...Well, it's that time of year again. The end of the grandest time of year for all young human beings - The Great Summer Vacation.
During this time of fun, sun, and late-nights ~ Microsoft has decided to use most of this time to educate us. So what was there summer-school course? "How NOT to Announce Your New Console!"
So, if you were naughty and didn't sit in on any of the classes - I'll briefly recap all that was said and done:
"Include one of the biggest turn-offs in gaming history as a fore-front feature of your new console."
If it's one abbreviation that most, if not all gamers hate, is the horrifying "D.R.M" This practice is scorned by many, as being unfair, and completely stupid. So if it's hated by so much, what sense does it make to make it a fore-front feature?
"Create an 'improved' version of a widely-hated (yet originally optional) add-on and make it mandatory to operate the system."
"Kinect - You are the Controller."
Yes...when introduced, the Kinect Motion Sensor for the XBOX 360 looked like something out of a sci-fi movie. Being able to control the system by simply moving your body and using your voice seemed amazing, like JARVIS from the Iron-Man series. But instead, Kinect, while being a financial-success, is considered to be unresponsive, laggy and clunky.
So what did Microsoft decide to do? They upgraded and improved it and sincerely believe that this all-new "Kinect ONE" ~ is indeed the 'true' Kinect-experience that people actually want. But with such a sour taste left by it's predecessor, you'd think they'd play it safe and simply announce it as, like before, an OPTIONAL accessory. Nope ~ How about MANDATORY? Mandatory as in - the entire system can't function without it. Genius, no?
"Develop your console to be a virtual spy and watch your every movements and listen to every word you say."
After the info-leak on the U.S government spying on conversations, the last thing anyone would want to do is add to mass-hysteria. But no, Microsoft was sure to declare that the new 'improved' Kinect is so advanced, that it could see your facial expression, identify the faces of different people and even read your heart-beat, as well as listen to basically everything you say. Simply amazing, ain't it?
"Design the new system to look like a cable-box and VCR had a very romantic night."
As technology improves, units are getting more streamlined and smaller. Like how we've moved from giant, 'pregnant' CRT monitors, to near-paper thin LCD TVs. Or even how computer towers are being replaced with moderately-sized 'all-in-one' systems.
Apparently Microsoft just didn't get that memo and decided to take what seems to be like a fused cable-box and VCR and slap an 'XBOX' logo on it. Oh, and it can't stand vertically either. Isn't that an awesome space-saver?
"Parade secondary, T.V and media-features when you're announcing your GAME console"
There's no doubt that game consoles have grown from simply having the singular function of playing games, to being complete media hubs. From playing DVDs and Blu-Ray discs, to surfing the Web, streaming videos, movies and T.V shows, accessing popular social networks, and now - even recording live footage of gameplay - these machines have grown to have almost all the features of an average PC.
But even though it's nice to have all these nifty-addons ~ at its core ~ the machine is still a GAME console. So then, what should you do first? Parade these secondary, unimportant media features first an d then slide the word "game" in your presentation every so often, or just show the games right off the bat?
Okay, that's basically a summary of what Microsoft taught at their summer school course, this year. They've almost completely violated their fanbase, by showing them just how backward they could be.
Thankfully, almost every 'lesson' that I mentioned has been revised. There's no more DRM. The Kinect is once again optional. Games are consistently being talked about. All of that is good - but the damage is done. During the last few months of basically punching themselves in the gut, Microsoft has either scared or completely ticked-off a huge chunk of their fan base. Some have already made the jump to the two rivals, and even now that most things have been fixed - they're not keen to come back.
As to how or why Microsoft took such a startling and face-desk (not palm ~ DESK) approach to announcing their new system is beyond me. But they've realized their error and now they're backtracking. But alas, it will take time and a huge effort to right their many wrongs.
Can Microsoft fix their broken reputation, or will the One be a failure-in-progress? Only time will tell...