combining cloud processing power with it’s own internals, it has the potential to provide gaming experiences that can dwarf anything that a standalone console can do.

    But they didn’t focus on this, whatsoever, at the launch.

    Instead, they went overboard with pointless TV functionality that only works in the US, and needs a cable box to function, anyway.

    They missed a trick here.

    I can see how their plan would be to save the games for E3, and only talk about the console in general terms at this event, but now it looks like they’ll have more than 2 weeks of people thinking that Microsoft simply don’t care about games anymore.

    Both console launches were a damp squib, for me.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. hitnrun

    @11: “I don’t think that there’s any doubt that the Xbox One is a much more powerful proposition than the PS4, based on what we’ve seen so far.”

    Let’s pretend that isn’t BS. How did all that “when the full powers of the Cell Architecture are harnessed” guff work out for Sony? Devs just made games for the 360 and ported them over.

    “It certainly appears at this point that when it’s connected, and combining cloud processing power with it’s own internals, it has the potential to provide gaming experiences that can dwarf anything that a standalone console can do.”

    I think you can file that between “Blast Processing” and “The Secret Plan For the Expansion Bay On [Insert Console Here]” on the shelf above “the processing power of SimCity’s cloud servers do the work for your computer.” It never makes sense economically for a company to maintain a computer for you, if you think about it.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Phoenixblight

    @11

    Cloud Processing is not something that should be praised especially after the fiasco with Simcity not to mention what the developer plans to offload to the cloud services which would mean joe blow will need higher bandwidth. If they plan on doing games like Call of Duty and the like to the cloud, it will cripple the users experience if they don’t have at least 15Mbps. Something the entire world has yet to move towards especially with most ISPs feeling the need to cap users instead of improving their infrastructure.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. G1GAHURTZ

    @12:

    The cell stuff didn’t work for Sony, because it was such a nightmare to program for for so long.

    People knew how to work on the 360 architecture, and that’s why it had much more games and better versions of multi platform stuff for so long.

    The 720 is basically a PC. If a dev doesn’t know how to get “full power” out of a PC, then they need to go and work in another industry.

    And I don’t think that the SimCity example comes anywhere near close to what MS is proposing here.

    EA had always been known for having disastrous product launches when it comes to online, and quite frankly, if anyone expected SimCity’s launch to be any different, they must have been wearing rose tinted glasses.

    MS have 300k servers prepped for the Xbox One, exclusively, so I think it’s fair to say that they’ve already invested a huge amount in this.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Dark

    man , usher gotta dance his ass off at E3 after that reveal…

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Phoenixblight

    @14

    Not really this is the same company that has made WIndows 8 and released the 360 knowing full well that they had a high rate to RROD and plus no developer will want to offload their work for someone else to manage, that is just moronic. I see them either going full cloud or not at all no hybrid because you are relying on someone else to pull their shit together and that someone else who can give a rats ass about you as a single developer.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. RaisinBran

    MS took steps in directions the masses either aren’t ready for or simply don’t want. No used games. Always online. A camera that is on even when it’s off. Investing in television when more and more consumers are watching “television” on their computer, not to mention poor reception and results from Windows 8. These decisions are baffling and gives off the impression that MS is out of touch.

    Today might be a very important day in gaming history. This could be the beginning of a resurgence for Sony, getting back the same dominance they had with the PS1 and PS2. Or this could be the day MS continues their overall dominance, offering consumers numerous benefits at the cost of restrictions that initially aren’t desired.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Ballisticon

    My .02 The games they showed looked terrible but this wasn’t really about the games so I’ll reserve judgement on that. the TV/switching thing was nice but now we hear you need another device and no one will probably support it initially so that was mostly vapor-soft. Nice vapor-soft but still nothing real for at least this Christmas. As to how the device looked it was too big. I don’t have a lot of component room and that unit looked like it was supposed to mimic an old school huge VCR. Meh. I’ll wait to see the games but it would only be good for exclusives since I can get games on PC that will look much, much better, even if ported.

    As for Sony, the console will be more powerful and the games will look better so I will probably get one of those first. But, the Vita fiasco has really soured me on Sony. I feel like they stole my money on that POS.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. G1GAHURTZ

    @16:

    1. Whether you like/want to use touch screen or not, Windows 8 is the best version of Windows yet.

    2. I don’t think it’s fair to say that they KNEW that the 360 would RROD so much. I think it’s more accurate to say that they rushed the original design, but that they fully expected it to work.

    3. MS has basically been running CoD’s online (one of the most played games in the world) on 360, and Activision clearly doesn’t appear to have any problem with that. It’s a relationship that’s worked out for the two of them so far, unlike the situation on PS3, where the game’s online has had problem after problem for version after version.

    I’m interested to see if Respawn’s new IP is going to take advantage of this stuff, too. I’m also wondering if that’s part of the reason that the game is an Xbox One exclusive. Is it possible that the persistent world that they have isn’t doable on PS4…?

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Phoenixblight

    @19

    “Whether you like/want to use touch screen or not, Windows 8 is the best version of Windows yet.”

    Uh huh My wife had it and I can say without a doubt that is bull shit infact I had bought a windows 7 disc from a neighborhood computer tech and installed that on my wifes computer. That OS is a piece of crap.

    At your second point I was working for Xbox at the time where they had manufactured the device they knew it was bad. The engineers had told them so.

    3rd point, Multiplayer is not the same thing has having; a server farm to receive input from the player, do its computations, render the info and send it back to the player. That is totally ignoring the lag it causes which anyone can tell you that has used Onlive for multiplayer games can be pretty shitty and there is no way for MS to make it as responsive as it would be if it were being directly done on your machine.

    “I’m interested to see if Respawn’s new IP is going to take advantage of this stuff, too. I’m also wondering if that’s part of the reason that the game is an Xbox One exclusive. ”

    Rumor != Fact

    Not going to even comment on this until official announcement has been made.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. JB

    Regarding Windows 8:

    “Windows Vista has universally been acknowledged as a failure, but it still actually had significantly better adoption numbers than Windows 8, said ZDNet.”

    +

    “Microsoft is for the first time confirming that it is making changes to the software to address some of the problems people have when using it. Marking one of the most prominent admissions of failure for a new mass-market consumer product since Coca-Cola’s New Coke fiasco nearly 30 years ago, says Financial Times, Microsoft is preparing to reverse course over key elements of its Windows 8 operating system”

    http://digitaljournal.com/article/349763

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/330c8b8e-b66b-11e2-93ba-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2SjmUTr44

    #21 2 years ago
  22. G1GAHURTZ

    That OS is a piece of crap.

    Please elaborate. What exactly is so bad about it?

    I have two copies on two computers, and I don’t have a problem with either of them (other than Firefox causing the occasional crash).

    At your second point I was working for Xbox at the time where they had manufactured the device they knew it was bad. The engineers had told them so.

    This means absolutely nothing. It’s just hearsay. “they”, “them”, “engineers”…

    I’m sure that if I spoke to MS, “they” would say that you were wrong.

    Multiplayer is not the same thing has having; a server farm to receive input from the player, do its computations, render the info and send it back to the player.

    Who said that that’s how it even works? It’s interesting that you’re not willing to comment on Respawn’s IP being an exclusive, but you’re so eager to rubbish this technology without knowing anything about it whatsoever.

    Speaks volumes… Maybe it has something to do with the fact that you don’t work for them anymore.

    Sour grapes for an old employer, perhaps?

    So far, all we know is: “There are a growing number of transistors in the cloud that you can move the loads onto,” says Boyd Multerer. “So over time, your box gets more powerful. We move loads into the cloud to free up resources on the box.

    We don’t know any details yet, nor have we seen it in action, so the wiser choice would be to just wait and see, rather than rushing to call it a failure, without knowing a single detail.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. G1GAHURTZ

    @21:

    100 million licences, fella.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/07/us-microsoft-windows8-sales-idUSBRE94603220130507

    #23 2 years ago
  24. Phoenixblight

    @22

    Go look up Microsoft Azure they have had this cloud system for a while now. WHat they are saying is nothing new or innovative, its a server farm thats all it is it will do exactly what EA did with SimCity. BTW I never called it a failure. I just said it was a bad idea to use it as a hybrid system.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Azure

    “Speaks volumes… Maybe it has something to do with the fact that you don’t work for them anymore.

    Sour grapes for an old employer, perhaps?”

    Nope, not at all because Microsoft was not my employer another third party was. I was moved to build, breakdown and ship the CRS1 series for CIsco which meant a far better pay and benefits at least until the market crashed and there was no work, thats when I decided to go to school and now work for a relatively small dev team doing stuff I absolutely love for about the same pay only less hours.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. mkotechno

    Seems Xbox is also following the Microsoft product pattern.
    Crappy Windows -> great Windows -> crappy Windows -> …
    Crappy Xbox -> great Xbox -> crappy Xbox

    #25 2 years ago
  26. G1GAHURTZ

    @24:

    Sure, we know it’s a simple cloud platform. But we don’t know how they are planning on implementing it with the Xbox One. They talk about freeing up loads, but what loads? If it’s just AI, or environment rendering, then latency is pretty much taken out of the equation. The cloud can render the scenery, and keep millions of NPCs moving about in real time, while the console does the rest.

    I think it’s possible, and this would give you a much more believable persistent world, where you don’t keep running into clowns, who took an arrow to the knee, in exactly the same place every time.

    But like I said, there’s not much point speculating, because they haven’t given any details.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. Phoenixblight

    @26

    All that rendering off site will cause Lag. You think pop in is bad this gen? Sure you can improve it but then it comes down to the user needing high bandwidth which a dev is not going to build with an idea that the person has 200(or some other arbitrarily high number) Mbps connection. Its not realistic especially with isp now with them trying to cap bandwidth instead of improving infrastructure. Thankfully the city I live in will have Google fiber soon enough to throw the middle finger to Time Warner and AT&T.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. G1GAHURTZ

    There are numerous ways to remove any lag if you only render about 40% of the environment in the cloud (objects of interest and main buildings, etc), by using different methods, ranging from crude corridors, to LOD (level of detail) objects that change to high detail models, based on player proximity.

    It’s not impossible to do it without lag, by any means.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. Phoenixblight

    Maybe but what you are suggesting MS is not the only one that can do it. Galkai service can do the exact same thing if not more so. Before they were bought by Sony they had a lot of investors from companies like Dell, EA. No reason why Sony can’t do the same thing. What Galkai had was way beyond the curve of cloud services.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. G1GAHURTZ

    ^ Well, that’s true I suppose.

    I had forgotten about Gaikai.

    #30 2 years ago
  31. karma

    The required daily connection and the codes for second hand sales and extra charges is why i’m jumping to PS4 next gen. I’m already sick of paying for a gold membership anyway, and then they force Kinect up on us with likely even more dashboards ads and less games. Its just not something i’m prepared to deal with.

    Sony here I come.. unless you pull the same used games shit, then perhaps a new PC will be the order of the day. Either way, Xbox are definitely out of the running for this gamer.

    #31 2 years ago

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