Wednesday, 12 June 2013

'Always Listening' | Xbox One and what this phrase really means

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As well as the issues 'Always Online' and no used games surrounding Xbox One there are some privacy rumours floating around. People are no fixated on the Xbox One's Kinect to be constantly 'spying' on gamers through audio and video recording. Even when the console is in standby. As if anyone actually cares what you are doing 24/7 let alone wants to watch it on a feed.

First things first, Microsoft confirmed that you are in fact able to completely power down the Xbox One (including Kinect) without unplugging the console. (Kotaku, 2013) therefore those who really are paranoid about whether someone can see what they are doing can rest easy if they've switched their console off.
But people are still wrapped up around this phrase 'Always Listening', this is merely a term used which has been twisted by people. As Microsoft have fully integrated Kinect 2.0 into the Xbox One as a permanent device they are involving the use of voice command as much as possible. In the audio industry it's been a challenge for technology developers to create something that can detect voice through a noisy environment whilst still running on a tiny amount of power. Microsoft have done this with Kinect and I thoroughly applaud them for that. But the term 'Always Listening' refers to the microphone within the Kinect waiting for a command. It is listening out for instructions on what to do next. This does not mean it is a direct feed to Microsoft who can hear you telling a player in America how you are defecating over him and made love to his mother last night.

I personally am looking forward to seeing some in game implementation of Kinect 2.0. Along with integration with the controllers rumble triggers.

Thanks for reading,

Rob Tyler

V | G | A


Kotaku. 2013. Xbox One's Kinect Can Turn Off, Microsoft Says, Noting Privacy Worries. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 12 Jun 2013].

Business Breakdown | Exploration of the Xbox One 'Always Online' & 'No Used Games' Controversy

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A lot of negative feedback and hatred is feeding to Microsoft for the features of the Xbox One that include requiring an internet connection at least once a day and the elimination of lending games and selling them on at independent resale stores such as Gamespot, Game and even C2C (Customer to Customer) services like eBay.

Don Mattrick discussed the 'Always Online' feature yesterday. Microsoft's attitude seems that of future proofing Xbox One as they try and lead the way to the future of gaming systems. Perhaps it is one generation too early? I respect gamers views on having to connect once a day to Xbox LIVE to even play offline single player being a nuisance. Fortunately for myself I am truly always connected to the internet when on my Xbox360 but even I have times of no internet connect, such as our impending internet provider changeover resulting in a lack of internet for a couple of days. With that I do strongly believe Xbox One is following Valve's gaming platform Steam as a business model. Having superb benefits of being online but it does enable a true 'Offline' mode for when you do not have a connection. I think this would solve a lot of issues regarding the Xbox One controversy.

So from there we move on to Microsoft's elimination of the second hand market with Xbox One. Well, that is an unconfirmed fact as we are yet to see their plan for selling used games they mentioned back at the Xbox One unveiling. But I think their motives were trying to balance out too much. This new method enables the developer to receive more money from sales than the 3rd Generation method, which Sony is adopting for the 4th generation but allowing devs to integrate the digital medium in the future.
Being a Playstation to Xbox gamer I try and stay as little biased as I can. But I believe the Xbox One could actually develop their Marketplace well if we imagine it to be like the Steam store. With such diverse prices and multiple sales per year allowing for such deals as the entire GTA Franchise for less than £15. If it allowed me to purchase a game such as the upcoming Battlefield 4 for £29.99 rather than a normal £39.99 disc edition it would be quite exciting. Giving developers the choice of pricing could drastically change the console gaming community. Plus opening up the Indie market being able to snap up new games for a couple of quid!
But this does mean that you cannot simply share games with your friends, say lend it to them for a week which will affect the younger gamers who depend on this sort of socialisation with their gaming. For the adult community it will be less of a diminishing factor. That being said the implementation of adding up to 10 "Family Members" means those included in this can use the same copy of your game free of charge, even on another console thousands of miles away just you cannot play them at the same time. Which is actually a nice touch.
I think that if Microsoft had actually wrapped up some of these queries and presented their reasonings to the world during their conference and not via different reporters it may not have received such a negative reaction from the community.

If we see the Xbox One marketplace as diverse in pricing as Steam is then I would be more than happy to purchase one. The always online topic still is a sticky one and a true offline mode would make the console much much better.

I guess as always... we wil have to wait and see...

I'm tired of waiting though...

Thanks for reading,

Rob Tyler

V | G | A

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

A Titan Falls | Playstation 4 dominates Xbox One at E3

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Last night through to the early hours of this morning here in London we witnessed the opening conferences of E3. Without going off on tangents with SO MUCH to discuss we are going to look at the main focus of E3 2013 and what all the buzz is about; Sony's dominance over Microsoft in the next generation console wars.

The controversy of Microsoft implementing 'Always Online' and no Secondhand/Used Games market with the Xbox One console was still up in the air last night as they did not address the elephant in the room. Providing a great demonstration of new games such as Ryse: Sons of Rome and Titanfall before announcing the £429 price and release in November 2013 proved futile as the question everyone wanted answered was merely avoided... again.

Enter Sony and their Playstation 4. Although I found the Sony conference dull with too much emphasis on the games (not that the games are a bad thing) but not enough on the console itself they still managed to blow everyone away after the 2hours dribbled by.
Announcing that the PS4 will use disc based games and there were no restrictions on usage, enabling gamers to share, sell and buy used games as they wished and also no 'always online' brought a smug end to the Playstation conference. Not to mention an £80 difference from the Xbox One having Sony's PS4 retailing at £350

But what's in the box?

Xbox One comes equipped with:
- Xbox One Console
- Kinect sensor
- Xbox One Controller
- HDMI Cable

Playstation 4 comes equipped with:
- Playstation 4 Console
- Dualshock 4 Controller
- HDMI Cable
- Headset

I strongly believe that unless Microsoft consider apologising to their fans and remove some of these restrictions. They may well and truly dissolve in this generations console war!

Look for more posts regarding E3 over the next couple of days!

Thanks for reading,

Rob Tyler

V | G | A

Saturday, 8 June 2013

E3 - 2013 | A New Generation

So so so...

Next week we see the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3 as it's better known, appear on our screens live from Los Angeles, California. Three days of video game news and announcements to get stuck into.

Most importantly we're finally seeing the official Playstation 4 console unveiling and more from the notorious Xbox One console. Rumours are buzzing high in regards to digital rights management across both platforms but to be honest. I'm more interested in the games!


We'll be reporting on the events at E3 here at V | G | A so feel free to get stuck in 11th June - 13th June

thanks for reading,

Rob Tyler


V | G | A