Xbox One Opinion

Well, it’s been days since the Xbox One reveal and there seems to be a boatload of negativity.  As an Xbox fan (I believe I’m the only one who writes for this site who DOES NOT have a PS3), I agree and disagree with various aspects.  Granted, things can change and there’s still lots of uncertainty as Microsoft seems to be giving out muddy answers.  They haven’t shown much about games, which makes it worse.

For our Xbox One reveal impressions:   Go to our other post

Here’s my Xbox One opinion on key issues.  There’s so much uncertainty floating around, I’m basing it on what I’ve read



The general rumours of 8 Jaguar cores, 8 gb ram, blu-ray player and such are spot on.

Personally, I’m fine with them.  Despite all the PS4 hype about 8 gb GDDR5 ram, the specs between them at this point seem pretty similar.  Therefore, it comes down to games, developer support and effort.  It’s not like we are comparing two systems with a huge disparity in specs.

Let’s not forget all the PS3 hype about Cell and BR being holy grails of console gaming.  And what happened?  Xbox 360 games using ancient DVD discs holding a fraction of storage space seem better as a whole.  Better performing, don’t have many mandatory installs, better online.

Kinect 2.0

Much improved specs, speed and functionality.  Every bundle comes with it.  Needs to be online.

Aside from dabbling with Kinect 1.0 with fitness games and the occasional time my nieces came over to play Fruit Ninja and Leedmees demos, I had little use for it.  I set it to be defaulted as turned off when booting up my Xbox 360.

For Kinect 2.0, if the improved specs and power can lead to cool stuff, I’m all for it.  I don’t care for another round of exercising, but if it devs can use it to map in your face and body into games that would be hilariously fun.  I remember my brother messing with PC’s NHL 2000 (I think) and importing a jpeg image so the game mapped his face to a crude player model.  It looked like ass, but still pretty funny.  Things can only improve now.

The problem is mandatory bundling of it.  If Kinect 2.0 is that good, I’ll get it.  If it isn’t I want to avoid it.  I don’t want to force myself to buy an Xbox One bundle that has a Kinect 2.0 which probably adds $100 to the box.  If Kinect 2.0 impresses, I’d rather buy it later as a separate purchase even if it costs more than bundling with the console itself.  Microsoft should ship two boxes.  One with it and one without it.  It seemed Xbox 360s bundled with Kinect sold very well, so I don’t think they have to fear that 5% of gamers will buy the Kinect 2.0 bundle and 95% buy the standalone package therefore making Kinect 2.0 a waste.  I think it might be 50/50.  I’m guessing there, but I think the number of people buying the Kinect 2.0 bundle would be enough to make it a viable piece of technology that won’t be ignored.

Also, I’ve read Kinect 2.0 has to be powered on in order for you to play.  It may have to do with the rumoured facial recognition DRM thing.  If so, that’s silly and explains why it is being bundled with every system.  Let’s say someone else (like my niece) wants to play.  It boots up and doesn’t recognize her.  It would then treat her as a “guest profile”?  Maybe.  So she can’t play MY GAMES?  Maybe.  Dumb if that’s true.

As seen below, the system may already have used game limitations, so now having extra security needing Kinect 2.0 also on makes the system seem creepy.  Like everything oozing from it resembles being shackled to the system.

Used Games, trading in games, borrowing games

This is the most unclear batch of info out there.  Every Microsoft spokesman seems to say something different and even when it is worded clearly, it’s still vague.  Larry Hyrb (Major Nelson) says one thing.  Then Phil Harrison says another.  Granted, it seems Microsoft is still evaluating what to do so things may change.  However, they need some serious chat amongst each other to make sure everyone is on the same page.

What has been floating around…. used games, lending fees, one person at a time.

I’ve read stores can accept trade-ins and Microsoft, the store and the developer will each get a cut somehow.  I’m fine with this.  It will suck for Gamestop as they will lose some of their money to Microsoft and devs, but for sake of the industry I’m for it.  I’m not actually a fan of this in general.  I think product makers should suck it up and let people buy and sell used stuff as these please.  But since it seems devs are going belly up like crazy lately so the industry seems to need stability and sharing of money.

It’s a weird industry because despite stores allowing trade ins making high margins on reselling used games it’s not like the store is making a killing like an Apple store.  Gamestop, Best Buy, Future Shop and any other large store doing trade ins are making the typical super slim margins which barely seem to keep the corporation alive.  Take a look at their net profit and you’ll see “whopping” low single digit NET INCOME profits.  And that’s an overall picture.  That means there’s surely some stores losing money.  We’re not talking oil companies here.

Lending fee.  Someone other than the original purchaser has to pay some kind of fee to play.  I don’t care if it’s 10 cents or $10.  I understand from my above point that spreading some dollar bill love helps, but it gets to a point of nickel and diming every step in the ladder.

The method to pay for it can be a hassle too.  If it has to be credit card method only, a total pain in the ass process.  That means every gamer wanting to do this has to set up their credit card online.  Not for me.  I’ve never done this.  I prefer just buying point cards and doing DLC that way.  I’ll assume if this rumour is true that you can pay for it via external value cards or direct with a credit card.

One gamer profile at a time tactic.  The premise is that you install the game on your system fully and can play it without needing to insert a disc.  Sounds great.  If you lend the game to a friend, the always online feature detects another gamer is installing it so your copy gets deactivated.  When your buddy returns the game to you, the same process happens.

If this is the true intent (remember we’re still in rumour mode), I’m fine with this.  It makes sense.  If Xbox One is going the “full install, no disc route”, it makes sense that only one gamer can have access.  Or else someone is going to lend a game to everyone they know and Gamefly rentals will have a single copy of a game being fully copied onto 10s, 100s or 1,000s of systems.  Doesn’t make sense.

Always online

Your system has to be connected online and Microsoft does periodical checks to make sure.

When I first heard this it was ridiculous.  It’s not about spyware, marketing data mining or anything like that.  My system is always hooked up and I don’t care about the extra bit of electricity it would use in low power mode.

My initial concern was that if my internet bombs, I wouldn’t be able to play.  But then I thought about it… my ISP is very reliable so internet outages are rare.  And I can live without playing for 2 hours even if it’s a major issue.  Also, look at my point above about lending games to people.  It makes perfect sense that Xbox One’s have to be connected so that it can verify a single game disc isn’t being fully installed and played by 100 people over time.  Imagine how many different gamers play a copy from Gamefly!

The problem is for gamers who have sketchy connections or who don’t hook it up to the internet to begin with.  Not everyone is a Netflix user or MP gamer.

Rumours say that Microsoft has considered this so the always online verification would allow buffer zones.  That’s great, but it still slams the door into the face of gamers with lousy or no connection.

  • DoYourHomework

    PlayStation 4 chip, which came to light this February, is truly an engineer’s fantasy. It combines eight “Jaguar” 64-bit x86 cores clocked at 1.60 GHz, with a fairly well spec’d Radeon GPU, which features 1,156 stream processors, 32 ROPs; and a 256-bit wide unified GDDR5 memory interface, clocked at 5.50 GHz. At these speeds, the system gets a memory bandwidth of 176 GB/s. Memory isn’t handled like UMA (unified memory architecture), there’s no partition between system- and graphics-memory. The two are treated as items on the same 8 GB of memory, and either can use up a majority of it.

    Xbox One chip is a slightly different beast. It uses the same eight “Jaguar” 1.60 GHz cores, but a slightly smaller Radeon GPU that packs 768 stream processors, and a quad-channel DDR3-2133 MHz memory interface, which offers a memory bandwidth of 68.3 GB/s, and holding 8 GB of memory. Memory between the two subsystems are shared in a similar way to PlayStation 4, with one small difference. Xbox One chip uses a large 32 MB SRAM cache, which operates at 102 GB/s, but at infinitesimally lower latency than GDDR5. This cache cushions data-transfers for the GPU. Microsoft engineers are spinning this off as “200 GB/s of memory bandwidth,” by somehow clubbing bandwidths of the various memory types in the system.

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