Armagideon Time

I never anticipated that the Xbox 360 would become my cornerstone gaming platform.

Up until the spring of 2008, patient I was more than content to sit out the next-gen console follies by working my way through the flood of cheap PS2 offerings I’d picked up used on the secondary market. Any desires to move up to Playstation 3 were dampened by the system’s ludicrously high price point and complex formulas for backwards compatibility (some PS2 on one model, all PS2 on another, none on this other one).

It wasn’t until the perfidious Ken Lowery began waxing lyrical about Mass Effect (then a 360 exclusive) that I felt the itch to upgrade to Microsoft’s shiny, not-quite-new game system. The prospect of upcoming Grand Theft Auto and Fallout games sealed the deal.

The 360 turned out to be one one of my favorite gaming consoles of all time, and even sold me on the joys of online multiplayer within a little community which grew as more pals were convinced to join in and be part of our weekly GTA IV/Burnout Paradise/Red Dead Redemption/Left 4 Dead hijinx.

When it came to deciding on a next-gen successor the the 360, the choice seemed a fairly obvious one…until the specifics of the “Xbox One” were unveiled to a bewildered public.

No backwards compatibility, even for digital XBLA offerings. Weird — and highly troubling — connectivity/security requirements. The repeated, tone-deaf emphasis on the notion that the Xbox One is actively monitoring the end user.

The Xbox One is push marketing in a console form, a corporation’s (be it Microsoft or third-party content providers) wet dream of troubled (hands up, who gives a flying fuck about Smartglass?) and troubling technologies tacked onto the coat tails of a previous success.

No end user, ever or anywhere, has thought “You know what would be neat? A game console that narcs on me for having twenty people over during a pay-per-view event! Or one that ensures higher prices by locking out the used game market while making loaning games a three-ring hassle!”

It’s as if Microsoft took every game journalist’s paranoid predictions about the future of videogaming and turned them into a design document. Every console I’ve owned has had features I wasn’t crazy about, but this is the first time I’ve been actively repulsed by the product being offered.

I guess I’ll just stick with the current gen consoles for now, maybe configure the laptop I keep planning to get towards gaming, and pick up a PS4 once some “must have” release drops down the road.

Or I suppose I could scale back my involvement in the hobby and invest that time into more creatively fulfilling pursuAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Had you going there for a second, didn’t I?

Related posts:

  1. The Long Game: That and two bits
  2. The Long Game: Coming soon to a landfill near you
  3. The Long Game: Sandbox syndrome

3 Responses to “The Long Game: Failing upgrade”

  1. Zeno

    Well said. I, too, was also put off of Sony – permanently in my case – over their BC debacle. And between a middle-aged state of mind best described as “Wii ennui” and the sheer audacity of Microsoft’s spy tool-cum-glorified DVR I have pretty much decided that the 360 (a fine machine by all other counts) was my last new console.

  2. CalvinPitt

    I wasn’t likely to buy a new console any time soon (it hasn’t even been a year since I bought my 360), but with all I’ve heard about the XBox One, I can’t imagine ever buying one. It’s impressive, in a sad way, that they managed to produce a console where every single thing about it sounds off-putting. The first thing I did when I got my 360 was start buying cheap used games two or three at a time, and now that’s a possible no go? I don’t even want a Kinect, and they’re making it a mandatory thing you can’t shut off (could you just cover it with duct tape?) It’s a complete mess.

  3. Snark Shark

    “The first thing I did when I got my 360 was start buying cheap used games two or three at a time”

    hell yeah! I got a bunch of good games for 5 or 10 bucks each!

    and spend most of my time playing the free downloadable SKYRIM that came with the 360! :D

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