May 23, 2013, 6:00 AM —
I wrote yesterday's post on Microsoft's Xbox One announcement early in the evening, and then had to keep tweaking and re-writing it as the night wore on and we kept getting conflicting/updated data through various avenues.
Now it's 24 hours later and I wish I could tell you I could clear up all the confusion around the Xbox One, but that's not the case. For whatever reason it seems like even Microsoft doesn't know the answers to our questions, or at least various reps don't know what they're allowed to tell us.
So let's recap some of the fuzzy areas.
Does the Xbox One require an internet connection? Yes. It doesn't need to be constantly connected, but it does need to be connected sometimes. What "sometimes" means is still up in the air. In a chat on Yahoo handled via Cover It Live, Xbox's Larry Hryb said, in response to the question of a net connection. "No. It does not have to be always connected but it does require an internet connection." (Emphasis his.)
Used games: Microsoft's official statement is that customers will be able to trade-in and resell games at retail. Beyond that, they're being very cagey, with some referring to a system that is 'different.' What that means we just don't know, but given the fact that every game gets installed to the hard drive and then no longer requires the disk, it can't be as simple as taking a game in to Gamestop.
Kinect: Game developers are not required to use Kinect, but the Kinect does have to be connected to the Xbox One in order to work. There will be 'modes' designed to ensure privacy. Personally I'm waiting for a 3rd party peripheral manufacturer to announce the Kinect Kover, a plastic housing with a sound-dampening liner to help paranoid owners feel more secure. If you take this idea and run with it, remember me when you're a billionaire.
Check out Ben Kuchera's post about Kinect over at Penny Arcade Report. Ben details the various ways he tried to get a straight answer about Kinect out of Microsoft's Kinect Program Manager Scott Evans.
Will Xbox One owners require an Xbox Live Gold subscription to access features like Netflix? Microsoft isn't saying yet (on the current Xbox 360 a Gold subscription is required for most of the extra features like Netflix). That question was posed to Jeff Henshaw, the group program manager for Xbox Incubation, by CNET's Josh Lowensohn. I wish Josh had asked about the various live TV features though I doubt he would've gotten a straight answer. The whole interview is worth a read, though.
A few more odds and ends. Your old games won't work, that much is definite, and Microsoft has no immediate plans to change that. Your old controllers won't work either, which isn't a huge surprise but now we know for sure. Your gaming score, however, will transition to Xbox One with you. Also your Xbox Live Gold account will work on both the 360 and the Xbox One, so no worries about having to purchase a new Xbox Live membership. The hard drive in the Xbox One is not replaceable, but you can add external storage via the USB 3.0 ports and anything you can do on the internal drive you can also do on the external drive. Extra storage will be important since all games install to the hard drive. However you can start playing while they're installing, so there'll be no more of this waiting around for 15 minutes while a game gets copied over.
Indie game developers apparently aren't feeling a lot of love from Microsoft right now, which contrasts pretty strongly with Sony and the Playstation 4. Shacknews reports that Indies won't be able to self-publish and so far I haven't found any Indie devs confessing their love for the Xbox One.
But, it's important to keep in mind that these are still early days and policies can and probably will be changed.
For all the gamers frustrated by the lack of games at the big reveal, Microsoft has said over and over that at E3 we will see games, games and more games.
I said this yesterday and I'll say it again today, I can't figure out why Microsoft isn't being more forthcoming with clear answers to these questions. By most accounts the reveal wasn't a rousing success, at least with the audience most interested in the Xbox One (core gamers).
Right now it feels like Sony is 'winning' the next gen console war, but the initial reveal of both the PS4 and the Xbox One are minor events in the grand scope of things. Let's see what happens when the E3 dust settles. And let's see what happens when we get specifics about pricing. It's still early days and what I'm actually hearing most of all out there is "I think I'll just hook up a PC to my television." That's not good news for Sony or Microsoft (or Nintendo for that matter).
I'll leave you with a 'recap' of the Xbox reveal that I thought was pretty funny. Some NSFW language in here so put on your headphones before you play it.
Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.