Thursday, August 15, 2013

More More Microsoft News

I'm gonna be honest here - I'm getting a bit tired of posting XBone news.  I had to search for the new box art picture instead of using the same old image I tag the XBone posts with (you know the one) just to switch it up a bit.  The obvious response is "Well, then just don't post the news, duh" and yeah, it is kind of obvious, but, well, there ain't shit else going on and a few pieces of news came together that made for an interesting little chat.  So I figured I'd do it and then hopefully get it out of my system and then hopefully we'll get some news about other things, since just about all of it has been about the XBone and not a near-bit of it very positive.  I've been one of the people who have been, uh, vocally against what the XBone was in its original inception, of course, and I remain one of the unswayed by Microsoft's furious back-peddling and desperate attempts for further affection, but even I've basically lost the verve and the concern with which to talk about the XBone in any manner, even negative.

First up in the parade of bad news and worse decisions, one of the other main things that folks have been clamoring about regarding the XBone from the onset of it, even alongside the whole DRM nonsense.  The Kinect 2.0, as it's been dubbed, was previously listed as required for the XBone to do basic things like function whatsoever, which people didn't like for one reason or another.  "The room is too small for it to be utilized", "there's 'no good use for Kinect'", "I don't want it constantly watching and listening to me and even though you can turn it 'off', how off is it really?" and such things, which are valid concerns in one way or another.  While there wasn't going to be some sort of NSA situation going on, there was and still is, I suppose, a very real chance of Kinect 'spying' on you to direct you towards ads that it thinks you want to see, which is almost and oxymoron because nobody wants ads, even if they're advertising the brand of coffee you drink in the morning or the brand of chips you snack on at night.

Obviously, all that build-up is to simply say that the Kinect is no longer required except in the rare case that a game requires Kinect, of course.  Which will be few and far in-between as even Microsoft's Kinect Sports thing was delayed til a few months or more after launch, meaning the number of games that -require- Kinect at launch will be zero I believe.  Of course, the bigger thing is that unless you're planning on talking to your XBone, waving at your TV or playing that new Harmonix game that I can't be bothered to search the name of, you can safely leave the Kinect that will be included in your XBone box right where it is, since absolutely everything about it appears optional now aside from its purchase.  The announcement made a lot of people think that the Kinect could safely be taken out of the box from the getgo, resulting in a hefty price drop, but I seriously doubt that's going to happen.  This is less of an issue of programming and whatnot, and more of an issue of they've probably already started mass-producing the things, so they're -going- to be in the damn boxes whether you like it or not.  Similarly, others have been suggesting that -down the line- there will be a Kinect-less box after the initial 'shove Kinect down everyone's throat' phase and I'm...not inclined to believe in that either.  It's a game of too little time at this point now, and while Microsoft has been screwing the pooch left and right here, splitting things up like that would be silly even for them.  I think.

Speaking of mass-production and shipping, the XBone was initially supposed to launch in 21 Markets, and that number has been reduced to 13 surprising absolutely nobody.  Given that they're still throwing things in the box as shown by the unboxing vid that let slip the Chat Headset that was previously going to be sold separately, but I guess they just decided to throw them in since they were already manufacturing them as well.  Really, it's -far- easier to -include- things than it is to take them out which is why I'm saying that the Kinect is going to stay in for the launch bundles at the very least.  (Also because the unboxing video kind of...well, makes it 'official', I should think)  What with production apparently going on at the moment, though not quite as fast or well as they would like it to be going and all.  What's curious about that is that I can't help but wonder if those countries are going to be the ones where the console -launches- or if they're going to be the ones where the console -launches- and XBox Live for it is up and functional, meaning the region-free aspect of it would be quite moot otherwise.  There is the whole matter of that Day-One Firmware update for the console as well as the update that Forza 5 will require to be a functioning game that will be unavailable to those were Live for the XBone isn't supported.

And while we're on the topic of XBox Live (geez, it's almost like I put thought into the flow of this post), there was a little announcement kind of good?  It actually seems a bit redundant and dumb, but it's not actively harmful or out-right silly like some of the other bits of news, so it gets a pass, I suppose.  A season pass, actually, because I am so clever since the news is that the XBone has a "Season Pass Guarantee", meaning that every time you buy a (supported) 360 game with a Season Pass, you will be able to access the Season Pass content if you then buy the game again on your XBone.  Why you would do that is....quite a bit beyond me (unless the game is just really good and only gets better on the Next-Gen machines for some reason), but it is rather nice that the option is -there-.  Though I do believe GameStop is going to offer some sort of "upgrade" trade-in thing so that you get so much credit towards an XBone version of a game for the 360 version, which makes the offer a whole lot more tantalizing if you're into that sort of thing.

Aside from trying to assuage some RROD-type fears by stating that the XBone will fix itself when it's overheating, there's not a whole lot of other news about the thing which is great, since that was a lot to cover when I didn't even really want to do it in the first place.  With any luck, that should be all the XBone-related news from now until Gamescom which like a week.  Great.  Regardless, Microsoft's presentation will be a short one, though they're hyping it up to be something big.  I guess we'll see what comes of it, but until then, I will hopefully not have to type the words "XBone", "Kinect" or other such things again.  After all, can we know, find some other news to make a big deal about?  There should be more news-worthy things, it's almost the end of Summer!  Almost.

honestly, I probably shouldn't write about it because I'm so whiny, but I want to write -things- and it's like the only topic there is some days

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