Sean discusses why he has made the difficult decision to pass on the Xbox One.
Disclaimer: This is my personal opinion about the Xbox One. The rest of the HeyUGuys Gaming team have differing opinions and this post is not representative of the stance of the HeyUGuys Gaming site in general.
I have come to a conclusion. After much deliberation and a few arguments with myself, I have decided that I will not be purchasing an Xbox One, at least for the next 2 years. For a budding games journalist, this is a hard thing to admit. Not owning one of the next-gen machines means having one less set of exclusive games to write about and review, limiting what I can do in the future. I am not writing this to add to the already tedious rhetoric that Microsoft is having to endure around the Xbox One, but to try to explain why I intend on voting with my wallet and keeping it closed to the Xbox One.
My relationship with Microsoft has been a rocky one, full of peaks and troughs. I enjoyed countless hours with the original Xbox, playing 4 player split-screen on Halo with my friends. I managed to pick the console up for a measly £30 from a friend and it served as my main games console until a week before the release of the Xbox 360 when it decided to malfunction and pack in completely. The timing was right though as I had a 360 on pre-order. I was there at midnight outside the Gamestation in Stoke-on-Trent, 3rd in the line to receive the then next-gen console. I rushed home, unpacked it, plugged it in and played it for 8 hours straight, a huge smile on my face the whole time. A month later – disaster. My hard drive decided to blow. The kind folks at Gamestation swapped the whole console with no qualms and sent me on my way. Another month later – another disaster. This was before the phrase “red ring of death” had been coined and the staff at Gamestation were unsure of what to do. They advised I send off the console to Microsoft to get if fixed. 8 weeks and the courier fees later, I had my “fixed” Xbox 360 returned to me. Another month later… I think you get the picture. In total, I was unfortunate enough to have had 6 Xbox 360′s RROD on me over a 12 month period. In that time, I also had to return 4 disks to the stores because the console had scratched them. I had treated the consoles with the utmost care. I had purchased addition fans, stands and cleaning cloths to try to extend the console lifespan but none had managed to fulfill their purpose. I was baffled.
I was devastated and at the time, the gaming media was reporting that Microsoft had known about the 360′s failure rate before launch. Feeling betrayed and angry, I took my latest wounded console into CEX, dropped it on the desk and asked them to swap it for a PS3.
These experiences – spending hours on the phone with Microsoft’s technical support, waiting weeks for my console to be returned to me 5 times, losing my library of game saves multiple times – left me jaded and cautious about buying any further Microsoft products in the future.
When the Xbox 720/Infinity/One was rumoured, I decided to give Microsoft a second chance. I had had some great gaming experiences with their products in the past that were marred by technical issues and was willing to listen to what they intended on doing for the next-generation with an open mind. Unfortunately, they totally missed the mark with me.
The original unveiling event felt like a train wreck to me and Microsoft lost all control of their message. Rumours spiraled out of control and as I read the daily “hot stories” in the gaming media, I prayed that Microsoft would just take their fate in their own hands and give a clear message about their DRM, used game and internet connection requirements for the Xbox One. Eventually Microsoft did just that, but instead of publicizing the positives that could be wrought by their plans, they fluffed the message and again, it came across as a totally negative aspect because they were too cocky. Even when they back tracked, it felt like Microsoft were doing us all a favor instead of aligning their product with what the public actually wanted. Once again, I felt angry and let down by Microsoft.
Of the release titles, only Quantum Break and the indie title “Below” interest me as the rest of the games feel far too generic and safe. This brings me onto my next point…
My gaming habits have changed drastically over the last few years and I now play more indie titles than AAA games. Microsoft’s current stance of not allowing indie developers to self publish will be restricting the indie titles available on the platform. The amount of indie developers that have been speaking out against the Xbox One’s indie stance is growing by the day. Microsoft need to address this issue and quickly before the negative press begins to mount up. Personally, if this stance remains the same, their will be no chance of me buying an Xbox One for the foreseeable future – potentially, never. I am now willing to miss out on a the original and innovative games that come from the indie scene and the only blocker to these titles being on the Xbox One is Microsofts dravonian requirements for a publisher.
Lastly, the rumors of the Xbox One being underclocked because of heating issues have been rife over the last few months. Obviously, this could be nothing but rumour, but where the Xbox One is concerned, there is no smoke without fire so far. My previous experiences with Microsoft consoles mean I will be standing back and voting with my wallet, avoiding the Xbox One for at least 2 years until failure rates have been identified and, hopefully, they are not as severe as the estimated 50% failures of the 360′s.
I know what not buying an Xbox One means for my future as a games writer. I know I will be limiting myself to what I can write about but I feel like I need to obstain from the Xbox One. I don’t want to go through the heart ache of having to return numerous consoles to Microsoft like I had to with my collection of faulty 360′s. Their indie gaming stance needs to change or they are going to miss out on some of the more innovative games out there. Microsoft also need to change their attitude towards gamers. I have expended enough regret, anger and frustration on Microsoft to last a lifetime and they need to make it easier for people to like them because I don’t think I am alone in these feelings. If they continue down this avenue of over-confidence, they may find themselves in 3rd place in 8 years time.