Xbox One media confusion redux

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Remember how the botched messaging and double-speak from Microsoft regarding the Xbox One after the unveiling and the disasterous E3 showing caused a lot of confusion? Microsoft worked hard to counteract all of that with clear updates via Xbox Wire detailing the policy changes known collectively as the “Xbox 180.” Unfortunately, it appears the Xbox PR machine is stumbling again with a chain of new errors.

After the jump, let’s rubberneck at the slow-motion wreck!

Over the weekend, reports from at least two anonymous developers accused the Xbox One user interface of having significant issues. Unlike the Xbox 360 Dashboard which integrates all the necessary features into one program, the Xbox One must shift between three systems depending on the application being used which appears to be a bit of a problem at this time. As reported by normally reliable sources, the developers say the Xbox One UI is “crash city” and the network functionality for the PlayStation 4 is “much further ahead” of Xbox Live on the Xbox One. Additionally, the “Snap” feature – the ability to seamlessly switch between media and gaming which Microsoft showed at E3 – is reportedly broken and causing crashes in games. Twitter discussion between media representatives regarding the reports centered on how all official UI demonstrations of the Xbox One have been canned mock-ups. Speculation in light of the new information was generally negative.

Microsoft’s director of product planning and outspoken Twitter user, Albert Penello, maintained that the UI demonstration in this video is an “excellent representation of the real UI.” When pressed about why there was no demonstration of a live UI, Penello offered this excuse:

“Dash has Beta tiles and content (like Movies & Music) we don’t have rights to use. There are a lot of logistics and licensing issues doing a direct feed.”

Penello’s explanation for the lack of a live feed demo convinced no one, leading to further speculation regarding the development state of the Xbox One’s vaunted media switching capabilities. Additionally, the news about Live integration causing issues with the UI generated concern amongst fans who relied on the rock-solid Live features in the Xbox 360 – a point usually in Microsoft’s favor in the current console generation.

At almost the same time, revelations about lower than expected display resolutions for highly anticipated games on the Xbox One hit the internet. While Call of Duty: Ghosts will be rendered in 1080p on the PlayStation 4, the game will only be displayed in 720p on the Xbox One. For Battlefield 4, the PS4 will output at 900p while the Xbox One will once again be limited to 720p. (We don’t have the results of our own next-gen BF4 dinosaur dangle physics comparision yet.) Microsoft’s own Xbox One exclusive Killer Instinct will also be displayed at 720p, while Ryse: Son of Rome will be rendered at 900p. The disappointing resolutions of these launch games calls into question the viability of Microsoft’s claims that the Xbox One is designed for a ten year run.

In the latest bit of cluelessness, Penello and an unnamed Xbox One developer took to Reddit yesterday and likened the social media frenzy over the new console to the scrutiny given to out of control celebrities.

“It’s like Xbox One has become Britney Spears back when every part of her life was under constant surveillance by the media\paparazzi. Every detail, relevant or not, could be taken, fed, digested through social media, and emerge as a complete new beast over the span of a day.”

One can only imagine the Xbox One as a head-shaven former teen star in rehab.

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