So in the hazy aftermath of all those salacious E3 conferences, as Xbox owners cough and splutter through the Playstation tinged smoke after being bowled over by the raucous crowd of chanting attendees carrying Jack Tretton on their shoulders, who at this point had removed his shirt and was karaokeing along to You Gave Love a Bad Name and directing his adoring crowd in the direction of THE BAR; in the sobriety of the morning, we got round to mourning.
Because here at Respawn, we’ve been outspoken Xbox 360 and indeed Microsoft advocates throughout the course of our poor website’s humble existence. In fact for a while, it seemed like anybody who opted just for a Playstation 3 was either the victim of misinformation, or some sort of lobotomized goose who hated games and himself. Or herself. Is a female goose still called a goose? Who knows. Anyway.
It’s tantamount to absolute inarguable concrete fact that Sony utterly hashed up last gen, or this gen, depending on how many months you are euphorically ahead at the moment. Mistake after mistake after mistake followed the glorious and undeniably beautiful reign of the PS2, with moves and decisions so baffling it was like they were intentionally playing out a prelude to prepare us all for Tory Britain. In fact it was, in a vaguely chronological kind of way.
And yet as we rolled toward this E3, chewing off the ends of our fingers because our nails went on 21st May, everything hung in the balance. Microsoft needed something mind blowing, regardless of Sony’s surprising undertake on, well, every aspect of these new consoles.
Right now, Microsoft are licking wounds and trying to pretend they weren’t just trounced into the ground, in what was the greatest defeat since Winchester flower-arranging team beat Harrow by twelve sore bottoms to one. If you’ll excuse the reference. The thing is though, despite these dreadful, damaging, inexplicably audacious moves that don’t make a lick of sense to anybody with a head, the Xbox One IS future-proof. Or future-resistant anyway. If that’s a thing.
Why? Because the future is when it’s been designed for. Cloud computing is one of the most exciting ideals infecting the world of both consumers (though slowly) and businesses (more quickly) and offers the kind of power we simply can’t comprehend. NASAs Curiosity got to fucking Mars with the help of cloud computing. From a gaming standpoint, in theory we could be playing fully CGI’d, photorealistic games, regardless of the hardware it’s running on right now. In theory.
But here’s where it gets interesting. If anybody saw that Xbox 720 document that floated around the internet a year or so ago, you’ll likely remember that it foretold a number of ideals, the beginnings of which have all fallen perfectly into place, just as the 56-page document prophesized. More interesting still is the evidence that we can trust it and what it leads to.
Take a look at this slide below that came from the document.
TV app launches, XTV pay TV service launches, Xbox 720 and Kinect V2 launches , ‘One Box. Input 1’. Does that phrase sound familiar? If you were watching E3 carefully it will do, because ‘All in One. Input One.’ is their latest tagline.
Here’s another image that not only details everything that’s happened so far, it also mentions the ‘Input 1’ tagline again, under this year’s segement.
So what does this all mean? How does a document that’s purportedly been correct about the future of Xbox thus far make it damningly, excitingly future proof? Because of where it ends.
Whilst the document also mentions Illumiroom, which we’ve seen official proof of concept videos for, and a heavy reliance on cloud computing, it goes on to reach ‘Fortaleza Glasses’. Due for a reveal in 2014, according to the slides, these are not 3D glasses by a long flattening of the imagination (long time readers will know our stand on these and the technology as a whole – less fun than inviting strangers to piss in your shoes.) They were instead, closer to virtual reality glasses – an Oculus Rift type of affair that would remain slim and sleek due to the power of cloud computing and Kinect. Coupled with Illumiroom, this could potentially turn your whole living space into a fully 3D, virtual gaming environment. If you’re not a crazed advocate of the Oculus Rift just yet, have a look at the video of it running Team Fortress 2 below, coupled with an omni-directional running machine and prepare to want.
Of course the natural reaction is to denounce this as yet another push toward yet another casual gimmick that won’t work as well as we’re told it will (see: Kinect, any other motion sensor ever) however embracing the evolution of gaming is something we should do graciously, and with Oculus Rift looking special, I wouldn’t be opposed to Microsoft doing something similar with hardware backing it up. The final portion of that slide appears to show the Glasses being used in a kind of Google Glass-esque augmented reality situation, citing ‘the revolution in mobile’. And frankly, we’re pretty keen on giving Glass a go right now.
Ultimately, once we have a proper internet infrastructure that can handle such heavy reliance on cloud computing, and if Microsoft let on a little more about what they, at least at some point were planning, the Xbox One could prosper. The problem is MS, not only do you not know WHO you’re talking to anymore, you also don’t seem to know what year it is.
Sony are the heroes of today, and unless aforementioned furious backpedalling takes place, this year and maybe next, but it’s unlikely the Xbox One is going anywhere too soon, and the future is still very much an incandescent glimmer. It was good while it lasted Microsoft, Respawn hope it will be great once again.