There’s this new generation of console coming out. No, not the PlayStation 4. I’m talking about the Xbox One here. Have you heard about it? Because it’s potentially doing some stuff that might be crazy privacy-wise, and at the moment, I’m not entirely impressed.
So, I’m a gamer girl. Or at least, I’m a sort of gamer girl on hiatus. Nursing school and four jobs didn’t really leave a lot of time for leveling up my Charr in “Guild Wars 2” or finally finding a decent enough computer to complete “Portal 2.”
And by the way, anyone who gives me grief or surprise about being a gamer girl is severely out of touch with the times. Out of all the gamers in the United States, the Entertainment Software Association reports that females make up about 42 percent of United States gamers. We’re not rare. But that’s not the point.
Let’s talk about Xbox.
Now, I’m more of a PC gamer than a console gamer, and if it came to a choice between PlayStation and Xbox, I’ve been a PlayStation fan ever since my first boxy PlayStation 2. But we’ve got Xbox-ers in the family, so I keep track of these things. There are lots of features about the new generation of Xbox gaming console that I have to say I’m not particularly happy with.For one, it won’t play games from previous generations, known as backwards compatibility. Which means all the money spent on video games for the Xbox 360 has to stay with the Xbox 360. Which means keeping more than one console at a time and switching between them to play games.
OK, maybe not a huge loss, considering some of the hot titles that are sure to come for Xbox One, but still. Backwards compatibility! Video games are an investment, and it seriously sucks investing on something that’s trapped to one console.
Besides, this lack of flexibility with previous console game titles is sort of ironic for a company that’s putting forth one of the Xbox One’s biggest features as the ease at which a user can switch between TV, Internet, gaming and whatever else you might want to run entertainment media-wise.
The Xbox One seems to be Microsoft’s attempt to see how many features they can cram into one black box of hardware. Do everything you want with one device! And you don’t even have to get up, because everything can be voice- or motion-controlled! I personally don’t like putting all my eggs in one basket. Can you imagine if someone pulled a Sony hack and the Xbox servers were compromised? Bye-bye login and payment information to, like, everything.
And what happens if Microsoft shuts you out because you haven’t logged into your account in the past 24 hours? That might seem ridiculous, but it’s an actual thing. If you don’t log in online to your account at least once every 24 hours, they shut you out. That’s policing to extreme. And yeah, I get that it’s to prevent piracy and whatever issues they’re chalking it up to, but it seems to me like Microsoft is almost trying to force people to use their product instead of other products. It’s like Apple tech exclusivity, only with more specific control.
The Xbox One is also boasting a serious privacy issue. See, Microsoft has this thing called the Kinect 2.0. You might have heard of it. It’s that cool thing that detects movement and stuff and relays it into controls for the machine, and guess what? It comes already built into the machine. Which is fun, because who likes having to buy extra attachments? Seriously, that’s why we don’t have one for our current Xbox. I’ve got other games to buy, you know.
What’s not so fun is that it’s apparently going to always be on. Let me repeat: Apparently, the Kinect 2.0 will always be on. Always. This is so you can wake up the console without having to touch anything. That’s sweet, though, right? Finally, a totally hands-free device?
Except, you know, it’s always on. And Microsoft apparently filed a patent to use the Kinect to constantly monitor what happens in the room it’s in. Quite literally, this thing will always be watching you, listening to you, planning its next move. They may as well just tap my phones and siphon my e-mails while they’re at it.
Um, no thanks. I’d rather no one see or hear any of the dumb things I do behind closed doors or while I video-game.
That’s not to say the Xbox One isn’t boasting some new and cool features. For example, the demos for upcoming games, no matter how limited in number they were, seemed to have a pretty decent range for opportunity in future games. And we still have the E3 Expo coming up for more great game reveals.
But is something new and pretty worth the privacy issues that might come along with it? Microsoft wants to get everything in one place for your convenience. But what’s convenient for us is just as convenient for a hacker or an identity thief. The whole constant monitoring thing is sort of creepy, too.
Will my family of gamers be getting the Xbox One? Well, it might be too soon to tell, but so far, we might just stick with PCs, PlayStations and our good old 360s.