blog Look, I don’t know what y’all were expecting at this point. But if you’ve been reading Delimiter for a while, you may be aware that global technology giants do not always launch the same products in Australia that they launch internationally, they don’t always launch them at the same time, and they almost never launch them at the same price point. That’s why we’re not entirely surprised to find that some of the key features hyped this week as part of Microsoft’s Xbox One reveal won’t be available in Australia, at least initially. Kotaku tells us in several articles (click here for the first one, and here for the second; both are worth reading, if only to find out what Australians don’t know at this point):
“Today we revealed that Live TV, arguably the major focus of Microsoft’s reveal, will not be available outside of the US at launch … Similarly it was difficult to pin [Microsoft Australia marketing manager Adam Pollington] down on a price or a release date.”
Personally, the lack of detail regarding the launch of the Xbox One in Australia isn’t really an issue for me, as I’m not yet interested in the console in general. I already own an Xbox 360 (which I barely play these days) as well as a PlayStation 3 (which I play all the time), as well as a high-end gaming PC. If I was to say what would incentivise me to buy an Xbox One, it wouldn’t be the availability of TV on the device. After all, great PVR TV functionality is already available through FetchTV’s excellent new box. What would incentive me to buy an Xbox One is great new games available for the console. And so far Microsoft has shown crap all in that arena that I’m interested in; consequently, this week’s announcement was all a bit meh.
Yeah, there’s Call of Duty: Ghosts. But you know what? I’ve already played five or six Call of Duty games at this point. I’m tired of the format, and I don’t consider it my patriotic duty to chip in $89.95 each Christmas for the new version of this incredibly cynical capitalistic marketing machine.
If you want to know how I feel about the Xbox One in general, I would recommend you read this excellent rant by Digitally Downloaded’s Matt Sainsbury, who has summed up the feelings of many gamers on the issue. A few sample paragraphs:
“Microsoft’s logic behind the Xbox One is clear – the company wants to be the “go to” technology for the living room. When the one box sitting under the TV does everything, Microsoft is hoping that people will be more engaged with the device, and in turn spend money on games and other content by default by it first.
But here’s the thing – Microsoft has by doing this given the proverbial finger to its game community, and it seems to have misunderstood what gamers actually want in a console (or why gamers would get up at 3am to watch a console unveiling) Gaming is not the focus of this device. Microsoft spent so much talking about NFL (who thought that was a good idea for a global console unveil, Microsoft?), and TV, that game footage was regulated right to the periphery.”
What games do I want to see on the Xbox One? Well, given that I’m mainly a PlayStation gamer these days, what I really want to see from Microsoft is platform exclusives for big-budget games. The only problem is that if you scroll through the list of Xbox 360 exclusives over the years, the top titles have mainly boiled down to franchises such as Gears of War, Halo and Fable; all of which are basically tapped out at this point. Sure, there’ll be new Gears of War and Halo games for the Xbox One, but personally I’m not going to buy them — all of the emotion and gameplay for those series has been so well explored that there’s not really a point going there again.
Given that I couldn’t care less about sports games, what this leaves me with from the Xbox 360 is the possibility of arcade-style downloadable games, of which I already have plenty on my iPad and Android devices (to say nothing of my PC), as well as the TV functionality, which I won’t use, and the Kinect functionality, which, as a hardcore gamer, I flat-out hate. And to boot, the Xbox One won’t even play games from my existing Xbox library. That’s right: No backwards compatibility.
None of this is to say that Microsoft doesn’t have a huge amount of development work planned for the Xbox One, as well as a number of exclusives. Looking back upon most console launches, there is always a dearth of content initially. But what it does say is that I think it likely that much of Australia’s gaming community will be holding off on buying the console for a while until Microsoft makes the platform more attractive. Because right now, it just doesn’t have a huge amount going for it — and the situation is especially worse for Australians. Hell, we can’t even play Netflix through our existing Xbox’s, which has been core functionality in the US for years now.
Image credit: Microsoft