The Xbox 180

Some weeks ago, I posted a little about the Xbox One with my admitted bias towards Sony and PlayStation. Since then, E3 has happened along with a flurry of public backlash against the policies Microsoft wanted to impose, namely a required 24-hour check-in online and how used disc-based games would be handled.

During that time, there was a campaign started at the NeoGAF forums to make voices heard with regards to the whole matter in convincing Sony not to follow in Microsoft’s footsteps. Some action was done towards Microsoft as well, but after E3, their minds did not appear swayed. This was not all just NeoGAF though much of what they did focused on Twitter trending and contacting gaming media about the movement. Some voiced out against people wanting their voices heard – either it was a wasted effort or one could be sure that Sony would do the same. The opposite happened. Sony had quite the presentation at E3 explaining how they were not doing what Microsoft was doing. It led to tremendous applause and general buzz online. They made a simple video of how to share PS4 games showing two of their executives exchanging the disc by hand, and it went viral with millions of views.

Today, Microsoft announced a backpedal on the very policies gamers were so vocally against: the 24-hour check in will be gone, and you can buy/sell/trade disc-based games the same way you can on the Xbox 360 (and PS3/PS4 for that matter). In other words, the efforts were not wasted. Sony did not assuredly follow due to publisher pressure or anything of the sort.

Some things can be learned from the whole process: Complaining can work when done right – customer feedback is valued (truth be told, the company I work for, unrelated to all this video game stuff, is all about that in fact). Working together for a cause, however simple, can work. Sometimes people will indeed see through the BS presented. My favorite is probably that telling people to do nothing because nothing can be done when something can be done makes you wrong and appear foolish.

My main complaint on the console still rings true, the always-on Kinect, but it’s not like I was going to buy one anytime in the near future (or probably ever if this remains true). I actually found the course of events very amusing, but it’s good to see results from a worthy effort on the matter.

Thoughts on Xbox One

What a train wreck.

That being said, I should note a few things. I have long disliked, near hated, the Xbox 360, largely out of jealousy and frustration that stems from the previous “console war.” The domino of lost exclusives while watching many people buy a product knowing that it had a 33% failure rate while also watching game quality deteriorate as a result of multi-platform development left a bad taste in my mouth. And that green-ick! But mainly it was how the 360 impacted PS3 games that I resented it. Games from certain franchises I liked took longer to be released and then weren’t as good as their predecessors to boot. After several years with the dust settling from such things, I have considered buying a 360 for a few particular games, but the resentment still exists nonetheless.

So, I’m making my bias known and admitted in this post.

Having watched how things unfolded for Sony and the PlayStation 3 between 2005 and 2008, it’s truly astonishing to see what’s happening with the Xbox One now. I will also admit, I didn’t actually watch the conference and the following is based on a number of pieces of info I’ve gathered from visiting the NeoGAF forum.

There’s a lot of unknown factors yet to be finalized and announced, so I’ll go over the points that bother me most. Most of what I read is particularly bothered by the unknown impact on used games. My main concern there is that from what is reported so far I can’t do something that I did at least once this past generation with the PS3 and would probably do if I were more active and sociable gamer: loan a game disc to a friend. See, based on what is reported so far, I would have to login to my profile on my friend’s machine so they could play the game, but if they want to play it on their own profile, then they have to pay a fee, and not like a small fee either but basically the price of the game. As for trading and/or reselling, there’s not enough known yet but based on the previous example and some other factors I’ll describe next, I am pessimistic as to what that system will end up being.

So, here’s a laugh:
Q: Does Xbox One require an “always on” Internet connection?
A: No, it does not have to be always connected, but Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet.

Internet required but not always, just…well, reportedly from one of Microsoft’s executives, 24 hours. But then MS continues to say that they’re still working out the details.

Truthfully, what bothers me most based on what I’ve read is that the Kinect that is boxed with every unit is [i]always[/i] on. There are assurances from Microsoft that there will be privacy options (if you so choose), but how about we have that option by just being able to, I don’t know, turn it off? I simply don’t trust them that these options will suffice.

Another thing I don’t like, petty as it is, is the name. Xbox [i]One[/i]? The idea is that you have an all-in-one entertainment device except that a lot of the functionality touted already exists in multiple devices, such as a PS3 or Xbox 360. It suggests the same kind of backwards thinking represented in the whole console’s reveal (now you have a box to watch TV on your TV that requires a cable subscription you’re already paying!).

I have the luxury of already disliking Microsoft’s console efforts, meaning I’m not particularly attached to any Xbox exclusive games, so the mantra of “just wait for E3” to learn about whatever new games are coming isn’t very convincing. I wasn’t planning on buying one (at least not at launch), but MS has made a very compelling case for not buying one ever.

Will the North American market (since the rest of the world is not likely interested at this point) still be as welcoming to MS despite all its faults when this new console hits? Maybe, though I still hope not. They’re really going to have to justify buying a whole new machine that does a lot of things people are already capable of doing with other advice. I do believe that a success in this invasive approach would be bad for the industry, especially consumer side.

I’m probably forgetting something, but that’s all I’m thinking of now.

Peter Puppy

From a clip I can no longer find on YouTube (I think it was there), presumably based on an Earthworm Jim cartoon. Here is Peter Puppy transforming into his monster version.

Traced and colored in Paint Tool SAI.

My Alisa Sitting Taunt

My Alisa Sitting Taunt
by *SonKitty on deviantART

Traced and colored in Paint Tool SAI.

This is based on my T6 Alisa customization. I simplified the metal jetpack wings for this look, changed the shorts to pants that go under the battle boots, extended the shirt to actually be tucked in, and extended the vest. I basically removed a lot of the skin exposure in the waist/leg area and made this a more anime-style look since it went from a screenshot of a 3D video game to a 2D-style drawing.