Xbox One: a way of life

My brother once made the bold claim “video games are the modern equivalent of reading a novel for fun.” While Big Mike may be far from the truth, I think he was on to something. Today, hundreds of people are involved in the making of a video game and crafting the story line is a task usually given to a team of multiple writers.

pong

As we move forward in time I have noticed how complex and intricate video games have started to come. Quite a lot of progress has been made if you compare Pong (1972) with the most recent game in the Grand Theft Auto series.

gta-5

For this blog post, I will not discuss the multimillion dollar gaming industry but one small part of it: Mircosoft’s Xbox.

 

Xbox truly changed my life for the better, and it has also changed yours (you just don’t realize it yet)

 

My family has a long history with video games. My brothers and I were so serious about gaming as little boys that the room housing all of our video games has appropriately been name “The Nintendo Room.” Our first console was the super Nintendo. However, we switched our brand loyalty as soon as we unwrapped an Xbox on Christmas morning in 2001.

xbox-console

The most amazing feature of the original Xbox was not cutting edge graphics or games released exclusively on Xbox. The most incredible feature was the ability to connect to the Internet. This feature, known as Xbox Live, allows players to connect with and play against other users all across the globe.

 

This ability to play online had several important impacts. In my personal opinion, the most amazing feature was the ability to make and maintain friendships. As soon as I would get home from school, I would turn on the Xbox and find all of my friends gaming together. Physically, we were all alone in our respective bedrooms. But in spirit, we were all together. We would play together as a team for hours. And once Xbox made it possible to actually talk to each other and hear their voices with the help of a headset and microphone, things were taken to the next level.

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I have family members located all across America, and we have all agreed that our friendships would not be as close if it were not for the time spent together on Xbox Live. My cousin Jack first told me about his now fiancé during a game of Halo. And as sad as this might sounds, I have even made new friends because of Xbox Live.

 

The original Xbox was great, and the Xbox 360 was even better. However, the Xbox One (the newest console in the series, released at the end of 2013) is taking the Xbox brand to new heights and unconquered territory. Yes, Xbox One can be used to play video games, but that is only a fraction of its full potential. Xbox One is no longer a video game system, but rather a home entertainment unit.

xbox-one

The console places an increased emphasis on cloud computing and the integration of entertainment applications and services. Much like Apple TV, users can download a variety of programming applications (such as HBO Go, Netflix, and Hulu) and utility applications (like Skype, Internet Explorer, Amazon, and even a State Farm app). Some of the features available to users are the ability to stream live televisions, split-screen multitasking of applications, and full Internet access. The disc drive is also capable of reading Blu-ray, DVD, and CD.

 

If the Xbox One’s 8GB hard drive proves to be too small, no need to worry. The system also utilized cloud storage, allowing all of your precious information to be safely stored somewhere in the Internet. The Xbox One also utilizes motion tracking and voice recognition software, which allows people to control the device without the need for a physical controller.

Xbox One is a product like no other. It is every electronic device you have owned over the past 10 years combined into one. It is the embodiment of social and digital media. It is a fun factory that can be used for an endless amount of hours. It is more than a video game system; it is a way of life.

bill-gates

Bravo, Bill Gates, bravo.

10 comments

  1. This is a cool new view that I’ve never taken when thinking about video games. I have definitely played video games before (Nintendo 64 is my console of choice), but I’ve always thought about it as entertainment not really something that changes your life. I didn’t know about everything Xbox can do and it truly is incredible. The game console is no longer just for gaming and they too are innovating and moving forward with society through digital media. Thanks for the different perspective!

  2. Great post. Very interesting take on Xbox. I have never really thought about the social aspects of video games. I don’t have an Xbox One, but I did used to play Xbox 360 pretty regularly back in the day. I can definitely agree that in undergrad Xbox 360 did allow me to stay connected with friends from high school even though we were all at colleges hundreds of miles away form each other. Xbox One, as you said, is a complete integration of many entertainment systems and I think takes the social aspects of video games to an even further level.

  3. Nice anecdotal evidence. I didn’t know that much about the latest version of the xbox, but can see why you like it so much. I hadn’t considered its social advantages, but it seems to be a large factor for its users. I’m not too familiar with the gaming industry, but do you think that’s the main source of its differentiation, compared to its competitors. How do game consoles like WII and Play Station stack up?

  4. This is an eye-opening post. I don’t think I’ve really played on an X-Box since I played Halo on the first X-Box a long time ago. It’s really interesting to hear all of the new features that the new X-Box offers. I guess I would have predicted about 10 years ago that some day gaming consoles would be able to do all of these things but I’m glad that day is finally here. I’m excited to see what Nintendo’s next generation system will offer when its finally released. I stopped playing video games a while ago but considering all these new exciting innovations from the industry I might start playing them again. Also, I predict that (if this hasn’t happened already) someone will come out with a game that is based on Twitter or some other social networking site. I don’t know what that will entail exactly, but I do think it will happen.

  5. I actually got an Xbox 360 for the first time when moving to Boston 10 years ago. My friends in ATL gave it to me, saying “ok, we’re not going to keep up with you by phone, but we will play Xbox together.” Yes, the people I’m still most connected to are the guys I played xBox with. It’s actually great entertainment for dads with small kids (as most of us were), because you can play and socialize without needing a babysitter. I’m not as big of a fan of the Xbox One as you are though. I expected more, and in some ways prefer the 360 experience.

    PS I also had “pong” as a kid

  6. Talking only about Xbox one is a little biased in my point of view, there are other platforms that also have developed in a really similar (if not the same) way. It’s really interesting to see how the gaming systems have been evolving and have been absorbing the uses of many different devices. According to the statistics, the main use of XBOX is Netflix, which also tells a lot where gaming systems are becoming. The brands that produce these gaming devices have a clear goal, try to absorb as much content as they can, and also create a digital empire in your house.

  7. Great stuff man, concise and poignant. Although I’ve spent thousands of hours playing video games in my life, I never took to live gaming as much as my friends did. I played COD early in high school, but they took off with Halo and Gears and all that other crap. It became too much for me when I started seeing my younger brother log more hours in a day than he would be in school, or even sleeping; “keepin’ up the ratio, dude.” What’s funny is that now graduation is upon us, I don’t text or call my friends from home very much. I’m definitely going to get PS4 or Xbox One just to play and keep in touch. Cheers!

  8. Oh man, on your reflection of keeping friends through Xbox Live: truer words have not been spoken. One of my childhood best friends moved away coming into high school but being able to get home and hop on some Call of Duty games with him and others was just the best way to keep in touch. I really like the perspective you took with respect to video games, it made me feel nostalgic about how close I used to be with some people. Now I guess I have those same friendships, but with all my roommates sitting around the common room playing some PS4 (sorry). Still a great time. Thanks for the post!

  9. Loved this post. Like you, I started with Super Nintendo and then Nintendo 64. However, I then switched over to Playstation and then PS2 before my brand loyalty switched over to Microsoft and their release of the first XBox. I feel like the ability to socially connect with people all over the world is a very underrated aspect of video game systems. Even back in high school, my friends and I would be on XBox live on school nights after practice, whether it was an online dynasty in Madden or just playing Halo or Call of Duty. Even now that I don’t play video games too often (although I’ll still play a quick game of NBA 2k online with friends every once in a while), I still use my XBox One regularly to watch Neflix, HBOGO, or even NFL Sunday Ticket during football season through the NFL app. Microsoft definitely changed lives starting with the first XBox, regardless if the users realized it or not.

  10. The inner 10 year old boy that’s still in me is screaming, longing the feeling of button mashing. When I first began playing video games, I never thought platforms could ever expand to the levels they have today. Using the console to jump on to the internet really proves the infinite possibilities in our near future technologically. If you told me I could jump from playing Madden to watching Tom & Jerry on that same game console, I woulda had to look at you funny. Nice Post.

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