The Xbox One doesn't quite have 99 problems, but the ones it does seem to are quite annoying. As of right now, Microsoft is seemingly playing the middle of the line, but the stuff they are sending out is ... interesting.
Yes, it has been confirmed that the Xbox One is not going to be "always on." However, before you celebrate the fact that you can play without the internet, Microsoft is not going to let you play offline forever because the One needs to connect to the Internet every 24 hours. After dropping this shell on their fans, Microsoft has seemingly backtracked and now states that this requirement is just one of many "potential scenarios." Note: that is not a flat-out denial. But, whatever it is, I'm guessing we'll just have to ... deal with it.
Since the banning of used games was one of the largest concerns for gamers this generation, you would think Microsoft would have given us something here, no? Well, according to Microsoft's Major Nelson, "We have only confirmed that we designed Xbox One to enable our customers to trade in and resell games at retail. Beyond that, we have not confirmed any specific scenarios." So we are allowed to trade in and resell, but will we actually be able to play that used game without paying another fee? The post also confirms, "should you choose to play your game at your friend's house, there is no fee to play that game while you are signed in to your profile." So, does that imply a fee when someone isn't logged into their profile? And what does that say about a game that was officially linked to another profile? These are all questions that Microsoft needs to answer but, unfortunately ambiguity seems to be the company policy at this launch.
Yes, Kinect is sounding infinitely creepy. Despite being ridiculously well-made and capable of even picking up your wrist movements, this news of the scanner's brilliance also comes with the news that Microsoft has registered for a patent that would allow Kinect to look up the number of people in the room and restrict content based on whether it verifies their right to the product. So, potentially, if there are unregistered game users or unverified Netflix viewers, the console would not play content. And, as has been the case with this entire launch, Microsoft simply gives us an ambiguous response, stating, "Microsoft regularly applies for and receives patents as part of its business practice; not all patents applied for or received will be incorporated into a Microsoft product."
Under the hood, there have been some interesting observations. The Xbox One and the Playstation 4 both seem to have the same CPU cores/threads and frequencies but Sony's machine seems to have a lot more memory bandwidth and GPU Cores. Of course, the Playstation 3 was supposed to be much stronger than the 360, but it never quite displayed this apparent strength. So if there is some sort of graphical gap, it will be up to developers to show it. And, in other news, the Wii U is the first Nintendo console to have 1080P graphics; so cute.
So, as of right now, this seems to be less of a launch and more questions that Microsoft still hasn't answered. And, considering the fact that the holiday season is inching closer and fans' "pre-order" fingers are itching, both sides need to come forward with some much needed clarity.
And Nintendo ... well, they need to pray that Masahiro Sakurai's arm gets fixed.