Buy or Sell: Purchasing an Xbox One
Many of the staffers have been mulling around the idea of whether or not an Xbox One at launch is in their future. As such, we’ve gotten Josh Boykin and Ryan Bates to sit down and discuss this very thing in a special Xbox One edition of Buy or Sell.
1. Microsoft has just reversed another policy – Kinect won’t need to be plugged in for the Xbox One to work. You think that’s great.
Josh Boykin: Buy. A company that actually listens to the demands of its consumer? How about HELLA BUY? Remember back when Facebook would ram new changes down our throats (back when we still cared) and we would get super pissed-off? Facebook was convinced they knew what was best for us and just went along with it because they knew people wouldn’t stop using their service. Microsoft had something to lose (basically ALL SALES) by not changing their policies, so they’ve changed them. +1 for the consumer in my book.
Ryan Bates: Buy. “Great” is hardly a word I would use for anything regarding the Xbox One, but it is another victory for the gamers. Plus it quiets the loud-but-confused faction of people who swear that the Kinect One was designed by or for the government to spy on households. I have no problem with Kinect being bundled with the XB1, but requiring it to be essentially always-on is silly, especially when most Kinect interaction still seems like a forced requirement.
2. Speaking of which, that’s yet another policy that Microsoft changes about the console. That in and of itself is a bad sign about their strategy.
Josh Boykin: Sell. Sticking with their anti-consumer policies in the face of a cheaper, comparable product would have been the bad strategy. If they plan on getting their console in living rooms, they’re going to have to make a product the market actually wants MORE than the other options regardless of the external factors…why do you think Apple sells so many iPhones and iPods? Because even though there are comparable products, iDevices are the most mainstream-consumer friendly and appealing, even if power-users opt for other devices. Microsoft isn’t gunning for power-users: they want families. Families want convenience and don’t like change from old standards. Enough said.
Ryan Bates: This is a qualified buy. It’s a bad sign about their strategy that it needs this, in a case of “too little too late.” There was never an outcry to include Kinect into everything, so why should Microsoft force this on to people? Microsoft took a gaming console and tried to sell it as an entertainment center, and that’s not what gamers wanted.
It’s also a bad sign that they’ve been capitulated by consumers over and over on the Xbox One. While it’s great that gamers finally have input on this scale, it’s a double-edged sword. At what point does Microsoft say “Actually, we’re the game makers here, we get the final say?” While consumers should absolutely have the say, and speak their mind via the use or lack of dollar bills, too much power and you have the gaming equivalent of The Lord of the Flies. And you know what that means. Sorry, Piggy.
3. If Microsoft decided to produce another SKU, one that doesn’t include Kinect, and drops the price to $399, it would be your console of choice to buy this fall.
Josh Boykin: Sell. If I’m going to buy a system for $400, I’m going to buy the one designed for a $400 price point, the PS4. As much as the $499 price tag sucks, it opens the door for developers to make games that make real use of fully-integrated voice and motion controls if they can count on households having the technology to make it useful. The Kinect’s a gimmick machine right now because developers can’t rely on the hardcore purchasers to have a sensor, much less put it to use. Since I can turn the damned sensor off or unplug it if I want to now, I’m fine throwing down the extra $100. Besides, Dance Central was fun. Hella fun, I might say. (Don’t forgive me if I say “hella” again.)
Ryan Bates: Sell. Again, too little too late. I’ve already seen enough from Sony to love the PS4, and they still have my consumer trust. Neither console will be backwards-compatible, so those making the switch have the perfect opportunity. Sony still wins.
The catch: Producing a $399 SKU kills their $499 SKU. It’s very hard to justify a $100 Kinect.
4. The PS4 is looking better and better with Microsoft’s inability to properly communicate their vision of the Xbox One.
Josh Boykin: Sell. I’ve said this time and time again: I forgot why I didn’t want a PS4 until I played my PS3. The last time I used my PS3 for gaming was to play The Last of Us, and though I absolutely loved that game, I HATED using the PS3. The XMB dashboard is a mess, I had to turn off the game every time I wanted to change my sound input or switch profiles, and the lack of cross-game chat has always been a thorn in my side. Though I expect the PS4 to fix these issues, that A) doesn’t mean they actually will, and B ) doesn’t make me willing to jump right in with the PS4 without Sony proving themselves first.
Ryan Bates: Sell. The PS4 has always looked better than the Xbox One. Microsoft’s PR bumbling doesn’t make the PS4 look better, it just makes the Xbox One look worse. All Sony has to do and say “We didn’t do that” – or now, “We always were like that.” Reversal doesn’t always wipe out the issues
5 . If you broken down and got an X1 this fall, the first game you’d nab for it would be one of the exclusive titles.
Josh Boykin: Sell. Watch_Dogs is my first next-gen purchase. I don’t care which of the two consoles I buy first.
Ryan Bates: Buy. It had better be. Sony’s equal or better than the Microsoft platform at this point anyway; the only reason I can see getting one right away is for an exclusive title. But I’m not that caught up in the Killer Instinct revival or any of the other exclusives that I have to invest right now.
6. From its big reveal a few months ago, until this very moment, your opinions about the Xbox One have changed for the better.
Josh Boykin: Buy. I don’t doubt that Microsoft only made its changes because it caught heat and because they want to make money. But guess what: when companies don’t make money, they go out of business, and when companies go out of business, the people who really give a damn about making games who happen to work for those companies are out of luck. I get that the big guys like Microsoft and EA and Activision are typically called the bad guys, but I think they’re made up of good people who try to do great things. I’m OK with them trying to come up a bit.
Ryan Bates: Buy. I suppose anything’s better than zero.
Now it’s time to hear from you, our readers. Buy or Sell? Let us know!