I think people need to scale down the drama a bit.
I welcome that the two consoles are trying to separate themselves a little so that folks can actually have a real choice not some virtual one. Such as folks dissecting the minutial differences in the hardware.
R & R
I sympathize with the plight of the deployed serviceman and how XB1 is essentially a nonstarter for all people in your situation. Clearly microsoft has ceded that part of the gaming population to Sony.
The way I see it is the two consoles decided to go in different directions and in the end, which again I believe is a good thing.
Sony- Opted to maximize the current paradigm(i.e. the best hardware) and the mobile gaming aspect which is a huge advantage over Xbox since that doesnt exist.
Microsoft- I believe they are banking on the one serious advantage that they have over Sony which is their software/PC/Cloud ecosystem. Also I think Microsoft is trying to change the paradigm of how video games are played.
-Kinect and Dedicated Internet Connection
Though these seem like two different issues they are actually part of the same thing. These things being built in was a signal to game developers to be unrestricted in making games for xbox.
Do you guys actually believe that mashing your thumbs against small rectangle will always be the interface which you interact with a video game system?
By marrying the XB1 to the newer more powerful kinect it opens a world of opportunities. It will allow devs to integrate its use in ways we can't imagine right now. The limitations of the current alpha Kinect were directly tied to the fact that it was optional(i.e. the game had to stand alone without it). Thus it was left as little extras such as calling audibles in madden. The other games that were more integrated with kinect were of the simplistic nature clearly trying to steal the Wii's thunder. This may have turned off some hard core gamers but it shouldn't.
Dedicated Internet Connection
Lets face it the internet is becoming a ubiquitous household entertainment appliance. These things start as luxuries and ultimately become available to everyone like the Radio or TV before it.
This was going to be the quantum leap IMO, but it got so much bad press it forced Microsoft to scale back a bit.
With the optical disk you are always limited to the read speeds and data that is held through that interface. This is why Xbox 360 allowed you to copy a game to the HD to improve performance. With data stored on the cloud their are no limitations on size and as networks get faster speed will improve too.
While Microsoft was trying to tout the enormous advantages of this set up the press interpreted it differently.
The whole bruhaha over this is stupid.
Valve's Steam showed us how this whole model is antiquated. IT is also why they are developing their own "console"
Steam has free weekends, sales, indie developers.
For example. I bought "Alan Wake" a couple weekends ago because it intruiged. I paid 4 bucks on steam. The game sucked and I deleted it. Never looked back. It was only 4 bucks.
The Console thing is a dying breed anyway. I tend to agree with those that this may be the last console we see as things get more integrated. I think Microsoft sees that and it is why it is trying to expand the value to a person. I welcome the possibility of watching TV through my XB1 over that antiquated interface offered by my cable company that is run through components that are a decade old.