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Malik (6/24/13)

I think it would be easy to pick on Microsoft again this week. Yeah, I guess this is turning into a weekly posting, but it might become more frequent if I have the time...something I am not in large supply of lately.

So, yeah...Microsoft pulled a 180 on all of their unexplained plans. I said unexplained and not "stupid" for a reason. Some of their plans were actually pretty smart, although the 24 hour check-in is one I will call stupid with much confidence. However, the plans were a bit unexplained to the masses. Microsoft failed to realize the most simple fact out in the world of commerce. They want our money, and they are a large faceless corporation. This means we, as consumers, are likely to not take any new ideas as a good thing and instead we will look for the ways this faceless entity will potentially screw us over. That is the fact of commerce when you are not some Mom-N-Pop operation.

I think Microsoft, when they decided to go the Sony route on DRM, still failed on one important fact. The price of the XOne will be $100 more than the PS4. We should all know why when you look at how the specs for the two consoles are nearly identical (except a touch of better RAM in the PS4). It's $100 more due to the Kinect that is in the box. However, why has Microsoft continued to not explain why the Kinect is really needed. No, I don't mean showing how it will read my emotional state, which I actually do not want from a console. When I get pissed off at bad controls or a cheap boss, I don't want my console to know about's bad enough when my wife or my roommate see me lose my shit to a game. I also know it will allow for voice commands, but I had enough trouble with that on Mass Effect 3 (360) that I had to turn off the Kinect features. Having my center channel right below my Kinect made for a lot of random actions from my crew when the game mistook its own noises with me shouting for Tali to use a power for no damned reason.

So, what can the Kinect really do that is not optional or aggravating? What will it do to make games good? What will it do that I cannot simply use a controller to do? What can it do to remain important, unlike the WiiU controller that seems to not even be an afterthought anymore in WiiU game design? If it cannot be justified as a required feature, then it is not something I care about, and especially not something I want to justify with an extra $100.

As for the other features...I mean I am moving away from consoles now that I have a very powerful PC that has all of the same multiple platform games and a perfectly usable 360 controller attached. I can stream games and record them on my PC (XSplit is awesome). I even streamed the entirety of The Last Story for the Wii back in December without a hitch using my PC. I am comfortable, for the first new console generation in my entire life, of only looking at one console. The PS4, at a cheaper price with many of the same features and similar functionality, looks like the pick for me. Maybe in time this will change, since console generations don't always end in the way they start (ask Wii and PS3 about this), but for now I can only go with what I am being shown and promised. Sony is promising a similar experience to last generation, but at a cheaper price and with the ability to buy games from a mobile app (which looks sweet, as I am a Steam addict on my Android phone). The WiiU promised bad marketing and failure. The XOne is promising a Kinect being required for no good reason and a lack of a clear plan as shown by Microsoft's ability to flip-flop on DRM so damned quickly.

Microsoft, I want to love you in the realm of consoles. The same goes for Nintendo. However, both of you don't seem to want to be loved. Time will tell, and time can change things. Hopefully Microsoft allows time to change them for the better.


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