If you’ve come across me on the interwebs in the last 3 years or so, it’s obvious that I’m a little Microsoft biased. That’s putting it lightly: I’m a 360 fangirl. Something about a green “X” gets me all stirred in the loins.

Despite all that though, this next generation for Xbox isn’t stirring me as much as I thought it would. This is mostly because my beloved Microsoft has been making some shady decisions as of late. Despite their huge pushes in 2001 to be a contender in the gaming industry, their priorities have seemed to shift in the end of the 360’s long run.

It’s no doubt that the Xbox has done well in the states but, as far as actual gaming goes, Microsoft doesn’t seem as interested these days. You would have to be a stranger to the gaming industry to not be aware of Microsoft’s unusual business practices as well as their lack of touch with gaming consumers. It’s been going on for quite some time but, a lot of us, me being one, have been casting a blind eye to the sketchiness.

Microsoft once had an array of indie titles and dedicated game franchise. Slowly, they all dwindled and they focused more toward the entertainment side of things. Now, this is fine. Having a seamless entertainment system that doubles as a gaming console is wonderful. Sony goes for the same thing. If you’re primary function is gaming however, why do you feel the need to emphasize everything else but?

 

You have a gaming console. WHERE ARE YOUR GAMES?!

 

XboxNewGenerationReveal

 

Personally, Microsoft screwed up this console announcement. The event itself was the typical lack-luster-lets-watch-usher-dance-around charade sans Usher of course. Coming from a fangirl, Xbox One’s announcement went downhill as soon as it started. The actual unveiling was great until you got a closer look at the monstrous box that will be a mantle in your living room. Size isn’t everything but, Jesus! With the buzz about slim consoles, you would assume they would do their best to make it smaller.

Then there was Kinect. The dear underdog in gamers’ eyes known as Kinect. I can honestly say I was a fan of Kinect at one time. I wasn’t sold on the idea at first but it grew on me as it enabled me to be lazier around the house. The uses that Microsoft wishes to implement, which by the way have very little to do with gaming, seem very farfetched to anyone who has owned a Kinect. I’ll give you a quick example.

My sister and I have very similar builds and sound very much alike. If not for our varying personalities, you would think we were the same person sometimes. Kinect has an even harder time differentiating. The OG Kinect prides itself on the ability to tell users apart from just stepping into the cameras frame. It would regularly confuse the two of us and try to force us to play as each other however.

 

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE ROCKET-SCIENCE-LEVEL-STUFF, JAE?

 

I’m sorry; I forgot plugging a USB cord up to a computer was rocket-science? NASA should be proud.

Xbox Snap and all this Kinect use has me really concerned either way. My past experiences with Kinect have been an outstanding “meh.” Sometimes it’s great, other times it’s like asking Siri for help with Google Maps. It’s a headache and you want to throw it out a window. While what Kinect offers is wonderful, its efficiency is spotty. In the grand scheme of things, Microsoft keeps pushing it without really thinking of its practical uses.

So far, Microsoft has already put a lot of focus on Kinect rather than their actual console. The uses for Kinect that were shared were even more out of touch with gamers. There are layers upon layers of apps that focus on television. Something that can work well with gaming isn’t used for it very often. The problem is Kinect has the potential to be a great tool for gamers. Microsoft sees it as a simple tool for other entertainment purposes though….and Usher of course.

Did Microsoft forget that the Xbox as well as Kinect are together a gaming console and this is an event on the internet where most gamers will hang out when not gaming?

Feels like Microsoft doesn’t know who their audience is so they pitch to those who don’t even watch these events. Sure, swapping between live television and gaming is cool but why would I ever do that. I don’t know anyone who is in the middle of saving the world from imminent alien doom in a make-it-or-break-it moment and decides, “What’s happening on Glee, Xbox?”

 

Usher-ing in a new era

 

I’m bashing…

I’m sorry, I am.

 

Microsoft has never had interesting press events and this was a pain to sit through. I was personally hoping that they would use the time between PS4’s announcement and theirs to look at their options. I had hoped they would take in everything Sony shared and find ways to compete with it. In turn, they seemed like they ignored it and pitched their console towards light-gaming families instead. With new consoles coming along, I can’t help but wonder have I chosen the right side.

After today’s’ event, the answer is a no. Microsoft clearly doesn’t have gamers as its target audience. Though for some, that is okay, it isn’t for me. I’m a gamer because I like to game. All that other stuff is nice but my gaming console is primarily a gaming console. If it isn’t being utilized by the company that made it in that manner, what hope do I hope for it?

So what made me turn to the “darkside” of gaming, as many of my fellow Xbots would call it?

 

Honestly, money.

 

New console means brand new price tag. New console means new features. For Xbox, that means paying for said features as well as paying for LIVE to access said features. In the bigger picture, I’m a poor kid and I can’t keep dumping money into a company for a lot of things that I may never use. I shouldn’t have to pay to access features that I already pay a separate fee to use. I shouldn’t have to pay play online either.

Even then, games are a big part of all of this. Aside from EA’s usual trot around the stage with sports game galore, there were two. Those 15 brand-new exclusives were brought up but I can bet they are mostly arcade games and kid friendly Kinect titles. You could say that gaming could be left to E3 but honestly, you couldn’t have removed the 20 minutes of sports and Forza to show me something to keep me interested.

Microsoft’s event only confirmed that they have long ago abandoned their gaming audience to make a system more centered around total entertainment. Preferably, if I wanted entertainment I would get a Roku…or a Jester. What I want is gaming and that seems to be far from what Microsoft is gonna give me at this point.

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Video Game Journalist, Assassin Ninja Enthusiast, Cosplayer, Author, Maker Of Sammiches

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