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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

You know what pisses me off? Xbox fanboys.

Let me get this out of the way first, I owned and loved the original Xbox. That thing was a tank. Well built, solid. I even loved the original "Duke" controller. For the first two thirds or so of my time with the Xbox 360, I loved that system as well. It was, visually at least, well designed. It had a fantastic controller, great online functionality and a large array of amazing games. With that out of the way, let me get to the main question here...

Why the HELL are there still Xbox fanboys?

Yes, I know, you have a lot of fond memories of the Xbox. Halo, Gears of War, I get it. I have plenty myself. But I feel like Microsoft has shown a pattern of behavior with the Xbox brand that makes them no longer worthy of having customers loyal enough to be called fanboys. At a certain point, you say enough is enough and you stop giving them money, that's what I did. Maybe after hearing some of my complaints, you might understand my feelings on this subject.

  • Ads on the Dashboard

  • One of my biggest pet peeves is advertisements in gaming. In games themselves or the console interface. I have absolutely no explanation for why putting ads on the Xbox 360 dashboard was even considered, other than blatant greed at the expense of loyal customers. If I'm paying for Xbox Live Gold, $50 a year (or whatever it's going for these days) I shouldn't have to put up with that type of shit.

    Hell, if I'm NOT paying for Xbox Live Gold I still shouldn't have to. If you bought a blu-ray player and it had ads in the menus, I bet you'd return that piece of shit immediately. I would, I bet most people would. I payed for the god damn thing, don't try to show me ads too, that's just ridiculous.

  • Broken promises of quality standards

  • With the Xbox 360, Microsoft promised a set of strict standards for all games on that system. They would all be required to run at a minimum resolution of 1280x720 and would also be required to have 5.1 surround sound. This included Xbox Live Arcade titles as well. I thought that was really cool.

    Eventually, though, they abandoned these requirements as developers wanted to be able to render games at less than HD resolutions to increase effects or improve frame rate. I understand why this was done, but they shouldn't have made a promise in the first place they couldn't keep. That's a big lack of foresight in my opinion.

  • RROD

  • You can't complain about Xbox without mentioning this. The Xbox 360, while nice looking and featuring a lot of great games, was a piece of shit. Between me and my sister, we had seven die. Seven. What?

    A friend of mine has had a 360 die and has his current one hanging off of an entertainment center with a fan blowing directly on its exposed innards to function. I'm not sure what the fuck happened, but Microsoft sure as hell better not repeat it with the Xbox One.

  • Themes and camera obsolescence

  • Since these two or so similar, I'll combine them into one point. The Xbox 360s interface, consisting of multiple "blades" had a nifty feature that allowed you to purchase and use custom themes. They were designed for this specific interface and a lot of them looked great. They were fairly inexpensive so I bought a few. Later, they decided to completely change the interface. The themes you had purchased technically still worked, but looked much worse. Did we get refunds? Store credit (even partial) or so much as an apology? Nope. Boy, am I glad I bought those themes!

    Another great example of this kind of bullshit was the original Xbox 360 camera. No, I'm not talking about Kinect. Before that launched, we had a $30 (if I remember correctly) webcam type thing. It allowed video chat and games would support it for (terrible) motion control and doing other things like importing your face to use in the game. After the Kinect released, games that wanted camera functions required that and wouldn't use the old one. If you bought the old one? Well, fuck you, go buy a Kinect you sucker.

  • Walled off features

  • I won't paste the list here, but there are a LARGE number of features that Microsoft requires you to pay for Xbox Live Gold to access. A couple of funny examples are Pizza Hut. If you want to order Pizza from your console, you need to pay for Gold. Another good one is UFC pay per view. If you want to pay for UFC matches, you have to pay for the ability to do that. Wow, Microsoft. Very nice.

  • The destruction of Rare

  • When Microsoft purchased Rare, I had high hopes for what they might do with the company. The first order of business was an enhanced version of Conkers Bad Fur Day for the original Xbox. I didn't play that one, but I heard good things. When the Xbox 360 launched, the first game I got was the absolutely wonderful Kameo Elements of Power from Rare. An absolutely beautiful game with fun game play and graphics that still hold up today.

    Their other launch window title, Perfect Dark Zero, wasn't quite as good as Kameo but it was still an enjoyable game. Despite the backlash the game received due to it not being a platformer, Banjo Kazooie Nuts & Bolts which came a good bit later, was an amazing game. One of my favorite games of all time, no joke. I'd still recommend it to this day if you have an Xbox 360 and haven't given it a try.

    It seemed, after that, Microsoft was done letting Rare make awesome games. Microsoft then relegated Rare to making stupid Kinect related shit like Kinect Sports and designing the Xbox 360 Avatar system. No more Banjo Kazooie, Perfect Dark, Kameo, Conker or anything else that made Rare great.

    Now, don't get me wrong, I understand that the games most likely sold poorly on Xbox 360, that's part of the issue. The games that Rare makes weren't going to be appreciated by the Xbox community. Nintendo owned a small stake in Rare (which they sold to Microsoft when Microsoft acquired a majority of Rare stock) but they should have bought the company when they had the chance. A mixture of Rare and Microsoft was never going to end well. It was doomed from the beginning.

    But hey, we ARE getting a new Killer Instinct... that's NOT made by Rare. What the fuck, Microsoft??

  • Pretty much everything Xbox One related so far

  • Oh man, has Microsoft gotten off to a fantastic start with this new system or what? They decide that the console will REQUIRE a connection to the Internet once every 24 hours to check in or all your games simply stop working. If your Internet goes out for a couple days or more? Well, you're screwed. If you bring a game to a friends house? That check in requirement is down to once PER HOUR. This pissed off a lot of people for good reason, especially people in the military as they've traditionally been big Xbox supporters who also happen to lack 24/7 stable Internet access.

    Another interesting tidbit is the fact that discs would be tied to your system. Publishers would be able to decide if you could buy their games used, sell them, lend them or even just give them away. Even if they allowed one or more of those things, they could decide, for example, how many times a game could be given to a new person. The system for handling all of this wouldn't even be available at launch. The backlash over this one was great. You can still see it if you visit the official Xbox YouTube channel and look at the number of thumbs downs on most Xbox One related videos. People are bitter, and rightfully so, in my opinion at least. Telling people that they have no control or ownership over the physical media they purchase is an absolute outrage.

    After vigorously defending their new policies, they were eventually forced to backtrack on all of them due to public outcry and pre-order numbers that weren't looking as good as those for the Playstation 4. Some people have completely forgiven them for it, but some others (like me) no longer trust them. If someone planned to murder me and then went through every step but the very last one, I wouldn't call them a great person for suddenly deciding not to do it at the last second.

    So there's my list, the major points anyway. I personally no longer trust Microsoft or the Xbox brand. I can understand why people would still have fond memories of Xbox, I have plenty myself. But these things (along with others) shows the character of a company. I won't be purchasing an Xbox One and I recommend that you don't, either. If Microsoft decides to continue making consoles after the Xbox One, they need a good kick in the pants to remind them of their place and the fact that the consumers should always be put first.

    I hope you see now why I'm absolutely baffled by the fact that Xbox fanboys still exist. Being that loyal to a company who has treated its customers poorly is confusing. If you still plan to buy an Xbox One after all of this and everything else that's happened, my advice would be to wait a bit. See how they handle the launch, see if the consoles start dying like Xbox 360s, wait till the system has more interesting exclusives. You don't need to rush in to support them right away. After all, they wouldn't do it for you.

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