In the biggest 180 since their DRM reversal, Microsoft has now announced a new Xbox One – one without the all-seeing-eye of the Kinect. While most are rejoicing at the new price and absence of useless motion commands, some feel that this is a step backwards for Microsoft. So, to help you form your own opinions, here are the views of the Lazygamer crew.
Gavin: Mistakes keeps happening
I think the scariest thing about all of this is how obvious it has become that Microsoft really don’t know what they want to offer or what their long term goal is.
I would have preferred them to have taken the financial hit and dropped the price to $399 while keeping the Kinect bundled in as it really is quite an awesome piece of kit. The price cut will definitely help shift some units but what is left of the Xbox One from what was originally announced?
Let’s hope Microsoft blows us away at E3 2014
Geoff: It’s about time
Honestly, I think Kinect was a mistake to begin with, made to try capitalise on the Wii’s motion control success. That was a flash in the pan, and motion controls are nearly unanimously worse for games. It was Kinect that turned gamers away from Microsoft back with the 360 already, and the company’s resolute focus on it then meant they focused less on actual games. Its forced inclusion in the Xbox One just added fuel to the fire.
Kinect should have been excluded from the get-go. I get Microsoft’s stance on media, and taking over the living room, but the early adopters – gamers – don’t give a damn about any of that. They want games. When the Xbox One had already had some level of market penetration, then throw in a Kinect and herald its media capabilities for the mainstream.
Hopefully, Microsoft’s learning its lesson.
Darryn: Can’t we all just get along?
How about that Xbox One huh? Doing another 180 huh? Kinect not so essential after all huh? HUH? You can say plenty about Microsoft right now, dropping that mandatory feature and making it a choice that most folks will choose to ignore. But the fact is, I honestly don’t care about any of that criticism.
Last year, I was convinced that I’d be buying an Xbox One. And then after every press event and every time someone at Microsoft opened their mouths, my resistance was worn down. So I scrapped that plan to import, and got a PlayStation 4. And I love that console. That didn’t mean however, that I had sworn off Microsoft.
Because the fact is, they still make solid games. You can chide them for nabbing several exclusives, but that’s business. And now, with another about-turn, they’ve made the Xbox One console something that I want again.
Sure, it’s slightly less powerful than the PS4, but I don’t give a toss. I want something to play games on. I’m dying for a new Gears of War. i want a new-gen Forza Horizon. Sunset Overdrive tickles my prostate with its daring use of more than grey colour scheme. So I’ll let folks make their jokes, and grin and bear the reactions. Because now we can finally focus on just the games again.
And that’s an infinitely more interesting topic for me.
Zoe: Finally! But…
The whole idea behind the Kinect creeped me out. I didn’t like this all-seeing, all-hearing device in the living room. It seemed stupid, and added a ridiculous amount of cash to an expensive piece of tech. I didn’t see myself using it for much more than redeeming codes (who wants to type those things in if there’s a camera in the room) and maybe capturing video clips via voice command. By getting rid of the Kinect, Xbox is showing their focus is on the actual content of games, not the bells and whistles.
However, there is a tiny part of me that’s a bit sad about it. No, I don’t think the new Kinect is the future. No, I don’t think voice or motion controls work well. However, if we’re ever going to get to the future we see in games and on TV – the one with holographic computers and stuff, not the zombie apocalypse one – we are going to need a device that can see what we’re doing with our hands, can check our biometrics and adjust our surroundings accordingly. It has some horrifying implications, but it is the future that we’ve imagined, and the future that we’re slowly approaching.
Meanwhile, I’m incredibly happy to see Microsoft focusing on the games again. Dropping the Kinect requirement frees up developers to make things that are controller only, using resources for stories and characters, visuals and sounds rather than bizarre swipe motions and heartbeat scans.