Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Uninterested in the One

Everyone is asking me today what I think of the new Xbox One announcement. Once upon a time, I would have been all over it. I probably would have stayed home to watch the big reveal, and I would have been combing the web for more details after the fact. Today? I ignored the press conference, dismissed the details that popped up in my Twitter and Google Reader feeds without reading them, and well after the fact I read a brief summary of the new console.

I've written in the past about how little I play games anymore. I actually use my Xbox a ton, but I use it almost exclusively for Netflix and MLB.tv. It's amazing how quickly my interest in games has waned. When Halo 3 was released, in 2007, I lined up for the midnight launch, went straight home, and played the entire campaign through with one of my friends, finishing around 7 am. I also logged hours and hours on the online multiplayer. When Halo 4 came out last year, I waited weeks to pick it up, played halfway through the campaign before effectively losing interest, and never touched the multiplayer.

There are plenty more examples. I played Borderlands compulsively in 2009, and I never even bought the sequel. Duke Nukem Forever, once among my most highly anticipated games of all time, I completely ignored when it came out. Far Cry 3, the indirect sequel to Far Cry 2 which I destroyed a few years ago, I bought and played for maybe ten minutes before losing interest. I can't remember the last time I stayed up all night to play a game, which I used to do regularly. It's probably been years.

I was actually never really into single player games. In fact, as far back as the N64, I only had a handful of games I ever logged much time on in single player. I was always a social gamer. In high school, I used to host LAN parties in which my friends would bring their Xboxes and we would play system link games. That was near the top of the list of geekiest things I've ever done, but fuck it, it was a lot of fun back then.

In my undergrad years, Xbox Live was the primary mechanism by which my friends and I would "hang out" on weeknights. We all had similar schedules with work/class during the day, and we were mostly too broke to go out much, so we would convene on Xbox Live at night. In some ways, that may have been the pinnacle of my gaming time. I would log hours on online multiplayer games, because I was always playing with my friends.

But that perfect storm couldn't last forever. Our schedules don't align as consistently, so we're not all online at the same time. We also have more money, so when we do have time to hang out, we're more inclined to do so in person. This is absolutely a good thing; I'd rather spend my evening sitting on a patio with my friends than playing Call of Duty with them. I feel like the memories I'll treasure most will not come though my TV.

Having read the description of the Xbox One, I'm sure I'll probably buy it, depending on when it launches and how much it costs. I like gadgets, and the Xbox 360 loads pretty slowly these days, which can be frustrating. But I don't see anything about it that would re-excite me about gaming in general. I don't know if there's anything that would ever truly recapture my interest. That part of my life may well be done.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you want an opinion on the Xbox One, I'm the wrong person to ask.

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