The Xbox One Uncertainty Principle

The Xbox One Uncertainty Principle

At the start of a cocktail party that was to end an exciting, confusing and altogether odd day at Microsoft’s Redmond campus, I approached Microsoft VP Aaron Greenberg. Hell of a debut day for the Xbox One, I told him. Some impressive stuff, some confusing stuff. Some fierce reaction online.

Greenberg nodded and told me about some stats. They were tracking reaction on social media. They had four times the buzz as Sony’s PlayStation 4 event, from what he could tell. Reaction was split, but good: 40 per cent positive, 40 per cent neutral, 20 per cent negative.

I’d mostly heard about the negative, I told him, mostly from the Kotaku team back home.

I suggested that it would be useful if Microsoft could clear some things up. And I granted that, if you weren’t at the Redmond campus, you missed getting your hands on some of the best things about Xbox One. The new rumble in the controllers, for example. That feels next-level.

Was the anger really 20 per cent? In my extended online world, it seemed broader than that. The mood away from Redmond was, at least among the gamers I saw online, the kind of stuttering, stammering frustration that comes with the dawning recognition that, in the Xbox One’s version of gaming’s future, you might not even be allowed to borrow a game from a friend without paying a fee. To console gamers of the last two decades, that seems mad.

There were several dozen reporters on Microsoft’s campus. We weren’t as angry. More bewildered, I think. Maybe bemused by Microsoft’s stumbling confusion. We went to the system’s big briefing, which was held in a tent pitched on a soccer field. We were shuffled off to interviews, to demonstrations of the new Kinect and controller as well as to tours of Xbox testing labs. Interviews were solo. Tours were in groups.

Home base was the campus’ Spitfire Lounge, where we’d come and go and, soon enough, begin comparing notes. What we found, soon enough, is that we were getting different answers. He told you what about used games? Oh, I heard this. Your guy said that about always-online? The situation was fluid.

Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle tells us that the more we try to observe a particle’s position, the less precise we can be about its momentum. Heisenberg, have we got a game console for you. The more we try to know things about the Xbox One, the less it seems that we know.

Actual Xbox One Facts

The Xbox One is black. Specifically, I was told that it is liquid black, which, one of the system’s designers pointed out to me, is the blackest black. I’m confident of this, because I saw it.

The Xbox One is a game and entertainment console. It has a controller. It has a new Kinect bundled with the machine.

We do know more than that, of course. We know specs. We know plans. And some of the actual Xbox One facts seem to actually be positive things that could actually make gaming better.

For example: the new Kinect can detect and track your pulse. Just by looking at your face.

It can do this using a combination of its RGB sensor and its IR sensor (the latter can see in the dark). It can do this, the engineer who leads the Kinect group proudly told me, by identifying changes in colour intensity in people’s faces that are imperceptible to the human eye. These changes, he told me, are unaffected by melanin, so this should work with people of any skin colour. And it should therefore be able to work with any game at any time, meaning that idea that Nintendo and Valve have tossed around about tracking people’s bio-feedback to affect gaming may finally become a reality. The watchful new Kinect sensor could do that during any game. This is cool.


There are things about Xbox One, things that Microsoft showed during their big #XboxReveal day that are genuinely impressive — that are different without being off-putting, that show that something that might seem negative (I have to have a Kinect plugged in while I’m playing a game?) involves a positive trade-off (well, your games could react to your heart-rate).

Microsoft’s problem right now is that it’s hard to tell what the facts of their new console are. It’s hard to tell what is real and what’s a plan. It’s harder still to tell what’s a plan they’ll stick to and what’s a plan they’ll change. They don’t even seem to know themselves.

Actual Xbox One Confusion

The biggest points of confusion have involved whether the console really does require a persistent online connection and whether it blocks used games. Force me to tell you what the truth of all that is and I’d retreat to telling you what I think Microsoft’s priorities are.

I believe:

  • they want to increase the odds of their customers being online to as close to the point of requiring an online connection as they can, without infuriating their customers and
  • they want to know who is using their games, how and when.

These are the priorities that have been evident for over a year, since we first reported, thanks to our excellent next-gen sources, that Microsoft was exploring some sort of used-game protection. Earlier this year, we reported that the machine had to have a new Kinect plugged in in order to run (proven correct) and, in the same report, indicated that games would have to be installed and only run off the harddrive (correct as well).

The signs were increasingly in focus. Microsoft was going to keep tighter control on who played what, where they played it and when.

It need not be read as all nefarious. Games running off a hard drive are bound to have faster load times. They’re also bound to be bound to the person who bought the game and their family.

Go to a friend’s house, we’re now told, and they can play the same game if you’re logged in. If they want to log in? They’re paying a fee — possibly the cost of the full game. But maybe there’s a sensible compromise here? Maybe the friend could play the game for free for a day? Or pay a rental fee to have access to it for longer? Maybe Microsoft will tell us at E3.

Back when we were reporting about the Xbox One, back when it was codenamed Durango, we were mostly dealing with sources we had to keep anonymous. Well, except for the hacker Superdae, who handed us Durango developer documentation and then asked to be given credit for it. In retrospect, we got a lot right. We’d been certain about things like the prototype zebra-striped controller, for example.

There was just that one giant thing we struggled to nail down. That was the always-online requirement. We ran a story that had two top sources saying it was real. One was sure the system could only tolerate a player being offline for three minutes and said an online connection was needed to start a game. Others said they’d not heard one way or the other.

This confusion among our sources about this was maddening, and we took some shots for it. It either was or it wasn’t always-online. We weren’t talking about photons here. There either was a particle or a wave.

It was either always-online or not.

Well… not quite.

It turns out that the detail we were murkiest about was the one Microsoft themselves are the murkiest about.

The official Microsoft party line on the day the company revealed the Xbox One: “It does not have to be always connected, but Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet.”

I read that sentence on my phone while walking down a hallway toward an interview with Phil Harrison, one of the top executives on the Microsoft team. I asked him what the distinction meant. We published his response. Here it is again:

Harrison: “There are many devices in your life that require the Internet to function… Xbox One is no different in that it requires, at some point in the beginning and at various times through its on state, to connect to our cloud and to our Internet. That is to deliver Xbox Live functionality, that is to deliver download content to you, that is to deliver some of the innovations around TV and entertainment that we showed today. But it doesn’t require it to be online all the time.

For single-player games that don’t require connectivity to Xbox Live, you should be able to play those without interruption should your Internet connection go down. Blu-ray movies and other downloaded entertainment should be accessible when your Internet connection may be interrupted. But the device is fundamentally designed to be expanded and extended by the Internet as many devices are today.”

Kotaku: If I’m playing a single player game, do I have to be online at least once per hour or something like that? Or can I go weeks and weeks?

Harrison: I believe it’s 24 hours.

Kotaku: I’d have to connect online once every day.

Harrison: Correct.

I wasn’t back to the Spitfire Lounge before a Microsoft PR person told me there was an issue with the interview I’d just done. Something about the connection requirement being different on a case-by-case basis. They’d e-mail me a clarification.

Here’s what they emailed me:

“It does not have to be always connected, but Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet. We’re designing Xbox One to be your all-in-one entertainment system that is connected to the cloud and always ready. We are also designing it so you can play games and watch Blu-ray movies and live TV if you lose your connection.”

Round and round we went.

We published the 24-hour thing, because he’d said it, because it was clear he wasn’t sure but that it presented what seemed like an acceptable time duration for an offline mode as far as at least one top Xbox exec was concerned.

Frankly, to me, 24 hours didn’t sound so terrible, not for people who would already be owning a powerful home console. I mentioned this to a friend. He said I was in the “bargaining” phase. Maybe. Hey, at least 24 hours sounded better than three minutes.

The 24-hour thing didn’t bug me as much as the concept of forever. I don’t like the idea of a entire console’s worth of games that could become inert. That’s what needing an online connection at some point for each game means to me. And that’s the part that really bugged me.

The Xbox One Uncertainty Principle

When I ran into Harrison later in the day, I told him that it seemed problematic that there’d be a day when Microsoft might shut down its servers and our Xbox One games would never work again, because they’d have no servers to tell them it was OK for them to run. He seemed to think that was unlikely. A problem for the year 2040, I suggested. He smiled and said something about not thinking that would happen.

There was other confusion, mostly about used games. Again I felt like I was in the thick of it. Again, there was a question of what Harrison had said, what he meant and, most importantly, what Microsoft was really up to. Tom Bramwell from Eurogamer interviewed Harrison right before I did. He walked out, I went in. And then there must have been an issue, because Bramwell was invited to interview Harrison again. They talked through some of the restrictions.

They’d gotten hung up on a few things, including this idea that Harrison had also mentioned to me of having to register your game with a code online when you install it, locking the game to your and your family’s accounts (this was, perhaps, what our source had meant by needing an online connection to start a game).

Then they got to talking about used games and whether you could trade one in. Harrison to Bramwell:

“We will have a system where you can take that digital content and trade a previously played game at a retail store,” Harrison said. “We’re not announcing the details of that today, but we will have announced in due course.”

But in his interview with me, Harrison had said something a little different:

“We will have a solution — we’re not talking about it today — for you to be able to trade your previously-played games online”

See the difference?

It’s one thing to be talking about trading games back to retail stores, which is the model gamers are used to now. The idea of trading a game in online would be groundbreaking for consoles. I wasn’t clear exactly who we’d be trading our games online with… trading them in to Microsoft for credit or other games? Or even trading licenses with friends?

A GameStop source told me that his company, which is America’s favourite game-retailer/pawn-shop, already seemed to be working something out with Microsoft or at least trying to, so they could continue to get gamers to buy and trade in used games.

But, speaking of waiting for E3, it felt that here too there was more to be decided and much more to be explained. After all, what is GameStop able to do thanks to used games? Lower the prices of the games they’re selling. What would a Microsoft that trafficked in used games be able to do themselves? Perhaps lower the price on games?

Look, I’ve seen some complaints that the press hasn’t been hard enough on Microsoft. I don’t know. At Kotaku, we’ve been trying like demons to break news about the online requirements for a year and got close enough in April for our coverage to prompt former Microsoft creative director Adam Orth to make enough ill-advised Tweets to turn the heat up on this issue.

Given the furious reaction to Orth’s Tweets, I expected Microsoft to be prepared at the Xbox One event to have a palatable answer. I guess they did, what with Xbox boss Don Mattrick saying right after the briefing, “Gamers, we got your back.” But then there was what they wrote in that Q&A, the one that said they weren’t always-online but did require the Internet.

Perhaps the 24-hour estimate Harrison told me was a response to the fury that followed Orth’s seeming endorsement of an online requirement. (Seems messed up the guy’s no longer at Microsoft given how badly others in his company have pissed off gamers, huh?).

At Kotaku we’d even heard rumours that there had been debate within Microsoft about how long the system could work offline. Harrison declined to address that and told me the plan he was talking about with me was the only one he’d been privy to. So had the post-Orth furor made an impact? Hard to say. It at least gave people a strong indication of what was coming.

Actual Xbox One Answers Needed

It occurs to me that everything that is confusing about the Xbox One right now can be changed. That online requirement is real but the duration of its offline mode? That’s got to be a setting on some slider. They can move it. The rules about whether a game needs to be told by a Microsoft server that it is allowed to run on a given Xbox One server? They could change those rules with patch after patch.

Maybe Microsoft just needs some clear and specific advice. So, give it to them:

  • Survey Question One: If the Xbox One must use the Internet but can run online, then I will accept an offline gaming mode that lasts as little as ________ hours/days/weeks/months.
  • Survey Question Two: If used Xbox One games must be bought at full price, then I expect Xbox One games to cost no more than ____ dollars.

And here’s a question for Microsoft to answer:

  • The benefits to gamers of having an online connection when they play a single-player game is _______ (Note: if the answer is cloud-computing, provide a specific example that’s better than whatever the SimCity people said.)

Answer those questions well and I don’t think we wind up with a 40/40/20 split or whatever it was. I think we will wind up with a console that actually feels knowable, that feels solid and that we understand a little bit better.

There are still a great many unknowns after Microsoft’s big unveiling; more unknowns than we’ve come to expect from the video game industry, which so often seems to have a ready-made answer for every question we ask. A few straightforward answers, a couple more actual facts, and we’ll have a much better idea of what the Xbox One is really all about. For now, the harder we look, the more confusing the Xbox One gets.


  • There’s nothing confusing about it at all. The reason for mixed messages is more to do with them trying to figure out how best to hide or deliver the message that we’re going to get fucked in a way that will make us the least angry.

  • Microsoft has a history of telling consumers what they want/need. If you don’t like it, vote with your wallet. It really is that simple.

  • 1. 1 week (sometimes ISP disasters happen, not often but they do happen)

    2. $40. I would buy a lot more games new at this price instead I wait till they drop to $28

  • Also yeah if I was Adam Orth I’d be real pissed right now – he was basically towing the company line.

  • To the people of Kotaku Australia… Please, please, do not buy an Xbox One. This is a grubby foot in the door of media intrusion to your house, not your phone apps or internet searches… YOUR FUCKING LIVING ROOM! It will data mine like nothing ever has in the history of man kind, conversations will be listened in on and “content tailored to your tastes” which is double speak for MS will have so much information on you they will be able to give you content it’s algorithm believes you would like.

    Yes Sony is doing something similar, but they are (as far as I know) doing like any other company, based on your actual purchases, not from listening to the conversation you and your partner are having about Game of Thrones.

    This seriously is the thin end of the wedge. Companies can’t force this on you but they are about to have you invite it into your house at your own expense!. Who’s to say 2 years down the track MS doesn’t change the EULA that gives itself a much broader scope to collect or worse, the ability to sell the data. If you do not think that’s a possibility… I have a bridge you may want to buy.

    • Have you thought about becoming an author? Your ability to take minimal factual information and fabricate from it an elaborate fantasy of conspiracy and dystopia would probably be better employed writing fiction than making comments on blogs.

      • Or, as Spider Jerusalem says: “Remember: A Paranoid is only someone in possession of all the facts.”

        Yeah, it’s a bit blatant, but it’s not without precedent in terms of attitude (see Facebook’s T&C on how much of ‘your’ deeply personal and ‘private’ data you own or control) and not much of a stretch to believe that not only could it happen, but that they’d ‘re-frame’ in such a way as to convince everyone it’s what they asked for, serving YOU.
        Example: Steam and used games. You already can’t trade the games in your steam library that you’ve played. But we accept that because it came with enormous convenience and the benefit of price. It’s not too far-fetched to believe that various invasions of privacy will actually be welcomed when they come with appealing enough benefits.

        • I don’t know who or what Spider Jerusalem is, but I wouldn’t put much stock in that quote =) What ‘could’ happen doesn’t really matter. I ‘could’ drive a semi-trailer up Pitt Street mall at lunch on a weekday and mow everyone down. I’m not going to, but if we obsessed over ‘could’ then someone had better think of those poor people in Pitt Street mall and ban trucks.

          What I’m saying is if it turns out to be bad (like the Facebook T&C) then protest away. Right now there’s not even remotely enough information to come to the kind of paranoid conclusions akira has above, so that kind of nonsense is both unjustified and a waste of energy. Flipping out over what little we know now is like someone saying “I’m going to kill–” and interrupting them with panic and outrage before they’ve had a chance to finish “–some bad guys in World of Warcraft tonight”.

          Or, even shorter: be cool, honeybunny.

          • By the same token, it’s not a bad thing if folks freak out about something in advance of it already securing prime position in stores and homes. The Facebook example – everyone was already using it before enough voices got loud enough to point out how exploitative and deceptive it is, at which point people shrugged and said, “But everyone else is on it, I can’t STOP using it, I’m already addicted.” And EULAs are pretty famous for their, ‘subject to change’ loopholes that let them slip in Southpark Human CentiPad adjustments which I’d hazard a guess most folks are inclined to just skip, whilst grumbling, “Whatever dude, just let me get to the thing!”

            A sort of, “This is what we fear. Tell us it will never happen in advance, so we can hold you rightly accountable if it does, before we agree to your shit,” attitude would be nice if it were more prevalent, forcing either some honesty into these massive media entities, or at least making people aware in advance of the ways they could get burned. Somehow I don’t think, “Are my rights getting fucked,” is going to be as popular a question as, “So how do I do that flashy hand-motion remote control thingey?” with the general public.

            Unrelated: Spider Jerusalem is a fictional character, the protagonist of comic (graphic novel) series, ‘Transmetropolitan’. It’s a pretty damn great read, amusing in its exaggeration. I highly recommend.

          • So we give MS a lay down mazaire to intrude away until we say ‘hang on’… then it’s too late. These multinational companies do not deserve a single iota of your trust, they will violate it when ever there is a dollar to be made, and there is BIG bucks to be made in data collection and selling.

            I suggest you hold out you purchase until the EULA is available freely online and make a decision, because that is going to be the battle front of the next generation. Games are only the way they get the device into your living room.

          • I have heard your entire post before, word for word, from nutters complaining about everything from BP to wind power (it’s all a conspiracy! wind power is evil!) to the local council to how we can’t trust the space lizards in power because the Jews in the Illuminati secretly run the world and push the shadow agenda of Big Fruit in making you believe fruit is good for you, because ‘an apple a day’ is propaganda, man, and you’re a sheep if you believe it, man.

            Nope. I don’t buy any of that bullshit for the same reason I don’t buy your bullshit. Evidence, not speculation, not paranoia. Waiting for more information is exactly the advice I’m giving you.

          • Have a read of every EULA and they will all be vague and open to any desire they have in the future, and reserve the right to change the terms at any time. The prime example is Facebook, for the reason it knows so much about you. MS is about to know what you talk about, and if the eye tracking stuff is true, what makes you laugh and cry. Until Facebook, technology limited the amount of data they could harvest, with Xbox One it goes to the next level. MS are not some not for profit AIDS medicine charity… they want money, that is all they want, period. You only have to see the company they keep, EA, Activision, Cable companies in the USA.

            So many companies move the goal posts with their terms, if you think MS are immune to it and you are that free wheeling with your personal information, then you deserve to have your information sold on.

          • You keep trying to ascribe an opposing viewpoint to me. Don’t. I have expressed no opinion. I told you, there’s not enough information yet to form one. Painting me as your opponent is yet another waste of your energy. Don’t invent battlefields, there are enough real ones as it is.

          • There’s nothing wrong with having a certain degree of cynicism, i’d say there is however something wrong with being a dick and bashing people online. Also, i’d say there are also degrees of wrong in being overly naive and ignorant like you.

          • Ah yes, the ignorant calling others ignorant. Keep up the good work, champ.

    • I’m not buying one for a number of reasons, but this is certainly one of them. I find it intrusive also, and I have no intention of owning a device which sits there watching and listening for the purpose of closely targeted entertainment.
      Just call me Winston Smith.

  • All they need to do is take the numbers of Xbox 360 units sold and compare them to the number of people on XboxLive.

    Also, here in Australia, a lot of people’s, myself included, ability to even run the system hinges upon the NBN being rolled out.

    I can’t understand why it can’t be like the 360 is – online only if you want it to be, otherwise it works fine. Why restrict and punish your userbase?

    • Why would you need the NBN to be able to connect to the internet once a day? There are perhaps 50 other services available to you right now that can do that or better.

      • For me personally the annoyance in having to have a console online is dragging the modem out from the study and getting its connection moved to the living room, or buying a multi-port router and either dragging cable everywhere or using the deeply flawed wireless routing.

        It’s not game-changing, life-ending shit. It’s just an annoyance I haven’t had to bother with. I don’t like inviting annoyances with little to no real benefit.

        • You could get a wireless connection to your living room if you have a wireless router. I understand the frustration, of course, but I think you’d actually be pretty content if you did get a network connection to your living room. You’re going to need one for a media centre PC and I don’t know what your view on HTPCs are but for me, the convenience and awesomeness was completely worth the effort of getting it set up.

          • You’re assuming this person even wants a media centre PC or anything of the kind. If they don’t, that brings the story back to needing to connect everything up just to get a console working which feels like an annoying inconvenience. Setting up a whole system just to get a console working once every day or whatever sounds like a bit of an expensive chore.

          • I didn’t assume anything. That’s what the ‘I don’t know what your view on HTPCs is’ part. What I did was recommend it to him.

          • I still have the older xbox 360 that you have to buy a Wifi receiver for. The only way my Xbox gets internet is to get a 10m network cable and directly connect it to the modem. Add another point to annoyance. If anything, at least this new Xbone has built in wifi :p

          • Yeah, no kidding. That’s the ‘deeply flawed’ thing I was talking about.

          • It’s an interesting coincidence that people involved in making networks and computers secure rarely have wifi in their own homes.

          • I used to troubleshoot the stuff for Telstra back around 9-10yrs ago when they first started selling the tech. There were no training guides or manuals, we had to try and break the things ourselves to predict how customers would break them, and get whatever tips we could from the manufacturer. The early days were a lot of fun, working with enthusiastic young geek guys, figuring out problems, learning new things, but it wasn’t long before management figured we should have all this shit narrowed down into an easy-to-follow flowchart for cheap backpackers and unskilled migrants to work their way through instead of professionals. So, y’know. Quit. But still…

            Almost a decade later, with newer and better tech, I am keenly aware that sometimes the answer will still be, “I guess your environment isn’t conducive to wireless networking.”

          • LOL

            A few years ago a neighbor got Telstra WiFi, for some reason they chose the exact same frequency mine was running on. Which caused interference. I wrote a Macro so that when ever there network came up mine would shut it down. 6 months of trouble shooting and they never could work out the problem was the username and password where the default “admin”.

            A WiFi network is incredibly vulnerable, but I’m not worried about mine, I have security, nothing anybody in the know couldn’t break over time. My neighbors do not have any security so I figure they’d be hacked first. Also nothing important is on the WiFi network.

    • Yes but there are thousands (maybe 10’s thousands) of people who are on the 2, 3 4th xbox now.
      It would skew the data. I do agree with you completely though. Most people I personally know do not have their 360 online – what the heck do they do.

      I don’t use my 360 anymore I hate the piece of crap. Turn it on and get cluttered with IGN, TV show crap that has nothing to do with my games. MS can go to hell. PC and PS3 give me everthing and as a result I will keep PC and most likely get a PS4 for the exclusives and that is it.

    • I know why they’re doing it I reckon every time you load a NEW game it will check the disc against their data base to see if its new or already registered.

      Also after thinking about it and looking at Major Nelson’s blog this morning, I think you’ll be able to trade your game with EB, JB, whoever and they will then de-register the disc with MS this would in turn trigger your console to delete it and EB can sell the disc again and maybe THEY pay a cover charge to MS to be able to resell it.

      It’s the only way I think they can do it and not put GameStop offside which would be a fatal mistake.

      And it only works if every machine can be relied upon to connect to their servers.

      Also I bet the thing about lending to friends is true. It wouldn’t be beyond MS to tell that both my brother and I (Xbox friends) played the very same copy of Halo Reah – no doubt that they want everyone to buy their own copy, that was the guiding principal behind removing split screen multiplayer from so many games this generation.

      • I suspect that if anything, much like steam you’ll get an unlock key with your purchase (would be good if it’s something like a QR code).
        Given a friend will be able to put your disc in their console and just pay online to play it, the disc seems to be essentially nothing more than a vector

        • Since apparently the new Kinect is a requirement, every XBox has a camera supplied with it, so having the registration supplied as a QR code would make abundant sense.

          To register your game, hold the slip of paper with the registration code in front of the camera for a couple of seconds. Much more convenient than entering a 25-plus-letter code using a controller.

    • If you came out of your physics course with that impression then you can’t have understood QM very well.

      EDIT: Or alternatively if you can reconcile HUP not existing with the rest of the empirical observations from quantum mechanics (especially quantum tunneling) then you’d probably be in line for a Nobel prize.

  • Personally I would take the “Tell us the truth” path in this whole clusterfuck that MS seem to have worked themselves into. If they tell us the truth now (or at E3) then we have time to adjust and understand why it is a particular way before they drop the “It will cost $799 for the basic package” bomb later. If we hear that number as well as “no, you can’t have nice things” in the one hit, I suspect that their sales may rival that of the Wii U while simultaneously boosting the sales of their competitors with millions of new customers jumping down off the Xbone’s (Heisenbergs Uncertainty Box) bandwagon.

    As to the survey, I could stand to have it online once every 3 days as that is roughly equal to the time I can spend at my grandmothers place that doesn’t have internet access before losing my shit.

  • At the end of the day it’s our wallets that do the most talking. OUR wallets! Don’t forget people!

  • The problem with this, and the Sony PS4 announcement as well, is that they’re just here to generate buzz.

    But we’re switched on 21st century consumers. We don’t want buzz, we can see through that. We want a product and we want answers to common questions these products pose.

    Neither announcement did this. Because the announcements were made too soon. Sony couldn’t even show a console design FFS!

    What these companies need to do is move away from marketing and move back to delivering games and experiences we want, and they can start by getting rid of these notions of “media launch” and “social media tracking” and deliver an actual experience to the user, which is giving us the box in our hands.

  • Cannot believe the extent to which MS has screwed this launch up .. the mind simply boggles how a company with so much resources and time to prepare, could end up making such a mess .. it would be hilarious if it wasn’t so tragic

  • This “40/40/20” thing is iffy. In my view, they’re more than likely taking into account mainstream media, which has been far more welcoming of the XBone than the gaming press and community, mostly because they have little depth of knowledge about what the negatives mean and are probably finding it easier to paraphrase press releases.

    The Xbone has not gone down well with gamers, and I’d say it’s closer to 40% apathetic, 50% negative and 10% positive with us and our ilk. The gaming community are going to be the people who queue at midnight for launch, not Joe Blow. MS can fudge numbers as much as they want, but they really need to reconnect with the core community the way Sony has with the PS4 announcement.

    At this point, it looks like they’re trying to bring in the restrictions of PC gaming (little resale, online etc) while removing the convenience of console gaming (put in game and press play). I’m at the point where I’m wondering what “Riiiiiiiiidge Racer” moment they’re going to have at E3…

    • Yeah, I was thinking the same thing in relation to what Mark Serrels wrote the other day. But from MS’s point of view it doesn’t make a difference. They’ve publicly stated they’re not interested in the core gamer market any more, they’re targeting the broader mainstream market. And that has really been the case ever since Kinect came out.

      So yeah, I don’t think they’re too fussed if the dedicated gaming media aren’t impressed. Like Francis said, I just don’t think we’re their target demographic anymore.

      • Sorry but I had to pull you up on this.

        “They’ve publicly stated they’re not interested in the core gamer market any more, they’re targeting the broader mainstream market. And that has really been the case ever since Kinect came out.”

        When has Microsoft ever publicly stated that?

        • Oops you’re right – it was Peter Molyneux, but I forgot he doesn’t actually work for them anymore, so yeah, I retract that comment.

  • At this stage the only aspect of the XBone that I’ll be buying is the controller – to hook up to my steam box or something similar. I do not trust Microsoft and the direction that they have taken beginning with XBL, continuing with Windows 8 and now advancing with the XBone.

  • The thing better have a giant “Requires regular internet connection!” stamped on the front of the box or there might be a bunch of disappointed people trying and failing to play their new console.

  • It’s unfortunate people here think their ‘outrage’ over Xbox One actually counts as “the majority voice”. I guess it’s the same people who feel like they ‘made Microsoft change’ their Xbox One, when all the details are ACTUALLY released.

    I’d love to track how many people that have furiously stated they’re not going to by one – actually end up buying one…

    Ahh interwebs rage – you get that none of it matters, right?

  • In my opinion, if you need theoretical physics to describe the marketing strategy, that’s a good indication something is wrong.

    • I think you’d be hard pressed to say Totillo ‘needed’ to use any of the language constructs he did. It’s just creative licence.

  • I would estimate that 90% of people that own a xbox 360 or that will own a xbox one will have Internet connection, I don’t see what the problem is when every other piece of technology needs an Internet connection also.

  • FU MICROSOFT!!!!! There is no way I buy a console with always on requirement.

  • If i ever buy an XBone, the kinect is going to be trying to take the pulse of my wall, cos that’s all it’s gonna see.

  • I would not accept the need for an internet connection of any kind. Anyone who is fine with the idea is thinking about their own situation instead of others. People who move houses, people who are deployed, people who live in remote areas, many other reasons, these people do not have a reliable connection. Even if you have a solid connection, it’s not fair on those who don’t. It still baffles me how many people don’t realise that having an internet connection isn’t something that is guaranteed. At the very bloody least, I would not accept anything less than a month. The people at MS and faboys can call that unreasonable all they want but I still don’t think this practice is fair.

    In terms of price, $50 (Australian dollars) should be the standard. But we all know that’s not gonna happen.

  • If it needs a online connection atleast every day, how will people without a landline internet connection use it? 3G broadband users, mobile phone tethers, etc. I know so many people who rely entirely on there phones for internet access, if any of them get a Xbone, will it only work for the first day?

    And don’t get me started on the mandatory installs. I play consoles so I dont have to go through all that installation bullshit. What idiot thought up that idea? Everything about this console makes me angry, not apathetic, no where near positive, not even just negative. Actually angry.

    I’ve spent many thousands of hours playing Xbox and Xbox 360 and have never owned a Sony console before. But with this new generation, I think I’m going to have to switch over. Unless Sony do the same thing, in that case Nintendo gets a Wii U sale.

  • Harrison: “There are many devices in your life that require the Internet to function… ”

    I can’t think of any that I own, this computer will quite happily do the majority of it’s tasks without an internet connection. I prefer it to have one so that I can use E-Mail and a bunch of other online things but the computer works without Internet.

    Smartphones still make and receive calls without the internet. I agree they are far better with it but.

    The only thing I can think of that works only with the internet is purchasing new games on Steam, all my old ones run fine but if I can’t go online I can’t go to the store and I can’t purchase new games.

    1 week
    $75 and to drop down a bit lower over time.

    I’d also like to point out neither Sony or Microsoft have shown me any games that make it a must own, or features that I love.

    Edit: Most people are saying $50, I’d love to see that, my number is just a bit more realistic I think.

  • 1) $50AUD
    2) 14 days/forever/when a new game is activated
    3) Allow Kinect 2 to be turned (truly) off, include hardware needed for US-centric features in the OOBE and focus all online features on facilitating the gamer experience, not funnelling us down wallet-draining pathways.

  • I cannot support a company who aim to take away your ability to run a console game until the console dies – without connecting to the internet. What a ridiculous idea…

    I’m still not sure how Live ties in either with regard to the use of the registration/ install process. Do I have to purchase a Live sub to use the game as well? Is a paid subscription mandatory along with Kinect? What ‘features’ or privileges will be withheld to non-subscribers if that option exists?

    Sure, I’d need an account and all. That in itself isn’t really an issue. I already got a tag. But I can use every console game I have offline whenever the hell I like. I can handle sacrificing firmware and software updates. And I don’t much care for the feature set either console currently has. Save for the online multiplayer capability (or connection) which should be an option, not a requirement.

    What they are doing is taking away your freedom to use the product as an everyday leisure item and morphing video games consoles in to some sort of “Essential Service”. The “All in one solution”. And they’re still telling me I need all this stuff. Stop trying to control me.

    It will be interesting to see what MS decide to go with after what must be significantly more negative or tentative reactions. Either that or there’s a lot of people out there who are excited about being able to watch tv while the Kinect watches them.

    I for one won’t buy it on principle. I don’t care for the direction they’re heading so I’ll stick to what I already got.

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