…because I just don’t have the will to be angry about video games anymore. The past couple of days have been downright disorienting with all the rage flying around about the Xbox One.
I saw the same presentation everyone else did (live and in person, even), but I feel like we watched totally different things. I saw an overly corporate (frequently robotic) stage performance by a company that badly misaimed its message, to be sure. I know Microsoft’s been buoyed by its success with Kinect, but man, you just can’t launch a new home game machine and totally snub the audience that actually cares about video games — even if the console pretty much simply uses games as an excuse to insinuate itself into the soft underbelly of our living rooms. A pretty boneheaded debut in a lot of ways, but ultimately guilty more of misjudging its audience than introducing an actual dud of a machine, so far as I could tell.
Evidently that puts me in the minority, though. The general response to Xbox One has ranged from “unenthusiastic” to “downright furious.” I can certainly see where a lot of the blowback comes from; for one thing, the way Xbox One handles used games is borderline offensive and flies in the face of 35 years of console gaming precedent. But man, I have never seen the Internet collective gather their torches and pitchforks at the debut of a new platform the way they have with Xbox One. Sony must be breathing a sigh of relief; people were put off by the PlayStation 4 announcement, but that amounted to mere disappointment, not unbridled contempt.
(Well, almost everyone at Sony. I halfway suspect that Fumito Ueda saw all the speculation that Infinity Ward’s going to kill off the dog in Call of Duty: Ghosts and turned to his team heavily. “Sorry, everyone,” he intoned. “We’ve gotta start all over again on The Last Guardian.”)
Maybe I’m just easily hoodwinked by a stage show bathed in neon green light? Still, I feel like every console I’ve owned over the past decade has started really badly, just like this one. They present badly in their first appearance — remember people pretending to play golf by using a Wii U gamepad as a putting green? Remember 599 U.S. dollars? — and they continue sucking right up to launch. And then they keep on sucking right into their first year of existence.
Really, though, I just feel too old and tired to get worked up about this. I have other things to worry about, like keeping up with work… which actually involves a lot of Xbox One stuff, and even then I can’t feel too put out about it. I’m more annoyed these days by things like Monsanto destroying agricultural viability and demanding patent fees for doing it, or by America’s broken health care system which prevents my wife from getting affordable health care specifically because she needs health care. Microsoft debuts a boxy game system with poorly conceived messaging and that employs an account system similar to the Steam network everyone loves so much? Who cares? Yeah, what we’ve seen has been kind of lame so far, but it’s not actively hurting me. If it keeps on being lame, the worst that can happen is I don’t buy it and thereby miss out on a few cool games… but only a few, given the evaporation of platform exclusives and Microsoft’s deprecation of indie devs driving the people who make lower-budget games that interest me most over to Steam, Wii U, and PSN.
If anyone needs me, I’ll be in my rocking chair, biding my time for a few weeks until both Sony and Microsoft have to put up or shut up at E3.