Xbox One Reveal: Our Reaction, Opinion and Everything You Need to Know
Written Tuesday, May 21, 2013 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Well, that's it then. All of that build-up and anticipation was leading up to this. Rumours begone! Xbox One is here, and we know almost everything we needed to know. Almost everything. It's not called Durango, it's not Xbox Infinity and it's not just called 'Xbox '. It won't make you a cup of tea, give you a massage or fluff your pillow, and it won't directly interface with your brain by drilling through your eye socket. Although the new Kinect comes dangerously close to doing that.
What can it do then? So far we know that it's an “all in one system” according to Microsoft's big cheese, Don Mattrick, with TV, movies and all of your entertainment in one place. It's what most gamers feared. The Xbox reveal was almost exclusively about what the console can do with voice recognition, streaming TV and movies. Whatever happened to the games? The sum total of games actually revealed during the event were seven if you include Call of Duty: Ghosts. We shouldn't lose heart on that front however, as Microsoft is promising plenty of game reveals for E3 2013 in a few short weeks. Oh, and it'll spin its games on Blu-ray discs. Yay!
This first look was really all about Xbox One's entertainment delivery chops, with Microsoft focusing on Kinect's voice gubbins, its partnership with NFL to deliver American Football games with the full stadium experience and more of that kind of thing. Hell, 343 even took time out to announce its Halo TV series, disappointing fans hoping for confirmation of the next Halo game. Steven Spielberg's involvement did nothing to lessen our dashed hopes either.
While the demonstration of Xbox One's ability to seamlessly change channels, switch between TV and movies, while chatting to someone on Skype was undeniably impressive, a lack of games and a whole litany of unanswered questions left us concerned that the Xbox rumour mill would continue to grind unabated.
Thank goodness then for the post-Xbox One reveal event in London, where practically all of our questions have been answered by Xbox UK Marketing Director Harvey Eagle. Microsoft's willingness to be completely transparent with us regarding backwards compatibility, achievements, Gamertags and always-online does beg the question as to why these salient facts were left out of the reveal event in the first place.
Nonetheless, we have answers now and can fill in some of the gaps for you. Firstly, not only will your achievements and overall Gamerscore carry over to Xbox One, but how you obtain your achievements will shape your gaming history to share with friends. Your Gamertag and Xbox Live Avatar will also make the jump to the new console, so there's no danger of you losing the Xbox Live identity you've been working on for the past eight years or so. This is all good stuff.
Disappointingly, Xbox One won't be backwards compatible with any existing disc-based Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox Live Arcade games, which means you'll have to maintain a working Xbox 360 to play your library of titles you've accumulated over the years. This is bad stuff.
Tempering this piece of bad news is confirmation that Xbox One won't utilise DRM or always-online functionality to block pre-owned games, so any such rumours pertaining to such a feature can be consigned to the dustbin. Although, you will apparently have to pay a fee to install used games though, which goes some way to explaining EA's abandonment of its online pass scheme. We wait with bated breath to find out how much you'll have to shell out to play a used game.
Xbox One is also to play host to no less than 15 console exclusives in its first year, including Forza Motorsport 5 and Remedy's potentially very exciting Quantum Break. Remedy's game is a new IP for Xbox One too, and is hopefully an indication that more new and fresh titles will arrive with the advent of the next-generation. Microsoft has already said that there'll be no less than eight new IPs coming to the platform during year one. Even CoD is turning over a new leaf with a new engine, new characters, new story and a dog (yes, a dog!) to feature in Call of Duty: Ghosts.
That's what we can take away from Microsoft's Xbox One reveal today then. A glossy, understated black box with a new 1080p Kinect device, a slightly redesigned controller (we're keen to find out what the 40 design innovations are exactly), and TV, movies and more all in one place, controlled by your voice and accessed seamlessly in an instant. It'll play games too, it seems.
We thought we'd be more excited for the next Xbox, but we're feeling a little cold in the wake of the Xbox One reveal. Perhaps a more in-depth demonstration of what Xbox One is capable of and the games that will come to define the platform will manage to boost our excitement, but for now we're feeling that the overall event was a rather lukewarm one.
For the next few weeks then, we'll be looking ahead to E3 in June, when we hope Microsoft will finally deliver on the potential and promise of Xbox One, with a line-up of games to really get the blood pumping. After all for us - and we suspect for you too – Xbox One should really be all about the games. We just didn't get that today.
Xbox One will launch later in the year. Let us know your thoughts about the Xbox reveal and Xbox One in the comments.