XBOX One Fallout – No XBOX or X360 Games, No Indies, No Used Games, and More

Xbox One - What about Gaming?

Xbox One – What about Gaming?

Well, THAT didn’t take long! In fewer than a dozen hours the XBOX One reveal went from being exciting … to a disappointment. Over at they are already calling the reveal of the XBOX One an ‘awful start’, and discussing how Microsoft needs to redeem itself at E3. Of course, leave it to Ctrl-Alt-Del to joke about how Sony hasn’t even figured out how to assemble their new console yet!

Rather than pontificate on that sort of stuff, I wanted to address 5 areas of concern to me as a PC gamer:

  • No Backwards Comparibility: what is a huge reason for easy early adoption of a new console? The ability to play existing games. Even Sony gave the PS3 backwards compatibility with PS2 games for a short time before yanking it to save money as they dropped price. Microsoft worked hard at bringing XBOX games to the XBOX360. But when you get an XBOX One, you lose the ability to play old games. Oh, unless you keep an XBOX360 connected to your TV, along with another remote and switch cables all the time … y’know, exactly what the XBOX One was supposed to END?
  • No XBOX Cross-Platform Multiplayer: in perhaps the most nonsensical statement of all, we heard “Because of the different architecture of the systems it’s not possible. Your Xbox Live account on 360 will carry over to Xbox One. That same account will work on both platforms. The multiplayer won’t.” Um … sorry, not buying it. We have Mac/PC multiplayer, X360/PS3 multiplayer … yet they can’t wrangle XBOX One to X360 multiplayer? Again, sounds like an artifical excuse to force people towards the XBOX One.
  • No Used Games: the current corporate mantra is ‘all games are installed’ and attached to your account, and if a game is inserted in another XBOX One, that user will have the option to PAY to gain access to the game. No secret developers and publishers want to kill the used games market, or at least monetize it. But please don’t patronize me by pushing it as a BENEFIT!
  • No XBOX Live Arcade: this is partly the same as backwards compatibility, but in this case Microsoft loses the ‘hardware platform’ argument. XBLA is a virtualized environment, and apparently Microsoft has chosen not to bother porting it to the XBOX One. This means existing games aer dead and nothing new will come – killing yet another stream.
  • No Indie Gaming: While the limited channels (ok, ONE) for indies to get games on the X360 is a hassle, there have been successes – but more folks have success elsewhere. Unfortunately, the XBOX One doesn’t offer even that level of capability, leaving XBOX gamers with only approved retail games as their source.

And while ‘used games’ carries a bit of a loaded connotation, imagine this scenario: your teen child is having a sleepover and each friend attending is asked to bring their favorite video game to share. Currently, no problem … but that possibility will cease to exist in the XBOX One world as currently described by Microsoft.

But the big feeling I have heard repeatedly is that of a sense of hubris on the part of Microsoft that has gamers feeling abandoned, similar to what Sony did with the PS3. Do you remember THAT debacle? The entire Sony reveal was about being the entertainment of your home (sound familiar?), starting with the Blu-Ray player for movies and games and the ability to do other media stuff … and, oh yeah, games too.

The assumption was that after the PS2 Sony OWNED the games market, so they could simply define the pricing and gamers would just buy one, and by having Blu-Ray they would gobble the market of non-gamers. Now we have Microsoft assuming that anyone who likes the XBOX360 will just see ‘better gaming specs’ and buy it, and everyone else will see the media stuff and want one as well.

More to the point, at the same time Microsoft made a huge deal about how well it will work with your cable box and integrate with everything else in your media setup … but nothing about how it would streamline the media experience for the core gamer. In fact, many have noted that it feels more like a competitor to Roku and Apple TV than the PS4.

What do you think?

Categories: Editorials, Gaming

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8 replies

  1. [insert comment about superiority of the PC gaming master race here]

    On a more serious note, the thing about playing your game on someone else’s console:
    >Currently, no problem … but that possibility will cease to exist in the XBOX One world as currently described by Microsoft.

    It’s been stated that the owner will be able to sign in on their friend’s console, which will enable a short-term (as opposed to, y’know, forever) installation of the game to be played. Hardly what I would call a user-friendly solution, but I thought I’d just throw that out there.

    • Thanks – I have seen stuff about that, but what I saw was then pulled. I hadn’t seen a full confirmation from Microsoft. If it does work that way, that would be an acceptable solution – though as you say, not exactly user friendly. Though since you are supposedly able to start playing while the game installs, it might be tolerable.

      • Although I haven’t owned a console since the original PlayStation, I have to think that consoles have traditionally had a simplicity argument to use against PC gaming. While we PC gamers had to wait for long installs (followed by the inevitable mandatory patches), consolers can just pop in the disk and go. Linking games to users changes the paradigm to more closely match the PC model, but introduces the install time problem. I know they SAY you can play while it’s installing, but that seems implausible – if you can play while it is not done installing, what does installing DO?

  2. This is one reason I personally am thinking PS4 – the first time Sony has interested me in over 10 years. X1 just seems like a let down. I prefer console games over PC because I see my Mac as a work platform, not relaxation, shooting alien’s platform.

  3. Engadget has statements from Microsoft XBOX execs that intimate that the buying and selling of used games will be supported. Details are sketchy at present, but it does not appear that Microsoft is abandoning the used game market.

    As far as backward compatibility is concerned, I am not too concerned about it. I rarely find myself picking up old games and playing them at present so I think the tradeoff of losing old games and gaining huge advances in processor speed and graphics capabilities will balance things out. Then again, I am not a hard-core console gamer.

    • I just think that when you think objectively about the strategic push they are making – being the ONE BOX in your living room, that ignoring the huge existing library of games is a mistake. What they are counting on is that people will flock to buy the 12 games at launch, half of which will be sports or other iterative yawners that will look little better than X360 games. I hope they are wrong, for the sake of gaming. Because gaming on consoles has become reductive – fewer risks, bigger budgets, narrower experiences overall. Everything is either sports or a ‘dark & gritty action-adventure-shooter’ with cinematic quality visuals. Yawn.

  4. I’ve not been a big console fan – I eventually bought a Wii To play Legend of Zelda. Mostly cBox and PS series devices focused on first person shooters and sports games, neither of which appeal to me, so I’ve primarily stayed a PC gamer.

    The decisions possibly being made by MS here seem incredibly wrong headed and short sighted, but it’s the same mindset that thinks that people will be always connected to the net and always want more social elements in their games! Very poor decision making going on in gaming right now!


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