Xbox One, why the status quo rules

While Sony represents stability, Microsoft’s DRM represented change… for better or for worse.

Why would video gamers want to stick with the status quo of expensive, boxed video games? Why would we want to allow for piracy of our games and the ability to resell them for a pittance to GameStop?

Physical media is still an important aspect of the video game industry and there’s nothing worse than imagining buying a Triple A title with only a download card to shoe for it.

For the past two weeks when someone asks me, “What do you think about the Xbox One?” I draw a blank. Well, my mouth moves and I usually mention the policy reversal, but that’s all the material I ever have.

Microsoft might have even been onto something with its new system, but that part of this tale has now been reversed giving game journalists far less to complain about.

XboxOne001

When view counts are your main concern then overstating the obvious and caring more about sensationalism than the facts are your main weapons.

Pointing out the problems with the Xbox One was an important part of this year’s coverage of the Electronics Entertainment Expo, but the other side , the positive aspects of the console were absent.

During E3, I spent a bit of time mulling over exactly what I knew about the conflict between the two companies. Aside from me caring more about who the next Smash Bros. character was going to be, but I spent a lot of time listening to friends tell me about their concerns for the new console.

Here’s a few:

  • DRM is going to ruin my ability to sell my games back to GameStop for store credit.
  • My friend’s Internet connection is really slow and unstable, so my games might be unplayable.
  • Sony has made their console more competitive, why would I pay $100 more for an Xbox One?
  • Sure Microsoft has exclusives, but they don’t have the best game of the decade The Last of Us
  • Why does Microsoft have the power to control when I play games?

All of the concerns listed are practical and were solved when Microsoft reversed its policies. Console owners should be happy, but truth be told it was a cowardly move on Microsoft’s part to cave to them/us.

While it looks like the people and the press have the power to influence business decisions, is it a good thing that Microsoft backed down from its new DRM policy? It gives us a sense of entitlement to our way of thinking without creating change, even if it’s bad, in the console environment.

This is some of the good things it was supposed to do:

  • Lessen used game sales to open up cheaper licensing, though I doubt Microsoft would do this for Triple A releases considering they know we will pay $69.99 for a new game.
  • Create a system like Steam on the new console that would open up things like more Summer/Fall Sales.
  • Allow for reasonable sharing of games between friends and family over cloud servers.

While these ‘good’ things don’t outweigh the bad, it’s a mystery why the Xbox One’s mandate was lost in the flurry of online discussion.

Microsoft actually has had sales in the past and they continue to have sales of the week, but for first-party releases the prices have stayed largely the same.

Sony, Sony, Sony, fight, fight, fight, blood, blood, blood… like some kind of insane monster we played a part in changing the course of the Xbox One.

Microsoft’s problem was in the delivery of its message. When they said something controversial, Sony was on top of them like a Dark Phantom in Dark Souls. They hacked and slashed, but there was no riposte.

XboxOne002

Instead, the company took away microphones and stuttered during interviews just making things worse and turning the knife themselves.

But Isn’t change better/more important than everything just staying the same?

The console ecosystem can only be so stagnant, so similar to one another for so long. One day things will have to change and I just hope the masses don’t shout it down.

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