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I had previously told my family that I already knew what I wanted for Christmas this year. The new Xbox was to be announced on the 21st, and it was a no-brainer that I’d have to have one since they were expected to be out before the end of the year.
The announcement was yesterday and today I’m just not as excited. Of course I’ll likely end up with one because I’m a geek that way. Having said that, I find my excitement is less after the announcement rather than more.
Of course the demos and presentation at the launch were very cool. It was great to see how you can control the television including the ability to switch between inputs in what seemed like a seamless demo. The demos and game play that were shown rocked. The visuals looked great. Hearing that it would be out this year was confirmation that I’d likely see it by Christmas.
But a lot of questions were raised. Not only that, but there were a lot of things that struck me as odd. I've created a list of ten questions that I've pondered after the event. In looking at other posts, I know I’m not the only person thinking about some of these.
- Why “One”?
I had heard a rumor that Microsoft was moving away from numbers in naming the Xbox. Obviously that rumor was wrong. It seems odd to move from 360 to “One” when this is the third machine. More importantly, if this is one and since 360 has already been used¸ where do you go with the next console’s name?
- What’s up with the boxy look?
It might just be the perspective of the camera angles pointing at the device in the streamed presentation I've seen; however, the Xbox One looks very boxy and very big. I assume this is to fit with the more standard entertainment device style you see with receivers and such. Even so, in an age of ever shrinking devices, this looks big.
- How many games will be available at release?
I believe I heard that there will be 15 games within the next year of which around half are new. Of course, if the device is coming out within 7 months, that means that these games might, or might not, be there when the Xbox One releases. While the focus of the machine isn't just games, it is the games that make the existing machines.
- Will Xbox 360 games work in the Xbox One?
Word is not backwards compatible with existing games. At $30 to $60 per game, many of us have thousands of dollars invested in games. Is Microsoft really going to make us start over again? On the Xbox site they make the following statement regarding backward compatibility:
“Xbox One hardware is not compatible with Xbox 360 games. We designed Xbox One to play an entirely new generation of games—games that are architected to take full advantage of state-of-the-art processors and the infinite power of the cloud. We care very much about the investment you have made in Xbox 360 and will continue to support it with a pipeline of new games and new apps well into the future.”
- Can a single copy of a game be played on multiple consoles?
For example, I have more than one Xbox 360. I can put disk into any of the consoles and play it. With the Xbox One, it has been stated that games get installed onto the 500gb hard drive. While there is expected to be a way to trade and sell games, will you be required to remove it from one system before you can get it to work on anther? Will you be able to install that game onto multiple consoles if you own all the consoles? I can see restricting a single copy to being played on a single machine at any given time, but a person should be able to play it on any machines they own or are logged into.
- Is the Xbox One going to let us get rid of our digital box?
For many of us, we have been stuck with a digital box between the cable outlet and the television. Will the Xbox One let us get rid of that box? From what I’m reading online, the issues with cable boxes still exist even for the Xbox one that proposes to be the media hub of the home.
- Similarly, how will the ability to switch between live television work with DVRs?
Will the Xbox One replace our DVRs? The demos of switching between game play and live television are sweet, but how many people watch live television? If you are like me, you tend to avoid most live television so as to be able to skip the commercials. I start a lot of hour long shows 15 minutes late just so I push past the commercial. How will a DVR work with the Xbox? It seems like the concept of one media controller might be stretched.
- Are we still stuck with IR to connect multiple boxes?
The online posted comments related to my previous two questions seems to indicate that IR is used to connect various component boxes. I currently use IR between my DVRs and cable boxes. The extra wires along with the need to line up IR sensors, result in a pretty archaic way of getting devices to talk. If the Xbox One is not integrated to remove the cable box and doesn't include DVR abilities, then we are still stuck with multiple devices that have to be pasted together.
- If games aren't compatible, will controllers and other peripherals still work?
Here again, word on the street is that your existing controllers and accessories will not work. This was confirmed for the controllers and existing Kinect devices by joystiq.com.
- What is the price?
This is the most concerning question. No price was mentioned. The device is being built with power and has the Kinect technology as well. Is this going to be under $500?
I believe the direction Microsoft is going with the Xbox One is smart. Even so, with the announcement, the questions are starting to pile up and not all of the answers are what we want to hear. Starting over with games and accessories is never a pleasant thing. The ability to integrate television is great; however, we’ll have to see how easy it is to hook up and actually make this work within the recorded, cable-box scenarios that many of us live with.
Even with all of the questions, I've not taken Xbox One off of my Christmas list yet. Hopefully this will still be true, even after I hear the price. What about you? Are you planning on buying an Xbox One?