O MICROSOFT, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against Xbox and against you. Forgive my sins and come back with me, so that I may worship your holy service once more.
In the days prior to Microsoft’s press conference, I was afraid; Afraid that Microsoft might not have what it takes to win me back from the clutches of Sony, but after seeing the announcement of the Xbox One, I have returned to my rightful spot, right back to the Xbox fanboy I was. I have seen the error of my ways, and, while not fully removing myself from the enemies clutches, I have declared the Xbox One triumphant.
At Microsoft’s Xbox One event Tuesday, we saw many great things. I didn’t understand why the majority of the community was upset with what we saw. It was very apparent to me that we wouldn’t be seeing games. This was a hardware show, with software taking a sideline, making games an afterthought. E3 is where we’ll be seeing a game, that’s why this event is so close to the expo.
Microsoft started off the show with a bit of a tease, Don Mattrick talked to us about how Xbox has changed the world since it’s inception, which it truly has, by bringing us things we take for granted like HD gaming, Achievements, and first person shooters as we know them today.
Then he said it. He said the words.
Xbox One. Such a simple name, so little to it; We were as far off as we could have been, we all guessed Infinite but in the end we got One… and I’m OK with that. Right out of the gate we got to see the console, a smart move to counteract Sony’s shy nature with the PlayStation 4. It looked beautiful. Very simple and elegant, almost like something Apple would put out, but at the same time, like a set-top box for your cable. Maybe that’s the point? Everything was very crisp and solid, all sharp edges with hard lines. Each piece was adorned with a single white glowing Xbox orb.
The controller for the most part is unchanged. The D-pad is completely redesigned, the analog sticks remain where they were, but with rimmed edged for better grip. The bumpers and triggers have tactile feedback and can be changed to be as loose or solid as you’d like. Microsoft has managed to improve something that was already perfect.
Then there’s the Kinect. The original Kinect wasn’t very attractive, to say the least. It didn’t fit in. The new Kinect is a work of beauty. Microsoft has turned the ugly, five eyes Kinect of yesteryear into a one eyed, graceful bar of excellence. It looks like its base is in front of it, yet it impossibly manages to stand up on its own. It’s mystically appealing, yet somewhat frightening.
The Kinect is what’s seen the largest improvement. It’s somewhat scary how accurate is. It knows who you are before it’s even powered on, and it’s so accurate it can even read your heartbeat. Imagine how that could be used! A Dead Space style horror game that reads your heartbeat and knows the exact moment your at the height of your suspense and use that to scare your socks off. That’s insane. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
After that we talked about the TV features. I’m not going to go in depth on this one, they look groundbreaking but nothing I need to go over here.
Then we hit the task switching. You can do anything and everything you want to without ever even having to get out of your seat. “Xbox, let’s play Forza” and Forza comes up right in the middle of a race, right where you left it. Now, say you are searching for a game in Halo and you want to play Forza until you find a match. Sounds impossible, right? Not anymore. “Xbox, snap Forza.” Magically, Forza will come up right where you left off, and Halo will be “snapped” to the left or right of your screen where it will continue to search. It’s magical how it all works together seamlessly.
They’ve done this by combining the Xbox One’s unique architecture with the Kernel of Windows and then brought together using the systems 8GB of RAM to keep everything seamless and instant, all tied together with a bow called the Cloud.
By that point I was convinced. Add in the fact that they’ve made achievements more dynamic and able to be updated and changed whenever they want to, and I’m completely sold.
I’m sorry, Sony, as much as I’d like to be a man of my word, Microsoft has my heart again. The Xbox One is the One for me, and that’s just how it’s meant to be.