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Published on May 22nd, 2013 | by gareth

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Xbox One, a Big Swing and a Miss For Microsoft

(This is a temp site while we update the site. You can see past content at www.sknr.net  We will have a write up of the new system in our June magazine.)

Like scores of gaming journalists, I was following the release of the new Xbox gaming system with anticipation. The flashy presentation was more style over substance as despite the glitzy names such as Steven Spielberg and an array of lights and giant video screens, the launch for the most part failed to excite as despite the glitzy packaging, Xbox One failed to wow me.

Gamers were promised 15 exclusive titles during the first year of launch but we all know talk is cheap. The Wii U promised 50 titles in the first qtr of release and failed to meet this mark. Besides, that is assuming they will be 15 titles that gamers actually want to play as I am sorry, Halo and Gears of War are simply not enough to justify purchasing a new console in my opinion.

Madden, FIFA, Destiny. COD: Ghosts, great, but guess what, I will be able to play them on other systems so why should I buy an Xbox One?

The controversy over used games is also one that is not going away anytime soon as while the Xbox One will not block used games, gamers will reportedly have to pay a fee to license a used game and said game will only work when a player is logged into their account. If they are visiting a friend, then they cannot play the game on any account other than their own.

But truly this to me while a big issue is not the biggest issue. The biggest issue is the fun factor is missing. I did not see one thing that made me want to play the new system much less own it. I am sure there are some great points and features that will be announced in the weeks ahead, but honestly, why do the dog and pony show to a worldwide audience if you are not going to show the system and all that it is capable of.

If I am buying a gaming console, I want to play games, not browse the web, watch tv shows, and check my fantasy sports stats. I have something called a smartphone, a PC, and tablet for that and I also have a smart tv which can do much of this as well.  I said to my wife how gimmicky the ability to change from tv to game and web via voice commands are. I said I could switch just as fast with a universal remote and I am willing to bet that the transition will not be so fast in homes that are not a carefully controlled environment. She said to me that for all we know a person could be doing the switching backstage with a remote.

The control does little to excite me as I found the design to be cumbersome and bulky. But in time, who knows it may grow on me. The proof will be in the gameplay when we finally get some hands on time with the system.

This was the time for Microsoft to show off the power and versatility of a next-generation gaming system that would excite gamers and developers. Instead we were treated to of all things The Price is Right. Had Microsoft not opened their wallets to get the Call of Duty: Ghosts reveal trailer this entire event would have been an epic snore as for me, COD was the only thing that caused any excitement or peaked my interest.  I was not impressed with the Wii U when I first saw it and in time it grew on me. Perhaps this will be same with the Xbox One, but all this flashy and costly showcase did was further my interest and desire for the Playstation 4. With the web filled with scathing comments about the system, you can bet Microsoft has their best spin doctors doing damage control as the pending E3 showcase could be their last chance to change the waves of negative public opinion and build some positive momentum.


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