I Don’t Trust Microsoft

Posted: October 14, 2013 in Current Gaming
Tags: , , , , ,

Xbox One

It’s no secret that the announcement of the Xbox One was less than ideal for Microsoft. From the start, the primary focus seemed to be on the media aspects of the new console over gameplay. When gameplay was shown at the reveal, it was mainly focused on some EA Sports titles. Popular games, to be sure, but also games that present a miniscule portion of the larger gaming spectrum. The presentation at E3 alleviated some of this concern, but the larger issue plaguing Microsoft was their decisions regarding how the console would function in regards to privacy and game ownership.

As I’m sure those of you reading this know, Microsoft wanted to combat the used gaming market. Therefore, they announced that, essentially, a game would be tied to a console. If that game was given to a friend, they would need to pay a fee to be able to play it on their console. Oh, and that fee was going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of the MSRP of the game. The implication of this is simple. If you purchased a used game at Gamestop, not only would you pay Gamestop, you would then have to repay to play the game on your console. In essence, this would completely destroy the used game market for the Xbox One, which is what I believe Microsoft wanted. Why buy a used game and pay a fee when it would be cheaper to just buy the game new?

Microsoft also announced that their new console would need to connect to a central server, a check in I suppose, every 24 hours via an internet connection. Offhand, this doesn’t seem all that bad until you realize that there really are many places that don’t have reliable internet. No internet means you have a very expensive system that you can’t fully use. Fortunately, Microsoft handled this very tactfully.

Pictured: Tact

Pictured: Tact

There were a few other issues (Kinect is watching you!), but these were the big two that had potential customers up in arms. After some very negative press, and a complete smack down by Sony at E3 in regards to these policies, Microsoft reversed these decisions and announced that they would be rescinded, by a patch, if I’m not terribly mistaken (I’m probably terribly mistaken).

So, all’s well that ends well, right? No, I don’t think so. Even though these decisions have been reversed, it took months of negative feedback for that decision to be made. At the end of the day, I still think that those people that made these decisions still believe that they were the correct ones to make. The philosophy behind the console hasn’t changed, only the face that is being put on it. I wouldn’t be even slightly surprised if some form of these restrictions were put in place further down the road, once a few million consoles are sold. Frankly, I would be scared to buy an Xbox One early on in its life span. I just don’t trust Microsoft to not revisit these ideas at some point further down the road, and the fact that these were already in place means that the console comes ready made to have them reinstated. That’s a risk I’m very unwilling to take at this point in time.

It’s worth noting that I’ve painted in very broad strokes here. I realize that I’ve glossed over the details of the things I’ve written above, but I went with the driving narrative that was in place earlier this year. Rightly or wrongly, these were the perceptions that Microsoft created during the reveal of the Xbox One as well as its presentation at E3 and, even after their reversal, still plague the console a bit today.

  1. I personally feel that no matter what changes Microsoft has made to the One since the backlash and Sony trouncing of E3 2013, they’ve lost a lot of credibility with their non-diehard fans.

  2. brandonmc87 says:

    What bothers me about Microsoft is they seemingly went out of their way to make the Xbox One as loathsome as possible from the start, then they backtracked on everything–a sign of weakness in my book. Though game libraries ultimately determine what systems I buy, the way MS handled everything in the past six months hasn’t done anything to win my confidence.

    Then there’s the emphasis on TV, Call of Duty, and Sports games. I don’t care about the TV functions of a GAME system, nor do I care for franchises that had their hey day 5+ years ago. Give me something new to get excited about.

    • javgbadmin says:

      I agree with all of your points. They’re so determined to make a game system a media machine, but are handicapping the gaming part, or ignoring it, in the process.

      It’s amazing to me that they didn’t see the backlash coming beforehand. I just can’t believe that someone didn’t see these plans and point out that consumers would be ticked. And then basically just handing Sony the ball and letting them run with it? Wow.

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