Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Impressions are predictions based on video demonstrations. Expect full hands on impressions, including titles Battlefield 4 and Dead Rising 3, the weekend after Xbox One launch day.

“I don’t look forward to the graphics, features, or anything else first. For me, it’s the controller.”

The Xbox 360 controller is arguably the most ergonomically designed controller in the history if console hardware. Without getting hands on the Xbox One controller yet (no, I haven’t had the time to pick one up at Gamestop), I’m curious as to how significant these changes are, particularly the rumbling buttons and the taller smaller sticks, and the D pad. But just when they’ve got me hooked on the nuances, they throw in AA batteries. It’s a minor gripe, but one that has been the single advantage that the Dual Shock 3 has had over the 360. Sure there are play and charge kits, but I cant imagine I’ve been the only one who has had bad luck with those accessories. Here’s hoping for longer battery life.

Getting Started

We have been for warned numerous times, Xbox One requires an initial internet connection to activate all of the system’s functionalities. This is the future, and it is inconvenient. The juvenile “I want it now” kid in me has not gone away, and I fully anticipate my impatience in calibrating the Kinect’s audio, as well as everything else for the Xbox One.

It does seem to have an odd pay off for your patience. Remember when console boxes had a set of screen shots for relevant games at the time of its manufacturing plastered on the side? Xbox One seems to assault you with a sizzle reel of footage from the launch line up. Curious to see how that changes if you pick up an Xbox One in March if you know what I’m getting at.

Xbox, Record That

As one who’s always been intimidated by purchasing video recording hardware and software, the next gen systems’ DVR features is a blessing for folks like me, especially ones who recreationally writes about and reviews games. Looking at the run through for recording and uploading footage on Xbox One seemed simple enough, however I’m curious – along with all of Kinect’s other features – to see if the system offers tutorials on how to take advantage of the Kinect’s properties. Trimming, editing in intros, and inserting voice over are all basic and vital features for video editing, and I cant wait to mess around with it after launch.

QR Codes

Every single 360 user has run into the issue of navigating the virtual keyboard typing in codes – whether that might be for Xbox Live, Points, or games – only to run into the message rejecting your input just so that you have to look at that one mistake that you’re convinced you never made.

It may be a small convenience, but the Kinect’s QR Code reading functionality is a god send, allowing you to hold up a QR sticker to Kinect and it automatically redeems it. It’s a neat little feeling of just how “futuristic” this hardware – particularly the Kinect sensor – really is. I can see myself going out of my way to pick up QR codes just to play around with this feature.

Xbox, Listen to Me

As one who’s never used the 360’s Kinect, I wouldn’t be able to speak to the vast improvements the new sensor has made over the original. Seeing how the camera tracks players in front of the screen and how you can use “Select” to reveal all of the dashboard vocabulary is very neat. However hearing testers having to repeat Xbox phases twice, numerous times, is very discouraging. Communicating with the Xbox One vocally to help edit videos seems really slick without having to scroll through windows; but if I have to repeat myself, I will quickly strictly rely on using my controller.


One way I’ve conceptualized the drag of current gen systems is this: If your computer at home was as slow as the Xbox 360, you’d have a fit. Of course, who’s kept an 8 year old computer lying around without upgrading it at least? All in all, that’s a testament to how comparatively archaic this hardware is.

Seeing demoers jump from game to TV, to recording, and back to home in and of itself is a sight to behold. Just as I’ve struggled with patience in looking at the spinning orbs of the Playstation 2, it would be increasingly more difficult for me to tolerate watching the cycling rings before a 360 fully boots up.

As it was with the 360, Kinect’s integration in the Xbox experience has always said to be best used in conjunction with the controller. You will never catch me holding up my hand pulling across and pushing it forward to navigate and select options from the dashboard. It looks like a hassle, and many seem to agree.

One big issue off of IGN’s livestream that was mentioned was the inability to manage the hard drive at this time. Currently, in order to delete games – which we’ll be doing a lot of in this download mandatory console generation – you will need to go to the games individually instead of going to System => Memory and go from there. That’s a huge burden that thankfully Microsoft is aware of, and hopefully they address the issue no more than a few months after launch.

The Xbox One experience…

… looks fresh, it looks slick, it looks next gen. Kinect seems to be both the bane and the beacon of your interaction with the console, making certain tasks easier, and struggling – in certain settings – to keep up with others.

Look forward to my impressions with the system the weekend after launch day.

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