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I guess I just like liking things

So Microsoft showed off their new console on Tuesday and everybody’s ticked about it, apparently. I was able to have the reveal on at work while I was doing other stuff and I didn’t think it was horrible, but I also feel like maybe there wasn’t enough info for me to make a judgment call just yet. See, the biggest gripers are saying “They talked about TV the whole time!” like it’s a surprise that Microsoft wants the Xbox to be your one stop shop for all your entertainment needs. I guess they haven’t been paying attention the last couple of years? It’s not like Sony doesn’t want this with the PlayStation, too.  How many different video and TV apps are there for both current systems?  Without counting I’d have to guess somewhere in the neighborhood of 4.2 grillion.

Art by Brandon J. Carr

Art by Brandon J. Carr

This goes back to a very common response I have to a lot of things: no one’s forcing you to use the things you don’t like. Will it act like a TiVo and a set-top cable box? Sure. Do you need to use it that way? Nope. You can just play games on it if you want, I’m pretty sure. Seriously, why is this a thing people still get angry about?

For my own self, I actually kind of like all the other stuff my gaming consoles can do. If you were to compare hours spent gaming to hours spent using Netflix on the consoles I own, you’d see a pretty drastic gap in the favor of Netflix, and the biggest reason is my wife doesn’t game, but she does watch Netflix now and again. And when we finished the first two seasons of The Walking Dead on Netflix and she wanted to watch the third season even though we don’t get AMC, all we had to do was download episodes via Xbox Video, a thing that is so easily gotten used to that we forget just how amazing it is.  Could I set up a Roku or a media PC and have it display on the TV? Sure, but condensing is a big part of simplifying.

Now, granted, there are still some things about the Xbox One I’d like to know. Yes, it looks neat and the fast switching between functions is long overdue and yay, Blu-Ray, but no one knows how the used games question will be answered yet. There’s talk of having to pay a fee if you want to play a used game, which is really just a fancy/stupid way of saying “You’ll need to buy your own copy.”  This, really, would be the thing that keeps me from buying an Xbox One. In a big year, I might buy four brand new games. In that same year, I might buy 20 used games and the reason is price. I can’t afford to buy 24 new games at $60 apiece. It just will not happen. So while I understand that the used game market doesn’t make game companies immediate money, I think they’re forgetting about the “building an audience” aspect. Example: I borrowed Mass Effect from a friend of mine. I’d heard about it but never played it, and it was five years old. I didn’t love it, but it was okay, so I borrowed Mass Effect 2 from. That one I loved. So when Mass Effect 3 came out, I straight up bought it the week it came out. If I hadn’t been able to borrow the first game, I most likely would never have gotten to the point of buying the third one. Added bonus: from here on out, Mass Effect will always be on my radar. If a new one comes out, I’m pretty likely to buy it.  So let’s say there are eventually three more, that’ll be $240 I spend on the series (and the $20 I spent on buying the first two from my buddy). If I hadn’t borrowed the first two, my total payment to Bioware would have been $0. I’m no accountant, but those numbers seem important.

But, like I say, we just don’t know yet.  E3 is coming soon and speculation is that we’ll hear a lot more game-related stuff then. I want to buy the new Xbox, so it’s Microsoft’s play at this point. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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