One Good Thing: The Xbox One

Look, we could sit here and make fun of the Xbox One reveal all day.  I know the name is ridiculous.  Were they really so desperate to surprise people with a moniker that they thought Xbox One was better than, well, almost anything else?  What was wrong with Xbox 720, or Xbox Infinity, or, as certain conspiracy theorists stated, Xbox Delta?

Or yes, we could talk about the confusing approach to used games, always-online and DRMs that, after months of pre-planning, they still managed to be inexpicably wishy-washy on. Oh, and in case you missed it, Microsoft is apparently jumping on this “TV” bandwagon.  I say it’s a fad, but if it does stick around, I imagine people will invent some sort of dedicated device to watch TV on.  Sarcasm aside, there has been a pretty negative reaction to the big reveal.  But we at Leviathyn like to at least attempt to be optimistic about things, so I’ll focus on one good thing about the Xbox One.  The hardware.

The people...need some work.

The people…need some work.

I’ll say this:  For the people who purchase an Xbox One (of which I probably won’t be one.  What can I say, Sony depressed me the least), it looks like they will be getting the best controller ever made.  Most people (not everybody, but including myself) prefer the Xbox 360 controller over the PS3, and it doesn’t look like that is going to change in the next generation.  For better or worse, the PS4 controller is similar to its predecessor in aesthetics, but with some added functionality.  There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the PS3 stick, and I appreciate that they are attempting to address issues like the clunky triggers and loose sticks.

The Xbox One controller looks like an improvement in the few areas it could have been improved.  They guide button has been moved slightly out of the way, and is no longer convex.  That should prevent any accidental stoppages mid-match for the overexcited.  While we won’t know until we get our hands on it, it looks like Microsoft might have figured out the puzzle of the d-pad.   The sticks have been given an extra layer of texture, and from all accounts, the rumble feature on the new pad is actually quite spectacular.  Add in a flush back piece that removes the screw holes, and you have one sexy input device.

I see you there, baby.

I see you there, baby.

Like it or not, you have to admit the Kinect is a pretty impressive piece of technology.  I’m not sure how sold I am on the idea that the Xbox One requires a Kinect 2.0 to work, but you have to imagine the next device will be even better.  We’ve heard talk of better motion and voice tracking, and while we obviously can’t confirm any improvements until we see it, I’m willing to bet we will eventually be blown away with what we see from the next Kinect.  Whether or not that translates to good game design is the real question, and at this point there is no way of knowing.

Of course a lot of that has to do with the lack of games shown at the big reveal.  However, I don’t put much stock in that.  I didn’t expect to see any games with E3 around the corner, and I hope Microsoft has something up their sleeve on that front….but that’s a whole different story.  Until then, all we have is the hardware, and, despite the overwhelmingly negative reception to the reveal, it is up to standards, beyond even, on that front.