back to article Is the next-gen console war already One?

How else to start a Game Theory column other than with the Xbox One? With the dust starting to settle on news reports, I’ve gone for a rather more devil’s advocate approach to Microsoft’s unveiling. There’s also room for a review of Metro: Last Light, and a quick look at the splendid The Last of Us to whet the appetite for next …

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Remember kids

It's not a "games console" - those things are suitable only for sweaty, ugly nerds. This is a "media entertainment system", designed for stylish and hip young 20-somethings that might use it once or twice a week to watch "Game of Thrones" on Sky.

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"watch Game of Thrones on Sky"

with a load of pointless waffle plastered all over the screen, utterly obscuring what it was that you were trying to watch in the first place. We all love an enhanced experience, don't we?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "watch Game of Thrones on Sky"

"We all love an enhanced experience, don't we?"

Yes, we do. So I hope that future TVs will have a "filter out pointless hamfisted incidental music" option, for a start.

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Anonymous Coward

It's not a "games console" -.... This is a "media entertainment system"...

Had hoped it would be exactly the reverse. A state of the art gaming system that would herald a true virtual reality next-gen gaming experience open to all developers. But MS is too busy trying to control living rooms to produce classic titles. After reading the posts on here I fear we're not moving into a gamer renaissance but rather a new era of control. With Xbox-1 and other consoles closing the door to Indie developers, original game quality will suffer. Of course that won't stop the hype of the next Forza, COD, Halo series etc.

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Meh

Re: "watch Game of Thrones on Sky"

*ahem*, I don't think subtitles for the hard of hearing pointless, no?

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Mushroom

Re: Remember kids - Uncle Balmer is WATCHING YOU!

""media entertainment system" == a platform to collect data on you (cameras, guestures, voice, voice recognition transcripts, media preferences and what you do and when, etc) to sell to 3rd parties"

I think you are confused. The Xbox One doesn't run Google TV OS.....

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FAIL

Re: Remember kids - Uncle Balmer is WATCHING YOU!

No thanks. I don't buy anything Microsoft. Still enjoying my Wii for now. Maybe I will get a new console in 2 years if they have anything nice. But sure as the sky is blue no Microsoft stuff....ever!

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Re: Remember kids - Uncle Balmer is WATCHING YOU!

Upvoted for being so succinct and spot on.

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FAIL

Just a way to feed us more garbage

Another new way to get a media brainwash.

Anything, just so people won't wake up.

We'll sell it below cost, cause the cartel will reimburse us, so long as we can keep them dumb and too busy with pointless crap to notice what's really going on here.

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I own both the current consoles and a high-end gaming PC so remain distinctly non-partisan. Before console "reveals" I was optimistic, excited and expecting to want one if not both.

Alas neither console impresses me that much from a "Core Gaming" perspective as both seem to be focussed on social / sharing nonsense and TV streaming rather than actual games.

I'm currently more negative about the XBox One because:

1. I don't want a Kinect, that's not only included but compulsory for use.

2. The name is plain awful and I won't get used to it : just as I never stopped mocking the Wii.

3. Most of the fancy TV/streaming services won't work in the UK.

4. It looks like a 70s VCR in black/grey motley

The PS4 has work to do to entice me to buy it but I'm already pretty confident I'll not want an XBox One.

Will be very interesting to see how they are priced if that's something they reveal at E3.

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Big Brother

1. I don't want a Kinect, that's not only included but compulsory for use.

Things you will no longer be able to do in your own living room:

Have an honest political discussion (keywords emailed straight to FBI)

Have sex on your sofa (or wank) - assuming all your porn legitimitely aquired

Smoke grass, snort coke, inject smack

Lie on your sofa naked or in pants

Get into fight or kill somebody

Say to your partner, 'turn that fucking xbox off and talk to me (without one of the above happening)

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JDX
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Grow up. Nobody is interested in your political opinions or your little life. Maybe watch less sci-fi and read El Reg comments a bit less, and go outside for some fresh air, clearly you're very easily influenced.

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Coat

Yeah.. I'm kind of with you on this..

Firstly I dont know what all the fuss is about the name, honestly people are just going to call it 'xbox' anyway I dont know anyone who currently referes to as a 360..

And all the additonal functions, M$ you dont seem to realise your trying to compete with my Smart-TV.

You need a TV to provide the functions, and my tv provides most of the stuff without having to turn on yet another box..

Kinect - nope dont want one, not sure why it needs it. and the fact its always on...

[M$] but we give you options to turn it disable the features

[ME] So I could just unplug it if need be..

[M$] No, the xbox wont work if you do

[ME] Why? Why does it even 'NEED' it in?

[M$] er.. because..

[ME] Looking forward to the first bit of hacker tech then to tell the system its there then aint I.

Yeah and the requires internet access, okay technically not 'Always Online' but if it REQUIRES it then it may of well be, so looking at throwing away about a 3rd of you customer base already M$ (but we need to see what this 'requirement' is, they cant be that dumb..can they?)

Then there the installs too hdd, but then the game is tied to the account and if someone sells/borrows the disk then a fee has to be paid.. er what?

Am begining to think M$ have lost the plot, at least a third of their customers are children who buy games 'second hand' what the hell to they think this will do to that market?! But frankly I think that is the point.

They want to treat their customers that corporate entites where we have to pay licences for everything.. sorry M$ the real world isnt like that.. And if this is what your aiming for.. then why are you even selling disks? especially since we dont need them to play the games? surely you could provide downloads for your 'may-as-well-be always online' machines and provide the games at a 3rd of the price since the overhead would be tiny?

It appears M$ is trying to pull alot of stuff people really dont want, but slip it under the radar and they need to be pulled up about it, rather than skip over it like in the vast majority of the reviews I've read so far..

okay rant over, I'll get my jacket..

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Anonymous Coward

"Grow up. Nobody is interested in your political opinions or your little life."

The history of espionage, real espionage rather than James Bond, is of governments taking extraordinary levels of interest in the lives of normal people. For example, back before computers, our own government had masses of staff who's job it was to cut out and file letters sent into newspapers. Not BY any particular person, but by everyone who expressed any political opinion at all.

Those staff have been replaced by computers that do the same thing with your email and your web browsing where technically possible. And, if it is technically possible, then they will do it. These are the people who had a tail put on Wordsworth FFS. They see every "little life" as a potential root of some unknown future big life and since they don't know which boshy 15-year-old will eventually become the founder of a new political party or movement they believe - really, really believe - that it's their duty to track everything they can about everyone and assume that they'll come up with some way of usefully analysing the data at some point. Because only the guilty have anything to fear, of course.

Whether you're JDK on El Reg, or Edward the VIII - there's a file on you somewhere in MI5.

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Re: Yeah.. I'm kind of with you on this..

I think the overheads for games is tiny anyway in comparison to the end price.

The thing that gets me is that because of the restrictions in second hand games..2nd hand games will be 90% of the purchase price of a new game..people will be a lot more focused on games they want, and that will lead to hyped-up blockbusters and big marketers getting the vast majority of the custom. Welcome to Xbox One, we have CoD, FIFA AND Forza, all you'll ever need!

OK it's a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much

I've seen nothing at all that makes me want either the One or the PS4

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Facepalm

You know why it's called "One"? Well at the moment we all use the last bit of a consoles name, PS3 ( not Sony PS3 ), we say "360" ( not Xbox 360 ), see where this is going? Yep some arsehole marketer knows the hipsters and tosspots are going to call it...."THE ONE CONSOLE"!

"Yeah right, they just released XYZ on the 'ONE' console."

Yep, those ad-men think it will be really cool for tosspots to call it "the one" all the time, as in the one and only console there is!

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Happy

Sex on the sofa?

"Things you will no longer be able to do in your own living room:

Have sex on your sofa (or wank) - assuming all your porn legitimitely aquired"

If you've nothing better to do than watch me making a desperately poor attempt to please the Missus, be my guest! I must warn you that it'll be 4.2 seconds of your life you'll never get back!

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Coat

"The Xbox One has Kinect functionality built into its very core," Rivington says. "To turn the console on, you need only say the words "Xbox on" - the console is always listening." It doesn't require a living room the size of a football pitch any more, it can see in the dark and it can detect your heart rate...

... Whenever a new bit of tech appears, the same question arises: is it an Orwellian spy tool? Apparently not, says Hugh Langley. While Kinect constantly listens for your commands, it "won't always be spying on your living room activity". Microsoft promises complete privacy when you expect it.

Just like they said it won't require constant Internet connection, when they meant it must phone home once a day for continued use.

But ok, going for some air now, but unlikely to watch less scifi, I loves that stuff!

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"The history of espionage, real espionage rather than James Bond, is of governments taking extraordinary levels of interest in the lives of normal people."

Even without espionage, I'm sure there is someone at MS thinking of all the commercial valuable info they can collect.

For example they can count the number of people watching a TV show, and if they watch the ads.

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Facepalm

Re: Yeah.. I'm kind of with you on this..

"I think the overheads for games is tiny anyway in comparison to the end price."

Yeah most artists and coders will happily work for free on a project for three or four years. Plenty of games, big and small, don't make their dev costs back.

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Anonymous Coward

Nope

So far I have seen "X1" and "Xbone" used more often than Xbox One in discussions. I suspect the popular choice will be X1, although the term "Xbone" does have the advantage of reminding me somewhat of a pirate flag.

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Mushroom

Re: Yeah.. I'm kind of with you on this..

If you are that paranoid, just point the Kinect at the wall ffs....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yeah.. I'm kind of with you on this..

The key purchasing incentive has to be which one is fully hacked first.

Most likely that's going to be Sony as their stack is similar to Linux...

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Anonymous Coward

Eadon, the people doing the spying do not care about little people.

Mr. "Open Source" advocate (who fails to advocate free software, and fails to differentiate between the Linux kernel and the GNU Operating System that actually makes "Linux" work. Have fun without GRUB or glibc, so again, tsk tsk), I work in Intelligence Collection in the US Army. I've spoken to you before here, and I've agreed with you in some cases, except for the incessant anti-MS ranting. You know who I am, or should but I have to be anon for the obvious reason at the present.

Absolutely noone in my field of expertise cares about nobodies. And most of you all qualify as nobodies for the most part. You aren't running guns, you aren't running drugs, you aren't planning on attacking NATO convoys in Afghanistan, you aren't responsible for targeting, storage, accountability or upkeep of strategic weapons or single use materials.

This isnt to say that EVERYONE isn't a target there are a couple of academics and a few who I suspect are executives or upper-level sysadmins that post here who MAY be targets because of who they work for or what they do, but that would be like 5 to 10% of the users here if I was to make a blind projection. So probably not you, not me (well maybe me but only because of the security clearance I possess), not him, not the guy above you or below you in the comments section. Noone cares about your inane political theories. Noone cares about your wanking on the couch. Noone cares you're getting high. Noone in power gives a flying fuck about you. They really don't.

Get over yourselves, really. If I had to crawl through all the bullshit "normal" people generate, I'd have no time to concentrate on the Drug traffickers that it is my job to monitor. Some of them are rather normal and mundane except for the business they're involved in. A few of them remind me of my friends who happen to be "gangsters" and "thugs". Others are truly deranged, homicidal (even sometimes genocidal), sadistic sociopaths/psychopaths using way too much of their own product, who also happen to scare the hell out of even me, a veteran with five deployments to Afghanistan, Djibouti, and the Philippines and has seen combat far more times than he'd like to remember.

Unless there is a reason to target you, you are not a target because there aren't enough collectors or analysts to filter through all of people's incessant little bullshit. Content recognition is already a gigantic problem, increasing the amount of collected data just makes it worse. The reason NSA and the service cryptologic elements were so good at what we did during the Cold War was because we weren't sucking petabytes of data and trying to make heads or tails of it.

In a nutshell, you aren't as important to the game as you think you are. And that seems to me what JDX is most likely getting at, but he'd have to clarify him/her/itself. Probably not a popular opinion, but the correct one.

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"For example they can count the number of people watching a TV show, and if they watch the ads"

MS also said that Kinect can be used for pay per viewer - ie to monitor how many people are watching a show and charge accordingly. Plus of course Facebook have a biometric database, so it would even be possible to identify who is watching.

Plus MS have already stated that the kinect can read logos on clothing or objects - so it can catalog what you're eating, drinking, reading etc.

Tinfoil hat stuff sure, but if the tech is capable of it, and there's money to be made surely its a case of when not if.

The potential is enough to make me avoid it like the plague anyhow...

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Thumb Up

Re: Eadon, the people doing the spying do not care about little people.

"In a nutshell, you aren't as important to the game as you think you are. And that seems to me what JDX is most likely getting at, but he'd have to clarify him/her/itself. Probably not a popular opinion, but the correct one."

Don't tell them that! They have no importance or relevance in the real world - they need these tin-foil-hat conspiracies to make themselves think they have *some* relevance somewhere....

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Windows

Re: Sex on the sofa?

You get to do her TWICE in one session?????

Lucky bugger....

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Coffee/keyboard

It is fuggly as hell

Who is doing product design at the Xbox department?

Must have been someone who's hibernated under a rock for decades...

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Re: Sex on the sofa?

You need to have a word with your Mrs. Mine can bark a sharp "NO" or throw "the glance" in no more than 2.14 seconds.

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Re: Nope

I thought xbo was a reasonable choice...

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Black Helicopters

"Microsoft’s Skynet-like sentinel is apparently so advanced it can “see your heart beat”, a feature, surely, only really useful if it’ll dial 999 upon detecting an over-extended player suffering myocardial infarction."

Nope, it clearly exists to allow confirmation of a subject's successful termination. The dystopian future is now!

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M7S
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Big Brother

@ Annihilator

It will also then delete the account and purchases so there's no "piracy by inheritance" going on.

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Meh

Oculus Rift is more exciting to me than any of the announced features of either console.

If either decide to support Oculus Rift then that will be my choice otherwise it looks like I will end up leaving consoles for PC gaming.

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Re: Meh

Now that's something I'm looking forward to - CCP did a really cool tech demo of how it might be used in EVE Online for a fighter pilot system.

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Xbox One

Crap name, weak compared to the PS4. This time it's easy to compare. Same architecture, same company that makes the GPU/CPU. They have a significantly weaker GPU and slower RAM. PS4 is up to the classic aspirational standards of a powerful home console, and Sony are on the backfoot this time, so they don't want to piss consumers off. Seems to me you'll only receive the cold, unflinching shaft of Microsoft if you get an Xbox One. Oh, and a ton of cynical "media" and "social" related shite. No, I don't watch broadcast TV, no, I don't currently pay for any streaming services. Even if I did, my internet connection is piss-poor.

Disclaimer: I don't own a PS3. I have an Xbox 360 (on my third, thank you, RRoD).

Sony: make the new Gran Turismo breathtaking in every way, and on the PS4. I have no interest in going back to buy an obsolete machine, and I currently love Forza. I don't want to have to buy an Xbox One just because Forza is the best racing series over all.

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Mushroom

Re: Xbox One

That's too simplistic a view. Xbox ONE has a very fast SDRAM cache on the GPU, and the PS4 RAM has a very high latency....Plus Microsoft's Direct-X libraries have years of optimisation behind them.

Just look at the PS3 / Xbox 360 - the PS3 was claimed to have 50% more CPU power, but the Xbox has the best graphics in most cases....

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Re: Xbox One

That RAM latency has little effect on most functional units, either because they feed on streams (GPU) or have internal caches (CPU). That latency issue has been getting data from core to core and historically getting it into the right chunk of RAM. Unified RAM removes half the problem while fast core<->RAM streaming simplifies everything.

PS4 has an advantage here because it's simpler with no accelerated transfer systems to deal with. It's going to have less bottlenecks and more predictable behaviour. And it really doesn't hurt that not pissing away transistors on ESRAM let them build in more cores!

Given that both systems seem to have broadly comparable basic hardware, I'll expect better gaming performance on the one with more cores. The PS4 looks like it will outperform even high end PCs for most of it's life, not convinced the Xbone will.

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Silver badge

Re: Xbox One

No, the reality is that anyone sensible could see the PS3 was going to be worse off compared to the Xbox 360, that's never been an argument.

256MB for the GPU and 256MB for the system vs 512MB unified in the 360 was a bad start..

Then 3x PowerPC cores vs 1 in the PS3, then a cluster of simplistic units that aren't general purpose.

The GPU in the PS3 was also a cobbled together midrange nvidia card of the time, whereas the Xbox 360's GPU was the first fully programmable Radeon card, if I recall correctly, with a 10MB buffer on package.

It was clear the Xbox 360 was going to be the easier console to get the best results from.

This time, it's even clearer that the PlayStation 4 is simply ahead. You cannot ignore the gap in GPU performance. We're talking Radeon 7700+ vs 7850+

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Re: Xbox One

Just look at the PS3 / Xbox 360 - the PS3 was claimed to have 50% more CPU power, but the Xbox has the best graphics in most cases....

Not sure where you're getting that from. I've never seen anything on the 360 that comes close to some of the PS3 exclusives. In fact, there are several games I can name that aren't on the 360 simply because it couldn't cope - the inFamous series, for one. It's not an exclusive because they have some kind of deal with Sony; it's because the X-box can't handle the game. Sucker Punch even said so.

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Re: Xbox One

This time it's easy to compare. Same architecture, same company that makes the GPU/CPU. They have a significantly weaker GPU and slower RAM.

These kind of comparisons are simplistic at best if the question is how successful they are going to be. If you look at the previous generation of consoles in the same way there's no question that the PS3 is the most powerful unit from MS, Sony and Nintendo. The Wii was woefully underpowered in comparison. The PS3 always struggled, especially at first, whereas the Wii was a surprise hit.

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Meh

Re: Xbox One

Doesnt matter which is the more powerful as the developers will build their cross platforms to the lowest powered machine anyway.

Its only in the dwindling number of exclusives that it matters a bit.

How many companies nowadays can afford to develop a game for just one console unless Sony or MS are paying for all of it?

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Not impressed

Even more fugly than previous Xboxes and full of extra crap I don't want or need.

More to the point, Destiny, the only game I'm looking forward to playing, will run on my 360 anyway.

I'll pass, I think.

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I don't want or need a kinect, even if it will work in a narrow, noisy room. My two year old can already reek havoc with various remotes but at least I can put them out of his reach. Now, I won't even have that option. (BTW, is no one else worked that this is just a massive invasion of privacy just waiting to happen?) I can't wait for reports about kids fighting over getting it to do stuff.

Don't need the internet for it to work but won't work unless it can phone home, I have an excellent connection but get lots of interface meaning that it drops out a lot so this is another reason not to bother.

As for the used games, I only buy used games. If they try to mess around with this I won't be buying one even if they sort the everything else out.

How can they not have already confirmed streaming services like lovefilm?

I can understand disks not working but for arcade games, surely a recompile would allow most games to work? There's always emulation (or is this just a way to shaft players so they need to buy everything twice?).

No mention about ripping dvds to store on the hdd. That would be a big plus. Or even allowing an external HDD to be connected by USB to do the same.

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Anonymous Coward

So if Microsoft had released a stripped down but graphically better XBox you think everyone would have been happy?

Stuff you don't want is stuff others do want. It's like Word, there's tons of crap you don't need but that's stuff other people want. This is how you please most of the people.

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There's no reason to force the kinect on users beyond microsoft repeating the mistakes it made with windows 8. It bumps up the cost of the console and if you don't want it tough, it has to be plugged in for the console to work even if you never use it.

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Nah

I can buy a capable but descrete media stremer with social guf for 75 quid, why would a buy this?

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