Friday, April 5, 2013

Always Online Would Be the Least of Our Problems With the Next Xbox

Things have been a bit messy with the Microsoft camp. If you're reading this site, you no doubt heard or read about it. A creative director for Microsoft's gaming division spoke out on Twitter, defending the idea of a console that is always online. That means that an Internet connection is always required to use the system's services and features. Well, unfortunately, Mr. Adam Orth said his comments in an incredibly rude and disrespectful manner. This not only insulted gamers, but even Xbox fans are up in arms. You can see an example of Mr. Orth's tweeting below. Now, we are in the stage of damage control for Microsoft.

While an always online next Xbox would be a bad thing to us, it's not the worst thing that we can think of that Microsoft could do with their third console. Here are four troublesome and worrying things Microsoft may have for the so-called "Nextbox."

One of the biggest issues we at SuperPhillip Central have with the rumors of the Microsoft's third home gaming console is the idea that it would block used games. Now, (and this will be now written as the author's opinion) I don't know about you guys, but I love being able to try out a game, and if I don't like it, sell it back or trade it in to get some kind of reimbursement back. Or if a game is sitting on the shelf, collecting dust, I can eventually unload it on a gaming trading site and try out a new title. If the next Xbox truly puts the kibosh on the ability to play used games, I will be up in arms. I will not be able to "deal with it."

That's not even the end of my beefs with Microsoft's next Xbox either. Let's talk about their extensive lineup of compelling first-party exclusives, or lack thereof. Between Halo and Forza, that's pretty much all that excites some people, myself included, with Microsoft's first-party offerings. No doubt you purchase an Xbox to play Halo and the plethora of first-person shooters that have gotten more numerous and less original that litter the system's library. I love a good FPS as much as the next guy, but there is always something known as too much of a good thing. I'd love to see Microsoft diversify their first-party offerings with their third console. Let Rare create some colorful titles that hark back to their Nintendo days. Obviously they won't be the same, as most of the Rare staff from the Golden Age of the company are long gone, but at least it would be different for a change. If you think Nintendo plays it safe with their I.P.s, Microsoft constantly goes back to the same handful of franchises, and it's getting quite tiring.

We love Halo as much as the next site,
but MS as a first-party needs more interesting I.P.s.
Then there's Kinect, something that gave the Xbox 360 a second lease on life. It was impressive how the 360 was rejuvenated and became a sensation with casual gamers. Good for Microsoft, bad for gamers. I don't say this because casual gaming is bad. It's not. I say it because Kinect has thus far proven that it is not actually any good for games beyond mini-games and a few sports titles. I adore Kinect Sports, but beyond a few titles, Kinect has failed to catch on with more serious gamers because it just doesn't play well with "serious games." (I realize that is sort of an oxymoron since video games are basically toys when it all comes down to it.)

We'd love the person who invented Kinect to see
how "large" most people's gaming spaces are.
SuperPhillip Central's final issue with Microsoft and what we are led to believe with the third Xbox is all about online. No, not the always online, but Microsoft's attitude with Xbox Live. I'm sorry, but having to have a subscription to play online with your friends is total garbage. I don't care if you can party chat with Paris Hilton, it doesn't matter to me. Sony has shown that a free online service works (not as well as XBL, but it still works in general), and that people will subscribe to a bonus service (PlayStation Plus) if the incentives are great enough and worth it. Perhaps my distaste for Xbox Live came heavily when Microsoft essentially became so arrogant that they raised the cost of their service from $50 per year to $60 per year. That's for the privilege of playing with your friends, various chat services, Netflix and YouTube (both free on other platforms), and other features. It's absolute nonsense, and I hope Microsoft reconsiders charging people for online with the next Xbox.

Microsoft's next generation console will be their third entry in the dedicated gaming hardware race. I am reminded of the so-called "third console curse." We've seen Nintendo stumble with the N64. We've seen Sony fall over themselves with the PlayStation 3. Could Microsoft possibly fall victim to the third console curse with this rumored always online console?

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