Dec 14, 2013

Xbox One: reviewing the reviews

The Xbox One does not exist.

It is a phantom. Or a myth. Or, maybe, even a dream. The only thing for certain is that the console earning scores from Polygon, The Verge, Kotaku, and other big media groups simply does not exist. Their reviews are based in the marketing power of fantasy, turning the Xbox One into a console
...poised to turn into an...entirely unprecedented device. It may not only supplement, but replace your cable box; it could have a rich, full app store…even as they've undone some of the Xbox One's most future-proof innovation over the last few months, Marc Whitten and his team at Microsoft have clearly kept their heads in the future. 7.8/10, The Verge

[not] a fully realized product yet. Gesture support is functionally non-existent, and there's a lack of good examples of how Kinect can contribute to games. There are certain elements... missing at launch….the Xbox One feels like it's from the future. 8/10Polygon
The potential is here….I can easily imagine...multiple games in saved states….Or imagine you're watching a TV show and switching over to a game while the commercials run, keeping an eye on your muted TV feed in snap mode to see when the commercials are over….While the execution's not quite there yet, the...ideas are solidKotaku
The Xbox One, as reviewed, does not exist.  The reviewers are Willy Wonka: in a land of pure imagination. Kotaku's Kirk Hamilton even flat out writes in his review that "the core ideas are solid" but not executed well. The positive reaction despite the negative/wishful content of the reviews baffles until you realize that these reviewers, paid for their critical thinking (this is literally their job), are not basing their opinions of the Xbox One on the Xbox One.

Polygon, Verge, and Kotaku are basing their reviews on a future Xbox One that exists nowhere except in their heads. The human need to believe is not only religious, it swims in all of us; so too, dreaming. Buying into hype, they swallowed Microsoft's product narrative not because the product was good but because it promises and teases with potential.

It's an easy trap for people to fall into, as the open-endedness of that potenial seduces in a way that the concrete features of a product can't: in your head, the Xbox One can be anything you imagine it to be, as good as you hope it can be, and all you ever wanted.

But it isn't. Those are just dreams, and it's time for reviewers to wake up and write something real.

Nov 19, 2013

Belly to the Grass: A Cat's World

Note: this set should be viewed on an Apple Retina screen for true quality. Normal resolution monitors will display these photos darker, without sharp details, and blurry.