So, I bet you all heard the news right? Microsoft have announced that they've reversed their anti-consumerist tactics with the Xbox One. You can now play offline without a 24 hour check in (after an initial one at the system setup), you can play disc based games without installing them on the harddrive, and you can buy/sell and trade in games new or used. Great news for gamers right? Of course it is. Though, there is a real possibility that the 10 person game sharing is dead now. It is for downloadable titles, but disc based games still need clarification.
Why did Microsoft do this? They claim that it's because of feedback from the community. Sorry Microsoft, but I call shenanigans on that one.
This is a company that didn't give a damn about the community during the development of the console, at the reveal of the console, and before, during, and after E3. This is the company whose executives said things like "If you can't connect, stick with the 360," and "We need to educate consumers about the DRM system's benefits," and "We're not going to change the DRM" and Major Nelson even getting after Angry Joe saying changing the DRM isn't so simple. Why all of a sudden does the community matter when the community has been shouting their anger from the rooftops for weeks over these issues with no success until now?
The answer is simple. The community isn't why Microsoft changed their mind at all. The reason Microsoft changed their mind is likely 3-fold.
I think the first reason is due to what Don Mattrick said about military personel or anyone without an adequate connection sticking with the Xbox 360. The core gamers were going to b*tch regardless, but when Microsoft essentially said "we don't care about the service men and women, they opened themselves to a whole new level of hate from a different crowd of people. I mean, these are who risk their lives so that companies like Microsoft can get fat, bloated, and as arrogant as they are in a capitalist world. They chose the 360 as their favourite console and likely would have expected that same support from the X1 only to be met with "Tough sh*t soldier, #dealwithit." Yeah, that's not really going to go over so well.
I think the next reason has to do with the rumour that Gamestop cancelled all further pre-orders and stopped ordering any X1 units recently. Gamestop had also previously been handing out pamphlets detailing the restrictions present in the X1 to all of their customers, especially the ill-informed, so that everyone knew what they'd be getting into with an X1. Gamestop, as one of (if not the) largest video game distribution retailers in the world, would have been the hardest hit with the X1's DRM against used games. After all, these measures against used games were created specifically to target stores like Gamestop. When Microsoft targeted Gamestop's primary source of income, Gamestop fought back, and you don't want to lose one of your largest distribution partners if you want to succeed.
And the final reason I think is thanks to the Jimmy Fallon show. If you haven't already seen the segments, I'll link the videos after I've made this point. Jimmy Fallon recently had 2 segments as part of that show's Gaming Week. One segment was dedicated to the X1 and its multimedia features (and Killer Instinct), while one segment was dedicated to the PS4 and Knack. During the PS4 segment, Jimmy brought up that the PS4 was the only console that supported used games (obviously he's not a fan of the WiiU) which caused his studio audience to applaud. What does that have to do with anything? Well it proves that even the casual audience, the mainstream tv watchers that don't look into these issues, have heard about what's going on with the X1 and prefer Sony's methods over Microsoft's. You wouldn't consider typical fans of the Jimmy Fallon show to be hardcore gamers as well. I know that's a gross generalization, but it's also hard to completely dismiss.
So when Microsoft saw that the casual audience didn't like their policies either, that must have been the final trigger for them to do something about it, considering that the casual audience is their primary demographic with the X1.
Xbox One Segment: http://www.youtube.com/watc...
PS4 Segment: http://www.youtube.com/watc...
Basically, what all this means, is that Microsoft saw every other audience complaining just as much as the core audience and recognized the sinking ship they produced.
This is a victory for gamers to be sure, but it should be recognized that Microsoft had every intention of going through with these practices, and that this too is still subject to change at their whim. It's also important to note that Kinect is still mandatory and the X1 is still $500, so no one should rest on their laurels just yet.
In any event, the gaming industry today learned a lesson. No matter how many hypocrites exist among the core audience who will complain about yearly releases and terrible sequels, yet buy these games anyway, gamers are capable of incredible solidarity when they feel threatened and you'd be hard pressed to find a more expressive group. Remember that the next time you try to tell us what we like and what is our future instead of just asking us what we think is cool and what we'd agree with being the future.