Category: Xbox


After nearly 8 years Microsoft has revealed the next console to have the Xbox name.

Introducing Xbox One

Xbox One Console with Kinect & Controller.

Xbox One Console with Kinect & Controller.

 

The console was revealed in an event presented on the Microsoft campus in the area known as Studios West. It was an invite only affair for the tech press, but was also streamed online for the rest of us mere mortals.

There has been a lot of controversy over details provided at the reveal and in press interviews that followed. I think a lot of this is due to messaging that went out that wasn’t consistent on the part of Microsoft. I also happen to think a lot of this falls upon the media for not making sure they had verification of information before rushing to get the story out.

The fallout from this has been quite honestly horrific to watch unfold. Just view the comments on almost any story and you see a level of venom I rarely see from the gaming community. Some of that ire has been directed towards Microsoft, some towards the gaming press, and some towards other fellow gamers commenting on the stories.

In all of this chaos there’s something that most folks keep overlooking…what was actually revealed.

Microsoft (in my opinion) did a fine job of revealing the console itself, and the features they have worked had to add for this generation. Sure they didn’t do much of a reveal of the gaming aspect, but it was already known E3 would be the venue for that. This reveal was about the machine itself, new capabilities, and hints towards future direction.

The speakers were competent, delivered their message clearly, and kept my attention. I had no questions about the features they demoed as they made them easy to understand, without being overly simplistic. I look forward to the ability to multitask that they are now offering on the Xbox One. For instance, the Skype functionality where a call and a game can be handled at the same time looks nice. It would be nice to have a Skype chat with a friend who is playing a game and we can both see each other as we play.

While I’m not a huge sports fan it would be nice to be able to check in on a game while playing. There are teams that I occasionally care about, and being able to do that without having to switch things around or stop gaming is nice. Maybe I’m biased due to my love of the concept of all-in-one integration. Things that make my life easier, and do so in a way that is seamless and smooth always get me excited.

I look forward to more clarification around several of the more controversial points regarding how games are going to be handled this generation. There’s lots of ideas, concepts, rumors, and conspiracy theories around that. I for one want to wait until we have official word before I decide if I am happy or have a reason to be angry. I also look forward to more details about upcoming titles that will be shown at E3. I feel that this generation it really is Microsoft’s chance to really score a huge win for their 3 screens and a cloud strategy.

Your move Microsoft…

Things have changed a lot (once again) since my last update in September of 2010.

Here’s a breakdown of the big events (focused on the professional side):

  1. Accepted a promotion on the Xbox LIVE team I was working on in September 2010.
  2. Asked for a demotion May 2011 due to my work/life balance being completely out of whack.
  3. Accepted a job offer (still contract) on a different Xbox team in August 2011. It was offering twice the pay, and seemed like a good idea at the time.
  4. Had my contract ended on that team in December 2011. I won’t go into details on why, since it would make them look pretty bad.

The logic I was given for the 4th item still makes me do this about every other day:

I am uncertain as to what my next step should be. I was so confident that Microsoft was where I wanted to be; and I made the classic mistake of not having a backup plan. I spent the last decade preparing myself to work at Microsoft. I tested every piece of software they would let me, made contacts, and even some good friends.

Don’t get me wrong folks, I’m still a huge fan of Microsoft. I still rock a Zune, carry a Windows Phone, and prefer Xbox over other platforms.

I think a portion of why I feel so uncertain has to do with my Dad. The two things he drilled into me growing up were, “Always work like you’re trying to work yourself out of a job,” and “Any job worth doing is worth doing right.” I took those concepts to heart and have tried to make sure that I apply them to every position I’ve ever worked.

For retail this meant studying product specifications, making sure everything in my section was in its place, and that customers were given the correct information. For the answering service/dispatch I made sure that account updates were correct, other agents were notified of changes, and I was available at all hours in case they were short on staff. For Microsoft I always provided my honest feedback, always made my position on security known, and made it clear that it is possible to advocate for both the customer AND Microsoft at the same time.

I was talking to my Dad after my contract ended in December, and he told me something that has actually left me a bit shaken. The rules that he had given me, that had been set so firmly in my mind, no longer apply. He explained to me that employees and customers can no longer afford to be loyal to employers or brands. The reason being that employees and customers are now viewed as nothing more than disposable commodities, numbers on a spreadsheet. Companies no longer care if you’re competent, but if you’re obedient and are qualified on paper. They do not care how long you’ve worked for them, or the knowledge you have gained in that time. If you cannot sit down, shut up, and play the game you’re out.

This leaves me in a situation where I’m having to re-evaluate everything I have taught myself to believe in when it comes to professional ethics. What is the value in doing things correctly if it leaves you unemployed? Where is the benefit of having experience if you are punished for that experience? What is there to gain in being loyal if no one cares?

These are the questions that keep me awake late at night, long after I should be asleep.

 

Do I keep pushing for the life I thought I wanted, or do I start over?

 

It all starts with this…

Life has been crazy the last few months. I’m back working at Microsoft, in a very different position than last time.  I’m working on an Xbox team, as opposed to working at MGS as a tester.  This is still a contracted position, but without a set end date, and I don’t have to take that 100-day break.

For this position I’ve had to move yet again, and have had to get used to living in Redmond again.  This time I’m in a much better location than before.  This place is much more central so getting around without a car is much easier.
I truly love the job I do, and the people I work with. It’s always nice to fit in with such an awesome group of people.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a place in my life where I’ve laughed and smiled so much.  There’s very much a family feel with this group.

So that’s what I’ve been up to and why I’ve ‘gone dark’ the last several months.

I’m hoping to post more often once I’ve got more of a routine going.  It will probably be more personal stuff than tech related stuff, but I’ll probably still sneak in the occasional post about new tech that I’ve acquired.
So I hope those that read my site are well, and always feel free to post comments.