Bit Slap: Without disapointment, we wouldn’t have any appointments


Every Thursday, Bit Slap brings you the latest in gaming news and bon mots.

On Tuesday, Microsoft unveiled the new Xbox. It’s called Xbox One. The name has the same cadence as Air Force One, something I’m sure is intentional. My point is I’m not going to stop making lazy “Get off my plane!” references for however long this next generation of consoles lasts.

The fact that the presentation didn’t focus on games struck me as severely out of touch. Or perhaps I am no longer the intended audience. The latter is probably true, the more that I think about it.

Instead, the unveiling focused on how the new Xbox will act as the nexus to your entertainment center.  I’m suspicious of anything that costs hundreds of dollars and promises to improve the way you already use existing services. I have too many apps in my life as is. We currently have what I call the Lifehacker Problem:  endless technology solutions to things that aren’t problems to begin with. The last thing I need is another device to act as intermediary between me and whatever I’m using my TV for.

The responses to the unveiling have been largely negative and with right reason. To recap, here’s a list of some of the most unpleasant “features:”

-Games are registered to your Xbox Live account. If you buy a used game or borrow one from a friend, it will not work on your console until you pay an activation fee.
-The console must connect with Microsoft’s servers once every 24 hours. The system otherwise becomes unusable.
-The system ships with a new version of the Kinect that must be plugged in to use the console.
-All the cable TV features—a huge part of the unveiling—only work in the US as of now.
-The Xbox One is not backwards compatible with 360 games.
-If the device hears you speak ill of it, the Xbox One sprays mace everywhere.

Admittedly, that last one isn’t true. In case bulleted lists aren’t your thing, the Internet has blessed us with this repurposed GIF from Se7en.

As far as I can tell, the unveiling was not directed at consumers. It was directed at developers and publishers, assuring them that developing content for the console will be a profitable endeavor.

Of course, this assumes consumers will buy the damn thing.

There are already some great tin-foil hat conspiracies about how the Kinect will always watch you and send video and audio back to Microsoft. Although that’s implausible given bandwidth restraints, I am assuming the console will collect data regarding consumer behavior.

Oh, and the new Kinect senses heartbeats. I hope down the line, some guy is upset that his new Xbox doesn’t recognize his real doll. Right now, that’s the only silver lining for me. We’ll see what E3 brings, I guess.