While Microsoft might have down an about face on its policies for the upcoming next-gen Xbox One system, the console landscape is now more confused than ever. Yes there’s no 24 hour check-in system, yes you can resell, trade and lend your game discs to people, but you still need to have Kinect connected to use the machine and the vast majority of the new Xbox One features have been removed.
It’s tempting to give Microsoft a pat on the back for listening to its fan base, which has been incredibly vocal about its distaste for Microsoft’s restrictive DRM systems for the new console, but in taking away the stick, it’s also removed the carrot with it. Gone is family sharing – perhaps the system’s best feature – gone are digital game resales and gone is the potential for added revenue for publishers/developers from used game sales (though that was less of a carrot for consumers and more one for the aforementioned companies).
So now the Xbox One is a console that doesn’t have any of the new features Microsoft just spent the last month or so lauding over (though it can still watch live TV, don’t worry everyone). Fans of the system who didn’t mind the restrictive activation policy, will be wondering what the selling point of the system is now, privacy advocates will still be uninterested due to the continued mandatory Kinect usage and publishers will be mad because they won’t be able to profit from used game sales.
Now I’m not suggesting that they should – it would be like Seat coming and taking a wad of cash from me after I sold my car recently – but Microsoft seems to be trying to please everyone and it’s just making a mess. The PS4 at least seems to have picked its target audience: gamers and developers. The devs got the hardware choices that they wanted, making game production easier and gamers were targeted by the subscription to their ideals – no game sharing restrictions and no activations. Sony did it right from the start – even if it did bend the truth a little with its game sharing policies, leaving out the potential for publisher introduced DRM.
Microsoft on the other hand, spent weeks telling us that online activation is great, that it’ll allow for all sorts of new and exciting things and now it’s turned around and said that in-fact, we were right, it’s better how it is now. If it had done this during the initial outcry, it would have been more acceptable but not it just makes Microsoft look like a liar, or a panderer. Probably both.
Would it really have been that difficult to leave in some of the new features, without forcing them on people? How about an opt in activation system for digital games, where if you want to have the ability to resell titles, you can agree to login regularly. Or have the family game sharing system work only while all gamers are online?
KitGuru Says: We’ve had some quite mixed feedback on this news on the Facebook page. Some of you want the old features back (one of your even linked us to a petition) some of you still won’t buy the new console and most of you are pretty indifferent.
Me, I’m just confused. Microsoft told me one thing, I disagreed, it continued telling me I was wrong and it was right, for two weeks and then said actually I was right all along. That doesn’t inspire confidence.