As you may know, the Xbox One has finally been announced on 21 May 2013. Prior to the event, Microsoft advertised the upcoming event via many different communication channels and their presentation was streamed worldwide to pretty much everyone who owns an Xbox 360 (apart of course from many different websites who also live-streamed the event). It was a highly anticipated event and many people were anxiously looking forward to it, but after the whole thing finished, I found it somewhat hard to get excited about Microsoft’s new console. Here’s why.
Has Microsoft Changed Their Main Target Demographic?
I had this weird feeling during the presentation, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. I kept wondering if, as a hardcore gamer, I really am a part of Microsoft’s target demographic. Why is that? Well, how about the fact that Microsoft seemed to focus too much on the TV aspects of Xbox One? It was almost like they were trying to convince people that their new games console is primarily for watching TV. Another thing is that they were trying to promote Fantasy Football League, showing how people would be able to track the match results in real time on their Xbox One, and showing other various sports stuff.
That’s all very fine and dandy Microsoft, but here’s the thing.
I don’t watch TV.
Nor do I play Fantasy Football, which frankly speaking seems to be an American thing, whereas the event was streamed worldwide and from that perspective I hardly think anyone cared about that particular feature.
On top of that, (this is a rather subjective point) I really don’t need to watch or track sports on my games console. If I want sports, I go and train Krav Maga, go jogging or hit the gym. I sure as hell don’t need it on my Xbox. Sure, it would be a nice addition but the various sports aspects of Xbox One were presented in a way that suggests sports, rather than games, are one of two main aspects of Xbox One (apart from television).
My main concern here is that there was hardly anything appealing to hardcore gamers – the only positive thing was the announcement of Call of Duty: Ghosts at the very end, but I’m sure you were left with this feeling of insufficiency when the event ended thinking “huh? is THAT it…?”. I understand they are targeting new audiences with Xbox One but currently it seems almost like it was done at the expense of hardcore gamers, which is a bit disheartening because, let’s face it: it was hardcore gamers who ensured the success of Xbox 360, not casual couch potatoes who mainly watch TV or “bros” who play Fantasy Football together.
The Xbox One Announcement Was Way Too American-Centric
If you aren’t American, there’s a good chance you didn’t feel excited about at least HALF of the features that Microsoft has announced. Let’s look at it from a Polish gamer’s perspective for a moment.
The new Kinect sensor is going to be bundled with every Xbox One. Why am I not excited? Well look at it this way: currently, the Kinect for Xbox 360 still doesn’t recognize Polish voice commands. Moreover, the voice commands are completely disabled for anyone who has their LIVE account region set to Poland, so you can’t even use English voice commands and effectively lose one of Kinect’s features. Why would anyone assume this will be improved in Xbox One? After all, Microsoft already gave us a taste of how much they care about those features being available in Poland.
Furthermore, the amount of apps available on the Polish Xbox LIVE Marketplace is still hardly impressive, and vaguely pathetic. Currently, there are only around 10-14 apps available (I’ll post the full list to support my argument in a few days when I get access to my Xbox again), there is still no Netflix in Poland or some of the other apps that are the most popular ones in the US.
Having all of this in mind, why would anyone delude themselves and think “noooo, Xbox One surely will support my region better!”? Chances are it won’t. I bet even the elementary things like e.g. the TV features of Xbox One will either not work at all in Poland, or will be very limited – can you imagine being able to browse the TV guide that supports Polish channels? Pfft, not likely, I know.
Microsoft has always made US their primary target, releasing more and more apps for the American consumers, at the same time not really giving the proper care to consumers from other countries. Are people from outside of US supposed to blindly trust Microsoft’s promises that all of what was shown during the Xbox One announcement will work where they live? Because honestly, I don’t think people are dumb enough to spend their hard earned cash on empty promises.
The Xbox One Is Not Really “The Only One”
Another good argument that makes me feel a bit skeptical about Xbox One is what Marcus Beer has recently said in one of his Annoyed Gamer episodes at Gametrailers.com. He noticed that despite how Microsoft is trying to portray Xbox One, it won’t exactly be the only box you ever need in your living room. After all, in order to watch TV on it, you’ll need your set-top box right next to Xbox One. The size of Xbox One games is bound to increase too, especially with the use of Blu Ray discs, which will make the 500GB HDD space fill up rather quickly and since you can’t replace the HDD – you will need another “box” (a bigger external HDD) next to the console at some point.
So as you can see, it’s not like it’s the only “box” you will ever need and I don’t understand why would Microsoft market it as such.
Things Will Be Clarified Soon
With the E3 2013 just around the corner, Microsoft is definitely working day and night to ensure that most of the doubts people have will disappear during, or after the event.
After all, they promised to show more games at E3 and give additional information regarding the console – it also wouldn’t be surprising if they finally decided to debunk some of the rumors that have been circulating around the web for a long time now (including the infamous rumor of “mandatory internet connection” requirement).
Nevertheless, the way things stand now, I truly find it hard to get excited about Xbox One. I’m hoping things will change soon because currently, the video below is the perfect summary to how I feel about the Xbox One announcement.