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Entries in XBOX One (8)


XBOX One Party Chat System Illustrated Via Text Messages

The XBOX One party system (which was the jewel of the XBOX 360) is seriously broken. It works - kind of. But in order to get it working with a game like Battlefield 4 not only do you have to jump through hoops, but you have to discover first where the hoops are and then how to jump through them.

The first time my friends tried to start a party and then play Battlefield 4 together this happened. Below is a transcript of our furious text messaging back and forth trying to get it to work.

DM: Can't join or hop into any of your chat/ game

BK: Why aren't u guys joining a party?

DM: I can't. You're offline

BK: WTF? It says I'm online

VF: Battlelog says DM and JS are online only.

BK: My Xbox says I'm appearing online. DM is in my party but can't hear. Party chat on?

DM: I just accepted!

BK: Can u hear me at least? Cuz I can't hear u. Party chat turned on?

VF: Xbox also says you're offline.


BK: WTF?!?! My Xbox says I'm online. Just checked my NAT setting. It's set to open

VF: To you you are. What about privacy settings?

BK: I don't see anything in privacy setting regarding online status

DM: I haven't changed anything since we played VF. Hoping out. Will send invites all around

BK: Can u check ur NAT settings?

DM: How do you do that in this travesty

BK: Says we can't turn on party chat... This is stupid

DM: Nat open. I can see when I'm talking but what happened to you happened to me last game.

BK: Now that I left the party, I can turn on party chat...

JS: J can you hear me? Can you accept my invite?

JS: Can't hear you. Didn't see invite.

DM: You joined!

BK: Can u invite me?

JS: Oh. I joined party. Not game.

DM: Turn on chat though. Just invited BK

BK: Haven't gotten invite...

DM: oh my god this is fucking dumb

BK: In your party but won't let me turn on party chat

DM: Is your chat turned on or same problem? WTF is that? Same happened to me when I joined you! Try now

BK: No dice...

VF: I bet if Battlefield is running in the background there is a problem. Quit

BF and maybe that will work? (Suggestions from the peanut gallery...)

BK: Are u n JS able to chat?

DM: No. How do you quit it though? Dumb question but it's always lingering in the back

BK: Highlight the box, hit the start key (looks like three lines)

VF: Select it in Xbox home and hit the hamburger button.

BK: Scroll down menu and select quit

DM: [Picture above]. 2 fucking BF shortcuts. Genius

BK: DM and I are able to talk

DM: J quit BF if you can. Join the chat then we'll

JS: I had kid issues.

DM: All head in

JS: How do I turn the game off?!!!

BK: Remove disc, or check above messages

DM: Highlight it's window in the home screen then the old start button. Turn party chat on

JS: Just turning off the console. This could not be less intuitive.


Microsoft Reverses DRM Policy, Keeps Extra $100

In the biggest instance of corporate "Oops! My bad!" I've seen in a long time, Microsoft has now completely changed their tune with the XBOX One. Don Mattrick, they guy who last week essentially said if you don't like what we're doing go pound sand, is now saying,

"I would like to take the opportunity today to thank you for your assistance in helping us to reshape the future of Xbox One."

If you haven't heard already, it boils down to this. No more 24 hour internet check-in. You can play any game offline for as long as you want. You can give a disc to a friend or sell it just like with current consoles. And disc-based games will require the disc to be in the tray of the machine. You'll also be able to purchase games via download instead of disc, but you won't be able to share those games at all (unlike the previous "10 family member" scheme they had proposed).

Lots of people on the Internet are taking victory laps now (just read the comment section of any news article on the subject) but I'm more interested in the specifics of what made Microsoft change. I expect it had more to do with the developers who backed the XBOX One freaking out than even weak pre-sales. (Check out this article in the Guardian, "Xbox One reversal: did Microsoft make the right decision?".)

With dropping all of the DRM restrictions, I think this has changed enough minds so that the Xbox One will be a competitive gaming platform into the next ten years. The reversal shows that Microsoft is listening to its community, even if (cynically) it's really because they were listening to the developers who were listening to the community.

PS4 still has momentum post-E3 and I'm ever concerned about how the extra $100 cost over the PS4 will affect sales. But Microsoft doesn't seem to be worried about the money and they're the ones with the most skin in the game. Personally I've gotten well over $500 of enjoyment from my Xbox 360, so in November it looks like I'll be going with the Xbox One.


The Guardian Nails Why XBOX One Is In Trouble

I have been railing against what Microsoft is doing with the new XBOX One because I care. I'm an XBOX fan and up until now it has never really let me down. I am, as Keith Stuart says in his great piece in The Guardian, a "veteran Xbox fan," a "super engaged gamer" and one of the "super-engaged "geeks" who buy in early to new technologies and share them with family members."

And that's why I'm so unhappy with all of this.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the article:

'"Microsoft has a corporate desire to own the living room, first identified in the mid-90s: it is not addressing consumers' needs but Microsoft's desires," says analyst and author Nicholas Lovell. '


"It's the super-engaged "geeks" who buy in early to new technologies and share them with family members – it is difficult to bypass these self-appointed brand advocates to reach the mass market."

and the one I've been thinking the most about:

"Every one has a primary screen – a tablet or a smartphone – which is personal to them, but each household also has a single shared screen – the TV."

The second screen is the TV, and the first is your phone or tablet - not the other way around. I don't need a hub, I need a way to share stuff to my second screen from the hub already in my pocket - my phone. Could the idea of a media "hub" be as outdated as centralized computing on terminals was in the mid 1980s? In other words, not totally dead but well on it's way?

I think it may be. And I don't want to spend $500 betting that it's not.

Xbox One: Microsoft's shocking discovery that gamers aren't data [by Keith Stuart,]


Video Game Experts "The New Yorker" Come to the Aid of XBOX One

According to The New Yorker the reason the Playstation 4 is getting so much better press than the XBOX One is because whiny kids who play video games just don't understand that their whole world is about to be rocked by new way to watch TV. You can Skype while watching TV or playing a game! It's a whole new interface! You can turn it on by talking to it! It's going to be awesome in four years!

Even if this is true and even if one concedes that the future of game consoles isn't just gaming (which seems to me to be a trope that we've heard for a long, long time now), I contend that the future of gaming consoles at least has to START with video games and video gamers. And at $500 there is no way it will.

We've always been told that the way Microsoft was going to revolutionize the living room with the XBOX was to get it in living rooms as a video game system first, and THEN take over the TV. But instead they added all the new TV functionality and increased the price by $100. Getting a video gamer to spend $500 on a console is not impossible. But getting them to spend $500 when a more video game-centric console exists for $100 less might be the end of the XBOX.

All of the non-gaming stuff the XBOX One has been showing off is something I'd love to have in my Apple TV (except maybe the "always on" camera which I still think is just creepy). But the Apple TV is just $99. No one is going to spend $500 for a jacked-up Apple TV. And most gamers aren't going to spend an extra $100 to have a harder time playing video games.

The XBOX One won't "be the box you’ll want connected to your TV four years from now" if they don't sell enough of them this year.

(I'd also like to add that author Matt Buchanan calling the DRM scheme of XBOX One "groundbreaking" is just silly. Doesn't anyone remember DIVX?)

The Future of Game Consoles Isn't Just About Games [The New Yorker, posted by Matt Buchanan]


XBOX One Too Costly? Don't Take My Word For It.

Yesterday I very much voiced my displeasure at the extra $100 the XBOX One will cost, especially when you take into account all of the extra "features" Microsoft has piled on.

But I'm not the only one. Check out these headlines: