Xbox One Revealed, at a Cost


Microsoft gave us a name: Xbox One.

They gave us a box: Black, flat topped, and vented.

They gave us a vague release date: This year, worldwide.

What they did not give us were games. Microsoft hinged on their Forza franchise and promised 15 exclusives, eight of them new IPs, and showed… one. Quantum Break, shown mostly through live action, looked to involve guns, the mind, and other stuff. Who knows? Fantasy football integration with the NFL was clearly more important.

Microsoft knows their audience now. It is no longer the hardcore gamer; it hasn’t been for some time. It is the crowd who will be suckered in by Xbox lead Don Mattrick meeting with higher-ups in the NFL and get excited their $500 Xbox One can do the same things their laptops, tablets, and phone can. Those same marketable types find the promise of, “Having a relationship” with their TV exciting.

The rest of us continue to wonder what overwhelming effect the Xbox One will have on consumer rights, questions Microsoft was careful to avoid with flashy hand waving and quick transitional menu changes. If a Wired article is correct, Xbox One is meant to be an anti-consumer machine… but look! Real life scans of Seal Team dogs, which are totally different than scans of normal dogs!

Call of Duty Ghosts, the most prevalent of the games at the one hour press conference, looked great. So did Forza, and whatever Quantum Break was/is. EA’s reel, which recalls the “target render” controversy of the Xbox 360 reveal, never showed gameplay. We saw Price is Right though, playing over Comcast with tablet-like motion controls thanks to invested TV offerings. Connectivity is maturing, Microsoft banding together with other corporate giants to control your living room, and that idea is wholly terrifying. For as much as we complain about cable operations, do you want another party involved in this process?

The big reveal of the show came from Nancy Tellem, an exec from a variety of media conglomerates, who bounced on stage to reveal a “premium priced” Halo TV show in conjunction with Steven Spielberg. Some of the audience, reportedly Microsoft employees, cheered. Yes, cheered at the idea of paying more for TV, the type of details Microsoft skirted, skipped, and dodged, lest people actually stop to think about what this all might cost us, and not just in dollar signs.