Xbox One - a big disappointment
I am not sure if I became one of those "back when I was young everything was better" people or if gaming was just better. Looking at the new Xbox One I have another reason to stay away from gaming consoles, even if I would have enjoyed one. Let me explain why.
When I grew up gaming was a big part of my life and this never really changed. I always carried my Gameboy with me like I carry my iPhone today. My first Super Nintendo was enough to keep me in my room for many, well, months if you add up my playtimes. With twelve or thirteen I visited my first LAN party and in the following years I spent a lot of time with my friends gaming on small and big parties. Till the beginning of 2013 I regularly (two to three times a week) raided with my World of Warcraft guild, I played since the end of vanilla, raided since Burning Crusade. I think I can safely say: I am a gamer. And I love being one.
It is a coincidence that it was one year ago that I wrote about 15 years of gaming and complained about the current trend that you only get half assed games and that you have to pay for additional content which you used to get for free.
You do not own your game
It is no secret that I hate games which require you to authenticate against DRM servers. They break, you need a working Internet connection to play single player games - the word working is the problem. Our ISP needed two weeks to fix a problem, two weeks where most of the current games just would not have worked - and if a publisher goes out of business the servers are likely going with them.
One advantage of consoles was always that you have a (today likely an optical one) medium you insert into a box and start playing. No setup, no drivers to mess around with, just playing a game. Now this is gone. Install the game and bind it to your Xbox live account. And this is not the worst thing.
Have you ever borrowed a game from a friend to play it for some weeks? Well, you are out of luck if he wants to use his Xbox live account. You cannot just borrow games anymore. They are bound to an account. This was the most basic thing if two people owned the same console, it was even the reason for friends to get the same consoles so they could share games.
Entertainment systems and cameras
I am pleased to see that Microsoft cares so much about my digital life that they want to be the center of it. They want to control my whole home cinema. Scanning my room to recognize my face and gestures to power on, off and do whatever else with my TV, receiver and amplifier.
But all I want is a gaming console. I do not want a full HD camera scanning the room. I do not want my receiver to switch channels because I started eating a sandwich. I want a gaming console, nothing else.
I would not count this as a negative point in general. I am sure there are people who want this features, I am just not one of them.
Games, games and even more games
First thing you should do after you got the new Xbox is throwing away your games for the 360. Or sell them with the console. Or put everything in a corner with the thought that you will, of course, play all of them once again "some day". There is no backward compatibility. Every game you bought is worthless if you only want one console.
If I want to play Final Fantasy 7 today I just search for the discs, install it and start playing. Dozens of PCs and more than a decade later I can still play one of my favorite games. Thanks to Microsoft gamers cannot even play the most bleeding edge game they bought yesterday.
Another thing I find a bit disturbing is that indie developers are not welcome. There are many indie titles which are great or at least promising. They try to deliver content and a storyline, something companies like EA stroked of their checklists many years ago. Even if some of those games do not deliver hundreds of hours playtime they are sold for a reasonable price.
So what games can I get? Likely the same as always. Slightly reworked titles which were first released five or six years ago. I still do not want to play military games or soccer. If I want sports I go outside and play with friends, if I want to see senseless slaughtering in high definition I turn on the news. I am aware that there will be more games than those they showed but it seems to be what they promote because the masses want those games.
I am really disappointed
I thought about getting a console again. PC gaming is screwed thanks to publishers and DRM. And now Microsoft introduces the same rubbish to the console world. But beside the fact that I would have to put up with the same stuff I am running away from I cannot trade games, I cannot play older titles and I need an Internet connection for single player games. And the only games I can play are made by publishers who give a damn shit about gamers.
I can only hope that the Playstation 4, once Sony figures out how to assemble the parts so they can actually show us the console, does the basic things right. Slowly I am running out of options.