Weekend Short-Takes: 9/6/13

The Xbox One Comes Out on November 22

 

Simon Wu:

The stage is set, the actors are ready, the curtains are about to come up. Microsoft neatly splits Sony’s decision by launching worldwide on one date. The PS4 will come out one week earlier in North America and a week later in Europe and Asia-Pacific. Just how crucial is that release date though? It all depends on how many people this time around are on the fence or new customers. One week will mean little to people whose minds are already set, but for someone getting excited about the next gen consoles, that one week delay may compound the extra $100 commanded by the One and swing their decision in favor of the PS4.

Alex Miller:

This is definitely a gamble by Microsoft. As Simon said they are splitting Sony’s releases, coming out later in the US but earlier in Europe. Given that the Xbox 360 has traditionally done better in the US than the Playstation 3 but trailed Sony’s console in European sales this could be a ploy to try and capture the European market. If the point I have made several times that many Xbox 360 owners may well be looking to just keep the UI they are used to holds true then this gamble could pay off for Microsoft. However, one way or another, I think the difference in when sales start will have a much smaller effect than the 11 and a half MONTHS between the launch of the Xbox 360 and PS3.

Fun Bonus Fact: The Xbox 360 was launched on November 22nd, 2005, meaning the Xbox One will share a birthday, launching exactly eight years later.

Max Gruber:

I find this date to be a little weird for Microsoft. Considering that it’s: A) launching a week after the PS4, and B) $100 more than its competitor is a bit odd. As Adam Sessler mentioned on the recent Address the Sess video, it’s bizarre that it’s launching after the PS4. If one device is out earlier than the other, with the first line of next-gen titles with the reduced price, the PS4 would take the early lead when it comes out. But, then again, it is releasing closer to Black Friday, so that might have been their intentions from the beginning?

whatsyourtagblog.com

Xbox One will support up to eight controllers (update: PS4 supports four)

 

Simon Wu:

I don’t think 100in. TVs have yet become standard... or ever will. So other than being a nifty thought experiment like Illumiroom, I don’t exactly understand how this is going to improve multiplayer experiences. Indeed, the only feasible possibility for something like this is in games where the screen is shared and doesn’t require each player to have a separate viewpoint. The only example that I can readily consider would be something like FIFA, and while I have heard suggestions of Trials, I don’t think anyone wants to be that 8th person on the barely visible track in the distance.

Max Gruber:

Haha! I see what you did there, Microsoft. Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, 8 controllers being usable on the Xbox One. But, in all practicality, I don’t see a way for me to play 8-player split screen Halo 5 on a 42” TV. Playing 4-player split screen gameplay is frustrating enough as it is, but with 8 players sharing a single TV at once? jesus_christ_how_horrifying.jpg

Alex Miller:

I’m actually intrigued by the concept Simon brought up in terms of 8 controllers used in sports games. With the partnerships with EA and especially EA sports I could see this as an exciting multiplayer feature and selling point, potentially explaining (at least in part) the recent upgrade Microsoft has given to both the CPU and GPU of the Xbox One. I know my friends and I play games like FIFA and Madden during halftime of sporting events, and with the Xbox One able to swap back and forth between watching TV and playing a game, maybe all your buds over to watch the game can play along too.

Xbox One will not support external storage at launch

 

Simon Wu:

This news makes sense: it was not until fairly recently that Microsoft backed down on the always-online stance. If the console was always online, then cloud storage would be the obvious reason external storage was not given much attention (if any). However, since the sudden reversal, it’s likely that the need has arisen, but caught the dev team by surprise. That being said, as it stands right now, the streamlining of downloading profiles to other consoles has mostly obviated my need for external storage.

Alex Miller:

As Simon says, this does not come as a shock to many given Microsoft’s history with external storage and its original plans for the Xbox One. However, I am encouraged by the way Major Nelson spoke about this, saying “My understanding is that feature will not be there at launch, because the team is working on some other things, but it definitely is on the list.” This makes me think it will be added sooner rather than later as they have already identified it as something people want. With a 500GB hard drive equating to roughly 50 games, most users should not be running close to capacity by the time the feature is added.

wpcentral.com

Xbox One Could Offer Backwards Compatibility Through The Cloud

 

Simon Wu:

I actually looked back on whether I would really want backwards compatibility in games moving forward. And I found that the answer was ‘not particularly.’ The release cycle of games is so fast these days that I would immediately be overwhelmed by new games. This is in sharp contrast to the previous generation when it took quite a bit of time to build up a solid library of games, because the launch titles were all such critically acclaimed blockbusters like Amped 3, Kameo, and King Kong: The Movie: The Game. I have much better hopes about Microsoft’s extensive initiative and spending to raise the profile of its launch titles for this cycle.

Alex Miller:

This is about the best fans of Xbox 360 games looking to play them on their Xbox One’s could hope for. Because of the hardware involved in the new console simply “patching in a fix” to suddenly allow backwards compatibility is impossible, so short of rebuying the games for the new console (something Microsoft is offering for a very attractive $9.99 if you trade in your Xbox 360 copy) being able to stream them through the cloud is the best option. However, as I doubt this is Microsoft’s top concern I wouldn’t expect to see this feature for a little while.

inthegame.nl

Sony Allegedly Working on PlayStation 4 VR Headset

 

Simon Wu:

Oh wait, something did happen in Sony land this week! They are trying to chase after the Oculus Rift. Because the Move chased so smashingly well after the Wiimote.
 

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