Features// Xbox One: The Industry Reacts

Posted 24 May 2013 14:45 by
So, Microsoft?s Xbox Reveal has come and gone. We?re now looking at the Xbox One, a device that aims to be your all-in-one entertainment system. It does TV (lots of it), movies, games and a whole lot more besides.

While the tech inside of the box was quite exciting to see, the world seems divided on the kind of experiences it will provide for the traditional gaming audience that has been Xbox?s core for so long.

We previously asked a whole bunch of industry people on their thoughts and expectations leading up to the Xbox Reveal on Tuesday - you can read that in full here. Today, I asked those same people a couple of questions post-Xbox One unveiling.

The number of responses I got showed just how divisive this console is in the industry right now - but those who did respond were able to point to a few things that Microsoft did right, and where things can be improved. Read on...

Stewart Gilray - CEO, Just Add Water / Oddworld Inhabitants
Currently working on Oddworld: Abe?s Oddysee New N? Tasty!

So, did that Xbox Reveal exceed or live up to your expectation?
As an indie developer, we?re obviously disappointed that Microsoft still refuse to allow smaller companies to self-publish on their platform. As UK console owners, consensus in the studio is that Microsoft is ignoring customers outside the US. A large number of the features announced will not be available in Europe when the console launches.

What are you happiest or saddest to see in that Reveal?
As a gamer, I?m happiest that Microsoft have made it easy to decide which platform to go with! It looks like I?ll be getting a PS4!

As mentioned, it?s a saddening thought that they have ignored a large portion of both their customers and the industry. Sony and Valve have shown great success in courting the indie development community, maybe Microsoft will learn for next time? Every console maker has had their low moments to grow from, perhaps this is Microsoft?s

Nathan Fouts - Founder, Mommy?s Best Games
Currently developing wacky 1-4 player party game Pig Eat Ball

So, did that Xbox Reveal exceed or live up to your expectation?
It surpassed all my expectations of it pushing TV before games. But I guess the games come at E3? Maybe? Look, when you front-load with a special announcement before E3, and push everything more than games, that to me says you care more them than the games. Prove me wrong Microsoft! I dare you!

What are you happiest or saddest to see in that Reveal?
Happiest they are enhancing Kinect 2. I think it's a powerful technology, that may not be great for games, but could be used some day for something great for humanity.

Saddest the tech in the games shown didn't seem further ahead. I'm glad they showed (some) gameplay, but I also want a few higher quality tech demos that push particular simulations further--much further than has previously been seen. The footage shown looked like now-possible-PC games which, unfortunately, is totally to be expected.

Alex Neuse - CEO, Gaijin Games
Recently released BIT.TRIP Runner 2

So, did that Xbox Reveal exceed or live up to your expectation?
Unfortunately, the Xbox Reveal was a little more disappointing than I thought it would be. I mean, all the features are fine. It looks like a great piece of tech. But when they showed the games, it was all just a lot of the same old same old. I love video games for the imaginative places they can transport you to, not the simulations they can submerse you in. I'm afraid this new Xbox is simply not for gamers like me.

What are you happiest or saddest to see in that Reveal?
I was happiest to see that the console was flat on top and that the controller looked good. I was saddest that it just doesn't seem like a video game console. But then again, I think that's what Microsoft wants.

Dan Long - Head of Comms, Insert Coin
Makes awesome video game clothing

So, did that Xbox Reveal exceed or live up to your expectation?
It was certainly a bold decision to present in the way they did. For me personally, it is a logical progression and takes it in a different direction to the PS4, which is a good thing for both consoles and us gamers - no point in having two identical systems that mirror each other. Here we've got a socially-led games console and a streaming entertainment system to lead gaming forward. It certainly isn't what people expected and I think that's definitely a good thing - it is both creative and brave. The next step of course is to see what games there will be..!

What are you happiest or saddest to see in that Reveal?
I'm most happy to see Microsoft take gaming and put it alongside other entertainment media. Perhaps that is the jolt the industry - and the wider world - needs to make sure gaming doesn't remain a fringe activity. That is a double edged sword though of course, and pure gaming has been pushed out. Only a few brief glimpses of what 'could be' to keep us going until E3. Make no mistake though, Microsoft have big ideas for Xbox One. Very big ideas.

Paul Rayment - Freelance Writer

So, did that Xbox Reveal exceed or live up to your expectation?
It did more than I expected but not in a good way. I don't know why people were expecting anything visually impressive, we've gone past that point now. Back in the day you could double the number of polygons and it would make a difference, but now even increasing them ten fold makes little difference to the naked eye. The real innovation was always going to come from services. I know we didn't see in-game footage but even if we did I don't think it would have looked much better than what we already have.

What are you happiest or saddest to see in that Reveal?
Happiest: This is a real challenge as each announcement was greeted with either a 'meh' or disappointment. The specs are obviously impressive and advances with Kinect are good to see, although as I wrote previously,Kinect has a history of flattering to deceive. I was glad to see top games on the way but none of those announcements were surprising. New FIFA and Forza, you say? No shit, Sherlock. It shows a lot that Skype was what got me most excited.

Worst: I'll break this isn't two parts. I expected the announcement to focus on services and TV but, as before, this was for an American audience. I know Xbox is an American console and will never make a dent in Asia but there's the rest of the world too. Will this integrate with my Sky box? Will the the sports content work with football? You know, it's only the biggest sport in the world, unlike NFL.

This point extends into a more general point - Microsoft trying to solve problems that don't exist: "Isn't changing channels a pain?" "No, I find it quite easy." "TV isn't social enough." "Yes it is, have you been on Twitter during a big TV event?" "Look, we can snap things together and you can flip between a game and TV." "Who the hell wants to do that and who wants Internet Explorer on their TV?"

My final disappointment was all that came out post-event regarding locking games to a single profile and the 'rumours' that all the games I've bought through Xbox Live won't port to my new console. While these points are enough to make me seriously think about buying a PS4, Microsoft choosing to omit them from the show, despite obviously knowing it's what the punters want to know about, was just cowardly. It shows they know they've made a mistake and if they don't have faith in their product then why should I.

Chris O'Regan - Industry Commentator

So, did that Xbox Reveal exceed or live up to your expectation?
Sadly the presentation upheld my worst fears, in that it?s a system made for people who only buy two games a year, i.e. CoD and Madden/FIFA, and who also like watching sports and quiz shows on broadcast TV. Who even watches broadcast TV any more? Yet they spent an inordinate amount of time wibbling on about watching TV through the console. This is something the PS3 has had for over five years with the PlayTV add-on and I can?t remember the last time I used that thing.

The console itself looks like a Betamax VCR circa 1982 and the Kinect camera is colossal when compared with the original one, and that?s no mean feat. Oh and they shut off backwards compatibility, but that?s OK since the only people buying this monolith are getting the latest CoD and FIFA/Madden game year after year, so who needs backwards compatibility? Oh hairs on arms, finger nail dirt and dogs. DOGS. DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOGS.

What are you happiest or saddest to see in that Reveal?
I?m happy that the presentation stopped. I?m sad that I sat through it.

It?s as if they didn?t even watch Sony?s presentation on the PS4, which was way, way better.

Debbie Timmins - Editor-in-Chief of The Average Gamer

So, did that Xbox Reveal exceed or live up to your expectation?
The Xbox Reveal was all right for a pre-show reveal but really didn't give me any reason to get excited. They've clearly thought a lot about voice control (ugh) and media features (ugh) and I'm sure they have plenty of games coming along. But every game shown was about shooting soldiers or sports.

At least we got to see the box. I wouldn't complain if we didn't, but I fully understand that people need something visual for that emotional attachment.

What are you happiest or saddest to see in that Reveal?
There was a very brief mention of on-the-fly video editing, which was one of the things I'd want. Taking Skype calls while watching TV or playing a game might be nice if I wasn't the kind of person who routinely slobs about the house in jogging bottoms with shabby hair. I am exactly that kind of person, so I'm never going to pick up an unplanned video call. I suppose it does move us one step towards the Hollywood future of being able to say "Receive call, no picture" while towel-drying our hair?

There was no mention of smaller XBLA-like titles, no streaming. All evening I've been hearing about pre-owned sales, always on and gamertag achievements carrying forward but we're getting this as garbled stories after the fact. That stuff should have been addressed in the conference. That's what gamers want to know and that's what we've been talking about for months.

I'd be more excited about the live action Halo TV series if I hadn't been following Falling Skies, also produced by Spielberg. Now I'm intrigued but wary. I don't even play Halo.

Michael Fox - Game Maker, Columnist and Joypod Podcast Host

So, did that Xbox Reveal exceed or live up to your expectation?
Not at all. I found it incredibly disappointing. With a massive focus on TV (which we've since discovered requires an extra set-top box, and none of which will work outside of the US at launch anyway) it felt more like a nod to shareholders than the Check Out What Awesome Stuff We're Doing fest it could've been.

If I'm watching a movie, I don't want to watch the bloody trailer for the sequel at the same time. I don't care about hand gestures. I don't need an always-on Kinect that can read my heartbeat - I just can't see the point. Of the little time they devoted to games only one new IP was announced and they managed to show... well, who knows?

The fact it took 28 minutes to actually get to their first game was a worry, and when they announced EA were to take the stage my heart sank a bit. Microsoft seem to be marketing this as an all-in-one system for AWESOME DUDES, and I'm not one of them. Also, you honestly think that Stephen Spielberg will be directing a Halo TV show? Balls will he.

Saying all that, the system will do incredibly well. I'm not surprised they went with the games they showed off as they're the biggest sellers by some margin. It just would've been nice to see something new and exciting... and we didn't get that at all.

What are you happiest or saddest to see in that Reveal?
I'm sad to see that innovation seems to have been mistaken for simply making everything a bit shinier. I'm sad to see that Microsoft are continuing to push games yet further into the background and spreading themselves even thinner by trying to create a one-size-fits-all machine.

I'm also sad to see the absolute shitstorm of the post-event PR nightmare explosion where no-one seems to have a clue what is happening with games and 'permission to play'. None of these give me much in the way of faith in MS, and I think that many other people will now be looking to Sony for their next generation machine.

Many thanks to our industry friends, who contributed to both our Xbox Reveal Insight pieces!

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Sledgecallier 24 May 2013 14:00
have to agree with Michael's comment. I've been an Xbox 360 gamer for ages and never even thought about getting a PS4 until the Xbox event. Well done Microsoft, you've just made the best advert for Sony's new games machine yet!
Reality 25 May 2013 10:04
I find it interesting that a couple people I have never heard of represent the industry. Sony and Microsoft haven't really put their cards on the table yet. I do not see myself leaning one way or the other until E3 starts to shed light on what the launches are going to look like.
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Joji 27 May 2013 14:45
A fuster cluck of epic proportions. It as if MS really want to take Nintendo's third place home console spot. Too much tv and not enough games, I'd really like to know what's going on in MS brain matter, but at a long look it seem to me, that MS have been offered a lot of money to try and save traditional live tv, when many of us care less about it.

In and age of cord cutting from subscription tv and anywhere/any device media access, this is a step backwards. Despite itself and MS, Xbox One will sell because gamers core or not will buy it. There's bound to be good games in the pipe for it and PS4. Roll on E3.

Just be sure to point your Kinect 2 at some inanimate object within reach, instead of its intrusive HAL/Sauron like stare forever focused on gamers, not blinking once.

Alvin 10 Jun 2013 09:00
Roxy, luv your show. The problem as I see it, we apecct the lies our repre- sentatives tell us People such as you, George Noory, Kerry Cassidy need to use your media access to pressure our President and Congress, to pull back the curtain of secrecy. If our POTUS has the power to create an Agency like MAJ 12, then he has the responsibility to the American people to answer for unlawful acts carried out in the name of him and MAJ 12 I am not a lawyer but even I know, no one is above the constitution? Glenn 2 0
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