We’re now approaching the 10th anniversary of the Xbox One’s infamous reveal in 2013, and the occasion has led to a mixed bag of opinions. Was it a disaster as far back as we can remember it, or in some way, was the Xbox One actually ahead of its time?
I think the answer is both. It was a console that understood the future we were heading towards, but interpreted and executed the vision poorly. Plus there was a really bad idea that wasn’t good at the time, and hasn’t aged well today.
But I think it’s worth taking a look at what Xbox One suggested back then, and where we end up today to see what it predicted correctly, and what didn’t hold up.
There is a clip circulating showing the number of times the presenters said “TV” or “TV” while introducing an integrated entertainment center. This was in 2013, so a lot of the focus was literally on cable TV, and how your Xbox can more or less function as a cable box. This part hasn’t aged well, but the idea of consoles becoming all-in-one entertainment boxes wasn’t silly. Although to be sure, many people use Smart TVs or Google Chromecast to run their apps, if you are Owns On Xbox or PlayStation now, chances are you might switch to Netflix or HBO Max after your game time, so that’s how consoles work now. Minus the cable part of it.
tablet and digital
One of the things that seemed to be the biggest stumble was how Microsoft tried to deal with the coming digital age by making a strange hybrid between disc and digital, which at the time affected game sharing and resale in a way no one asked for. This was the idea that a game disc was essentially a “license”, and you could no longer simply give the disc to a friend, as it became a much more complicated process. This, of course, led to a counter-advertisement from Sony of executives passing a disc between them.
My guess is that the Xbox One may have wanted to make an all-digital console if possible, but they felt they needed some kind of intermediate step, and that was it. It was a bad thing, of course, but they saw that day coming, where digital purchases make up a huge part of the industry and people incorrect Really lend each other discs a lot, or resell games a lot. But in 2013, the industry wasn’t ready for it, and it wasn’t explained or implemented in any logical way, hence the concept was later retracted.
Those two words helped drown out the launch, as there was the idea that the Xbox One would need to always be online to play games, any games, no matter what. Later, this was interpreted as online “check-in”, but the damage was done.
Again, it predicted the future to a certain extent, but in a way that wasn’t entirely appropriate for 2013. While consoles aren’t technically “always online” now and you Can You play some games without PS Plus, Xbox Live, or an internet connection, the reality of the industry is that if you have a console, you’re probably online in 98% of situations. And many games, even single player games, incorrect It can run unless connected to the publisher’s servers. So yeah, the industry has moved almost entirely online, but Xbox tried to force it early on.
But there is no excuse for the Kinect. No justification, no fact as that piece of hardware was ahead of its time. The Kinect was fine on its own in the 360 iteration. It wasn’t particularly good or useful, but it was harmless in its presence.
But the Xbox One has quadrupled the Kinect and marriage To Xbox One it was a disaster. It was never supported in any meaningful capacity, it never worked well and the best thing I did was voice commands, not anything to do with his gestures. The problem was that at launch, it wasn’t an option, it was compulsorily bundled with the Xbox One which raised its price by $100 over the PS4. I think the rest of the above issues might have been overlooked, but if you’re charging $100 more for a console over your competitor’s, you’d better justify it outright, and the Kinect did the opposite. I maintain this was one of the worst hardware decisions in the history of the industry, as the PS3 was priced at $600 in 2005.
In many ways, the Xbox One predicted the future, and the things it predicted that everyone hated at the time are now close to industry standards now. But at the time they did it badly and interpreted it badly, and as such, even Microsoft executives admit how wrong it all was, and that the loss from that generation for Sony was a gap they are unlikely to make up anytime soon, if ever. Hence the focus of Game Pass and the cloud.
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