Thursday, 20 June 2013

Microsoft debut XBOX 180

Yesterday after rumours began to circulate about Microsoft potentially changing it's raft of controversial DRM measures for their new console, Microsoft decided to break the story early and deliver a press release confirming the rumours.  This is essentially admitting defeat for the once powerhouse company that at one time held Sony in the corner and pummelled it mercilessly.

The press release reads as follows:

"Since unveiling our plans for Xbox One, my team and I have heard directly from many of you, read your comments and listened to your feedback. I would like to take the opportunity today to thank you for your assistance in helping us to reshape the future of Xbox One. 

"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.

"So, today I am announcing the following changes to Xbox One and how you can play, share, lend, and resell your games exactly as you do today on Xbox 360. Here is what that means:

"An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games - After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.

"Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today - There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.

"In addition to buying a disc from a retailer, you can also download games from Xbox Live on day of release. If you choose to download your games, you will be able to play them offline just like you do today. Xbox One games will be playable on any Xbox One console -- there will be no regional restrictions. 

"These changes will impact some of the scenarios we previously announced for Xbox One. The sharing of games will work as it does today, you will simply share the disc. Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold. Also, similar to today, playing disc based games will require that the disc be in the tray. 

"We appreciate your passion, support and willingness to challenge the assumptions of digital licensing and connectivity. While we believe that the majority of people will play games online and access the cloud for both games and entertainment, we will give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content. We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds.

"Thank you again for your candid feedback. Our team remains committed to listening, taking feedback and delivering a great product for you later this year."

So after taking a vicious kicking from both Sony at it's E3 press conference, Internet sites and the consumer base, they have finally seen the light so to speak and changed their minds on several key issues.  But really this should never have even been a problem in the first place since Microsoft had no need to even suggest such draconian measures to begin with.  The fact that some diehard Microsoft fans were willing to accept those measures is a worrying situation in and of itself, and it's good to know that a majority of gamers out there will never accept these kinds of conditions.

I personally think Microsoft made the mistake based on other factors outside of the console division of the company.  Microsoft are currently engaged in a war with Apple to usurp their dominance over the mobile market with the new Windows phone and it's Windows 8 OS.  A truly uphill struggle and you can see where the influence came from for the Xbox One.  Apple has a near cult following for it's devices and Microsoft crave that kind of dedication from it's consumers.  But Apple have always been a company that prides itself on image, streamlined technology and reliable software.  Microsoft conversely has been something akin to EA in that many consumers love to hate them.  Windows OS has been either a wonderful piece of software to use, or a total clusterfuck depending on the version.  In the last decade alone you can see how Windows XP a reliable and nice OS to use, was changed to Windows Vista which sucked ass and finally went to Win 7 a comparatively good operating system.

It's this constant swinging from good to bad that hampers Microsofts image and thus they can't quite reach that cultish following they desire.  Of course the Xbox 360 was a massive hit and a very good console despite it's age compared to current competitors, but it did gather quite the following of gamers over it's storied history.  These are the fans who suffered red rings of death, failed HD movie media and several console updates to keep it's competitive edge.  Fans went through all that for the company, so I guess guys like Don Mattrick decided that "if they stick with us through all of this shit, then why not add a little more on top?"

Basically that is what Microsoft served up to the media and fans at E3.  A massive bowl of shit with a green Xbox logo on the bowl, maybe the shit was green that is inconsequential, but the fact that they expected the world to just happily chow down with a smile is both hilarious and frightening at the same time.  Had they not featured any of these DRM systems or cutting off used games it probably would have been business as usual.  Of course you will still need to turn off the Kinects always on functions and the companies lack of indie support may hinder it a little from a PR perspective.

I don't think this U-turn will actually help the console that much.  Sure many will now preorder it but there will always be the jokes and potential threat of such features coming with the console generation after this one.  Sony has effectively won the war before it even started, since it still beats Microsoft on price, support for developers and more importantly it's understanding of what players want from their console developer.  Sorry Microsoft but you fucked up and making a hasty apology and a few token changes won't alter the fact that you wanted to tightly control what gamers did with their property.  You don't see car manufacturers forcing new drivers to stop off every 24 hours at the local retailer to ensure they are still driving their brand do you?  So why expect consumers to cowtow to your demands for a quick big brother spycheck on your system, your house, your friends and what you had for breakfast that morning.  Apple users will gladly accept retinal scans every 48 seconds because they are sheep who have been fed the same shit over and over and happily eat it up without issue.  Gamers however are loud, opinionated and know what they want and it isn't the shit your selling.

Screw you and your half arsed apology, it doesn't change anything and gamers know now how little you care for their opinion anyway when you debuted the Xbox ONE and it's so called next gen features.  I urge all gamers to either buy a PS4 or Wii U because those companies at least know how to make a console that doesn't treat you like a criminal and then apologise when you tell them to shove it.  You dug your grave Microsoft, now get in and we will check back in 24 hours to see if you're OK.


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