It’s bizarre. On my twitter feed, in the Kotaku comments and from what I’ve heard from people involved in the games industry, the reaction the Xbox One reveal has been overwhelmingly negative. But the mainstream media? They seem to have missed the memo. While we’ve been spending the last five hours complaining about the lack of new titles and issues with used games, they’ve been praising the design, the ethos and — yes — the games.
Are gamers living in some weird echo chamber? Execs at the Microsoft event in the US believe the reaction has been mostly positive. Aaron Greenberg mentioned to Kotaku Editor Stephen Totilo that twitter’s reaction to Xbox One was roughly 40 per cent positive, 40 per cent indifferent, 20 per cent negative. When I heard this I almost burst into laughter — that can’t be possible. But then I did a brief check of multiple different mainstream media outlets — how had they reacted to the Xbox One news?
The answer may surprise you.
Are we the 20 per cent?
Indeed, the Xbox One demonstration was so impressive it made me wonder, why the heck didn’t they do this with the disastrous Windows 8?
The console itself is more angular and practical looking than either of its two predecessors. Flat and rectangular like a cable box, you could almost call the design reserved. But it is by no means unattractive, and will probably sit tucked away in a cabinet anyways.
On the face of it, the new console looks pretty impressive. Response times and gesture control are very good indeed, the visuals are stunning, and Microsoft scored an instant win over rival Sony by actually having a working console to show off. The demonstrations were in a tightly controlled environment, but the upgraded Kinect system looks impressive and the console looks very speedy to operate.
Xbox has been the exclusive home to such popular gaming franchises as sci-fi first-person shooter Halo, racing simulator Forza and alien shoot-’em-up Gears of War. In recent years, Microsoft expanded the scope of the Xbox 360 beyond just games, adding streaming media apps and the camera-based Kinect system. With the innovations showcased on Tuesday, Microsoft is taking those ideas further.
Key features of the Xbox One revealed in Microsoft headquarters in Seattle are advanced voice controls and the inclusion of a new-generation Kinect controller with every console, allowing you to switch from watching TV to playing games by spreading your arms as if you are grabbing the screen similar to the way you pinch an image on a smartphone or tablet.
But the news that really got gamers salivating was the exclusive gaming deals they announced.
CALL of Duty: Ghosts takes the critically-acclaimed franchise into the next generation. Downloadable content for the new Call of Duty game, Ghosts, is available exclusively first on the Xbox, as is FIFA 14’s Ultimate Team feature.
Fans were treated to some spectacular footage from both flagship titles, as well as some glorious footage of Forza Motorsport 5 — one of a number of titles that will be available as soon as the console is out.
Out in the Twitter peanut gallery, we’ve been hearing people calling the case design “boxy.”One guy said, “Looks like a VCR. Hopefully that means it will play VHS,” while anotherechoed, “Does it come with a cassette rewinder tho?”
Cosmetics aside, the response for the whole system seems more upbeat, ranging from “Sexy” to “Can’t wait to have mine!”
But this is a big year for gaming, and things are just heating up.
Are we going crazy? Have consoles passed us by? Are we becoming increasingly irrelevant as a demographic? In a sense mainstream media reports err on side of caution, particularly when it comes to products they don’t quite understand, but I found it difficult to find a single negative comment.