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Geek Girl Report: I Got 99 Problems With the XBox One – Why You Should Not Buy Microsoft’s New “Gaming” System

Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

Author’s Note: Due to the Memorial Day holiday, there was no Geek Girl Report last week. To make up for it, today’s edition will be an extended edition of the Geek Girl Report. Enjoy!

With the release of the Nintendo Wii U and the recent announcements of Sony’s Playstation 4 and Microsoft’s XBox One, the next generation of video game consoles has officially arrived. Normally, I would be excited for these next-gen consoles and the new games to come with them. But this time around, not so much. The Wii U seems the most promising out of the three, but the second-screen controller seems clunky and awkward, and the selection of games currently available hasn’t enticed me enough to want to buy it for myself. As for the PS4, it’s highly-lauded “cutting edge” technical specifications are no different than what you’d find on a regular old PC.

But my biggest problem with the next-gen consoles, and the focus of today’s report, is Microsoft new “gaming” console: the XBox One. Simply put, I’m not buying one, and it’s not because I prefer Sony and Nintendo over Microsoft. It’s because the Xbox One is packed with all these lovely features that, for lack of a better word, screw gamers like me over. Here’s just a few examples of the “features” I take issue with.

1.) You’re not purchasing games, you’re purchasing permission to play games

One of the big problem I have with the XBox One is that it will not play physical game disks anymore. Rather, the game will be downloaded to the console’s hard drive, much like a PC game. Once the game has been downloaded, it will only work for the person who bought the game, and no one else. This means that you can no longer swap games back and forth with your friends. If you get a cool game and your buddy wants to play it, they have to pay a separate fee. (which right now is slated to be the FULL RETAIL PRICE of the game)

Outrageous price gouging and killing the notion of game ownership aside, this decision will be extremely detrimental to the used games industry. Think about business like GameFly that rent out games to consumers, or companies like Gamestop and FunCo. that make a majority of their profits from used games. If you take away the possibility of offering used games for a console, which is exactly what the XBox one is doing, you’re going to see the businesses suffer. This is nothing but an exercise in pure greed on Microsoft’s part.

2.) You must have an Internet connection, even if your games don’t use it

This may not seem like such a big deal at first, but let me elaborate. The system must connect to the Internet at least once per day in order to function. Even if you’re playing games that have no online features whatsoever, like downloadable content or online multiplayer, you still have to connect to the Internet every day. And should your Internet go out for some reason, oh well. Sucks to be you. You don’t get to play XBox today. I mean, none of the current generation requires you to connect to the Internet, it’s still optional. And even online game streaming services like Steam allows you to play some games offline.

3.) You must have the Kinect camera on at all times to use the system

This particular feature is one that really worries me. The XBox One will be packaged with a new “improved” Kinect camera. This camera is not just another peripheral, it’s a requirement for the system to even work. The Kinect camera must be on at all times in order to use the system. And here’s the part that really makes me concerned: the Kinect camera is always on, even if the system is not. The camera is designed to respond to a certain prompt to turn the system on, and it’s always on the lookout for that prompt. Maybe it’s just me, but the idea of a camera watching me in my living room all the time makes me uneasy. Not to mention the possible spying and Big Brother action that could take place.

Here’s just one example of Kinect spying on you: Microsoft is reportedly in talks with the Motion Picture Association of America to use the Kinect camera to monitor how many people watch movies on the XBox One. The plan is that only a certain number of people can watch a movie at the same time on the XBox One, like say, four people to one movie.The Kinect camera can see how many people are watching the movie, and if a fifth person should happen to walk in, the camera will catch that person, pause the film and refuse to play the film until that person leaves the room. If that example doesn’t worry you, imagine if Microsfot enters deals like this with other organizations, like say the government? (God forbid…)

4.) XBox One is trying to be everything, and failing at it

I think the biggest problem I see with the XBox One is this: it’s trying to be all things to all people. Microsoft wanted to design this one-stop, one-size-fits-all media entertainment hub that gives everybody everything they could ever want. This is the trend for gaming systems these days, it seems. It’s not enough to just play games anymore, you have to be able to browse the web, watch TV and movies, and stream your music all on one device, and I don’t have a problem with that.

The problem here is that XBox is trying to do everything, but isn’t doing any of it well, particularly where gamers are concerned. By adding these insane features like restrictive licenses on new games, full retail price on used games, and a camera that is constantly spying on you, it adds to the already prevalent idea that Microsoft just does not care about their consumers or their rights. It’s an insult to gamers, and it’s the biggest reason I refuse to support this attitude of Microsoft’s and will not buy this console. And you shouldn’t, either.

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