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Monday, June 10, 2013

The New Xbox Is a $500 Happy Fun Ball

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Given my past 20-plus years of gaming habits, I should be excited about Microsoft's new Xbox, even if it does have a dumb name. But now that they've started releasing info about their new console, Microsoft has done a phenomenal job demonstrating all the reasons I don't want an Xbox One. (Yes. "Xbox One." See? Dumb.) After over a decade of playing nearly all my games on one Xbox or another, it's looking like the Xbox One (UGGGHGH) will be the thing that finally makes me abandon the platform. Wheee! Let's take a look at some of the Xbox One's exciting features!

• Microsoft has made it a huge pain in the ass to lend or borrow games, because why would people want to try something out instead of just coughing up $60
• Microsoft has made it practically impossible for the used game market, such as it is, to continue—because while buying and selling used games is be a huge boon for consumers, publishers are inexplicably terrified of them
• Do you like being online? Great! The Xbox One has to be connected to the internet all the time—because Microsoft wants to check in on you every 24 hours to make sure you aren't doing anything they don't approve of, you goddamn thief
• Speaking of online, don't forget you'll still need to buy Xbox Live—that's $60 a year—to play online multiplayer, get called a faggot by screeching 12-year-old Halo junkies, or use a lot of the features the Xbox One is touting
• Do you enjoy being watched? Perfect! Because the mandatory Kinect will always be watching and listening, learning all of your deepest and creepiest secrets, because how could anyone be even slightly uncomfortable with that given Microsoft's wacky PRISM-related hobbies
• Do you like your Xbox 360 games? Better keep that Xbox 360 around! Otherwise, fuck the money you spent on those games, fuck backwards compatibility, and fuck you
• As proudly announced at E3, getting to experience all of the above will cost you a mere FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS
• Xbox One contains a liquid core, which, if exposed due to rupture, should not be touched, inhaled, or looked at

No tech is perfect. Whether it's the iPhone or the Kindle or the current Xbox, there are no shortage of practical and ethical constraints slathered all over our devices—nearly all of which come down to companies restricting our rights as consumers. But—at least right now—it's looking like the Xbox One will take those restrictions to a new level. As Chris Plante at Polygon notes,

After a month of vague corporate comments from Microsoft executives, we now know the Xbox One's game licensing policy was written from the ground up for companies. It's aggressively anti-consumer and anti-middle class, and it outright ignores underprivileged gamers. It's gross, despicable, greedy, pathetic, cowardly and out of touch with a growing global resentment for corporations. (Via.)

Sony has yet to release details on how their PlayStation 4 is going to handle these issues, but I hope they're watching Microsoft's faceplants. And laughing.

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