It may have been a week since Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One during its May 21 press conference, but plenty of questions linger regarding its features, capabilities and, of course, limitations.
Take backwards compatibility: News broke on day one that it wouldn’t be a feature — nothing gamers didn’t expect after years rumors and the increasing digital emulation of older titles over PSN and Xbox Live.
Until now, though, support for its theoretical cousin, cross-platform play, has largely been up in the air. Ideally, the concept would see users playing a game on the Xbox One — say, Call of Duty: Ghosts — access and participate in the same multiplayer sessions as those playing it on Xbox 360. Speaking to Videogamer, however, Xbox UK marketing manager Harvey Eagle crossed-out, if you will, the utter possibility:
“[You] won’t be able to play the same game with someone on 360 and someone on Xbox One.
Because of the different architecture of the systems it’s not possible. Your Xbox Live account on 360 will carry over to Xbox One. That same account will work on both platforms. The multiplayer won’t.”
It might be for the better; Microsoft failed abysmally at uniting the PC/Xbox 360 player bases of its first-person shooter Shadowrun in 2007. Good luck getting the eight-year old console to synchronize with Xbox One if it couldn’t communicate with Vista.
Other restrictions being defined for the Xbox One are proving how the law can be just as obstinate as outdated technology. Microsoft announced today that the Xbox One will be region locked, meaning it can only play games purchased in the same country of origin as the console itself. Here’s how a Microsoft representative explained the situation to Digital Trends:
“Similar to the movie and music industry, games must meet country-specific regulatory guidelines before they are cleared for sale. We will continue to work with our partners to follow these guidelines with Xbox One.”
But who needs cross-platforming and cross-border merchandising when there’s cross training? Well, at least in the sense that Microsoft isn’t apt to abandon the fitness-game genre with the new and improved features of Xbox One’s Kinect. New domains have been registered by the company, as discovered by internet sleuth Superannuation, for the names XboxFitness.info, XboxFitness.biz, Kinect1.org and KinectOne.info.
The first two names could easily apply to a fitness-based Xbox One launch title or even a general Xbox One product line centered around fitness. Interestingly, though, the last two domains suggest that the newly designed Kinect sensors shipping with the console will be called Kinect One. We’ve always fancied the term “Kinect 2.0″ considering, you know, it’s the second version of Kinect. But then again with “One” already referring to the third iteration of a console, we’re long past the point of numbers being interpreted literally… or at all.
Ranters, we’ve likely just scratched the surface of everything there is to learn about the Xbox One; this week has provided us with equal parts insight, intrigue, and outright confusion. What you make of the way regional restrictions, cross-platforming eschewing and the ostensible fitness focus of the new Kinect are tying into the next-gen console’s broader future?
Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.