Lame Xbox One Updates

Major Nelson revealed some features of the latest Xbox One update. It continues to be abundantly clear that this machine was not designed with gaming being the first thing in mind. Nine months after launch, features like this are still being added:

Low battery notification: You asked for it, now a notification will pop up when your controller battery is getting low.

Well, it’s a good thing someone asked for it. No reason to include a feature that was on a previous system for like seven years. Remember also, that the ability to even see how much battery life is left on a controller was not even an option until a very recent Xbox One update. A few months ago, without warning a controller would just die, which is quite the problem when playing any sort of multiplayer game. Anyone who plays multiplayer games with any sort of regularity knows how important this feature would be. And yet, someone had to ask for the feature to be added.

Last seen time in Friends list: Direct from Xbox Feedback, the friends list will now show how long it’s been since a friend has been online. For example, “Last seen 20m ago: Forza Motorsport 5.”

Another minor feature that existed on the previous generation for most of it’s existence. More importantly, a minor feature that probably took almost no work to add.

Microsoft’s missteps with the Xbox One have been well documented to this point. The massive 180 they pulled after the initial announcement is forever going to be a part of Xbox lore. It’s clear that nine months in a majority of users are primarily gamers who use the system for other things as well. But it seems like Microsoft have an idea in their head that the system would primarily be used by non-gamers. That might still turn out to be true five years from now, but all the little mistakes along the way are hurting credibility. The lack of exciting game releases is not helping either.

The hardest of hardcore fans bought their Xbox Ones already. The more casual gamers are waiting for something (price drop, amazing exclusive title, some game changing feature) to take the plunge. People ask me if they should get one, or what my take is, and generally I tell them that the gaming experience is disappointing, and the graphics leap that is generally so drool inducing isn’t there this time around. It’s a great media center if you have Kinect and therefore voice commands. Otherwise the interface is clumsy and unintuitive, and overall just ‘meh’ experience.

It’s annoying that Microsoft is wasting time on features that should have been there from the beginning rather than focus on new and exciting things. Based on the tweets coming out of Gamescom last week, it sure feels like the Kinect is going to be completely irrelevant in a year. Those two things make it hard to see where the One is a big improvement over the 360, and that is not where things should be nine months in.