Sunday, November 17, 2013

So That's What Snap Looks Like

Last week when I took a look at the UI video for the XBone, I was explicitly impressed by it, but mentioned a lament for the lack of the Snap feature that has been touted so highly.  I took it as a worrisome sign that it was not show-cased and it seems as if I were a bit premature with that.  (No jokes, please)  Of course, I didn't quite expect them to release a nearly two-minute trailer exclusively for that feature since...well, the UI video was meant to be comprehensive.  It was, too, aside from the whole "they completely left Snap out of it" thing.  Unfortunately, while the UI video was comprehensive and informative, I cannot say exactly the same thing for the Snap video as you've already no doubt learned.

It's...functional as a video showing off a feature, but it's nowhere near as good as the previous one.  It doesn't go in-depth, it doesn't -really- demonstrate the feature, but it shows that it's a thing that is possible and that happens, so I guess that's good enough in their eyes.  Or...perhaps as I feared, it's not exactly working all that great just yet, so the exposure was minimal.  Maybe not, maybe I'm just being cynical and/or pessimistic, but these are the types of things you're trying to stamp out with demonstrations, not further fueling them.  Still, that has been Microsoft's MO lately.

I'm more or less tepid to Snap as a result for now.  Some of the uses seem superfluous at best (The TV Snap is pretty much -only- good for Sports channels, since what else can you enjoy with a tiny screen and no volume?) whereas some are absolute game-changers in theory.  The internet explorer bit is something that a lot of people scoffed at because "Hurr, hurr, I look up that stuff on my computer/laptop/tablet/phone" and -yes- you can, but it's simply more convenient to bring it up on the same exact screen like that.  However, I'm worried about the versatility of it - the screen real-estate allotted is minimal, meaning the websites will be squished and I'm not sure how you would navigate text-heavy sites like GameFAQs and the like.  If the XBone pauses your game every time you Snap something, does it pause when you want to interact with it too?  Or can you do -something- to scroll the screen up a bit without breaking your game flow?  I personally doubt it, and I assume that would get ridiculously annoying eventually, but perhaps it won't actually be so bad.  This is, of course, something they could have shown off, but failed to do.

I would have liked some more examples of things you can do with Snap.  Can you, for instance, snap Skype on and do a video call with a friend or family member while playing Forza?  Can you snap on the Marketplace and buy a game to start downloading while you're running through Ryse?  Are you able to snap on any of the video services and switch audio to them, like Youtube?  That would be helpful for advanced tutorial needs, but that's one that I highly doubt, personally.  Still, any and all of this were things that they could have taken time to actually explore and explain, or even just touch on a little more than it was done, but none of them were, and I highly doubt a follow-up "Here's a second video about Snap because oops", so I suppose this time I -can- be disappointed and/or wary about the feature and its completeness.  I suppose we'll all know for sure next Friday, however!  With any luck, if all the annoying things are true, they can be addressed.

oh sure, let me just pause the game five times in a single minute so I can scroll up this site on the side so I can read the full paragraph, ob boy

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