In Defense of Microsoft
Let me preface this by saying that I do own a 360 and love it like the child I’ll probably never have. However, I have owned Sony and Nintendo consoles and I can hardly be called a Microsoft fanboy. If anything, I’d be closer to a Nintendo fanboy. I want them to make the best console every cycle but, sadly, that hasn’t happened since the 64. That’s a discussion for another day.
The opening video told you their purpose within the first minute: “We’re about to change entertainment forever. Again.”
Did they say that they were going to change gaming? Nope. They said entertainment.
Whether you like it or not, consoles aren’t just for gaming anymore. They are entertainment centers.
We live in a time when companies are trying to increase revenue by broadening their base. Frankly, they’re just trying to invade each other’s space.
Cable, wireless, personal computer, television, and gaming are all trying to occupy the same space. It makes sense. Don’t specialize. Why would the larger consumer base by multiple devices when they can just buy one? Make a single device that does everything and you’ll get customers.
Sorry, gamers. The world doesn’t revolve around us. The only reason we got independent consoles was because that was the technology of the time. Soon the television will do everything on its own. Companies are going to fail as consolidation continues. You can’t blame Microsoft for trying to hedge their bet.
To try to address some specific complaints I’ve seen around the web and from fellow Schmamers:
The Look: It looks like it fits into a home entertainment center. Just like every other black brick.
The Name: Who fucking cares? Yeah, it’s a little confusing to gamers and it seems regressive. Still, One isn’t a terrible name. It’s supposed to invoke the concept that it is an all-in-one entertainment center.
Voice Command: It didn’t take that long. Calm the fuck down. If you can’t deal with a 3 second delay you’ve got some patience issues.
Skype: Are you all seriously complaining that you’ll get Skype on another platform?
Backwards Compatibility: SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP. You can’t hold back technology because you want to play old games. Both Microsoft and Sony CANNOT put backwards compatibility into the new systems because the systems are running on completely different architecture. So a few consoles had backwards compatibility. So what? All that means is that the next console wasn’t THAT big of a leap forward and you (and I) paid money for slightly better graphics. You didn’t bitch and complain then.
Big Brother: If you’re seriously concerned that Microsoft is trying to spy on you with the Kinect camera and microphone you obviously haven’t been paying attention to technology. That phone you’re carrying around has the same functions. Every Mac computer comes with a built-in camera. There’s a simple solution to your concern. Unplug the damn thing when you aren’t using it. I personally put all of my electronics on power strips so I can just flip the switch when I’m finished. Saves me money on electricity, helps the world out a bit, and I don’t have to be all paranoid. Done.
Now, for some legitimate concerns:
Always On: I too would hate if I have to check in once a day. Microsoft would be admitting that they only care about people who have high-speed internet.
Kinect: Each console will ship with one. Not such a bad thing. Yes, it would suck if it always has to be plugged in. Not really a deal-breaker for me.
Big Brother: Yes, it’s in both lists. I don’t really like that we’re tracked all the time either. However, see above solution for this particular device.
Innovation: This console cycle does feel like each company has just taken technology that already exists elsewhere and said, “Yay! It’s in our console now!” I’d like to see some new shit too.
Honestly, it just feels like everyone is taking their disappointment with this console cycle out on Microsoft. Sony didn’t reveal anything dramatic or innovative either. They didn’t even reveal their system. Nintendo is fucking up with the Wii U left and right. No marketing. Lagging specs. The system is kind of just a failure at the moment.
I get it. You’re pissed that gaming isn’t the center of supposed video game consoles. Piss all over those bastards but spread your piss around. All three companies are letting you down, not just Microsoft.
The great irony is that if you’re so pissed off at the state of consoles and you go out and buy a gaming PC, you’ll be giving your money to Microsoft anyway 😉