When Programming Director Larry Hyrb, also known as Major Nelson, stood in front of the camera to do an unboxing of the Xbox One, the only thing that came to mind was that the hassle of obtaining a console by wading through box clutter seems to have now become less of a nuisance.
It still looks a little annoying though, paper wrap, manual books and all, but the fact that Microsoft is moving to broadcast the first unboxing of their own console makes for some good PR. After years of buying a new console and opening them up, it seems that Microsoft didn’t want anyone to be separated from enjoying the experience any longer. Just imagine: after waiting hours and hours in line for a copy, you arrive home and pop the baby open. No hard to open containers. No senseless paper wrap. It’s nothing but you and the machine. There were, however, some aspects in this revolutionary unboxing that pointed out some ‘yays’ and ‘boos.’
The ‘yays’ are abundant though and are allocated in some of the console’s best improvements over the previous Xbox 360. The base console itself is still something to behold. Yes, it still looks like a cable box and it doesn’t draw any attention to itself, but it still reeks of sleekness and subtleness—almost to the point where I had wished Nelson didn’t touch it so much with his grubby hands! In the video, we’re also able to see specifically where some of the cords go, such as the HDMI input and output for the TV and to the local cable box, which reinforces Microsoft’s want for gamers to switch between an online free-for-all on “Destiny” to an episode of “Family Guy.”
The controller is Xbox One’s biggest strength, and in the video we’re able to witness the beauty of a “Day One” version. Though the all-black color scheme compliments the console and the newly mapped buttons and shoulder pads are reasons to jump for joy, nothing really defeats the awesomeness that is the revamped D-pad. The camera should have panned in a little closer or motioned to get an overhead shot of directional buttons, but this inclusion certainly speaks to fighting game fans who have struggled with the disc-oriented d-pad for years. Their promotion of games like “Killer Instinct” and other potential titles also sells well here.
However, the unboxing obviously doesn’t come away unscathed from a few ‘boo’s. Seeing the Kinect sensor mandatorily come out of the box along with the console definitely made everything official. Microsoft wants it there despite half of their fanbase pleading for an Xbox One that comes without one. Whether it’s the fear of being watched by an unknown government voyeur or the hassle that comes with playing Kinect games without much room, these reasons should be more than enough for Microsoft to hopefully offer other iterations of the system without the Kinect at a later date. For now, the Kinect seems very forced and involuntary—seeing it leap out of the Xbox One retail container made it cringe worthy.
The new headset looks very cheap. Xbox 360 headsets had the tendency to break in a matter of a year and this one seems like it’ll beat that record time in a much quicker fashion. Whoever is behind the design team for Xbox One should seriously take a second look at how third party manufacturers are constructing their headsets and work on selling those instead the half-assed effort.
The power supply has to be the biggest offender throughout the entire unboxing. Despite the noticeable difference between the Xbox 360’s massive brick of a power supply, the Xbox One version still looks like a giant paper weight, and with a separate cord to attach it to no less. It brings up the question of whether or not Microsoft cares about the importance of transportation or the fact that game journalists, like myself, often travel back and forth between cities, unable to carry along with them an Xbox console because of the heaviness that is the damn power supply brick. In the video, Hyrb held the power supply by the opposite ends of the chord to hide the fact that it’s still a heavy piece of hardware tacked onto the system. While it is understandable that the new Xbox One console is full of hardworking technology that requires a huge amount of power and electricity, it still doesn’t merit an excuse for not having a work around this.
So, was Larry Hyrb’s infomercial-like version of the Xbox One unboxing a great one? It does have it’s high points as it gave gamers a deeper look at what the retail version will look like once they debut the console in November, but after all the shenanigans that Microsoft has been guilty of as of late, the console doesn’t seem very worthy of an immediate pick up and if the goal of this unboxing was to make the skeptics execute a 180 faster than their policies, they are surely in for a rude awakening.
The only thing that can really make the Xbox One look more appealing on launch day is by offering another version of the console that comes without a Kinect motion sensor, a better headset mic and the absence of the gaudy power supply brick.