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The Xbox One Isn’t Garbage; Your Perspective, however, Is

You must read this article before reading my blog post:

The author begins his story by letting us know that he is well versed in repairing objects – specifically cars. From the first paragraph one could gather the author was poverty stricken at a young age. More proof of this exists when you learn that he used the money earned by fixing things to purchase expensive sunglasses typically worn by the rich kids. He did all of this to fit in. The author attempts to show the parallel between the stupidity of purchasing the sunglasses and that of purchasing the Xbox One (the latter being the stupider choice).

According to the data he gives, the author has apparently been the owner of three consecutive Xbox 360s which already makes him way more committed to the use of a videogame system than I would personally be. The reason he’s purchased this quantity is not because he wishes to accumulate a collection but rather because the preceding hardware didn’t work correctly. The major reason for these hardware failures was the “Red Ring of Death”.

The Red Ring of Death was a term created by the public but a feature designed by Microsoft to help users diagnose the difference between hardware failure and failure caused by power surges. The author also praises how fast you could play a Nintendo game, but he fails to mention how many more problems the Nintendo had with loading a game than Xbox 360 did. To the advantage to Nintendo, I imagine, was the absence of the internet. It didn’t exist. Complaints were not socially ubiquitous, and the “advertisements of failure” were not so easily spread. The nostalgia factor which the author wishes to bestow upon readers works, but it does so by ignoring that the magnifying glasses of society were greater upon the Xbox because of heightened communication. The Xbox 360 had the ring of death. But if we’re using personal anecdotes, how many Nintendos had problems loading games?

Regarding the “Red Ring of Death”; As technology improves, so does hardware. What is missing from the author’s article is how Microsoft sought to correct the issue. In July of 2007, Microsoft published an open letter that would seek to resolve the issue entirely. In the letter all owners of an Xbox 360 who experienced the hardware failure indicated by three flashing lights would be covered by a three-year warranty from the original date of purchase. Many will see this as nothing more than a natural response to collateral damage and that Microsoft wasn’t virtuous by offering this extended warranty, but it’s also important to remember that if there is damage, better to deal with it swiftly. This was definitely a bad issue with the 360, but I also think Microsoft did the best they could to resolve it. The author is so passionate in his ire against Microsoft and yet after not one, but two “Red Ring of Death” experiences, he purchased a third Xbox. Sounds like a die hard fan to me.

The author complains about the loud noises the Xbox 360’s internal hardware makes when running. In addition, the tray to his 7-year-old 360 won’t open properly. This is something I can relate to. I also understand that any piece of technology that is over 7 years old, that is without a hardware upgrade, and has probably done some traveling (bringing your Xbox to a friends house), will tend to have some type of wear and tear.

The author makes you feel like he was hornswaggled into purchasing an Xbox One. Here is a rough idea on how his purchase came to pass. His kids used the Xbox 360 as mostly a DVD player. Ever since the tray stopped working his children – and his grandmother who sometimes babysits the children – are unable to watch DVDs. The reader may inquire as to why the author simply didn’t purchase a portable or standard DVD player. (Go online and check pricing for those items.) He places the onus on his wife to carry the burden of suggesting that the procurement of an Xbox One could act, in tandem, as the procurement of a DVD player.

The author then sets to criticize the security protocols for user authentication. Yet while some people would have chastised Microsoft for being too lax with their authentication methods, this author pokes fun at how ridiculous it is that his Xbox One system doesn’t automatically know who he is. He’s just purchased a sophisticated piece of hardware, but he wants it to boot up with the same sophistication as the item he should have bought, the DVD player. Here the author is simply showcasing that he was befuddled by a task that simply needed a competent person to complete it, for it surely must be the case that most tech-competent people understand user authentication methods; simply remembering his log in and/or understanding how password resets work would have been enough. What the author writes here is entertaining for users who either already hate the Xbox One or who are tech illiterate, and thus their emotional fulfillment is gained by having themselves in line with the author’s plight. Since the author seems tech illiterate himself, the readers who are of the same cloth will have his bias.

The author offers a nostalgic impression of a time when video games and systems didn’t need updates. Unfortunately for the author, he is also referring to a time when games were not as complex and the internet was not a universal technology. The Xbox One’s ability to connect to the Microsoft servers is what gives it the ability to stay “new” – even while the hardware itself gets old. In this example, the author’s lack of patience is the only form of written entertainment on display, but unfortunately readers will associate his impatience as a flaw of the Xbox One. Although he admits that better graphics are part of the delay of installing a game, he doesn’t make clear whether he’d forgo superior graphics for the nostalgic NES-game-startup-speeds.

The author rains aspersions upon The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Yet for every aspersion cast, 20 other perspectives online give favorable praise to the game. The author’s main accolade here is in being in the minority. He’s probably always hated RPGs, and thought The Witcher was something else. If he were to have read a few reviews or watched live game play demos before purchasing the game, he might have saved himself the ire.

The author’s critique of the “energy saving mode” in Xbox is simply asinine. This mode was developed to reduce wait time when Xbox One starts up. Microsoft gave users the ability to use or not use this feature. If one is more “energy conscious”, they can simply shut down this feature. This feature also allows users to download games to their Xbox when they’re not at home. If the author wishes to condemn Microsoft for attempting to give efficiency to users, he should make that clear. He should also condemn Microsoft for giving users choice. While it is true that under stand-by-mode, the Xbox One uses almost 2x the power of the PS4, the PS4 uses more power for everything else. In addition, the author fails to mention that PS3 and Xbox 360 used more power. On the topic of energy consumption readers leave pessimistic if they take the author at face value. The truth is that over each generation power consumption in the console market has improved.

The rest of the article is a diatribe on how little the author understands technology and the emotional result that occurs when someone’s in this condition. In his ignorance, he is frustrated and that is about all the article tells you. His opinions are valid but completely unrealistic when you compare them to other, more competent and tech-literate users. If you’re looking for an article written by someone who understands technology, you won’t find it here.

You will, however, find entertainment. And for that, I enjoyed his article tremendously.

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