Friday, November 8, 2013

In Which I'm Mostly Positive About the XBone For Once

Do I really have to preface this post with a reiteration of my past opinions on the XBone?  No?  Okay.  Because I'm not going to for now.  What I am going to do is direct you to the above video of what is apparently a real XBone running the real dashboard in real-time.  And it is rather delightful, I should say.  While I applauded the use of the PS4's UI on-stage some time back for its simplicity while still showing off the nuances, there's something to be said still for a nice sit-down, "Here is how everything works" presentation when it's handled well, and this was nice and smooth with only a couple things I can really complain about.  That's..kind of the point, obviously, and it's probably not -completely- indicative of every situation, but it's still promising.

The first thing that needs to be said is, of course, how seamlessly the game goes back into play once you resume it from the Home menu no matter what you were doing previously.  I'm personally used to this already with my Vita since I frequently pull out of a game to access the internet browser or check a Youtube video for some help, but I understand that it is a new concept to some people and am still appreciative that it works as well as I've already seen it work.  Though, I do have to agree with Chance in wondering how the One will handle the whole "People play more than one game" thing, since Yusef could have been playing a different game entirely on his XBone, or even if he was playing Forza, he still has his own instance that obviously can't really be transferred over like that.  For having "everything of yours on any XBox One" (the pinned things, it seems) available, that one thing seems like it's the most -important- thing to have, but I don't think it's actually feasible.  Though, I suppose at least that's when the whole "You can download your (bought and downloaded) games to any XBone and use them so long as it's you actually using it" comes into play, so you still -can- get to your game, and I imagine your saves can automatically go to the cloud, so you'll be able to pull it from there.  It might take a bit, given file sizes and all, but still.

I would like to call special attention to the Skype demo.  Even though I'm not a fan of Skype at all, nor do I really care about its inclusion, I have to admit that I'm really, really impressed with what they showed off.  I never would have even thought that the Kinect could be 'smart' enough to actually zoom in and follow you if you were moving about and doing that was a real smart bit of forethought.  Even though you're mostly going to be using it when you're just sitting down and playing, there's something to be said for if you have it set up in an area where there's a lot of visibility and things you can do.  Maybe you're cleaning house and talking to someone else, or something along those lines, since, hey, it's totally possible with that set-up.  I dare not think of some ways that it will -actually- get used, but the -intended- usage is neat and actually uses the Kinect to its capabilities instead of just making it kind of like a webcam for that as I might have expected.

Really though, I'm not quite sure what to think about with the whole Game DVR.  As someone who watches a lot of Let's Plays of games and the like, I clearly understand the appeal of simply watching a video game being played, and with reactions (though not necessarily facecams) but that's not really what this is for.  So the next usage would seem to be little tip videos, showing you how to do something specific or what have you, but that seems to be a little limited as it's hard to tell just how long you can make these Game DVR videos.  I understand not being able to do 'walkthrough/Let's Play' length videos for multiple reasons up to and including HDD space concerns, copyright concerns with the companies that aren't cool with those types of things and that sort of thing, but if you can only do 30-second clips (I'm sure you can do longer, it's just a matter of how, and how much longer) then...what's the point?  To be fair, this is all shared concerns for the whole Share aspect of the PS4 as well.

I do find it a bit concerning that there was not even a single instance of them attempting to use the whole Two-App thing with the Snap interface, since that's something they've been touting for a while.  The worrying idea is that perhaps it's not working up to snuff and thus wasn't shown off because it would have looked bad, but we are officially past the "Well, it kind of looks bad" phase in terms of end-game functionality.  Because we are -at- the end-game here.  The console will be released in two weeks (if you don't get it early as someone has who is in the process of being banned from Youtube, Twitter and possibly Live as we speak) and the Day One patch is already live - it's where it's going to be at launch.  Maybe that function simply won't be available - I haven't really paid attention to news about it - and in that case it can be patched in later on when it's in a working state, but still.  It's a really weird omission for an otherwise stellar little presentation.  They officially have my attention in some capacity for now.

I made it the whole post, that is kind of amazing

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