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Old May 23, 2013, 11:44 PM
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Default Xbox One, the view from a PC gamer.

First off, Damn you Microsoft for using a name thats already in use from HTC. Now I can't just walk into a tech store and ask for "The One" anymore because there is more than one One. Damn You.

Well apart from spoiling some of my fun and having a terrible unoriginal name I was also very disappointed in general with the next gen Xbox.

Microsoft had an amazing opportunity here to unify their system architectures and advance the argument of gaming in general, be it PC or Console. Sadly however they chose to stay proprietor. Microsoft had a huge opportunity to have a console that ran a build of Windows scrapped down to the bare minimum and with a very focused UI and shared the underlying APIs and such with full Windows8. They could have chosen to compete not only with Sony but also with Valve and made a proper media PC all beautifully optimized for couch and TV.

Instead they chose to craft 3 OSes and make them talk to one another. Do not get me wrong this is mighty impressive stuff thats going on but its completely unnecessary. Whats probably most insulting is that Microsoft chose to use the Windows Kernel for access to the lightweight metro apps and to be able to snap them to a side. I really fail to see what the Xbox OS is capable of that Windows is not except for the ability to lock everything down and charge fees for used games, and I have a hard time believing that the genii who work at Microsoft couldn't have figured out how to add that functionality into windows. I fail to see the logic. 1 OS > 3 OS. And hey, if they had opened it up to a degree of hackability for advanced users to let me turn it into a gaming PC with Steam and what not I would have bought one and given them real kudos. One of the main reasons I didnt get in at the last gen of consoles is how ridiculously they are locked down compared to a PC.

Then there is the fact that Microsoft has actively come to an arrangement with companies like EA to shut out their games from the PC ecosystem. This is not new exactly, Halo and Forza have been xbox exclusives as long as I can remember and if they do come to PC its as half assed ports. But I was sort of hoping that this generation would be different with all the consoles running on x86 PC tech. I was sort of hoping that the exclusives would at least be limited, but no. No next gen Ignite sports engine for PC, no Forza, and a slew of other titles that have yet to be announced granted exclusivity to the xbox and shunning Microsoft's sister OS/Platform the PC.

Hell if Microsoft wanted to they could have instantly killed the Steambox long before it was ever actually released.

Microsoft has completely stagnated in terms of PC gaming preferring much more to push the Xbox and as a PC gamer its hurting me. All advances in PC gaming in the last 5 years at least have come from Valve with steam or from ATI with hair tech or from nVidia with proprietary physics or from Crytek with their work on graphics. Windows Live Gaming has been an utter disaster to the point where gamers cry out NO! whenever it is mentioned. Microsoft and Windows used to be the epotimey of gaming, DirectX used to define everything. As a PC gamer it is really starting to feel like we are being actively shunned by Microsoft and it is wrong.

I'm sad that Microsoft has not tried to up their game with this console and have decided that the PC is not worth their time anymore I really am. I'm sad that Microsoft never tried to make a competative service to Steam. Microsoft has had it in their powers to really add some spark to PC gaming but have been so blinded by the glare of the xbox that it has removed itself from it.

The new kinect. Its impressive but the fact that its always on and Microsoft is always watching is more than a little creepy.

Xbox live. How hasnt this died yet, this may be one reason I'm happy that the 2 platforms are still separate, no way in hell am I going to pay microsoft to be able to play my games online.

I'm not going to comment on used games and fees associated with that as thats been dead on PC for about a decade now. Not going to comment on always online as thats up to game publishers so we are all screwed regardless of platform, and no EA I am not going to learn to love it. I'm not going to comment on the controller as I rarely use the current one.'

I'm saddened by Microsoft's forgetfulness of where they came from and I will not be buying this generation of Consoles.
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Old May 24, 2013, 05:10 AM
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While I agree with the lion's share of your points, a console with a Windows backbone is sure to fail. The reason I say this is simple: a custom API without the need for drivers allows programmers to code "to the metal" so to speak. This means they can optimize their software more directly without resource-hogging drivers getting in the way.

Essentially this allows developers to better optimize their games, leading to much better graphics on lower end hardware than would otherwise be possible.
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Old May 24, 2013, 07:44 AM
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I personally don't see a problem with a console system still being separate from a PC.

There's pros & cons for everyone in each side of the equation.

I think the devs like the streamlined hardware to program for, and probably a few other reasons that help protect their interests.

While for the regular consumer, who aren't hardcore gamers can get quality games without having to worry about their system requirements.

I think we, as gamers, tend to forget how big the actual market is for gaming in general. We "hardcore" gamers are actually a small, but still very important piece of the pie.

The thing XBL provides is it combines a lot of things that we on PC tend to take for granted. I.e. built in voice/party chat. From my experience, there are a lot of casual gamers, who don't have the same knowledge or experience.. or even the habit to always have Teamspeak.. or Vent/Mumble up while playing a game, let alone, have the time to invest to look for a good online group of players to join up with. Where XBL facilitates this in a simplified way. Sure, there are free voice servers for you to use, but in the end, it costs someone a monthly fee (usually) to keep the server up. I don't know about you guys, but I buy the 12 month XBL cards when they are on sale. So it works out to approx $4/month. If you have an issue with the amount, then perhaps spending so much on hardware is not the wisest thing to do? Also, compare the cost of a console + subscription, vs the cost of your main computer rig?

Also, with the shift to the new architecture for the new consoles, wouldn't this mean that ports (in either direction) would be a lot easier, and thus better in general? instead of some crappy port right now?
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Old May 24, 2013, 08:57 AM
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I think Anand summed up what my thoughts are in a much more elegant form. I just really hope MS does realize this potential they have and actually implement it. We've started to see the trend of unifying products from Google just this month alone, so hopefully MS follows in the coming years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anand
Combine the fact that TV is important, with the fact that the Xbox 360 has evolved into a Netflix box for many, add a dash of uncertainty for the future of high end gaming consoles and you end up with the formula behind the Xbox One. If the future doesnít look bright for high-end gaming consoles, turning the Xbox into something much more than that will hopefully guarantee its presence in the living room. At least thatís what I suspect Microsoftís thinking was going into the Xbox One. With that in mind, everything about the One makes a lot of sense.

Arguably the most interesting thing in all of this is the dual-OS + hypervisor software setup behind the Xbox One. With the Windows kernel running alongside the Xbox OS, I wonder how much of a stretch it would be to one day bring the same setup to PCs. Well before the Xbox One hits the end of its life, mainstream PC APUs will likely be capable of delivering similar performance. Imagine a future Surface tablet that was capable of doing everything your Xbox One can do. That's really the trump card in all of this. The day Microsoft treats Xbox as a platform and not a console is the day that Apple and Google have a much more formidable competitor. Xbox One at least gets the software architecture in order, then we need PC/mobile hardware to follow suit and finally for Microsoft to come to this realization and actually make it happen. We already have the Windows kernel running on phones, tablets, PCs and the Xbox, now we just need the Xbox OS across all platforms as well.
AnandTech | The Xbox One: Hardware Analysis & Comparison to PlayStation 4
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Old May 24, 2013, 09:09 PM
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See I dont see the problem of taking a Windows build, stripping away anything thats not necessary. Things like file system access and the desktop can be stripped away. And once you get down to the barebones windows kernel and the directX stuff I really dont see why that couldnt be optimized for the consoles hardware. I'm not looking for a PC in the living room from the xbox, its a pipe dream in the nicesest sense of the word but I can build one of those myself if and when I want to, I was dreaming that microsoft could step up their game on both the PC and xbox with this new console and unify it into a platform.

Look I dont even really care that it runs a different OS with xboxOS. I think its ridiculous that they had to make 3 that worked together to accomplish what 1 of those can do. Impressive yes but pointless. I think its insulting to where they came from that Microsoft is essentially thumbing its nose at the PC now with all these exclusives. I really fail to see why, especially with this new hardware, that they could not have attempted to unify the PC and xbox into essentially 1 ecosystem. Hell using Windows may have even opened up the ability to mod which is something that will never happen with the xbox OS.

And for the point that live gives you first party voice communication. Steam's been doing that for years in their games, its hardly worth a monthly fee. And its not an issue of price, its an issue of principles. Why should I pay for something that has been free since the dawn of time on my PC on a console, that is provided in 90% of current games. This fee should be included in the price of the game, in the % cut that Microsoft gets for every game sold on their system. Adding it on afterwards is tacky.

I'm quite looking forward to the day when a Tablet ala the Surface can do all of this and more. The vision that I can have 1 device that when I get home I can plug into a charging station and feed my 3 monitors off of it, the surface pro really isnt far off of this as it is.
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Old May 26, 2013, 03:33 PM
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See these are your console choices if you have to pick one:

A PC that looks like a VHS with the Eye of Sauron.. I mean Kinect.
A PC that no one knows how it looks like but has the UI of the old Playstation Store mixed with the XMS or whatever it's called (hopefully they'll improve it.)
A Previous generation hardware, console that uses a tablet as a controller.
A crappy Android console... just the fact Android is a mobile operating system for a console boggles my mind.
A overpriced box that plays games on Steam on medium to low settings.

To be frankly honest, if I had to choose between all of them it's either PS4 or Wii U. The Wii U is providing me with something a PC cannot do... play with a tablet and make it act like a giant Nintendo DS. I already have a game idea that can perfectly use the tablet controller, only problem is.... Dev Kit costs a fortune, lack just about every game development skill there is.
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Old May 26, 2013, 10:57 PM
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Only one thing is important at this point:

Sony opened their arms to indie/small developers... Microsoft continues to shun them.

I think that alone will be the real deal-breaker in the future.
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Old May 27, 2013, 01:25 AM
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Microsoft's current stance on indie seems extremely backwards. As does the policy on used games and backwards compatibility. As does the mandate of Kinect, is it that bad if I do not want to talk to my tv or wave my hands in the air madly. When it comes to indie however, the PC is still the place to be, open platform >all.

I am definitely dreaming here but I do wonder if the console's moving to x86 opens up the possibility for self built consoles, the only strange hardware we've seen so far has been the gddr ram on the PS4 so in theory at least it might be possible. I can sort of see that, dual or triple booting with an HTPC, having 1 box that runs everything. Pipe dream but hackers have done crazier things. Maybe an emulator, I could live with that. Ah theories. This wasnt remotely possible due to the hardware before but now, who knows.

I sort of wonder what differences there will be between installing and running a One game and a Windows game

Microsoft had a chance here and they blew it sadly, in my opinion anyways.
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Old June 12, 2013, 10:59 PM
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It may be disappointing or suck but i would only ever use it to play games, thats it. It has better hardware than the 360, games will look much better so its an automatic buy for me. Ive never been a fan of the playstation, never bought a nintendo product before in my life and never plan to, if youre older than 10 get a ps3 or 360 plain and simple, and the steambox is a joke so the xbox would be an automatic buy for me.
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