Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Let's give Microsoft our money!

Oh yeah...check out those vents...
I bet your AMD chip gets sooo hot...
Attention parents and grown-up man children: Microsoft has just announced that you will be giving them another 3 to 5 hundred dollars. Yup, there's a new Xbox coming out and it's confusingly called the Xbox One, which is what we called the first Xbox to distinguish it from the Xbox 360 which was, also confusingly, the second Xbox. Here's a link to the long awaited 'reveal video.' I'm not sure who put it together, but it is unsettlingly pornographic. 

Anyway, the name is meant to imply that it's the only featureless black slab of technology you'll ever need next to your TV because it does so many things: games, bluray, the internets, Skype...which I guess people been dying to do on their TV.
This only interests me if you can turn it on by saying:
'Computer, put incoming transmission on the main viewer.'
Pffft...these loosers probably don't
even know what a video game is...
Of course there are a couple of things it doesn't do. It won't offer meaningful human contact for instance. Also, and perhaps more disturbing, it won't play 360 know, the ones which you've spent hundreds of dollars and thousands of hours on over the last eight years. Oh, and it won't play used games either, not easily anyway. Microsoft, seeing an opportunity kill the used-video game market is going to start linking individual copies of games to player's Xbox-live accounts so they can't be resold.

This likely means the end of stores like Gamestop who rely on used game sales to stay afloat. On the other hand, Gamestop will pay you $8 for a game that cost you $60 a week earlier and then they'll turn around and sell it for $58, so really, the hell with them. 
It takes some cajones of iron to ask $54 for a used copy of
Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning with a straight face.
Sure can't wait to go
through this bullshit again!
Now, when you buy a new game you'll get to enter a special activation code while you install it thus combining the excitement of waiting for a game to install with the challenge of entering a 25-character case sensitive alpha-numeric key. Sounds like fun. Thanks guys, we all really missed mid-90's PC gaming. So what if you want to lend the game to a friend? Well, tough shit. You're free to lend the disc out, but if your friend wants to, like, play it, they'll have to pay the full retail price to activate it.

Pictured: The filthy, Dorito-eating
thieves who keep Microsoft in business.
In addition to killing the resale industry that's been feeding off game developers for ages, the industry is also out to curb software piracy. Remember the fan reaction to Sim City's mandatory internet connection DRM catastrophe? Someone at Xbox thought that was an awesome idea, so the new console will require an internet connection whenever you boot up a game. You know, just to make sure you paid for it. It's Microsoft's way of telling its loyal customers that to them, we're all potential thieves. But don't worry, their keeping an eye on us...a soulless unblinking eye.

"You know Allen, I really think
you should get that rash looked at..."

-Xbox One
Like all the time. For real. The console is always 'on,' even when it's off. This is so the Kinect (Xbox's camera/microphone/surveillance package) can be ready to turn the system on whenever you come out of your RedBull-induced stupor long enough to demand entertainment. You don't even have to sit up or move or anything. It sure sounds pretty future. Of course I suppose it also could come in handy if Microsoft is ever curious about your buying habits and/or what your look like naked. But don't worry, the company promises to include security features so that they'll be the only ones allowed to peep into the human zoo that is your life.

To sum up: It'll be expensive, treat you like a criminal and turn your living room into a living experiment in market research. So, who's pre-ordering?
"Just shut up and hand us your money."
-Microsoft's new, somewhat ill-advised slogan

1 comment:

  1. I must say that, while at first I was pretty unsettled about the whole "you can only buy games new" and "you must be online to play" thing, someone intelligent reminded me that this is exactly how Steam works. And I love Steam. Everybody loves Steam! With any luck, the things we love about Steam (cheaper prices, huge sales, more indy games, less overall bullshit) will also happen on consoles now.

    As for the "Kinect never stops watching, or judging, you" I have an answer for that too. It's called a power strip. Suck on that Microsoft.