Xbox One has caught a lot of flak since its reveal this past May. Warranted or unmerited, Microsoft has been unable to catch a break, and this moment in time seems to be a low valley amidst the mountaintop Microsoft has been standing atop throughout most of the Xbox 360's lifespan. Simply put, the excitement surrounding Xbox One seems to be lacking... majorly. Is Microsoft's next-gen console doomed? Should you be excited for a console that's been surrounded by mostly negative press? Well I'm glad you asked, because the answer is yes. Xbox One is a viable addition to our industry, which is why I've set out to highlight a few reasons you should be excited for Xbox One before it hits store shelves this November.
Yes, perhaps this is where Microsoft has seemed to falter with Xbox One thus far, yet it's also where they have the best opportunity to impress the masses.
Microsoft is ambitious with Xbox One. The future of this ever-changing industry is at the very heart of Xbox One. Whether it be cancelled always-online plans or current features such as instant switching, Microsoft's aspiration to deliver something truly "next-gen" is undeniably present.
This is something to be incredibly excited for because no longer is a console release about improved graphics and how many pixels or polygons it can fit on one screen. It's about what a machine can deliver that sets it apart from its predecessor. When I look at both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, I see a gaping difference in this idea. Microsoft has plans set in motion for instant switching, prompt voice commands, in-game social features and much more that's going to push us into the future.
Conceivably, you may not find these features that "futuristic," but I tell you that they are only the beginning. These precursors will likely set in motion a slew of features that will transform how we play games and view media, and there's no denying that Microsoft, Xbox One is at the forefront of this mindset.
THE PROMISE OF KINECT 2.0
Failure and Kinect were probably two words Microsoft didn't see fit together prior to 2010 when they were dreaming up what Kinect would do for gaming; but flash-forward to 2013, and it pains me to say that Microsoft's peripheral – their impressive, naïve tech – has succumbed below the depths of letdown.
So why should Kinect 2.0 be any reason to be excited for Xbox One? One word: promise.
No, I'm not talking about the promise that was shoved in our faces in 2010 with that discomforting Cirque du Soleil E3 presentation. I'm talking about promise supported by legitimate improvements, and that's exactly what Kinect 2.0 has done so far. Go ahead, type "Kinect 2.0 impressions" into Google's search bar and see what our colleagues in the industry are saying. Something is drastically different about this Kinect. Many are calling it the Kinect that Microsoft always intended it be.
Whatever it is, it's promising. Microsoft has significantly adjusted Kinect's field of view so that users with limited play space can finally join in on the fun. Kinect 2.0 has also undergone a user monitoring system overhaul, which now registers movement virtually instantly with little to no lag. And above all else, Kinct 2.0 is actually being directly integrated into Xbox One to add a dynamic across all levels of entertainment.
Of course none of these improvements mean better Kinect games, but it certainly allows developers to develop titles for a peripheral that's ready for what it aims to do. And above all else, we can hope that its overhauled features will jumpstart the minds of developers to make experiences for Kinect that evolve the games we play.
FIRST-PARTY AND INDIE SUPPORT
I'll hand it to Sony. They straight-up roasted Microsoft with arguably the greatest press conference in E3 history. However, under the hood, it actually underwhelmed because, really, nothing new on the games front was shown apart from a title or two. On the contrary, Microsoft's presser resulted in embarrassment with restrictions, price and horrid communication; but it also overwhelmed in terms of games. You see, Microsoft temporarily showed us that their plans to be an all-in-one entertainment console will not hinder their focus on games. Take a look it at it yourself: Titanfall, Ryse, Dead Rising 3, Forza 5... the list goes on and on (especially with over a dozen first-party games scheduled in the first year of the console itself).
Then there's the indie side of things. Microsoft has been notoriously known for being difficult to work with, and, until today, it looked like Xbox One was going to be the same; that is until Microsoft announced that indie game publishers will be able to self-publish on their console. Better yet, every Xbox One will give users the ability to create and publish games in due time. Does this mean that Microsoft will magically be the peachiest company to work for? Of course not. However, it shows that they're attempting to change their way of doing things for the betterment of the games and those who make them.
Microsoft cares about games. It's what Xbox One is at its core, and it's nice to see that a company so prominently known for their two first-party powerhouses, Halo and Gears of War, is venturing out to optimistically provide more excellent series for gamers to invest in for years to come on Xbox One.