Thursday, April 24, 2014

Does the Xbox One Suck?

According to writer Sascha Segan, it does. In a brief and relatively whiny article, Segan argued that the Xbox One is terrible because it lacks plug-and-play capability, which, according to him, is what defines the console experience. 

That may be true, but his evidence was shoddy at best. Instead of doing some actual research (something like testing out how much time it took from start-up to actual gameplay for multiple Xbox titles), he provided readers with an anecdote about a game he wanted to play with his child. In his story, his kid was forced to play a game on a cell phone because the Xbox One title took too long to update itself. For this singular reason, Segan blasted Microsoft's console.

Segan proclaimed that this was indicative of the decline of consoles, as he believes that console games should start and go with little to no hassle. Well, you won't hear me argue with that. However, I would contend that the lack of "plug-and-play" on the Xbox One doesn't automatically mean that it "sucks," which is a vast overstatement to say the least.

He also implied that console gaming is becoming as complicated as PC gaming, which is a joke. All because you had to download a simple update? Sure, it's an inconvenience, but it doesn't give you a warrant to severely discredit the console, especially one that isn't really all that bad.  PCs are still far more of a complicated platform anyways, mainly because you have to deal with Windows and installation and hardware upgrades and compatibility issues.

As far as I can tell, we've been downloading updates for console games for years now. Correct me if I am wrong, but these types of updates really aren't any more of an issue than they were near the tail end of the 360/PS3 era. Console gamers still have the luxury of popping in a disc and not needing to go through any intermediaries (like booting up a PC, or opening Steam/Origin/Uplay, etc), and of not having to fiddle with visual settings or controls (for the most part).

Besides, it seems that Segan's main complaint was in regard to the game that was being updated, not the Xbox One itself. He should blame the developers of Zoo Tycoon and their inability to release a bug-free game, or his internet provider (he stated that his update froze and restarted several times -- I've had this happen to me on the 360 and usually it's a problem on the user's end). 

Segan concluded by saying that his horrifying experience with Zoo Tycoon is evidence of the impending doom facing the console industry. He is right in the sense that consoles will probably lose market share in the future, especially with the rise of Steam, PCs, and mobile gaming. That is a given. I don't think, however, that this decline will be quite as severe as is implied by the reactionary and short-sighted arguments presented in this article...

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