Xbox One: Jack of all trades, master of none?


The recent revelations surrounding the Xbox One having to run some BIG name titles at lower resolutions COULD be an indication that Microsoft’s plans for their machine to be a ‘must-have-media-hub’ could actually be backfiring.

The phrase ‘resource allocation issues’ was used recently by Infinity Ward’s Mark Rubin, in an interview with Eurogamer. What he is essentially suggesting is that, because the Xbox One is performing so many background tasks and running certain features of their operating system at all times, there is only so much power and memory available to actually run the games!

The desire to be a ‘media hub’ rather than just a games console has an understandable appeal. When the Playstation 2 launched back in 2000, it was the fact that it was also a DVD player (relatively new technology at the time) that put one in every living room and ultimately made it the best selling home games console of all time (over 155 million units sold to date). However, what Microsoft is attempting with the Xbox One could result in a negative response from fans if what they have done is become a ‘Jack of all trades’ type console.

The inclusion of gaming, Blu-Ray and DVD playback, live streaming of TV and video services, voice control, motion controls and an OS that allows you to ‘snap’ between all of the above at a moments notice – could prove to be too much technology.

Fighting for room on Xbox One? Titanfall will also run at 720p
Fighting for room on Xbox One? Titanfall will also run at 720p

The hugely ambitious console has already come under fire for its questionable policies. These have, thankfully, been radically altered or reversed to keep consumers happy. Unfortunately, the resolution woes will not be able to be fixed so easily. The machine can only do so much. As Microsoft have been keen to promote just how much it can do and how easily you can switch between functions, they will be reluctant to make any more dramatic changes to a console that has already undergone numerous changes since its original announcement.

However, if developers are going to be able to optimise their games to run on a par with the Playstation 4, something may well have to make room, which could mean switching off other features to allow some of those ‘resources’ to be re-allocated!

Of course, Microsoft already has an answer, of sorts. 300 000 cloud servers just waiting to be used! Unfortunately, it appears that these won’t factor into running Call of Duty: Ghosts OR 2014’s Titanfall. Future titles however, could benefit massively – as soon as you sign into Xbox Live. Anyone remember when Microsoft said their machine no longer had to be ‘always online’? Well, if you want the best out of your games – that may have just changed… again.

We’ll keep you posted on any further developments.

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