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Microsoft Reveals New Remote Control/Cable Box Combo


In case you didn’t get the memo, Microsoft just revealed its new $500 (?) television remote control/cable box called the Xbox 361. It also may play some video games, according to some suit in a blazer and jeans for the special occasion.

The new Call of Duty game was shown and it will be a Durango exclusive for a couple of days. As long as you pretend that games like Thief, Vanquish, and Brink never existed it will provide innovative new gameplay experiences like the ability to lean and slide. Also, for the first time ever in a video game, there is a dog. What is most impressive though, according to the video I watched, is how the Xbox Infinity will simulate Captain Price’s arm hairs better than ever before. There were also some wireframes that show how your dudebro entertainment experience will come alive like never before with the NextBox. I thought it was pretty touching seeing those soldiers cuddling up. I hope my bros will purchase the Xbox instead of the PS4 so that we can share the man-love a couple of days early.

Steven Spielberg came on stage to say that the next Halo will have no gameplay at all, that you will just watch it. Lots of intro screens were shown for lots of sports video games, none of which I care a flipping shit about other than the soccer one, which is pretty popular. I hope that you care a flipping shit about some football, because the Xbox 720 will have lots of it. And you can scratch your groin at the Kinect and it will switch back and forth between Madden 14 and ESPN.  Without having to turn one off. That is truly amazing, the next generation has arrived.

Forza 5 showed a bunch of cars that you can’t have. But they didn’t show what it’s like to actually drive the cars in the game. So Turn 10 may have actually reached the peak of motorsports simulation by not allowing you to drive any of them. Just like in real life.

Remedy showed a game based on the popular Quantum Leap TV series with lots of human drama- the kind only a little girl can deliver-  and some multimedia CD-ROM game live action content. Stuff blew up. It looked like a summer blockbuster. But it will probably be a third person shooter that will kindly do you the courtesy of doing everything itself other than requiring a press of the X button occasionally so you can sit back and enjoy the show.

Bride of Xbox 360 features a bunch of cloud stuff, so it will always be online. Deal with it. The good news too is that you can throw your old Xbox 360 away, including everything you’ve downloaded on it. Believe me, when you see the ability to watch Netflix on this thing, you’ll never want to play Bastion again anyway. I hate old video games, don’t you?

So the takeaway out of all of this is that Microsoft, even more so than Sony, is doing us all a favor by reminding us that developing new design-level gameplay concepts and leveraging technology to create them aren’t important. We’re dumb to think that anyway, which is why the PC, Wii and iPads suck and have no legitimate game experiences. What matters in the next console generation is the ability to chit chat on the internet, watch TV shows, and marvel at 1080p arm hairs waving in the breeze at 60fps. Get with the program.

Michael Barnes

Games writer Michael Barnes is a co-founder of as well as His trolling has been published on the Web and in print in at least two languages and in three countries. His special ability is to cheese off nerds using the power of the Internet and his deep, dark secret is that he's actually terrible at games. Before you ask, no, the avatar is not him. It's Mark E. Smith of The Fall.

20 thoughts on “Microsoft Reveals New Remote Control/Cable Box Combo

  1. Largely my reaction, but yours was funnier.

    And they’re still charging for Live. Ballsy.

    If I bother, PS4 for next-gen. Otherwise indies on the PC and my time-worn Nintendo franchises because you can say ‘Nintendo sucks’ but they sure as shit don’t want to let my mom try and Skype with me during a dungeon in Zelda.

    I want the WiiU and PS4 to succeed very, very badly based on this presentation.

    1. Yeah…you know, when they started showing Kinect, that “leaked” footage (read: fake corporate viral shit) they showed of a family playing Kinect was just about the most off-putting thing I’ve ever seen in video games advertising. NO ONE in the world wants to see their mom or any other mom in khaki slacks shaking their butts in front of a TV.

      I was about ready to sell my Wii U, but if they can come out swinging at E3 with GAMES then they may wind up with a huge advantage- even without all of the bullshit arm hairs graphics crap. That video showed me that the development money is NOT going to the right places. I mean, come the fuck on…ARM HAIRS.

      I’ll almost certainly go PS4, if at all. There is literally nothing compelling about this console because it’s not intended to be a console.

      I’d really love to see the Steambox come out and say “Look, this thing is a motherfucking GAME PLAYING DEVICE. It plays GAMES. Nothing else.” That alone would win my dollar.

      It makes me really, really miss the consoles of past generations that did NOTHING but play games. No Skype, no cable TV shit.

      1. Nintendo could really pull a bounce back IF they came out swinging at E3.

        Sadly, and this is the voice of a diehard Nintendo fan, they have shown themselves really bad at grasping any momentum that swings their way.

        I agree, give me a bloody game and maybe a friend list to play online games. Option for Netflix if needed.

        But I am not going to buy just because you can replace my DVD player. My DVD player is hooked up and was fifty bucks, you need something more compelling. You can’t sell simplicity when what you are trying to replace isn’t that bloody complex to begin with.

  2. Ha. And the next Xbox is called the “Xbox One”! Well…that is…nice? I guess? Okay seriously, what the hell kind of idiotic name is this? If you want to be completely unoriginal like Sony and start sticking numbers on the end, that’s fine. At least it’s simple. But for fuck’s sake, start with Xbox 3! It’s the third one! This is some Rambo-style idiotic naming convention.

    It looks like MS doesn’t give two shits about social BS. That’s Sony’s game. What they do care about is locking up a ton of exclusive content! That isn’t games. Oh boy, an exclusive deal with the NFL! Because I totally bought an Xbox to watch football.

    On the plus side, it’s a 64-bit PC architecture with 8 GB of RAM, same as the PS4. This is good news for cross-platform development and PC ports. Booyah. And the d-pad got a redesign. Hopefully to a design that actually, you know, works. 😛 If so, I would like one of these new controllers for my PC…

    I feel like Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park watching the Xbox unveil.

    Me: Uh, now eventually you will in fact have, uh, games on your…on your game console, yes? Hello? He-hello? *breaths on camera lens*”
    MS: I reeeeeally hate that man.

  3. I don’t want to say it (because I’m sure a lot of people are putting a lot of work into the new console), I want to see this thing fail. Like the other posters I want a gaming system not a family entertainment system. If I am going to stream movies I’ll use a much cheaper Roku or the blue ray player that streams movies and plays blu ray/dvd’s. Xbox 1 seems one step closer to that dystopian future where the “box” in everyone’s home controls every waking moment.

    1. Sure, I’d hate to think that its failure will hurt actual people. But like you point out, why would I spend $500+ on this when I can get all of the features MINUS all of the things I do not care about like the NFL stuff- for a fifth of the price.

      Penfield Mood Organ, Motherbox…it has been foretold.

  4. I saw nothing that impressed me at the big reveal. I’m afraid, however, this is the future. All your different electronic devices hooked up to your TV will become a single electronic device sooner than later. Eventually, the TV itself will be able to do all these things. I don’t care about all the whizz-bang myself, I just want a capable video game playing machine with a regular old controller. I think we’re still getting that. It’s just a shame the cost of the unit is increased for additional features I will probably never use.

    1. It’s just like cable TV. I have cable for the kid’s channels and Turner Classic Movies. I pay for 50 different ESPNs, the Golf Channel, Sports South, etc. that I never watch and actually have programmed out of rotation.

      Like I said, I’ll gladly pay $99 for a console that you put a disc in and it plays a video game.

  5. I said to a Friend today ,that I felt this system would be better used for my parents for the all in one features. Then I thought about this and said I bet there will be a cheaper alternative out there.

    Every thing I’ve seen supports my feeling that pc is the way to go, with a PS4 later when A good deal comes around. Microsoft read the research wrong, while its true that more people are watching video on there 360 they should of never gone the route of media center first Console second. But hey they have a couple months to fix this right.

    1. That’s exactly right, and what they should have done if the brand is heading in this direction is to launch some kind of label for the new product that is NOT tied to gaming like Xbox…something that is clearly aimed at the folks that want a video player first, a game console second.

      That said, I’d be willing to pay $99 for an Xbone that has none of the bullshit features and just plays a disc when you put it in the drive.

  6. To be fair. The cable TV deal was a bullet point they used for the 360 when they showed it off new. They were just not on the ball with pushing it to it’s home territory till very recently/you had to use a WMC pc to push cable to the Xbox. The whole issue with the game sharing just seems like they’re trying to put Steam on the Xbox. Steam literally does the same thing when you log into your account on someone else’s computer (well sometimes, the game usually get’s listed as a demo if it’s installed on the machine if you don’t own it, Amnesia does this for example).

    Either way, I think Sessler says it best, “Why didn’t they just go the Apple route and call it ‘Xbox?'”

    1. That’s absolutely right too, and the whole “set top box” concept has been around since before the 360.

      But it’s eight years later, and the times have changed dramatically. Over at Gamasutra, Leigh Alexander wrote an editorial that the Xbone reval is a “desparate prayer to stop time” and I think that’s right on the money. It’s too late for the set top box. My fucking Vizio TV does all the set top box stuff other than play console video games.

      Who knows about the game sharing, half of the corporate leadership is saying one thing, half another. It’s almost bizarre that a company of Microsoft’s size and stature can’t come forward with a unified message. Or control what message is there.

      1. The only difference here between the Vizio doing the same job as an Xbox is probably Live. Yeah, the system that have set up right now is complete garbage, but oh man. It’s like Party Mode for Netflix but all the time. And Party Mode was definitely a sleeper feature for the 360. Either way this is just a first impression for the box and I don’t think they really want to do anything but cock tease people on both sides of the coin till E3. I mean, they did want people to talk about the new Xbox. And that’s exactly what they got people to do at this point.

        But I’m still on the fence though. The whole TV thing was even pimped out for the PS2 and then some but they were never fleshed out when it was released.

  7. Amusing read, but I’m going to swim against the tide on this one.

    Under my TV there are two shelves. The top one has a combined PVR/Satellite receiver and the bottom one has my 360 and a slimline stereo amp. There’s no room left.

    Now, I’m a gamer and I want a console primarily to play games. But the idea of having an all-in-one entertainment system that sweeps a lot of that clutter away is very appealing in the same way that it’s cool I can just slip a smartphone in my pocket rather than remembering to carry a phone, an mp3 player, and a tablet computer.

    I read somewhere that the “average” console owner plays something like six games on their console during its operational lifetime. That’s the people this new Xbox is aimed at: not gamers you or me. And I think it’s a smart move, because they’re also the people most likely to be sucked away into smartphone gaming as an alternative.

    And for us, well if (and it’s a big if) Microsoft can get enough hot gaming exclusives for the console then that’s always been the way to capture the hearts of the hardcore gaming crowd. And I don’t see that changing in the next generation.

    You’re right, of course, to bemoan all the fuss made about raw processing power and media capability and nothing said about more creative game design. But I don’t see anything in the announcements for the PS4 so far that suggests it’s going to be any better in that regard. A Steam Box might be, but that’s still pie in the sky stuff until we’ve got some concrete information.

    1. But the thing is – you’ll need separate device to use all of their Live TV stuff. And probably Gold subscription.

      1. In theory, you could tuck the cable box out of the way, plug it into the XBone and control it that way. As for the Gold stuff, I’d say you’re on the mark.

    2. Actually, I completely agree with you, Matt. Yesterday wasn’t about core gamers. They knew core gamers would be watching, but they also know they’ll be watching when E3 rolls around and probably BUILD and every game dev making a game for it will be touting the console’s game capabilities on Microsoft’s behalf. Yesterday’s announcement didn’t make me all aflutter, but I think it was smartly put together as it was about advertising to the broadest set of eyeballs they’re likely to get. (Am I wrong in assuming your national nightly news broadcasts probably did 1-2 minute segments?) MS wanted those people to see B-roll of people controlling TVs with gestures and voice and think, “That’s awesome!”

    3. Really, the lack of focus on design and seeing some guy go on about arm hairs and this idea that the new CoD is innovative because it has sliding and peeking really shows where AAA console development is at this stage…bankrupt, dead end, mass media trash no better than the umpteenth MTV reality series. It’s sad.

      You are correct that the Xbone and what was shown was intended to be more mass market, average consumer material. Yet there again, the message was so mixed and I don’t see where an average consumer would see ANY value in what was on offer. I don’t buy the “one less device” argument for a $500 investment. Like I said above, my Vizio TV does all of the streaming, cable, everything. With NO device attached.

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