With the unveiling of the Xbox One, Microsoft has inadvertently set the world on fire, and not in a good way. They say no press is bad press, but I think in this circumstance we can all agree that this isn't helping the Xbox brand. The conference seemed to not only focus on all the wrong things, but also set to rest all the rumors (most being negative) that have been flying around the past few months. Unfortunately they confirmed these rumors to be true, although not many specifics were given. Microsoft has laid out the basic game plan without out giving out specifics. This is to gauge the public, on how accepting they will be of the new system, while giving them leeway to adjust it accordingly. This is a mind game they are playing with the consumer. Let their imagination run free, and offer them a sort of lesser of two evils, leaving the consumer thinking... "Well it isn't as bad as we thought", all the while performing a slight of hand and getting what they really want. It's one of the oldest tricks in the book.
Now what does Microsoft really want you ask?? Well with the information provided to us by Microsoft themselves I have come to the conclusion that they are going to use this to sort of "ease" us into the digital download era. The biggest problems with that are... The world, and it's network infrastructure simply are not ready for digital downloads being the only method of obtaining content, and that people have a sort of mental connection with physical media... owning something tangible that can not be taken away. In a consumers mind, they can buy a game disc, and as long as they retain the disc it is their game to play as long as they retain ownership of the disc. I would assume most of you reading this article feel the same way.
Now let's take a look at the way the Xbox One handles physical media. You receive a disc with the game install data, and an activation code. The game must be installed to the hard drive, and then you input your activation code. The console then must connect to the server to verify the activation code, and to enable your game to be played. Once completed the game can be booted from the console without the need for the disc. If you want to sell or trade that game you will have to do so using the system they set up, and at the rates Microsoft chooses.
It seems obvious to me Microsoft knows we have a connection to physical media, and the ownership of said media. This is the main obstacle to overcome in making digital distribution the standard. So what the Xbox One is doing is removing the connection between physical media and ownership. It seems to me they are attempting to separate the "Value" of the physical game disc from a consumers psyche, and since the game disc itself will no longer be needed to play the game or to "Own" the game it accomplishes just that. Now that an Xbox One game disc isn't worth the plastic it is printed on, they are hoping the connection between game ownership and physical media will be abolished, which is exactly what will happen over time with consumers equipped to handle digital downloads. Why go out to get the "physical" copy of the game when it is essentially a glorified installation disc?
With this comes another scary thought about the future of technology. Tech companies are working as hard as they can to establish a strictly digital marketplace. The problem is the ISP's will soon realize the power they have as the sole "middle man" between the customer and the product, and take advantage of this fact. Why offer unlimited data when the ISP can charge by the GB, and rake in cash hand over fist? This is already evident in some markets overseas, and is the standard business model for cellular data plans. The problem with this is gaming is already too expensive of a hobby, this is why people buy pre-owned games. Microsoft will have 100% control over the pre-owned market, and the rates they can be traded in for and resold for. With absolutely no competition, and essentially monopolizing the pre-owned market for Xbox One they can offer as little as they want for a trade in and charge as much as they want for the license to use that game.
Think about this for a minute, and tell me... With Microsoft retaining absolute control over the entire market, do you think they will play fair? For instance people bad talk about Gamestop for their low trade in values, but do you honestly expect Microsoft to do any better? When you remove the advantages of a free market what do you have left? With no competition there is no reason to offer more for a trade in. With no competition there is no reason to lower the price of a game/license. With no competition there is no reason to believe Microsoft will play fair, and that in itself is a shame.