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Xbox 720 might be this-gen's hate magnet REDUX

Nearly three months ago, before E3, before the May 21st reveal, before the Xbox One DRM reversal, I wrote a blog titled "Just wait: the Xbox 720 might be the hate-magnet this next gen" (here: ). I detailed how Microsoft has set itself up to be the gaming media's new whipping boy.

I didn't realize just how right I'd be.

Now, as vain as I am, or as conceited as some of you might think I am, I didn't write this blog just to announce "nyah nyah I was right." If you've read enough of my posts, you know that I throw a lot of spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks.

Rather, I wanted to catalog and discuss what has happened since I wrote that blog several months ago.

Prior to the May 21st reveal, things were already beginning to get out of hand thanks to a man name Adam Orth. Orth had layed down the not-so-subtle hint that Microsoft's next console would not only require internet, but it would require a constant or near-constant internet connection to stay functioning. The internet went crazy. However, there were still plenty of people who said "let's wait until the official reveal". Understandably, a lot of people doubted that Microsoft would do something so crazy.

Then came the May 21st reveal. This is where things begin to get drowned in mud. The May 21st reveal could've been a topic - on its own - for weeks. The disconcerting lack of games and the strong emphasis on Kinect and TvTvSports did not allay fears of Microsoft continuing with their pursuit of the "mass audience" instead of returning to the days when they focused on the hardcore gamer.

However, it wasn't the reveal that sparked the resulting inferno. The interviews after are what did it. When placed in front of inquisitive journalists, the Microsoft PR crew (including executives) fell to pieces. Not only did they give out conflicting information, but they said some very frightening words like "online required" and "Kinect required" and "24 hour check in". Although we were told to wait until E3 to see more games (which did nothing to cool down the flames), the lack of games ended up being a massive problem. With nothing else to talk about, the internet - daily - raged and fumed and vented about the Xbox One's DRM and all-in-one focus.

More rumors began to leak. Kotaku has posted an rumor a few months before saying that Microsoft was over 6 months behind on schedule for the Xbox One, confirming (in some people's minds) that Microsoft was rushing the Xbox One to compete with the PS4. Rumors continued to circulate regarding the Xbox One's DRM and online requirement, but at this point, they were just rumors. A concerned group at NeoGAF started a #PS4NoDRM Twitter campaign, and Major Nelson told us that "our feedback is important and we're listening".

That last line rang so hollow a few days later when - on June 7th - Microsoft unveiled its official policies for the Xbox One DRM. It was everything - line for line - that we feared to be true. Online required? True. 24 hour check in? True. No lending or renting or swapping games? True. Kinect required? True.

There might have been a fire before, but this is the point when things really let loose. Instead of putting the fears to rest, Microsoft simply confirmed them. A lot of trust in Microsoft was lost on this day.

Gaming journalists went bonkers. Many of them began to write off Microsoft completely. Two of the most famous June 7th rants - Angry Joe and Francis - got millions of views. As a personal anecdote, I remember texting my friend Josh "all the Xbox rumors are true" to which he simply replied "lol". It was surreal to watch what Microsoft was doing, almost like watching someone shoot themselves in the head in slow motion.

Some gaming "journalists" like Ben Kuchera (Penny-Arcade) and Arthur Gies (Polygon) acted as puppets for Microsoft's own PR, telling us to "deal with it", that we were being "noisy fanboys" and that we should all just "wait and see". Most of the internet didn't listen. The hate continued. The hate grew. At this point, a lot of people wrote Microsoft off and were waiting to see if Sony would follow suit (this is the point when all those flimsy "PS4 will do the same thing" articles came out).

By the time E3 rolled around, it has been over 3 weeks since the May 21st reveal and several more weeks since the Adam Orth #dealwithit debacle. For a lot of gamers, it didn't matter what games were shown. E3 wasn't going to be a day of excitement. It was a day of dread. I've never been more nervous - instead of happy - for an E3 in my life. I'm sure a lot of other gamers felt the same way.

I'm not going to focus on what Sony did. Needless to say, they blew Microsoft out of the water and the collective gaming universe gave a sigh of relief when Jack and Andrew announced "No DRM, No online required, $399". History was written at that moment and for some, the gaming generation was already decided.

Microsoft showed off the games, but that was quickly overshadowed by even more terrible PR, especially from Major Nelson and Don "buy a 360" Mattrick. Any remaining faith in Microsoft was fading away except for those who had "seen Titanfall". Despite the games, the internet was mostly unified against the Xbox One.

As we all know, less than a week after E3, less than a week after telling us that always online was the future and that the 24 hour check-in couldn't just be "flipped like a switch", Microsoft flipped the switch and did a full reversal on the DRM policies. Some people cheered. Some people booed (for instance, those who wanted the Family Share program). But most people didn't forget what Microsoft had just tried to pull. The bad press didn't stop. Many sites still held Microsoft in contempt for the higher price and the Kinect requirement. In fact, very few sites were willing to declare outright "all is forgiven", especially since it had taken over a month for Microsoft to listen to their fans. A lot of people thought that it was just as bad: after all, if Microsoft was so willing to discard half of their console's vision, what vision did they have for the thing? And if they could take away DRM so easily, who's to say they can't just put it back? Maybe the reversal was due to the PS4 demo at Jimmy Fallon where Fallon declared of the PS4 "this is the only one that can play used games, right?". Maybe it was the dismal number of pre-orders. Either way, Microsoft caved in.

That brings us to this week. Don Mattrick just changed sides over to Zynga. Under normal circumstances, people would be celebrating the departure of the man who slung so many unintentional insults. Yet, many simply shrugged and said "he's leaving a sinking ship". Similar to the DRM reversal, many gamers continued to question what the heck is going on over at Microsoft HQ.

That brings us to this morning. I opened up my browser and saw Edge Magazine #256's cover:

In big, bold letters superimposed over the PS4, Edge declares "This is the console for you; Why the ONLY option right now is PS4".

As I said months ago, the next Xbox may end up being the media's whipping boy due to Microsoft's "casual audience" focus over the last several years. While Xbox 360 may have been the console of choice for a lot of game journalists, there is one thing that sells much better than love: hate. And hate against the PS3 got plenty of hits and made plenty of money for plenty of websites.

Hating the PS4 seems rather silly and disingenuous at this point, and hating the Wii-U elicits very little response, so guess where the hate is going to aim? Microsoft. Maybe down the road Microsoft will be able to reverse fortunes on the Xbox One, but for now...I present to you the new media hate-magnet, the Xbox One.

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pixelsword1788d ago (Edited 1788d ago )

"Xbox 720 might by this-gen's hate magnet"

It will be....

Yes, it will be.

NewMonday1788d ago


a well deserved "I told you so" :P

Septic1788d ago

"Hating the PS4 seems rather silly and disingenuous at this point, and hating the Wii-U elicits very little response, so guess where the hate is going to aim? Microsoft. Maybe down the road Microsoft will be able to reverse fortunes on the Xbox One, but for now...I present to you the new media hate-magnet, the Xbox One."

Summed it up well right there.

The X1 has laid down the precedent for being the whipping-boy so to speak. It would need a radical overhaul to change all the negativity that has consistently pervaded the internet. I don't see this radical overhaul happening and with Edge's somewhat shocking front cover, you know things have gotten really bad, image-wise any way.

extermin8or1787d ago

especially as Microsoft Studios are one of their advertising partners and there are links to their sites on edges site- you'd think it would help them to promote xbox therefore yet they are basically telling most UK gamers not to buy one.

HonestDragon1788d ago

With everything ranging from the Xbox One reveal to the interviews to the E3 press conference and now Don Mattrick leaving, I think Microsoft is in their most vulnerable place yet. And they have no one to blame but themselves. They put themselves in the position they are in now because they don't understand their consumers. Their only ambition was to push their agenda into the next generation, but all of their features are things gamers don't want.

The_Klank1788d ago

Looking forward to reading that mag.
You have hit on a lot of the same feelings I have.
I don't know what, if anything, could change my mind at this point.
Not into racers, if I want a mech game I'll play Hawken, was never into COD so Respawns new game doesn't register for me,
that leaves Dead Rising, which coincidentally was the reason I bought a 360, but tbh I've had that experience, its called DayZ and is much more up my ally.

Anyways good blog.

loulou1788d ago (Edited 1788d ago )

dedicated when you say they "blew them out of the water" at e3, in what way do you think that??

the price and the drm then yes. imo, software wise.. only in the fanboys wet dreams.

if drm had not existed, and the consoles were the same price, then everything would be so different now.

apart from, you are right, m$ are in for some more whipping for sure

dedicatedtogamers1788d ago (Edited 1788d ago )

I don't typically like to make creative fiction about the past. The reality is that Sony won on price and features while also holding their own with games.

I know some (not all, of course) people say MS blew Sony out of the water when it comes to games, which might be true for one person's preferences but not for another. Forza versus Drive Club was really the only valid side-by-side shown. Sony didn't have anything like Ryse, and Microsoft didn't have anything like KZ: Shadow Fall. Sony didn't have anything like Project Spark, and Microsoft didn't have anything like inFamous SS. It's pointless to say that - on games alone - one company blew the other out of the water.

It is also pointless to "what if" the whole situation. The reality is Sony won E3 in every conceivable metric that matters. The pre-orders (prior to the DRM reversal) are proof.

Going down the "what if Microsoft didn't have DRM?" is a slippery slope. What if PS3 launched at $399? What if the Wii hardware was as good as PS3/360? What if Final Fantasy 13 ended up being exclusive? What ifs don't do us much good.

MikeMyers1788d ago

"Hating the PS4 seems rather silly and disingenuous at this point, and hating the Wii-U elicits very little response, so guess where the hate is going to aim? Microsoft. Maybe down the road Microsoft will be able to reverse fortunes on the Xbox One, but for now...I present to you the new media hate-magnet, the Xbox One."

Lol, sounds very mature.

It's amazing how much time people spend talking about products they have no interest in supporting. Who does this other than those who somehow feel threatened? "Hey everyone, I hate Justin Bieber's music and don't like how popular he's become so I'm going to write daily blogs about him and troll his forums." That's what this sounds like. It sounds like someone with a lot of time on his hands with nothing better to do. So instead of talking about games you like or companies you admire you want to focus most of your attention on a system and a company you despise? That sounds rational.

SilentNegotiator1788d ago (Edited 1788d ago )

Mike, if you want to compare Xbox to Beiber, that's your prerogative.

But stop pretending like everyone unhappy with the Xbox would never have considered Xbox if not for this long string of incidents.

Xbox fanboys looooove to play the "if" game because they can create a fictional situation where Sony is just as bad as Microsoft. Look at how they shouted "Sony will have the same DRM!" for weeks because they don't want Microsoft to get their s**t together, they want Sony to be in as bad of shape.

Meanwhile, real gamers (instead of praying for Sony to be bad, too) told Microsoft to change their mistakes, which they arrogantly created (remember what a s**tstorm it was when it was just RUMORED that Ps4 had DRM?) and arrogantly stuck by until the final day when they reversed it due to under-performing in pre-orders.

dedicatedtogamers1788d ago

Mike, you claim I feel threatened, and yet you are the one who came to post in this blog, not to respond to my blog, to offer a counter-argument, or anything like that. All you said was "lol mature. lol rational"

And I'm the one exhibiting threatened behavior? Okay bud.

loulou1786d ago

you are right and what ifs dont count. but the problem is sony are only on a high because of the mistakes m$ made. it is not a great situation imo, when the only reason people are talking about your product, is because the competitions upset the majority..

silent negotiator are you implying what i think you are implying? a loyal sony soldier calling anyone who doesnt tow the sony line a fanboy? n4g cracks me up

dedicatedtogamers1786d ago

Hang on a sec. The only reason people are talking about the PS4 is because of M$'s mistakes?

Does it seem so insane that maybe people are excited for PS4 because the PS4 is a good product? Really? The ONLY reason people are excited about PS4 is because they're angry at the X1?

Please. Do tell.

Nicaragua1786d ago

thats not true. Sony are on a high because they have shown off a very good product with a very clean efficient message about what the consumer can expect from that product.

Certainly MS making such a turd of the Xbox One announcement has helped Sony gain ground buts its far from the ONLY reason that Sony are on a high.

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