In a press conference broadcast worldwide, Microsoft today revealed their latest console, named the Xbox One (no, we’re not sure what happened to the previous two either. Among other details, the essential facts on the console are thus:
- An 8-core processor.
- 8GB RAM.
- Includes much-improved Kinect functionality.
- Installing games is mandatory, and used games require a fee to install.
- No backwards compatibility.
The rest of the show was filled with TV-viewing functionality (because so many gamers don’t own a TV) as well as sports and a small piece of Call of Duty Xbox-exclusive DLC. The main response to the conference appears to have been a binary switch between apathy and rage. Gamers are not happy about the idea of a console disallowing used games, not just because for many of them buying used is the only way to maintain their library but also because it locks out those who may lend games to friends or take games to parties for groups to enjoy. The whole idea seems fraught with problems and, speaking personally, I will be very unsurprised if it seriously damages the console’s sales.
Also of note is the lack of backwards compatibility. While the Xbox 360’s support for Xbox games was patchy and didn’t always work, at least it was there. This move leaves Nintendo as the only manufacturer offering support for their previous console to any meaningful degree and that factor may well help them. Where it may harm Microsoft (and Sony, whose PS4 also lacks the feature) is the demographic of gamers who may be likely to withhold their purchase until killer apps are released for fear of having nothing to play on their new system, especially as there was very little focus on games in this presentation.
In short, the console war is about to get very, very interesting. Look for our E3 coverage in a couple of weeks, folks!