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Xbox One X is the Perfect Representation of the Tech Industry's Existential Crisis (mashable.com) 190

A reader shares commentary on the newly launched Xbox One X gaming console: Fundamentally, Xbox One X is the same machine that Microsoft released in 2013. It plays the same games, runs the same apps, depends on the same operating system. You can still plug your cable box into it and watch OneGuide magically sync with your local TV listings. Most of the things you can do look a little better and run a little faster/more efficiently, sure. The actual casing is smaller than the previous iterations, too. It's a gorgeous $500 machine. That's why I keep eyeballing it. My brain screams, "Why do you exist?" The Xbox One X does not answer. This is a familiar problem in 2017. Look around at all the tech in your life and do a quick, informal poll: How many of those items become outdated every year or every few years when a newer, shinier version of the same thing comes along? I'm talking about your iPhone and iPad. Your Amazon Echo and Kindle. Your Pixel and Daydream VR headset. Your Apple Watch. Your Roku, your Apple TV, your Chromecast. Incremental upgrades that push features like 4K! HDR! Wireless charging! Slimmer design! No headphone jack! (Wait, no, that last one is awful.) Breathless bullet point after breathless bullet point. Some of these additions have genuine utility and add value to the product. Many don't, or depend on you also possessing some other piece of incrementally upgraded tech (like the kinds of fancy-shmancy TVs that play the nicest with Xbox One X).
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Xbox One X is the Perfect Representation of the Tech Industry's Existential Crisis

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  • 4k Gaming (Score:5, Funny)

    by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Friday November 03, 2017 @12:45PM (#55483799)
    Now fuck off with your idiotic existential crisis.
    • Except it doesn't do it well, or with all titles. And with the small market share, it will likely not prompt publishers and developers into supporting enhancements specifically for that system. As with the PS4 Pro, specific major games are the only ones to get patches. Most developers will continue to focus on the majority of the market, which own the less powerful PS4, Xbox One, and newcomer Switch.

      Perhaps in an actual new generation where previous systems were cut off from support for new games, as with X

      • by Luthair ( 847766 )
        Not sure why you'd expect past games to get upgrades that weren't shipped with them... In the future though publishers are already working on higher res versions because of PCs so its mostly a matter of optimization.
    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Who in their right mind wants that? Basically the only application for it is to impress "friends", because you have nothing else to offer.

  • ... to the subscription model

  • With my Mac Pro Kodi system plugged into it. I would say the Diamatron has certainly held up for for a few itterations. I am however considering upgrading soon despite the thing working perfectly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 03, 2017 @12:53PM (#55483857)

    Get a new Mac Pro. It won't get replaced by a new Mac Pro for like half a decade.

  • Since the brain-eating zombies euphemistically known as so-called "smart" so-called "telephones" (presumably because "treacherous handheld spy-computer" would be too scary) have devoured the entire population, nobody buys anything else anymore.
  • Should we get off your lawn, too?
  • That's the oldest marketing fluff there is. Why does it surprise anyone?
  • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Friday November 03, 2017 @12:58PM (#55483907) Homepage Journal
    Moores Law is dead. It has been dead for sometime. People are finally noticing. The tech industry knows it too, and are trying to push out useless features to cover the fact that digital computing and electronics has hit a real dead end. All those things people wish for (AI, good VR, etc) aren't going to happen. The computer you have a decade from now will be very similar to the one you have right now. Sorry about that!
    • Yeah, it's very slowly happening.

      I'm fairly picky about desktop performance, but my processor is a 6-year-old 2600k.
      Eventually, I might go for the new 8700k when you can actually get the things.

      More cores is great, if you regularly use software that benefits from it, but most doesn't benefit that much.
      At least high core count processors are finally getting better clock speeds, and single-thread performance.

      But, yeah... In six (almost seven) years I've upgraded SSD sizes once, replaced some dead RAID drives

    • Moore's Law is just fine (if perhaps slowing slightly) in that hardware performance continues to grow in leaps and bounds. It's one of the reasons that AI and applications like Self Driving vehicles have been making such progress in recent years. The challenge is that it is diminishing returns for most general purpose computing needs (email, browser, spreadsheets, etc.). There is not much to be gained from and end user perspective by throwing twice the processing power at rendering a web page. My 7 year old
    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      I disagree. While per-core computing power has hot an end (and multi-cores are hard to use for most things), this end is in no way, shape or form "dead".

    • by be951 ( 772934 )

      All those things people wish for (AI, good VR, etc) aren't going to happen.

      I wouldn't go that far. Just because computing power, or transistor density to be more specific, is no longer doubling every 24 months does not mean progress has stopped, or will soon. It just means things don't get better and cheaper as fast as they have in recent decades. The other side of the coin that makes it seem like we're at a dead end is that processing power is finally good enough in the last several years that the current software doesn't just suck up all the resources as soon as they're availabl

    • by thomst ( 1640045 )

      110010001000 opined:

      Moores Law is dead. It has been dead for sometime. People are finally noticing. The tech industry knows it too, and are trying to push out useless features to cover the fact that digital computing and electronics has hit a real dead end. All those things people wish for (AI, good VR, etc) aren't going to happen. The computer you have a decade from now will be very similar to the one you have right now. Sorry about that!

      It isn't dead yet - but, barring a major breakthrough in quantum-scale engineering, the end is certainly in sight.

      Purely physical traces can only get so tiny before electrons can no longer reliably traverse them, due to quantum tunneling effects. More importantly, when you're manufacturing ICs on the nano scale, the smaller the traces, the larger the reject rate - and, consequently, the greater the manufacturing expense. It does little good to be capable of manufacturing 3nm circuits, if

  • I'm talking about your iPhone

    Don't have

    and iPad.

    Don't have

    Your Amazon Echo

    Don't have

    and Kindle.

    Don't have

    Your Pixel

    Don't have

    and Daydream VR headset.

    Don't have

    Your Apple Watch.

    Don't have

    Your Roku,

    Don't have

    your Apple TV,

    Don't have

    your Chromecast.

    Don't have

    Incremental upgrades that push features like 4K!

    I'd love incremental OTA hardware upgrades


    Don't use

    Wireless charging!

    Don't do

    Slimmer design!

    Don't care

    No headphone jack!


    I guess I'm doing *something* right \o/
    Plot twist: I'm a Millenial.

    Disregard below

    Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 9.1). Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 10.0). Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 11.1). Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 12.1). Your c

    • This is why slashdot has become irrelevant to me. I have/use none of those either. Technology/geeky ideas has slowly morphed to company product placement.
      • What did you expect to happen? Computers are insanely useful and have become ubiquitous. I'm sure there are people who long for the days when you had to crank start cars and basically needed to be your own mechanic on top of that because only small numbers of each model were built and not always with standardized parts. Now it's just been ruined with mass market automobiles that have been made simple enough for almost anyone to use. And the experience has gone to shit as well since they made paved roads to
    • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

      Yeah. "How do you buy everything all the time?" You don't. I've got 3 of the above items, but only one is newish (Roku is 5 or 6, Kindle is 3, phone is 1.5 and was given to me free by the office). I'll just use it until it actually breaks, or tech has changed so much that it's completely nonfunctional. My 9-year-old PS3 has been getting cranky over the past year, and after considering upgrading to a PS4, I decided I was fine with just getting another PS3 to replace it.

    • by sehryan ( 412731 )

      If you look up, you might just be able to see the point of the article flying over your head.

      • by fisted ( 2295862 )

        If you look up,

        Don't do

        you might just be able to see

        Don't see

        the point of the article

        Don't read

        flying over your head.

        Don't head

  • by jeff4747 ( 256583 ) on Friday November 03, 2017 @01:10PM (#55484035)

    You don't have to buy every new generation of every product.

    For example, I've got an iPhone because I got in the walled garden before there were other good options. I don't buy a new iPhone every time a new one comes out. In fact, I usually wait 2 to 3-ish full generations to upgrade. By that time the upgrade has enough improvements for it to be worth it for me.

    But Apple has no reason to follow my personal upgrade schedule and only release new versions when I am ready to upgrade. For one thing, there's probably plenty of other people who follow a similar plan but are one generation ahead or behind me. For another, there is a pool of idiots who want the latest because it is the latest.

    For the XBox One X, there's going to be a lot of people who did not buy an XBox One for whatever reason, and are upgrading now. There's also a set of people who want 4k resolution. But it's not like the XBox One was suddenly rendered inadequate for the vast majority of people merely due to the existence of a more advanced version.

    Don't see the point of an XBox One X? Then don't buy one. That applies to every product on the market, no matter how long the feature list is.

    • by TooManyNames ( 711346 ) on Friday November 03, 2017 @01:43PM (#55484323)

      Pretty sure people not buying stuff was the point of the article: if people aren't buying your stuff (because you don't offer anything compelling) you, as a business, will cease to exist. Hence, the "Tech Industry's Existential Crisis".

      • Only if the business assumes every previous customer will upgrade to every new version.

        I've yet to see a business actually make that assumption.

    • For the XBox One X, there's going to be a lot of people who did not buy an XBox One for whatever reason, and are upgrading now.

      One reason would be MS had a terrible reveal and it turned off a lot of loyal gamers. Always-on broadband requirement, severely restricted used games, higher price, an included and sometimes not wanted Kinect module, etc. Eventually MS reversed many of those decisions but many people had moved on.

      But it's not like the XBox One was suddenly rendered inadequate for the vast majority of people merely due to the existence of a more advanced version

      In the early years, hardcore gamers had to admit that the Xbox One wasn't as powerful as the PS4 having to play some of the same titles at lower resolution than PS4 counterparts. Now with newer versions, they are

    • who's job is to make you want to buy their mostly unnecessary stuff?

      The jump from Atari -> Colecovision was pretty big.

      The jump from Atari/Colecovision -> NES was bigger.

      The Jump from NES -> Genesis/SNES was bigger still.

      And from Genesis/SNES -> Playstation? Enormous.

      I remember the first time I saw a Dreamcast and though, "Wow, I can't believe we can do graphics like that now". I did not get the same feeling with the PS2, the PS3 or the PS4 let alone the Xbox One X.

      It's not
    • I'm skipping these. Developers aren't bothering to enhance enough games. When the PS4 Pro came out, gamers expected every new game coming out to support enhanced graphics and features, but the truth is only certain major games are bothering to use the additional horsepower, because it puts an additional burden on the developer and publisher.

      They see that 90% of people own the base consoles and optimize for that, guaranteeing a good experience. Then if there's budget/time left over, they consider enhancement

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is widespread in the industry.

    The greedy douchebags and morons who run tech companies somehow think they're going to grow 10% a year forever (utterly impossible), that every year we're going to replace all of our devices (not gonna happen), that a tiny incremental improvement is supposed to be momentous and compelling (not true), and (in this case) re-releasing the same product in a new package absolves them from creating new products.

    The problem is, all of the above is false. I still use my circa 201

  • Nearly no other household item I have goes obsolete before it wears out. I'm not going to get significantly faster to work with a new car. Even my TV is 6+ years old and I'd only get +5" and incremental picture improvements for buying a new one at roughly the same price. This is the normal state of mature technology.

  • My XBox 360 still works. The kids still have fun with it. News to me that it is obsolete. I generally consider something obsolete when it doesn't work any more.
  • Those who want an Xbox that looks like a PlayStation 2.
  • by enjar ( 249223 ) on Friday November 03, 2017 @01:39PM (#55484289) Homepage

    So this new Xbox has updated graphics, updates on RAM, processor, GPU. But it also will play all XBox One games (aka "full backwards compatability"). If Microsoft hadn't done this, people would have been whining about the XBox being "out of date" and "old" and "not powerful enough". So they update it, don't dick over people who bought XBox one games, and it's an "existential crisis"? I have an Xbox One, it's a fine machine. Whenever my 360 dies (which is mostly a video streaming machine at this point), I'll replace it with whatever's on the market.

    • "out of date" and "old" and "not powerful enough".

      Given there's no games that run on the new one that don't run on the old one, given the same complaints aren't leveraged against Nintendo and quite the opposite: a lot of people are complaining that the graphics don't make a game better, and given that all they've achieved now is fractured their generation removing one of the more compelling reasons to own a console, I couldn't disagree with your post more.

      hmmm that was a long sentence.

    • Using an Xbox 360 to stream Netflix is a waste of electricity. Get yourself a dedicated streaming box from Apple, Roku or Amazon.

  • Technology is destroying us as a race? This opinion piece just reminds of the ridiculousness of it all from the "what exactly do you do here"? question asked of your life.

    • It wasn't the Unabomber being correct it was the collective intelligentsia that produced him, and the many others with the same thoughts, after witnessing people getting annihilated by nuclear weapons. The reality and the thoughts of many, concentrated on paper by TK, have become more and more apparent moving from deep abstract concepts to something that can be clearly illustrated in modern society over the past few generations. Thankfully there is still a discourse and unfortunately people are still gett

  • Fundamentally, Xbox One X is the same machine that Microsoft released in 2013.

    and then...

    I'm talking about your iPhone and iPad. Your Amazon Echo and Kindle. Your Pixel and Daydream VR headset. Your Apple Watch. Your Roku, your Apple TV, your Chromecast.

    I notice that no mention is made of Sony and the Playstation 4 Plus Pro Ultimate (or whatever they call it). Isn't it exactly the same story as the Xbox One X? So why would he exclude this best comparison?

    Kaz Hirai, is that you?

  • If you already have a current generation console, there is no reason for you to upgrade. At some point someone will buy a new console. This extra polish will convince them to choose Xbox over Playstation/Nintendo/PC/waiting some more time.

    • I"m disagreeing with you on this one.

      As an owner of MS and Sony consoles the new XBOX is a monumental leap in quality, display, and functionality from the current generation. More power, better graphics, and getting rid of that bloody power brick hanging out the back and removing the ridiculous Kinect are all features that I want. 4K gaming to have betterer graphics "forcing" me to get a 4K HDR OLED TV (MERRY CHRISTMAS!) so I can view everything I want in crisp, clean, detail and play those same gam
  • by davros74 ( 194914 ) on Friday November 03, 2017 @02:40PM (#55484755)

    The point of the X1X is 4K and HDR. While to some people that is not a big deal (especially if you do not have a 4K/HDR TV), it is nevertheless a technological jump from 1080p, just like the jump from 480i 4:3 to 720p 16:9 when the 360 came out.

    But why does the X1X seem like less of a deal then the 360 was? Because lots of stuff are NOT changing. It's the same cpu (but faster). It's the same UI interface. It runs the same games, has mostly the same features (the One S can play 4k BluRay too). Know what? That's GOOD. Because last time we had a technological jump (720p 16:9), the 360 was all new, and that meant everything from the original Xbox was completely obsolete. No game compatibility, accessories, controllers, keypads, headsets, etc. Nada. Same issue with 360 to Xbox One (until some amount of backwards compatibility came along, but no hardware compatibility).

    So for me, this is a big deal for consoles: adopting newer technology (4K/HDR) without making every previous console purchase (controllers, steering wheels, HDDs, cables, and most notably, GAMES) completely obsolete. I think the "dump everything you had and start over" paradigm for consoles is finally dead, and I for one welcome that shift to a "better experience" with the newer hardware, but able to keep older stuff. (And dropping older platforms only when they get 2-3 updates behind, so people have to upgrade maybe once every ten years, not every 3). And for those who do not want to upgrade, they can still play newer games but with "less fluff/detail", and not be forced into upgrading to be able to play at all.

    • Are we not calling the XBox One X the XBOX? They went a full 360 with that one.
    • If I wanted to have to read the fine print on a box and look at minimum system specifications I would just play on a computer. What's the point of a console if they aren't all equal within the compatible generation?

  • It's $500 - just buy the damn thing and enjoy it.
    • You forgot most of the grognards on here are barely scraping by on retirement checks they got when they were installing punch card machines. They can't be bothered to spend $500 on shiney things that won't interface with their Green Screen mainframe AS/400 terminal.
  • Well you are being too rational. Look at the other side (I mean the rest of normal people - not techies like you).

    Don't you see it? If you want to understand the customers and why people are buying things that should not exist (thus justifying their production) you need to loose at least half of your brain - that half that asks questions.

  • The author is just now noticing that the industrialized world has a problem with corporate exploitation of mass production for their own selfish benefit? It not only funnels undeserved profit into their pockets, it also costs society hundreds of billions of dollars in wasted productivity that should have been used for something constructive. We don't need our vehicles to be redesigned every year, yet they are. We don't need new varieties of underarm deodorant every six months, yet we have them. We don't need "new" but-no-better-than-last-year toothbrushes, yet indeed we still have them. Want to buy another of the same toothbrush that worked perfectly well? Sorry, buddy, we "retired" that one for a new design that cuts a few corners and gives us better profit margin. The list goes on, and permeates EVERY corner of our lives. What could have been accomplished for society if all that human effort had been focused on something truly beneficial for society? The promise of mass production was the ability to cheaply replicate items, but when those items are replaced so quickly with new ones the savings to society are lost, and worse yet the profits from this wasteful process keep flowing into the pockets of those abusing it.

    This author saw one tree and failed to notice the forest. This problem is much MUCH more pervasive than he comprehends. The problem isn't just with abuse of technology: the problem is abuse of mass production of every sort.

    • The problem isn't just with abuse of technology: the problem is abuse of capitalism of every sort.


  • by be951 ( 772934 ) on Friday November 03, 2017 @03:53PM (#55485259)

    Tech keeps advancing, and tech companies keep putting out new and (sometimes) improved products.

    There are some people -- call them aficionados, technophiles, early adopters, hardcore gamers, audio nerds, fanboys, [fill in the blank] -- who will always buy the latest and greatest offering in a given market segment. And there will also be people (generally, a much larger proportion compared to the gotta-have-the-latest types) who wait for the second or third generation when many of the early kinks have been worked out and the price has dropped. And then they hold onto the thing for several years/product cycles before upgrading.

    With respect to the new Xbox, the more incremental update is just a sign that gaming consoles are getting to be more mature tech . Nothing really new in that regard. That's how technology products often progress. As for tech in general, we perhaps have more things or at least more choices now, so maybe it feels like there is more to keep up with. But there is really no obligation to have one of everything, nevermind having the latest of everything.

    • who will always buy the latest and greatest offering in a given market segment

      And this kind of fracture market segment was precisely what the console was immune to up until this point.

  • by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Friday November 03, 2017 @04:03PM (#55485323)

    I jumped off that band wagon a while ago, and the amount of money I've saved has been miraculous. Not that I was ever obsessed with the latest shiny as some people are, mind you, but it's amazing how transitioning through later stages of your life really puts things in perspective.

    Now, when a new technology comes out I take a good hard look at it and ask, "How does this new thing help me that my previous stuff couldn't?" and "Does do those improvements justifying spending the X amount of dollars on it, that could otherwise be spent on other things, like a mortgage payment, etc?"

    It's shocking how much those two questions have curbed my spending. It also opened my eyes to... well... just how *shit* the technology industry has become. It's all so much crap. Frivolous nonsense that provide nothing of genuine value compared to what existed before.

    That goes not just for consumer goods, but for pretty much *everything*, including servers, operating systems, programming languages, frameworks, etc.

    And then the sadness kicks in because I realize the overwhleming majority of other people *don't* see these things, so the slow moving trainwreck of technology happily marches on. New javascript frameworks coming out on a weekly basis, IOT crap that somehow manage to leak more information than they collect, Google and their push to allow websites to access bluetooth devices directly, Apple with the steady march to making computers into very expensive disposable appliances, Microsoft and their... well... nothing especially new there I guess.

    But it's basically universal. There is virtually nothing revolutionary happening today. The best we've got is people making better use of technology that has already existed for decades (ie: AI) because the processing power has reached the right level to do so. Everything else is either trivial incremental nonsense, or a complete reinventing of the wheel that ultimately gives you nothing new than you didn't have before... just a shiny new packaging.

    But enough people buy into it to keep the train chugging.

  • If the summary read a little odd to anyone else, this is what it's supposed to say (missing sentence in bold).

    It's a gorgeous $500 machine. But Xbox One X is still just an Xbox One. That's why I keep eyeballing it. My brain screams, "Why do you exist?" The Xbox One X does not answer. It sits silently...

    It was not eyeballed for being a gorgeous $500 machine, but for being an unnecessary redundant object, which matches the tone of the rest of the summary. The real mystery is why I clicked through to TFA jus

  • I don't have any of those things, because I'm not a tool. I don't waste money on upgrading things that don't need upgrading. Don't blame tech companies for your own weakness, take some damn responsibility.

  • Let me guess, the "reader" who posted this just turned 15?
  • Just admit it ... "a reader" is the return of Jon Katz!
  • I think a never ending supply of incremental upgrades in a bunch of different areas is the exact opposite of an existential crisis for the tech industry. It is what keeps people buying new things. Donâ(TM)t have a reason to buy the Xbox X or PS4 Pro? MS/Sony donâ(TM)t care, they just want there to be enough people that do have a reason. Apple donâ(TM)t expect you to buy every new iPhone. They are happy for you to cough up a butt load of cash every 2, 3 or 4 versions (while telling yourself
  • The One X is a step up from the One S, just like the One S is a step up from the One.

    Microsoft doesn't arbitrarily limit the One's output resolution. If somebody wants to write "Pong4k" (and manages to not get sued by the trademark's current owners) and sell it to people with a first-gen Xbox One, it'll run just fine at 2160p30. I fully expect a slew of retro games that emulate the look of a color vector CRT, or use the higher resolution to emulate CRT color masks, misconvergence, and NTSC color artifacts.


Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.