Posts Tagged ‘one’

Kinect-less Xbox One–Issues, Issues, Issues

May 17, 2014

xb1

This week Microsoft announced they would be releasing a Kinect free Xbox One.  This has been met with great internet back lash.

This is showing yet again Microsoft are doing yet another u-turn on an executive decision.  My problem with this decision however is just how much of a U-turn this is.

Back last year when the Xbox One was near release, Microsoft were going on and on about how this is the future of gaming, how that by supplying every Xbox One owner with a Kinect sensor that developers will be utilising this amazing piece of tech.

6 months on and we have just a handful of games utilising the tech and most of these aren’t great.  Kinect sports is ok and a vast improvement on the previous Kinect Sports games but there were still things lacking, that I believe with time and research could be improved.

Kinect2

However now that gamers will be able to buy the Xbox One without the Kinect the incentive for developers to utilise this has been removed.  I feel this was one of the main reasons the Kinect v1 wasn’t very successful or improved over it’s short life span.

Whilst I am not a massive fan of the Kinect games, it did offer some nice features to games, for instance in Battlefield 4, the leaning function felt very intuitive (you leaned on you chair, the first person view leaned).  The voice commands were also very good, although this was not so much of a draw for me as I play in the same room as my wife watching TV so I don’t really get to utilise this feature often.

phil sPhil Spencer is still saying that developers will utilise the tech but really it just means that any developer wanting to use the tech will also have to come up with a non Kinect alternative for the new owners.

I do understand why they have done it as they are falling way behind the PS4 sales, however by removing the Kinect I feel that they are not offering anything different to the PS4, other than a same priced, less powerful machine, so i don’t understand how that will draw people in.

Whilst it is refreshing to see a company listen to feedback and make major changes, it does also put the company in a bad light and make it hard to trust anything they say.  When the console was launched last year they said the Kinect was an integral piece of equipment and it was essential to the consoles success.  6 months later and apparently it is not essential and you don’t really need it.

So whilst they cannot please everyone, they should at least stop the rubbish they are coming out with regarding developers still wanting to use the Kinect when there has been little evidence of this before it was no longer a requirement for the console.

What will happen, who knows, if it does draw new crowds in then great, I am an Xbox gamer through and through and anything that prolongs the console’s life is fine by me, but please just stop the bs declarations Microsoft!

Dead Rising 3 – Thoughts So Far…….

December 18, 2013

Pre Xbox One launch I couldn’t decide whether to get Ryse: Son of Rome or Dead Rising 3.  I eventually went for Ryse as I had read that DR3 did not really show off the graphics of the next gen console. Yesterday I completed the excellent, but short campaign of Ryse and with no interest in the multiplayer I looked to trade it in at Game.  After some discussion I got a good price for Ryse which gave me the cash for a pre-owned copy of DR3.

I had played the recently released demo on the Xbox One and I have played previous versions briefly on the Xbox 360.  However once installed I have been very pleasantly surprised.  Agreed, the graphics look like last gen to a certain extent, however the sheer number of zombies on the screen at one time has to be seen to be believed.  there can be literally hundreds of the undead on your screen at one time, ready for you to mow them down in the method of your choosing. 

Dead Rising 3–Short Clip of a Zombie Slice and mowing down loads in a car!

Now this feature wasn’t a real surprise to me as I had read reviews of the game however seeing it for the first time is incredible.  A particular section of the game found me trying to avoid the mass hoard of zombies by cutting through a shop, however as I approached the front of the store I saw hundreds of zombies outside wandering the street, I knocked over an object making a little noise and suddenly the zombies attention was drawn to me and they all started to storm the store, creating an intense fight or flight situation.

After an hour or so of playing the game I discovered that this is one of the first few games to utilise the Xbox Smart Glass to it’s full capacity.  By opening the app on your the device of your choosing you turn it into an in game smart phone.  Whereas calls for side missions would normally come through your speakers or headphones, they will now come as phone calls through your device.  In my case I was using my Kindle Fire.  You can reject or answer these calls as you would do a normal phone and it just adds to the immersion into the game.  You can also look at maps, objectives, etc similar to an everyday smart phone which is a really nice addition to the game.

dr3hoard

The game also allows the use of voice commands through Kinect which works well, you can call zombies from across a ravine to make them plummet to their death, it all just adds to a great gaming experience.

I feel that this game should have been promoted better as a great launch title using all of the consoles new features to the max, making you realise just what a powerful console the Xbox One really is, it may not be the most powerful graphically wise, however it is still amazing graphically, but the additional features just add to an all round great gaming experience.

Console Wars – Be Happy For Each Other

November 7, 2013

Call of Duty:Ghosts was released this week with devastating reports that when released on the next gen consoles it would be native 1080p on the PS4 but only up-scaled 720p on the Xbox One. 

This is obviously a marketing disaster for the Xbox, however can they ride the storm and get through this.  The answer should be yes to the informed but it is the uninformed that could be the issue.  The issues are apparently that whilst the PS4 is a little more powerful than the Xbox, this is not the main contributor to the downscale.  The PS has not come out unscathed either, in the last few days it has been reported that the PS4 version has dropped frames, hinting that it is struggling to cope with the 60 frames per second at the native 1080p.

XboxOne1As with every generation of new consoles, it takes time for the developers to get to grips with the new operating systems and patches are sure to be rolled out overtime fixing these issues.  We are still seeing ground breaking games being released on the current gen of consoles just going to show that developers will constantly improve what they can achieve from the hardware over time, the Xbox360 being over 8 years old.

The thing I don’t understand is all the arguments between each camps fan boys.  The Xbox guys will always refer to the PS accounts being hacked and the PS guys will always refer to to the early versions of Xbox 360 with the red rings of death.

Currently it is a fact that the PS is more powerful than the Xbox one, however there are many things that in my opinion are a benefit on the Xbox.  However whilst I feel my choice of pre ordering the Xbox One is the best decision, it does not at any stage make me hope for PS4 people to have issues or to be disappointed with their decision.PS4_lg

However looking over social sites like Twitter, various forums and particularly some friends it seems to be a common theme to feel superior by stating their choice is the right one and that others should be ashamed if they do not agree.

If it wasn’t for competition neither Microsoft or Sony would continue to work on adding things to try and make their device the more desired.  Therefore all gamers should embrace the other, acknowledge when the other has something good “The Last Of Us” looked amazing on the PS3.  But lets just as gamers be happy for the other side.  It gives us something to talk about.  Owning one does not make you superior to another, lets face it you just handed over cash for it, you had no input into it.

Just game and have fun and stop all the bitching!

Next Gen Console – Why I Have Finally Settled on the Xbox One.

September 16, 2013

Let me start this blog by making it clear, I am an Xbox fanboy, I have owned a PS1 and 2 but my last few years have been spent with Microsoft.

I have spent the last few months agonising over which console I would be going for.  I did a large amount of reading on both consoles and a couple of months back I would have said I am going to get a Playstation.  This decision at the time was purely based upon the rumour that the Playstation was going to be more powerful, the cheaper price and the fact that more of my friends would be going for the Playstation.microsoft-xbox-one

However, a few months on and I have made my decision and actually pre-ordered the Xbox One.  The reason for this complete 180 is down to a number of reasons which I will go into below.

1.  Price – The Playstation is cheaper however if you purchase the Sony camera to go with the console, thus taking advantage of the tech, the prices are almost identical.  This however is not as good as the Xbox One Kinect camera and also not being a mandatory part of the console also means that it will follow the way of the Kinect and thus games using it will be limited as developers are not going to waste money on camera development if only a small percentage of the gamers have it.

2.  The specifications of both consoles are now much closer, particularly since the Xbox’s recent upgrade in GPU means that there is not a significant advantage to go with the Playstation.

3.  Despite my friends being likely to get the Playstation I have found that the fact I play in the same room as my wife watches TV means that I rarely talk to players and therefore playing against friends is such a rare occurrence it cannot justify a console purchase.

4.  Microsoft appear to be listening to their customer base.  At the original launch of the Xbox One, things could not have gone worse, Sony took advantage of that and took as many shots at Microsoft as they could.  They had good reason too, the used game policy, the always online although not major concerns to me were seen as a major issue by many.  However Microsoft (no matter what the reason) quickly did a u-turn on these decisions.  Therefore I feel more comfortable knowing that Microsoft will make further improvements as time progresses.

5.  Perhaps the biggest reason I made my final decision was due to the games.  With both consoles being very similar with regards to specs, Microsoft development is slightly easier as most developers will be programming on windows systems, therefore making the transition between PC and Xbox ports much easier.  I have also found that many of the PlayStation exclusives are directed at the Japanese market, ie anime style games which just isn’t for me,I realise this is not all they offer but it contributes to my feelings on this.  Also the exclusive titles, earlier releases etc on Xbox are more my style of games.  Do not get me wrong, games such as ‘The Last of Us’ on Playstation looked amazing but I felt that these games that actually grabbed my attention on Playstation 3 were few and far between, therefore my decision has been led by the type of games already being shown for the Xbox.  Also the massive server investment Microsoft has invested in the Xbox looks to provide a better gaming experience, yes Playstation are also making a large investment in this area, but in comparison they are a few years behind on this and therefore it will take some time for them to match the power house behind the Xbox One.

6.  It is only now, with the PS4 that Sony are focusing much more RAM on the operating system, I have heard many complaints from Playstation gamers regarding slow friends lists, etc on the PS3.  Xbox had this mastered in the 360 and this looks to continue into the next gen.

So this is why after month of boring my friends on Facebook I made the decision to stick with Xbox.  The discussions will, as with the current generation continue for many years as to which console is best, but I am going to remain an Xbox fanboy for the next 7 years at least.

Next Gen Consoles – Thoughts So Far! Part 2

June 13, 2013

Well after a few days of E3 there has been a ton of announcements and news around the new consoles from Sony and Microsoft.  Many of which are starting to make me confused and concerned as a current Xbox fan boy.

xbox one vs ps4

Sony has by far come out on top of the initial bout of “my console is better than yours”.  I have owned PlayStations in the  past but have had an Xbox360 for the last decade.  The major blow came as Sony announced their console price is £80 cheaper in the UK than the Xbox One.  I really want to stay with Xbox but with so far no backward compatibility for hardware confirmed there is no apparent reason to remain loyal to Xbox.

It has already been confirmed that neither system will play last gen discs.  But what about my existing controllers and headsets?  It has already been noted that the controller ‘s connectors are different but will there be adaptors available?

The cheaper price for the PlayStation also means non hard-core gamer friends are likely to go for this cheaper option.

The Xbox has come under much fire for it’s pre owned game policy and it’s connection policy which is a concern for  many.  At this point in time I have to admit I am starting to lean towards joining the PlayStation nation however there is a lot of time for Xbox to regain my loyalty.

As far as I understand Xbox will be better for online gaming with it’s 300k server system, it will also have many useful Kinect features, previously wasted due to developers not bothering due to not all owners having Kinect.

But Xbox need  to make consumers unlike myself, who do not have time to read every detail of the specs and news, see why it is worth the extra cash for what a casual gamer sees as a similar system to the PlayStation.

Xbox does seem to have a better launch line up but to casual gamers it probably won’t be enough.

Round one to Sony, bring on round 2.

Next Gen Consoles – Thoughts So Far – Part1

May 24, 2013

xbox one vs ps4

Let me start this post by making the statement, I am currently an Xbox360 user.

I have not played on a PS3 but many of my friends own one and in my opinion there is little difference between the consoles bar the PS3 Blu-Ray.  There will always be the fanboy wars over which is best but in general it is just down to personal preference.  I chose Xbox360 after owning a PS1 and PS2 as it was cheaper.  I also prefer the controller as I am not having to stretch my left thumb to the analogue stick, but as I stated before, this is just my personal preference.

Over the past couple of months both Sony and Microsoft have made major announcements about their next gen consoles, both presentations (as I presume they planned) presented more questions than answers.

Now both consoles have very similar specs and the varying combinations of RAM type and CPU/APU pretty much makes it a level playing field as far as you can tell at this stage.  The real test will come when the consoles are in the users hands, or more importantly the independent reviewers hands.

However I am guessing the actual games are going to be very similar, I cannot see publishers spending huge amounts of time making one version of a game significantly better than another.  There are of course the exclusives but it really depends on the type of games you are into.  Xbox may have the advantage of being more similar to a PC operating system and therefore easier to port from PC (which most developers use) to Xbox.  But this probably won’t have any impact as they rarely release a game on one console before the others.

Overall I was more impressed with the Xbox One presentation, from the limited game snippets we saw, there does not appear to be much difference between the two consoles when  it comes to gaming, yes this is what the main purpose of the console is for despite all of the new functionality.  Partly due to the similar specs and partly because we cannot assume anything we have seen is genuine, often previews are pre-rendered making them look even better than they actually are.

microsoft-xbox-one

The Xbox presentation was better for me purely because  they showed the improvements from current gen and also they numerous new features.  Sony however spent much time talking about the social side of the system, I have never found the need to let a friend take over a game for me as once completed I cannot say that I completed it if a friend had to help me.  Sony spent much of their focus  talking about the social aspects and with the (in my opinion) fatal marketing error of only showing the controller,  I completely lost interest.

That is not to say I was amazed by the Xbox presentation, whilst I must admit I probably am an Xbox fanboy, I did find some of the presentation a little underwhelming.  For example, Kinect 2.0, whilst much improved on the current system, I rarely get the chance to use it as you cannot have other things going on in the room or others talking whilst you use it, therefore with my current setup I only really get to use it whilst my wife and I watch films or when she is not in the room.  This leads on to the new TV functionality, whilst it is pretty amazing, I cannot imagine many households where the Xbox would be connected to the main TV.  If you are a single person living alone then this functionality is pretty impressive however many families, couples would have the Xbox connected to a different TV to allow others to watch TV whilst others play games.  Therefore impressive but not a major consideration for someone like myself.

Also the ability to use multiple applications together, again impressive but just how much would we use it?  I am not so sure as I very rarely use internet explorer on my Xbox as it just isn’t as user-friendly as on my laptop.  However the ability to leave a game and come back to where you left off is pretty cool, especially if the speed of switching is as impressive as the presentation.

Dual-Shock-4_contentfullwidthThere are still a number of ongoing debates regarding pre-owned games, Xbox has given some information none of which is particularly clear, however it does seem that games will have to be installed (as currently on PS3) and each game will be registered to a user profile, so no lending games to your friends without a fee.  This is however all guess work and without Sony making any announcements yet I am sure it is a strategic waiting game between both companies as to exactly what will happen as whichever makes a wrong move will knock their own market share to disastrous levels.

No prices or release dates have been announced so it is now just a waiting game whilst we sift through the numerous rumours and snippets of information out there.  Roll on E3 where hopefully many of the outstanding questions will be answered, although I am not holding my breath!

UPDATE 25th May 2013
Since publishing my post yesterday I have watched Woody’s Gamertag on YouTube who raised some more concerns. Will our existing accessories work on the new console? Allegedly the Xbox has a new connection on the controller so does this mean our headsets will need to be replaced? I have a new set of Turtle Beach XP 500s and I can’t afford to replace these yet again! I am hoping that they bring out a new connector which would be far cheaper than a completely new headset. The theory behind this change is so Microsoft can take a cut of any accessories for the new Xbox as the connection is proprietary to them. Alternatively they may be looking to only allow some companies to produce items for the console which wouldn’t be good news for consumers as competition would be all but eliminated.

Another concern raised in the video was privacy. If the console can be always online could hackers switch on the Kinect’s camera without your knowledge? I am sure these questions will be answered in time but for now it is definitely food for thought!