So it's official, Microsoft have yet again revised their policies in regards to their next gen console the Xbox One, this time by removing the feature that makes the Kinect 2 a mandatory requirement for using the Xbox One console, something a great many gamers had issue with. With Microsoft now having done sufficient enough back peddling to power most of Europe for a year (Ba dum tish) I'm now left asking the question "Was it all necessary?" Just what was an intelligent, business minded company like Microsoft thinking when they knowingly went about dividing up their fanbase, and creating these unnecessary walls in the form of unfavourable business policies? only to later down the line revise almost all of their original Xbox One policies, seemingly solely due to the continued bad press and negative PR they have suffered since the Xbox One reveal and Microsoft E3 conference.
This all led me back to thoughts I had been having about Microsoft's inevitable next gen console. Months before the Xbox One was even hinted about being revealed, I was asking myself "what can we expect from Microsoft's next gen console?" would we see another Kinect even though the original failed to appeal to the core audience?, would Microsoft reach out for more 3rd party support and exclusivity?, and would they really have the nerve to continue charging their loyal customers through Xbox Live in order for us to play online?.
I eventually arrived at the conclusion that Microsoft's business model, and policies would see very little changes being made when moving into next gen territory, of course I expected some new features and new exclusives but nothing revolutionary. So then imagine my surprise when Microsoft finally did reveal the Xbox One along with what would shortly be dubbed as "draconian DRM" a mandatory Kinect 2, timed exclusives from 3rd party devs, always online functionality, and major changes to their policies in the form of used game restriction and 24 hour checkins, all while still having the nerve to charge a fee to play online.
I was taken back to say the least (like I'm sure many gamers were at the time) I thought to me myself that there is no way Microsoft can be serious, even after hearing from so many people who didn't at all mind the new policies, it was evident that those who apposed the DRM and other such policies were in the majority, and for good reason. The Xbox One DRM and other new policies had potentially damaging ramifications to gaming in general if they were to become the norm, then eventually the back peddling started and all the negative aspects of Xbox One became fewer and fewer, until finally earlier this month Microsoft announced that the Kinect 2 will no longer be mandatory in order to actually use the Xbox One. Finally! It seems like all the negatives surrounding Microsoft's new console are now gone, but then what does that mean now? Sure most of us have no reason not to get an Xbox One anymore, but other than the that fact most of the negative aspects like, used game restrictions, always online, and mandatory Kinect 2 are now gone, what exactly are Microsoft doing with the Xbox One that differentiates its from the previous generation? par a few new features that aren't at all relevant to "gaming" like watching TV and Skype. Personally the Xbox One just seems like a beefed-up Xbox 360 now right now, and the only reason I think I never noticed this before was because the negative policies were the few thing that actually seemed "next gen" or at the very least seemed to be more worthy of my attention. So then was this just a PR stunt? Could it be that all this negativity surrounding Microsoft's Xbox One was just used as a "Weapon of mass distraction" planed from the outset so that when all the back peddling was done, no matter how lacking in "next gen" appeal the Xbox One appeared to be when it comes to new features and functions (from a purely gaming related view point) it would be looked upon favourably purely because "Microsoft listened to their fans" and fixed everything we had a problem with? Well, I'll let you decide on that.
Now of course you could still argue that Kinect 2 is very much "next gen" and you'd be right in doing so, but it still stands true that the vast majority of gamers are uninterested in Kinect (or motion sensor gaming in general) or at the very least need proof that Kinect 2 can succeed in being relevant to core gaming, something its predecessor failed miserably at.
Cloud based gaming is worthy of mention in regards to "next gen" functions the Xbox One has, Microsoft has stated numerous times how "the power of the Cloud" can boost the power of the Xbox One's specs by the equivalent of three Xbox 360s, potentially making the graphics, processing and gameplay for games being played while the Xbox One is hooked up to the internet, superior to that of the competition. However even now we have yet to of seen any evidence that could validate these statement, with only certain individuals willing to state that it will "improve server quality" many others in the industry are saying Microsoft's overall vision for Cloud based gaming on the Xbox One is but a pipe dream.
Regardless of whether or not the Xbox One has any additional features relevant to gaming (I personally find the Xbox One controller's trigger feedback function to be very interesting) It should be mentioned that the Xbox One has some great exclusives and other equally great 3rd party titles coming its way, that reason alone is enough for most gamers to purchase the Xbox One, heck I myself will most likely be getting the Xbox One now that the Kinect 2 is no longer mandatory. But I'll always be wondering whether or not this whole PR stunt was manufactured to put the Xbox One in the lime light, even negative press is good press, or so they say.
So that's it I guess, maybe Microsoft did plan this whole PR back peddling extravaganza from the start, or maybe they really didn't see the consumer backlash coming due to their ambitious new policies. Either way we win, total victory guys congratulations!
Thanks for reading my blog, if you'd like to add anything or disagree with any of my points, please feel free to leave a comment.