Rumoured Xbox One Launch Issues Lead To Lots Of Questions

Rumoured Xbox One Launch Issues Lead To Lots Of Questions

As we inch closer and closer to the release of next-gen consoles, we're starting to learn more and more about their features -- and some of what we're hearing might not be great news for anyone who expected a totally stable experience at launch.

Over the past few days, the Internet has exploded with drama surrounding the Xbox One. We've seen a maelstrom of rumours revolving around resolutions, power issues, and potential bugs in the console's software. Rumours suggest that Microsoft's next console is dealing with some issues affecting the operating system and Xbox Live, and Kotaku has heard from our own industry sources that software development kits for the system have been buggy as well.

Microsoft, both in public and in statements to Kotaku, is optimistic about their console but will not address specific rumours.

It's worth noting, of course, that video game console launches are rarely smooth. The Red Ring of Death fiasco killed a seemingly endless number of Xbox 360s back when Microsoft's last console hit stores, and, more recently, Nintendo's Wii U launched with missing features and a sluggish operating system.

In other words, these systems tend to come in hot.

That said, we've been hearing for months now about issues facing Microsoft's next system, and the rumours that have been floating around for the past couple of days seem to support what we reported back in May: that the folks behind the Xbox One have been hard-pressed to get it ready for its launch on November 22.

We hear, for example, that the Xbox One software development kit -- the set of tools that development studios use to facilitate game creation -- has been stumbling recently. Yesterday, two developer sources told Kotaku that Microsoft found a number of bugs in one of the most recent versions of the SDK.

One source said that as of at least a few weeks ago, Xbox One SDKs were very buggy. Another source said some developers who have already submitted their games to Microsoft for certification have had to resubmit those games with a more recent version of the SDK. In other words, both developers and Microsoft staff have been working overtime to get games shipped and approved.

"It's going to be a fun few weeks in Microsoft QA," one developer source said.

What does that all mean for people who plan to buy an Xbox One on November 22? At this point, it's tough to say. A third, high-level developer source assures us that this sort of thing is par for the course. Hardware launches are always rocky, and while this is the type of issue that will lead to all-nighters for people working on the console and its games, these last-minute SDK bugs might not have much effect on what we see and play this fall.

One of the rumours that seems to be worrying gamers the most involves possible issues with the console's operating system. Our sources have had less to say about this, one way or other, but we needed to address it.

Pete Dodd, a frequent NeoGAF poster and blogger, reports that multiple developer contacts tell him the Xbox One operating system is plagued by bugs that affect applications like party grouping on Xbox Live. Since Dodd's blog post went up last night, it's been widely circulated on Reddit, NeoGAF, and other large websites. People are panicking.

"My understanding from [my sources] is that the [OS] problem happens with the apps," Dodd told me when I asked him to elaborate on what he'd heard. "So if you are playing by yourself and just playing the game online it should be fine. But if you're in a party, people get dropped. Voice chat cuts in and out. Certain app combinations make the machine crash completely."

Dodd, perhaps best known for launching the #PS4NoDRM campaign earlier this year, is not a professional journalist. He doesn't have the cachet of a well-known gaming website or magazine. However, he has been publicly correct about rumours in the past, such as the delay of Sony's PS4 racing game DriveClub, which he reported was true two days before Sony confirmed the news.

When we reached out to Microsoft for comment both on SDK bugs and these OS issues, they sent over this statement:

We're on track for a great launch. We're in the final stages of development and things are progressing well. Games are moving through certification now. We also feel great about the platform and Xbox Live. We've been building great multiplayer experiences for more than 10 years and Xbox Live multiplayer on Xbox One will be the best it's ever been.

Microsoft top executive Phil Spencer did address this rumour on Twitter, although he didn't exactly confirm or deny it. "Games are in certification now and we are playing SP & MP nightly," he wrote. "Anyone can post 'stuff' to the web."

Microsoft spokesman Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb also addressed the rumour: "As far as Xbox One, I've been testing the OS at home it's been great," he said.

I talked to Dodd privately both last night and today, and although I haven't been yet able to confirm the rumours he's reporting, I believe that they do come from developer sources. What we don't know -- and what we might not know until November 22 -- is just how many of these alleged issues will still be problematic when Xbox One launches.

The PlayStation 4, of course, may have issues of its own. We've already seen Sony confirm that their suspend/resume feature won't be available at launch, and that much of the PS4's functionality will be enabled by a day-one patch. Who knows what else we'll learn as we get closer to the next PlayStation's release on November 15?

This is all just the latest news in what has become a large, dramatic debate over the next generation of gaming consoles. Conversation has fired up on sites like Reddit and NeoGAF in response to vague tweets from game journalists and rumours that the next Call of Duty runs at a higher resolution on PlayStation 4 than it does on Xbox One. It's led to some insane, totally false conspiracy theories.

It's also led to some panic around the current status of next-gen consoles, and we feel compelled to share everything we've heard so far. As always, we'll keep you updated as we hear more.

To contact the author of this post, write to [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @jasonschreier.


Comments

    Good article. Not steeped in hyperbole.

      Steeped in rumors and conjecture though.

        Yup, but it has that covered clearly in the title and article.

        The first proof of rumours will be the BF4 reviews going live in a few hours.

          They wouldn't get to review the Next Gen version yet though - surely we'd see console reviews first (thinking of what happened with the WiiU last year)

            Hmm. I could have sworn I read that the PS4 version at least was being reviewed from embargo lift, and also the XBO version as well.

            Well, we'll see soon!

        More NeoGAF "rumours" being reported as news by Kotaku, nothing to see here, move along.

        This is why Kotaku claims itself to be a blog site and not a news site, because claiming to be news would mean they would have to abide by some form of journalistic integrity that they know they don't.

        Last edited 29/10/13 10:45 am

          Such as reaching out to their own developer sources for confirmation of the rumours before posting? Then mentioning that they did so in the article?

          NEOGaf has been the source of so many rumours lately that have come true, so you might want to reconsider your post

          While I mostly agree with your general sentiment on Kotaku, it's just not really applicable here. When you complain, complain when it's right, complain economically. At least if you don't want to resemble Kotaku handling social issues.

        The rumour about game resolution being lower on Xbox One may be true, there is a lot of evidence to say it is.

        Also, a guy on youtube is uploading direct capture footage of BF4 running on both PS4 and Xbox One tonight, and he has tweeted that the PS4 version looks much better.

          https://twitter.com/TheKevinDent/status/395008003071418368

            http://elizabethbanner.tumblr.com/post/10933537219/so-here-are-some-screencaps-of-dentgate-for-those

            No confirmation from MSFT or Activision of that, though.

            Also, is that 1080p native? Or 720p hardware upscaled?

            Again, MSFT has dodged answering that question directly for a while now.

    This is why people watch racing. Inevitable carnage. The knowledge that something bad is gonna happen so we all stick around to see how bad things get. Personally Im expecting a multitude of really fancy bricks from both MS and Sony.

    That said Im still really looking forward to my new console of choice......... in 6 to 12 months time.

      Yep, this is why I've never bought any console at launch and have no plans to start this time. I'll give it a few months for the dust to settle.

        This is how I feel as well, I made the same mistake with the Wii U last year (my first launch console)... It was great at first, I played Zombie U and loved it... Then, nothing. It's only now it's starting to get some more play, Lego City Undercover, Zelda, and upcoming Mario games.

        I will be waiting until at least next Christmas and I'll pick the console that has the exclusives I want (likely the PS4 for anything NaughtyDog).

        But there's nothing quite like living life on the edge. I'm an early adopter of technology and like things like phone batteries blowing up in my ear or the warm soft glow of the RRoD illuminating my living room.

        I find living through the growing pains of new technology and watching the rough edges get smoothed out all part of the fun. It gives you more of an appreciation for good technology and good software when it comes around, you know how bad it can be and how good it can get.

          I guess for me it's just a product like any other - I buy it and expect it to work. But especially in the case of consoles, where a big part of the appeal is that things "just work". Stick a disc in and away you go. Having a whole bunch of dicking around in the early months kind of defeats part of the purpose of buying it in the first place.

            But generally with consoles, there's not much stuffing around. It'll be more like weekly software drops, missing functionality and the occasional software/hardware failure with a visit to the post office to purchase a box and some bubble wrap. It's always a case of each to their own and I do understand where you are coming from - you want that smooth as butter, seemless experience and for it to just work. I want the latest features and the latest hardware with the understanding that with that comes buggy technology, I can live with that. Embracing new technology from the outset [I think] ecourages innovation.

              I agree with you. Jumping on the new technology bandwagon is the way to go, if you're a patient person.

              Having a bit of dev experience helps to. You understand just how hard those seemingly easy to discover bugs can be to reproduce.

                Perhaps - my idea of patience is waiting for the second or third wave of consoles, when I know the initial bugs have been nipped in the bud.

              Only the hardware inside is two years old and is incapable of 1080p minimum. They've had years to get this shit together.

                Let's not get into a dick measuring competition between other devices and consoles here. This is not the time nor the thread for it. But it's a little more complicated than you make it out to be - custom hardware architectures, custom chasis and casings, custom peripherals, operating systems [probably] from the ground up and a platform as a service for games all rolled into the one launch. Let's not mention the computer vision technology that can pick up even the smallest thing while I'm sitting naked on the couch. I wouldn't consider ANY of that, including the internals, to be two year old technology. There is going to be teething issues.

    This has been developing on Gaf for the last week. This is no good if you plan to buy a Xbone, even worse if you are planning on using most of it's features. I can't believe XBL is having issues, that just seems crazy to me. Even crazier is, the thing is out in a few weeks... A FEW WEEKS! There are going to be plenty of updates coming for the Xbone.

    Last edited 29/10/13 10:21 am

      Not good to have this kind of news so close to release? Sure. But I think it's fair to give MS some slack considering how heavily they would have had to modify the OS/Network to accommodate for the DRM removal (at least imo it is).

      And it's not like Xbox is the only one with bad rumours going around at the moment either, seen Sony have it's fair share as well......

        Object orientated programming models suggests their DRM wouldn't be that hard to remove (relative to implementing it).

        We're also kidding ourselves if we think MS isn't going reintroduce it piece by piece over time.

        Steam pretty much walked in and took that family sharing thing (it's pretty cool, gonna authorise a couple more PCs today and for it a real test after work) from MS after they dropped it. MS will definitely be brining that one back.

          Honestly, that's probably the smarter way to do it. Let Steam do all the beta testing of the concept itself, learn from the complaints, exploits, and at least have a roadmap for how it would look on the XBL platform.

        The DRM removal would have added extra risk to the engineers, stress they obviously didn't need. I have no sympathy for MS in that regard, it was self inflicted. I do feel for the engineers busting their hump to get this done to a dead line, which is rapidly approaching. I hope they pull it off, it's a huge ask though.

        My take is the issues were borne from the moment MS announced the launch date. Xbox One was probably meant for 2014. it was clear to a lot of insiders that they were having yield issues with their console design over a year ago. Then they add one of the most complex OS on earth that is actually three god damned things happening at once. They bit off more than they could chew. I believe MS had kittens when Sony announced in Feb, they were forced to move their schedule left to not deliver Sony a free Holiday sales bonanza... it would appear that gamble may fail, I stress may because it's not out yet (though in engineering terms believe me 3 weeks is basically out)

        We will see in only a few weeks. I will say this, this situation will only effect the Xbox One for the first 6 months at most. MS will not allow this to drag on, and delaying the release just isn't going to happen.

    I'm not that fussed for the most part, but the resolution stuff is pretty concerning. You can make the argument that 720p to 1080p doesn't matter that much, but dropping the resolution is what yo do when software is really struggling to maintain frame rate.

      You can make the argument that 720p to 1080p doesn't matter that much, but dropping the resolution is what yo do when developers aren't comfortable with the dev tools yet.

      FTFY

      You don't see me rolling out shitty graphic games on PC and degrading the whole platform because I couldn't get 1600p going.

        OK. So are the dev tools worse than those for the PS4 then? Because that would be equally concerning (regardless - the rumour is actually that the there is hardware bottleneck in the xbone and its a bunch of games running at 720p). And after all, this is all rumour. We'll know in three weeks.

        Last edited 29/10/13 10:46 am

          The dev tools aren't as mature and we know the hardware is 720+ capable as we've seen with Forza running 1080p and Ryze running 900p.

            Of course its capable, the 360 is technically capable of 1080p output. Whether its possible while maintaining frame rate and detailed 3D environments is the real question (racing games basically don't count because they have to animate far fewer detailed 3D objects than other genres).

    Are there any such rumours regarding the PS4?

      Yes. But interestingly, they don't get anywhere near the same traction.

      For example, the PS4 ALSO requires a decent sized day one patch that basically is needed to do almost everything bar play a game (that includes watch a Blu-ray wtf).

      Tonnes of features won't be available at launch etc etc.

      Most reasonable people expect this kind of stuff, but it's funny that only the Xbox is doomed despite both having their own issues relating to game development and OS problems.

      http://www.craveonline.com/gaming/articles/594081-adam-sesslers-freak-out-is-indicative-of-a-rushed-ps4-launch

    http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=87628981&postcount=1056

    http://www.reddit.com/r/xboxone/comments/1paqyi/rumors_summary_of_rumors_xbox_one_and_gaming_in/

    https://twitter.com/albertpenello/status/394332390299926528

    Why not post about these rumoured PS4 issue's too? Just curious.

    Last edited 29/10/13 10:38 am

      mate, put it all in one comment next time instead of flooding with links. appreciated.

    http://www.reddit.com/r/xboxone/comments/1paqyi/rumors_summary_of_rumors_xbox_one_and_gaming_in/

    https://twitter.com/albertpenello/status/394332390299926528

    When is the PS4 version of the article coming?
    http://s2.postimg.org/61z05qlu1/Unbenannt_1.jpg

      Is that a joke account?

      Regardless - the xbone rumours are basically coming from a single source who genuinely seems to be in the know. It's looking pretty much certain at this point that the resolution stuff is correct.

      Last edited 29/10/13 10:35 am

        http://d3j5vwomefv46c.cloudfront.net/photos/large/818197916.jpg?1383000377

        Last edited 29/10/13 11:06 am

          Yeah - fair enough. Until they actually predict something that's correct, I'll still take it with a grain of salt.

    Every console launch comes with issues......except my N64, plug and play baby. Oh how I miss thee....remember first time you played Goldeneye....blew my freakin mind. Sorry got off topic a bit there.

    meanwhile, Im going for the ps4 but i am sure we will have teething issues with that too. always do when you have such complex machines getting a heap of use for the first time.

      I remember when the PS1 launched, i was like, disc? wtf is this shit, i dont want loading times.

        I used to argue cartridge was better for that exact reason.

          same here. oh the time i wasted on the playground arguing the benefits of cartridge. all i had to do to finish any argument was mention Goldeneye.
          Me: "Discs may look cooler but the N64 has Goldeneye"
          Them: "Gran Turismo"
          Me: "Golden....eye"

          Argument over.

            I can even picture the glaring eyes as you say golden...... eye. lol.

    Why not post about these rumoured PS4 issue's too? Just curious.

    Seems like the gaming world on the console side is going to shit at the moment; this is just another thing to add to the 720p stuff and what ever is going on with Sony and not giving journalists review consoles or what ever that is and so on and so on...... Should be an interesting few months!

    Regardless I am looking forward to the new consoles anyway.

    Man, how am I going to troll fanboys effectively if all consoles are having similar issues, or at the least, most things are just unsubstantiated rumours at the moment?

    One thing that's really striking me about the new gen is that it really feels like it was incredibly rushed to release. Devs are pushing back console sellers, there are rumoured bugs and issues and missing functionality that all feels like things that would have been addressed in a normal release cycle and features have been dropped left, right and centre for future integration. It's going to be an interesting launch period.

      Everyone wanted to stop working with decade-old hardware (because let's face it, the 360 was STILL a couple years behind cutting edge hardware being used in PC on its launch) because PC was showing people what tasty graphical treats they should have access to, but by the same token, publishers wanted to carry forward the whole $60 game walled-garden paradigm that served them so well on the consoles. So yeah, plenty of pressure.

      I feel sorry for the guys making them that it had to be this year. There is no way in hell these things were going to launch anywhere outside of the Christmas holiday period, so it was either now or next year. And, of course, as both sides started amping up, bits slipped out/leaked, dev kits went out, they became increasingly aware of each other and started competing... I'm sure the guys doing the actual work would probably have preferred next year, but there was no way either side was going to just LET the other side have a year's head-start.

      So here we are.

    NeoGAF's credibility will be in tatters after this imo. They're blowing up and freaking the fuck out because of that ReviewTechUSA video where sources allege PS4 had DRM this whole time. They're going into massive damage control and apparently even banning people that even mention the prospect of PS4 having DRM.

      Eh, not the same validity.

      That video was super hyped by the guy in advance, then spammed throughout twitter by him as well, with a "please share" in the title.

      It's also completely unverified, and he's hardly a verified "insider" with contacts.

    "As we inch closer and closer to the release of next-gen consoles, we’re starting to learn more and more about their features.."

    this is more accurate...

    As we inch closer and closer to the release of next-gen consoles, we’re starting to learn more and more, that most gamers out there living in forums such as 4Chan & NeoGaf are f**king wankers.

    Of course though, that is not news to anyone with an IQ over 65.

    I think the rumours are mostly rubbish and hyperbole, and whatever is irredeemably broken will probably be tweaked in the day one patch - something that is just a thing that happens now, I guess.

    As is almost always the case with a new console launch (or major release game), I’m expecting to plug my Xbone in on November 22 and find that it works perfectly – only to go online later and find an enormous sh*tstorm of gamers complaining that it’s the buggiest product ever, that it burst into flames or that irradiated spider ants came out of the Blu-Ray drive.

    I’m still getting one at launch, not expecting everything to be perfect (on either console) but one thing you can guarantee is that the internets will be FULL of negative stories about broken consoles/software/games from a vocal minority and that the gaming media will be putting these stories front and centre of their coverage.

    Broken consoles and bugs are a sad inevitability when you buy a launch console.

    Disclosure: My imported 360 RROD’d on the Australian launch night after about a month of play. I was pretty shitty about the whole thing.

      Broken consoles and bugs are a sad inevitability when you buy a launch console.

      Too true. I remember I had an Xbox 360 from launch and it RROD'd 5 times before the warranty expired. First one died 4 months after I bought it. The Wii U was a buggy mess when it came out last year as well- switching between apps was pathetically slow, the wi-fi would cut out alot and half the time when you tried to turn it off, the thing would just lock up and you'd have to pull the power cable out.

    Is everyone forgetting to take these rumours with a grain of salt? Nothing is set in concrete until people actually get their hands on the console. All these "sources" are just fueling rumours which may have absolutely nothing to prove them.

    Guys, calm yo' tits.

      Also amused by the mentions that this news is leading to 'panic'.

      If you see anyone panic about a next-gen console launch, it is your responsibility as a reasonable human being to point at them and laugh.

    Slightly off-topic:

    I feel kinda sorry for the guys working on the xbone. And the PS4, to an extent. I mean... The deadline was always going to be the holiday period. No extensions on your deadline at all. It has to ship. It HAS to. If one of them's not in stores in time for the Christmas rush, the damage to their expected market share would be catastrophic.

    Working on a project that absolutely cannot have its deadline extended is very stressful. Especially when things come up that are beyond your control, unexpected, or the Powers That Be decide to change direction/features too early for you to reasonably implement.

    Back on topic:

    Ohhh, the lulz.

    "When we reached out to Microsoft for comment both on SDK bugs and these OS issues, they sent over this statement:
    "We’re on track for a great launch. We’re in the final stages of development and things are progressing well. Games are moving through certification now. We also feel great about the platform and Xbox Live. We’ve been building great multiplayer experiences for more than 10 years and Xbox Live multiplayer on Xbox One will be the best it’s ever been. I'm sorry, did you say something? I can't hear you over the sound of the generic marketing bullshit blowing out my ass. You said something about bugs? OS? SDK? What are those things? I don't even know. I could've sworn your question was, 'How awesome are you guys?' The answer is: SO awesome."

    Not sure why anyone would get in a bind about any of these issues. I've been a programmer for over 15 years and never had a non-buggy SDK to work with. Any OS related issues are usually irrelevant to the development process - as the SDK will handle any inter-communication - sounds like the interfaces are fine, just the implementations are still being ironed out. Again, not an unusual circumstance.
    This thing is a brand new piece of hardware - and day one patches are not odd - heck, even my last GFX card needed a 250MB download for driver/game support.
    Everyone just needs to relax, put the fire out they lit in their hair, and marvel how a bunch of very talented people will, despite all the doom in the article, bring us some awesome games in the near future.

    I'm getting both consoles xbox first cause there are more titles I'm interested in, all this talk about resolution rumors is kinda pointless cause in a years time it won't matter cause every game will be running at 1080p on both consoles. My biggest worry is hardware errors like bricking and RROD.

    Microsoft spokesman Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb also addressed the rumour: “As far as Xbox One, I’ve been testing the OS at home it’s been great,” he said.

    Why would anyone believe him? His title is "Microsoft spokeman".

      yeah and he is a massive di*k. am i the only one who really dislikes major nelson?

        He didn't win much favour after trying to tell Angry Joe "oh, are you a console developer? removing all the Xbone's unpopular things isn't that easy" and then having Xbone's developers do exactly that

          Well, to be fair... I wouldn't be surprised if a massive OS bug-hunt is the direct result of pulling out/patching in functionality in that exact same described rush. It might've been easy to do, but not easy to do bug-free.

          From my programming days, I am reminded of this: http://memearchive.net/memerial.net/6573/my-code-doesnt-work.jpg

            Ugh, you just took me back to my adventures in actionscript and css.

    It’s also led to some panic around the current status of next-gen consoles, and we feel compelled to share everything we’ve heard so far.

    as long as it's about a negative aspect of the Xbox One. Reporting on issues with Sony just isn't a priority on Kotaku.

    http://www.ibtimes.com/sony-ps4-rumors-tweets-adam-sessler-arthur-gies-spark-controversy-over-sony-playstation-4-review

      So a pair of reviewers are having a hissy fit about not getting a free PS4 early? Where's the news?

        wooooosh

          Hardly. Sony have a lot of issues which are newsworthy but that really isn't one of them.

            Concerns the PS4 isn't ready for launch, Sony preventing people from reviewing games/consoles outside of a closed environment and publishing what they want just two days from launch. I just feel that if this was happening with the Xbone it'd be a story on Kotaku

            Last edited 29/10/13 11:50 pm

    I really don't understand why Microsoft copped so much more heat for RROD than Sony did for YLOD. Sure the PS3 might of in general lasted a little longer before YLOD, but that doesn't change the fact that every single last person I know with a fat PS3 has experienced it, and Sony didn't extend the warranty to cover it.

      I'm on my third PS3 and my original 360 is still going without a problem.

        It sounded like the RROD was a massive problem compared to Sony's overheating. When I got my first RROD I called MS to organise the repair and when I told the rep my 2 year old console was a launch console he was awestruck. He had so much trouble believing I had a 2 year old console. So I took it from that the failure rate was astronomical.

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