I don’t think I have ever seen a worse prelaunch than the Xbox One. Microsoft had set so many restrictive rules in place that gamers didn’t know which way to turn. Was this really an easy to use console to enjoy on the sofa with friends in the evenings or something much more sinister?
It would appear Microsoft have bowed under the pressure from the public and have said that many of the restrictions that were troubling their potential audience have been removed.
They released a statement on their website last night and Don Mattrick, the president of Microsoft’s Interactive entertainment business said that they had listened to ‘candid feedback’ from gamers. I know exactly the kind of ‘candid feedback’ he means, as our Facebook page was flooded with ‘I am buying a Playstation 4, Microsoft can kiss my a$$’ comments from our readers.
Mattrick said “You told us how much you loved the flexibility you have today with games delivered on disc. The ability to lend, share, and resell these games at your discretion is of incredible importance to you. Also important to you is the freedom to play offline, for any length of time, anywhere in the world.”
The good news is, when the console is released in November, there will be no need to authenticate the system every 24 hours, a requirement which caused an uproar. The statement said “After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again.”
Plans to restrict the sales of pre owned games, as well as restrictions on sharing games with friends has been removed. There are now no limits on gifting, reselling, sharing or even renting Xbox One games. Microsoft are also removing regional locks on Xbox One games, meaning games bought in one territory will work in another.
Microsoft really have been facing some incredible pressure from their audience – Youtube and social networking sites are polluted with people who were both shocked, disgusted and angry with all the restrictions and stipulations Microsoft wanted to enforce on the user base. Many Xbox 360 users said they were ditching the platform completely and either opting for the PC, or even buying a Playstation 4.
Let’s be honest, Microsoft really had no option for this very public u turn. We could compliment them for ‘listening to user feedback’ but they were simply going to lose a huge portion of sales to the Playstation 4 – which seems to have the right structure in place from the start.
When Microsoft company executives explained that Xbox One games would need to be fully installed onto systems and that each copy would be watermarked to the owner we knew that problems were brewing. Quite why they ever thought they could get away with it, is bewildering. I thought it was actually insulting to the audience that they felt this was something they could ever implement.
Sony have maximised the pre launch Microsoft disaster to full advantage – focusing on their platform and how easy it will be to use. Amazon started a poll on their site asking their customers to vote for the Playstation 4 or Xbox One as the best console to buy. News has filtered in that the results were so staggeringly in favour of Sony that the online retailer just removed the survey. All of this information would have reached Microsoft bosses.
Is it too little to late for Microsoft? Has the damage already been done? I actually think it will sell well, because there is a huge audience of Xbox lovers out there who won’t be reading too deeply into this PR disaster. As long as they can play the latest games without a bewildering list of restrictions and complicated lock downs, they will be happy.
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Kitguru says: On a more serious note, I do wonder what Microsoft have planned next. They are a company that have to deal with a lot of piracy and they will do anything they can to reduce it and maximise profits. The Xbox One disaster proves it.