The Xbox One Controversy

This is a writing sample from Scripted writer Damon Hubbs

Microsoft's Xbox One reveal missed the mark due to their disproportionate focus on delivering an all-in-one entertainment system rather than a gaming console. How will this console fare in a market in which the consumer just wants updated gaming hardware? Every gamer and technophile sighed when Microsoft finally announced the release date of the Xbox One. The sigh wasn't in response to the steep $499 price tag - that got an eye-roll - nor was it in reply to the scheduled November release date, which is certain to trigger supply shortages come Christmas. That collective sigh, heard as far away as Tatooine, was in reaction to the fact that Microsoft described the Xbox One as "the ultimate all-in-one entertainment system with a new approach to design," but it seems the next generation console might not live up to that description. The machine gamers and technophiles around the world had hoped would look like the floating black monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey is in reality just a simple black box. Whether or not the Xbox One console succeeds or fails all depends on whether the user is looking for a traditional gaming system or a more all-encompassing, multi-media experience. The Xbox One, designed with voice and motion sensitive Kinect 2.0 hardware, offers more of the latter. On the other hand, the PlayStation 4, although it's equipped with a Blu Ray, has a RAM specifically geared for powerhouse gaming. The PlayStation 4 retails for $399. The $100 difference between the two consoles won't be the kiss of death for Microsoft, but it's sure to negatively impact sales. More importantly, what if the consumer simply wants an updated gaming system and not an all-inclusive media console? This may adversely affect the Xbox One's success as well. Backwards game compatibility is an issue for the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. If both Microsoft and Sony fail to sell the massive amount of units they've come to expect, it will be because neither system can play old video games, due to their new internal architecture. Games aren't cheap, so this is a massive blow to the casual gamer. The Xbox 360 could play over 400 titles, but none of the 360 games can be played on the Xbox One. This is a lot like having to replace your vinyl records with CDs, only to turn around a decade later and replace the CDs with iTunes. Sony, however, said it plans to make PlayStation 3 games available via cloud technology sometime in the future. A recent article in Rolling Stone set off a firestorm over Xbox One's "always on" internet connection. This article, in turn, sparked a controversy about Microsoft's new system of cracking down on the selling and trading of games. As is often the case with new technology, rumors and misinformation are paramount. Microsoft has since quelled the "always on" rumor. However, you do need to check into the Xbox Live system every 24-hours or you'll get locked out of your games. And the controversy doesn't end there. Your Xbox One game library can now only be shared with 10 people, and each game will be tracked to its individual owner. The fact that this information was leaked around the same time the National Security Agency came under investigation for secretly collecting phone records from Americans doesn't bode well for Microsoft. In other words, having video games tracked instantly feels like another form of surveillance. So what's the bottom line? The Xbox One is like the all-inclusive resort of multi-media consoles. Sure, it's a five star resort, but does the casual gamer want all those extra bells and whistles? Probably not. On the other hand, the Xbox One is perfect for that consumer looking to upgrade his entire entertainment system. The success of the console depends on how it is marketed and to whom it is marketed. Right now, the Xbox One is so entangled in controversy and bad press that the only marketing being done is damage control. Sources: 1. 2. 3. 4.

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Damon Hubbs
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Damon is a New England based writer, reader, traveler, foodie, art lover, music buff & all around cultural enthusiast. He has a BA in World Literature and has been writing professionally for seven years.
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