April 5, 2016

The Xbox One Makes Me Want to Give Up on Video Games

I've been trying to express my feelings on the Xbox One for quite some time, and I've gone through maybe three or four different iterations. None of them felt right. My goal was not to sound like a whiny bitch, but you know what? Fuck that. I'm going to be a whiny bitch because that's what the Xbox One deserves. See, the Xbox One is a piece of shit. It's the worst console I've ever owned, and probably the worst ever made. Worse than the 3DO or the Virtual Boy or even the Gizmondo, which I'm pretty sure was a scam. Every time I try to play the Xbox One I'm filled with rage followed by a profound sadness. It's almost like the five stages of grief, where I start out in disbelief that a video game system can be so much of a hassle, then I'm pleading with the forces that be to make the damn thing work how I want it to, then I finally accept that it just sucks and give up. I used to own an Xbox and an Xbox 360. I loved them! I want to love the Xbox One too, but I just can’t.


And before you ask, yes I know a lot of Xbone games are on PC. No, I don’t have a gaming PC. No, I don’t want a gaming PC. That is irrelevant so don’t bring it up!


I'm honestly not sure what possessed me into buying an Xbox One in the first place. Why did I think it was a good idea? What about the Xbox One was so appealing to me that I spent $350 on this useless fucking paperweight? Ever since the thing was announced I'd been opposed to it. It sounded like a piece of garbage at first, and then they started backtracking on literally every feature until it was just a shittier version of the Xbox 360. And all of that should have been a red flag. I should have been alerted to the fact that nobody at Microsoft knew what the fuck they were doing with the Xbox One. But nope! I bought it anyway. And every time I turn it on and try to play a game it enrages me. I have such an unpleasant time trying to play video games on the Xbox One that it makes me want to give up on video games altogether. It's like the thing is morally opposed to me having a good time. Allow me to explain.

My typical experience is thus: I turn on the machine, wait several minutes for it to power up and log me in, try to start up a game, get stopped because there's an update, let the update go for hours, come back later and find out the update has randomly stopped, restart update, come back even more hours later, don't feel like playing the game any more, turn off Xbox. I frequently just give up and play something else on another console, which leads to me actually having a good time. But I keep coming back to my Xbox One. What's wrong with me? Do I enjoy the abuse? Am I insane? Perhaps the Xbox One has revealed something about me deep down in my psyche. Maybe I should see a psychologist.

In what I'm pretty sure is a holdover from the 1984 Big Brother days, the Xbox One is literally and expensive brick until you start to download things. When I took it out of the box, it actually was incapable of performing any function besides updating. But that's okay, because even the Wii U had a day-one patch, right? Not so fast, because on Xbox One everything is an app. Everything. I couldn't even play a blu-ray movie until I downloaded an app that allowed me to do so. Want to look at friends? Open the app. Xbox store? It's a fucking app! This console requires me to download a million damn things all the damn time and my internet is incredibly damn slow! It sometimes literally takes me days before I can use it because I have to update the console, then install the update, then update the game, then install that update. It's an incredible pain, but I'd be willing to put up with it if the console as a whole was worth it. But it's not.

My internet speed on a good day.


Just the other day I left my console on all damn day to download a 3.4 gig update (why the hell was it that big?) only to come back that evening and find there was an error that stopped it at 18% and it had to start aaaalllll over again. Of course, I had to hook up an external hard drive after installing a few games including the Master Chief Collection, which I'm pretty sure took up about half my drive space, so that's where everything downloads to these days. And that'd be fine IF IT FUCKING WORKED. Instead, the console decides that if it goes into rest mode (which, by the way, is designed for downloading things) my external drive will magically disconnect and fuck up the download! Then, when I try to fix it, my controller turns on but doesn't do anything and I have to unplug the hard drive, manually power down the system by holding the power button, turn the system back on and wait for it to restart, manually resync the controller, and then plug the hard drive back in. I have had to do this at least four times so far and it's amazing to me that none of my data has been lost.

But that's not even the half of it! Oh no, we're just getting started. Let's talk about the fact that you have to update a game before you can play it and that installing games is horribly slow. When Halo 5 came out, it actually took me days before I could play it. If you're connected to the internet, the Xbox One will apparently attempt to download patches or some shit while you install the game to your system, without ever telling you it does this. You can completely disconnect from the internet and the game will install faster, but still slowly. All I wanted to do was play Halo 5's campaign and I had to disconnect my system from the internet completely for several days just so I could play it because if the Xbox One detects even the slightest hint of wifi, it will tell you to download a patch or close the game. Why in the name of Bill Gate's anus don't they give you the option to play the game offline like the competition does? I do this all the time on my PS4 and Wii U while I wait for a patch to download! After I finished said campaign, it was a couple of days before I could play again because the patch was so slow to download that even folks with normal internet speed were complaining about it. For a lot of us, it just froze around 80% for hours and then started moving at a snail's pace. Then, of course, once I finally got in I was constantly disconnected from the game, my party, Xbox Live, or any other fucking thing under the sun.


What's even worse than mandatory patches? Being lied to about install times. I put in a game, it installs for a while, then it tells me the game is ready to play. THAT'S A GODDAMN LIE. EVERY TIME. Not once ever has a game been ready to play when my Xbox says it's ready to play. Not. Once. Instead, I'm usually met with a screen that says "INSTALLING" and a percentage. Once, I foolishly thought I could outsmart it. When I installed the Gears of War remake, I waited until it was 85% complete before I attempted to play it, even though it said it was ready at about 11%. The game played the opening movie, loaded up the main menu, and THAT WAS FUCKING IT. Every option I tried to select, every single one, told me the game wasn't installed enough to load that. Then what in the flying fuck got installed!? 85% of the game is a cut scene and a menu!? By comparison, when I load up a PS4 game for the first time it installs for no longer than 90 seconds and then it's ready to play. I've never been stopped by game because it wasn't installed enough, except for two occasions. One was Fallout 4, which had a secondary install screen that took about 20 minutes. Even then, Bethesda was clever about it. They had the SPECIAL instructional videos play while the game installed. The other instance was the Uncharted Collection which told me to wait while it installed additional data. It took no longer than two minutes and then never stopped me again. But the Xbox One? It's a hassle every time.

Speaking of PS4 comparisons, why the hell don't patches download automatically on Xbox One? Every time I turn on my PS4, it reviews every game I've ever installed to see if there's an update for it, then automatically starts downloading it. The Xbox One requires me to start the software first, and the only reason I'm going to do that is if I want to play it. But then I can't play it! On PS4, I'm never prevented from playing any single-player content because my software is out of date. The system has already updated it automatically while I was doing something else, or has given me the option to play the unpatched game anyway while the update downloads. If not for this, I'd probably never play The Witcher 3 again, which has had a 17 gig update downloading for probably months now. What do I do while I wait for it to finish? Play The Witcher 3, of course, because I can! Then there's the Wii U which works generally the same as the PS4 except it downloads patches when I'm not looking without even asking me. Sometimes, when the system is off, the red power light turns orange and then the next time I turn it on something has updated. If not, I'm given the option to play the game in the meantime anyway. Why is the Xbox stuck in the stone age here? I'm pretty sure the 360 worked that way too, but at that point I didn't know any better. Now that I know there's a better way, the Xbox One pisses me off!

The PS4's best feature.

Then there's the user interface. That horrible, piece of shit user interface that they updated to move things around while somehow keeping it just as unintuitive. I mean, it's a real genuine mess. I didn't think it was possible to make that terrible final Xbox 360 UI look good, but they found a way! Not only was the first iteration a step back from the 360 by removing numerous features, but the new 2015 UI removed some stuff from the previous UI, like the friends screen! Not even the piss-poor excuse for a guide can save this interface. I could literally accomplish more things faster on Xbox 360 just by pulling up the guide. Now I have to exit my game to do a lot of shit I used to do in two clicks. That's assuming I can even find where anything is! Things are hidden everywhere, the store is an unorganized mess, there's a fucking unlabeled hamburger button on the controller that has secret functions... Sometimes I have to close my game to hunt for some damn thing like my friends profile which opens up a stupid separate app, and then when I want to go back to my game it's been pushed down the list like it's not important instead of prominently being the first, giant item, because apparently I’m currently playing the friends app!

And, no, not even backwards compatibility can get me to like this system. In fact, it's not even a feature that excites me at all because it's just a whole new hassle. If I could just put in my game disk and play the game, sure, that'd be fine. But I have to download shit, and transfer my saves and just the thought of doing that makes me want to throw up. No, it's much easier to just use my Xbox 360 for that. With internet that’s worse than Cuba, it’s clear that the Xbox One definitely isn’t for me. I can’t do jack shit in Halo without an internet connection and now Quantum Break, the one other game I was actually looking forward to, is requiring me to stream HD video or initiate days worth of downloads. But then again my friend with great internet (50mbps!)  bought an Xbox One last year and was excited to join the new generation, only to get a PS4 six months later. At the end of the day, I don’t know who this thing is for. It seems to me the Xbox One doesn't want you having fun with it, and I don’t think you should force the poor guy to try. He's been through enough already.

So if you’re like me and you haven’t pledged an allegiance yet for the new generation, you probably are not going to want an Xbox One. Even if you’re not like me I don’t recommend it. Not only does it make playing games a burden with its slow, buggy operating system and baffling user interface, but all the franchises you know and love have been burned to the damn ground. I’ve watched them all die slow, painful deaths. Halo. Gears of War. Fable. Project Gotham. Any game made by Rare. All dead. They keep trying, though, and I keep hoping like a fucking idiot. Maybe Crackdown 3 will be good. Perhaps Gears of War 4 won’t suck. I’m not sure I care any more, though. If I have to play them on Xbox One then it’s just not worth it.


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