As I sat back into my sofa within my moderately warm home (the downside to being so close to christmas) and eagerly awaited ‘Kevin’ the nice chap from DPD to deliver my brand spanking new Xbox One, I pondered the rocky road that Microsoft have had to undertake in order to get here and try to weigh up just how well the Xbox One has come out the other end of what was essentially one PR nightmare after the other. Its initial announcement alone was enough to create a storm within the gaming industry about the concept of DRM and if we were in fact ready for a digital only future (something I myself still think is a no, considering that despite the advantages available, there are too many unresolved issues with pricing digital games through Xbox Live and the PSN that are already occuring).
After being hailed the villain for their original plans of an always online machine, heavily focusing on media integration and instant play which did away with the acceptance of a pre-owned gaming market (again something that needs dealing with still considering its affect on the gaming medium) Microsoft quickly did a U-turn and went back to the classic way, the way which Sony were using to gain a foot hold once more, discs go in. You play from the disc. You can trade in your disc.
This didn’t have the saving grace effect Microsoft hoped for however as while some moods were waited, others were divided, with those who were happy with the original always online concept and those who felt the damage was done and no amount of U-turning would wash the bitter taste of DRM out of their mouths.
Fast forward to the night of November 21st and what seems like the whole of London are out enforce to celebrate the launch of Microsofts next console, with Zombies and Roman Soldiers wandering the streets in an attempt to bring the Xbox Ones launch titles to life in a way that only a company with big money can. Thats right, hassling fans as they try to watch some live music and shenanigans from ‘big names’ in the industry.
In all honesty though it was a good night. Leicester Square became Xbox One Square, with people shouting "hashtag XboxOne" and "hash tag XboxOneSquare” at every moment. Hashtags still scare me a little by the way, a side note worth mentioning in a world where they’re now a casual conversation piece like ‘bored.com’. Katy B and Plan B delivered the music (Plan B offering up a pretty amazing set overall) while some faces you may remember from your goggle box such as Sian Welby and Rick Edwards played host for the night, with competitions, laughs and wooping a plenty.
Microsofts launch night wasn’t completely free of PR bumbles however, with the rather questionable choice of KSI joining the proceedings. One of the YouTube generation of famous faces, KSI gained quite a large following from a collection of videos touting his own brand of ‘hilarity’, most notably a certain video showing him at his most childish and sexist, wandering the floor of a gaming expo stopping everyone in sight and generally acting like a complete tosser.
So why would the big kahunas at Microsoft want someone with this image, and small minded concepts, helping with promotion of their next big console? Is this their attempt at winning over ‘hardcore gamers’?
Matt Lees of VideogamerTV made a pretty apt summarisation of exactly why this was such an odd choice, its worth a watch, so I’ve embedded it below (obviously I take absolutely no credit for this video, it is the work of Mr Lees and the team at Videogamer)
KSI aside, Microsofts launch night seemed to go off with a bang as nearly all of London appeared to be in attendance and more than excited to count down the Xbox Ones final release, but after such a turbulent time in its short first few months, how is the Xbox One now so popular? What exactly happened between its announcement to hitting shop shelves?
After talking to gamers I trust, and from the opinions people so freely share through the wonders of the online world, it seems that this generations console war has been the fastest to kick off and the quickest to simmer down, with gamers quickly realising that the landscape of the gaming world is changing (hopefully for he better) and what we can expect as the years pass, is quite simply mind blowing!
Both consoles essentially sit at a level pegging, both heading for the same future of instant access and integrated online play (thats right, no more lobbies!) so who really cares what stripes you wear? The quality of games coming now and in the future is nothing short of scary and exciting as hell (I grew up with Super Mario World and Double Dragon so don’t talk to me about screen tears and lag. Please. Just don’t.)
So those were my ponderings. Nothing new I’m sure, but something worth mulling over. Frank arrived by the way. Proudly clutching my next gen machine (Im lying of course, he seemed pretty miserable, busy day I suppose. lots of Xbox Ones in his care).
With it now in my hands and ready to settle in for the next decade (at least if you don’t listen to EA boss Patrick Soderlund) Im pretty pleased with my choice, and despite all of Microsofts trials and tribulations Im sure the Xbox One will have a long and epic life span.