My interaction with the Xbox brand has been up until the past 2 years, sparse at best. One of my friends had an original Xbox back when it first came out and we played Halo together a couple times, I remember being impressed, but not necessarily blown away. I guess back during this time ie. 2001-ish when I was 10, I wasn’t really in the business of comparing graphic quality and more just a general consumer of.. well.. alot of things. However now at 27 I’ve learned alot and can certainly appreciate just how (some might say) ahead of it’s time the original Xbox was, with Xbox live and a built in HDD, looking back I can safely say it had alot going for it. Not as much as the PS2 but, you know, enough to create a sequel.
The Xbox 360 was such an interesting console, although I never owned one until recently, looking back you have to applaud Microsoft for coming through with a solid contender to the PS3. Even in amidst of the ‘red ring of death‘ issues, the failure of HD DVD vs Blu Ray and what many would consider an inferior interface at least initially with the ‘blade’ dashboard. They were out in front by a year compared to the competition and followed through with a worthy competitor to Sony’s Playstation 3 and a console that even today is still beloved by many, myself included.
The Xbox One came along and was met with much disapproval especially leading up to release with always online/check-in DRM, and the requirement for the Kinect to be plugged in. Of course Microsoft back tracked on these requirements, however this left a bad taste in alot of people’s mouths. If that wasn’t enough of a cause to pick the PS4 over the XB1, certainly the lack of exclusives, the large VCR like shape plus external power brick, and being slightly under powered compared to the PS4 might have. If even that wasn’t enough then maybe the XB1 being marketed and built around the idea of being an all-in-one entertainment machine as opposed to a solid gaming console was part of the cause for what many ended up doing, picking a PS4 instead.
However without turning this post into a Playstation vs Xbox battle which has been done to death. Besides I love both consoles (at this point) and feel it’s common and worthwhile to own both for those who can afford to do so. I’d like to focus on my feelings towards Xbox One at this stage, having never owned the release XB1 my opinion starts with the ‘One S’, which I obtained in mid 2017. At this point, I honestly, didn’t really like it. It was noticeable the lack of exclusives, and I didn’t really like the interface, I prefer the current interface, but still not a huge fan. Interface aside, it started finding it’s perfect niche inside my console collection as I started collecting more for my 360. Having my Xbox One in the lounge and 360 in my study, I just prefer to play 360 games on my Xbox One if they are compatible. To the point that any seventh gen game that is backwards compatible on the Xbox One I’ll get for the 360 as opposed to the PS3, simply so I can play it in the lounge up-scaled to 4K in some circumstances, on my Xbox One. Further the ability to play OG Xbox games on the XB1 from the original Xbox disk is amazing to me and I’ll do it just for the novelty of it, but it’s far more common for me to go from 360 to XB1.
More recently I upgraded my Xbox One S to an X to go with my 4K TV, and since doing so I’ve been buying more for my Xbox than Playstation. Further I’ve subscribed to Game Pass because I’m now out of money after buying all this equipment and need a low cost game subscription service to satisfy me for the time being. Lets just say it’s certainly doing that. To the point that at this stage, amongst all my consoles, I’d say I game mostly on my Xbox One, then Switch, then PS4, then my bulk load of older consoles.
Heading into the 9th generation of consoles I think Microsoft is taking a leaf out of Nintendo’s book. Attempt to differentiate itself from the competition rather than compete. Well, it’s still trying to compete, but also differentiate with it’s service based approach to gaming starting to pick up steam and see a potential move to the Nintendo Switch happening in the future.
It will be interesting to see, what is starting to look like one of the most significant landscape shifts in the console gaming space since Xbox landed on the scene. Further if such a move will bring Xbox back into the limelight from what has been a sub par 6 years, with a hint of ‘promise’ in the past year and a bit. Personally I’m really rooting for Microsoft to pull through with a solid 9th generation. Not because I’m a Microsoft fan boy, but because I feel like they’re really trying to do right by gamers, and in my books, deserve the fruits of their ‘more recent’ labour.