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Xbox One: Are We the Wrong Crowd?

 

 

I don't know if any of you are aware, but a little known piece of technology known as the Xbox One was unveiled on the 21st. Even before rumors were swirling around us like a hurricane of bad press about the system, its online requirements, its constant Kinectivity, and possible used game fees, we were all concerned about the name. 

We had heard bits of information for months now. In fact, we heard so many bits that they ceased to be bits anymore and instead became annoying hearsay. My local Gamestop, having written down release dates and important events for the remainder of the calendar year, handed me a slip of paper with the words "May 21st, 2013: Xbox Durango/Infinity/720/Fusion/Revolution/1080/WHATEVER Announcement."

A tad excessive? I don't think so. All this store had done was highlighted the ridiculousness of our own obsessions and curiosities with the simple naming of a system. But then we didn't get any of those names. What we got was Xbox One: a name I had found rather ridiculous since in retrospect many of us might refer to the OG Xbox as the Xbox 1 and that this was the third console in Microsoft's line. Xbox Three might have been more apt, I thought. Even 720, while ridiculous, would have made more sense in the sequence of Xbox naming.

But then I watched the event and realized One meant All-in-one. As in "this device is everything you ever needed for your living room." TV control, partnerships with various cable networks, and more, this device is what will bring together everything in your technological repertoire in one easy piece of hardware.

But the gamers that are us cried foul. Where were the games? Where was even the slightest bit of emphasis on games or the gaming experience? But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if the Xbox One, the all-in-one entertainment system/experience was even marketed toward us anymore. Or has the brand of Xbox become a shifted piece of marketing? I don't even wonder if this system was trying to appeal to the casual gamer, because I can barely see any sign of "gamer" within the unveiling. 

This system seems geared toward the technological fathers in the world, those who want their 70 inch flat screens mounted on the wall with the newest Samsung sound bar underneath attached wirelessly to the greatest subwoofer you've ever heard. The people who watch ESPN and think "Man, I wish I didn't have to reach for that remote." But here's what Microsoft didn't realize: those people aren't us.

I mean, they might be to an extent. But the people who bought an Xbox 360 bought one for the gaming aspect. Buying the Xbox One for voice commanded television would have been like buying a steeply priced PS3 ($600) for the Blu-Ray capacity in 2006. People who buy these systems, especially on day one, are gamers, plain and simple. Not people just looking for the next best technological advances. This is where Microsoft erred.

Don't get me wrong. We have a lot of time for Microsoft to unveil the gaming cogs of the system, release game trailers, and paint the town with Halo 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. But when they do, they better be ready to answer to the crowd that actually buys their product. Us.

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