Here we go again.
After outrage from the Xbox community at large (including American soldiers stationed in the field or out at sea), Microsoft says “KIDDING!” and hits ctrl z (or “undo”, if you will) about their DRM (“digital rights management” a.k.a. used games) and the restrictive online policy requiring users to check in online once every 24 hours. (Which was where the military balked as in some areas, online capabilities are next to impossible.)
Microsoft President of Interactive Business (a.k.a. “How the hell does THIS guy still have a job?”) Don Mattrick said yesterday in his official Xbox blog that not only will Xbox One be region-free (any Xbox One game will work in any Xbox One console no matter the country) he also addressed the aformentioned DRM and online policies.
“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….(Players) can 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.”
What does this mean? It means the game disc will have to stay in the tray if you wanna play it (like the 360) and gamers STILL can’t share downloaded games (like the 360).
So why the “takesie backsies?”
Just like Mother Nature, it’s not wise to fool with the Armed Forces as they actively encourage their soldiers stationed in areas like Afghanistan to blow off steam by playing video games and try to provide their soldiers with consoles AND games.
So when Mattrick told a reporter “Hey, I can empathize. If I was on a sub, I’d be disappointed.” he basically stepped on a pressure mine of crap and became the recipient of MANY emails from angered soldiers including Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dwight Martin (Afghanistan vet and computer tech currently stationed in Hawaii).
In his email, Martin told Mattrick that not only was he disgusted by Mattrick’s lassez-faire attitude toward the problem then added “You have slapped the face of those who make your product that piece of home they take with them to some of the most dangerous places on Earth,” and “(Xbox) helped me get through, it helped me have something to do when I could not talk to my wife and child due to the time differences. I saw Marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen crowd around Xboxes at our MWR center just to play for an hour, just to feel something normal in the middle of their deployment.” (source: Navy Times)
TONS of memes including the infamous “Go home, you’re drunk” (above) began to surface but I’m pretty sure when the U.S. numbers showed PS4 was outselling Xbox One in pre-orders 3 to 2 and when IGN asked their readers who they thought was winning the pre-order race as well as E3, 280,000 responded with a staggering 81% in favor of Sony and a withering 12% for Microsoft.
(Cue “sad trombone”) Wa WAAAAAAAAA. Or if you prefer The Simpsons…
Either way, it wasn’t good for Microsoft’s bottom line and they’re now flip-flopping faster than guys like former presidential candidate John Kerry or fictional ones like Mayor Quimby EVER could.
Microsoft may have dodged the proverbial bullet but after angering so many diehard members of their community, including yours truly (who actually made it into their Gamer Spotlight four years ago), Sony making PS4’s dashboard interface more user friendly (a point of contention for many Xbox users) AND a price point $100 less than the Xbox One…all this seems like using spit to heal an amputated limb and many Xbox users (including yours truly) are doing something they’ve NEVER even contemplated – sticking with 360 and buying a PS4 instead.
Check out PS4’s interface makeover in action!
So although they’ve said “We’re sowwy,” it could be too little, too late.
Knock off $100 and we’ll talk. Until then, stay tuned.
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