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Military Might

Cat|1946d ago |Blog Post|15|

It takes a lot of oomph to move a mountain like Microsoft. Where the Xbox 180 is concerned, that push came from the mainstream media - specifically, the mainstream media picking up on the military angle of elements like always on, region-locking and even Kinect security concerns.

At the start of this week I asked a Marine Corps Captain what "always on" meant for guys under his command. Military personnel most likely to be affected are junior officers. Internet is not provided in the barracks, and funds are limited. To pay out of pocket would be difficult for many - though he was quick to say that gaming is a priority for junior officers. Overseas, region locking is the least of their worries: only on super bases (like that of the AF and Navy) would there be the sort of connectivity the One originally required.

Maybe somewhere a guy with a functioning calculator realized what it would mean to Microsoft's bottom line if the US military defected from their cause. All those junior officers, for whom "gaming is a priority", spending their money not on 360 games, but PS4. More likely, I think, is the emotional response prompted as the mainstream media cottoned on to glib corporate commentary coming from MS executives. We don't need to know what it's like to serve on a sub, we're pretty sure it's a tough gig.

It's this very human element that changed things. Ticking off core gamers doesn't get the corporate giant to flinch, we're just cranky and entitled with Twitter accounts. When the gamers are young people willing to die for you, far from home, well maybe that matters.

(If gaming care packages are something you're interested in, check out Operation Supply Drop: )

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matgrowcott1946d ago

Day one, after the very first conference, Microsoft revealed that for extreme circumstances - such as for those in the army - they could release codes that would allow for offline play.

I can't find the original story (it was a throwaway line in an interview on Kotaku), but it was mentioned more recently in The Army Times.

"Military personnel will be able to take their Xbox One and play their games with them without an issue as long as the game has been ‘activated’ once in the U.S. Your games go with you and play, no issues."

Cat1946d ago

There's no doubt that Microsoft's messaging on this topic (and others) has been very confused. The message they're getting across to servicemen and their families isn't "We have a solution for you" it's "This console isn't for you". I'm proposing that what made the difference in their 180 decision is the media picking up on things like Don Mattrick's comments.

matgrowcott1946d ago

Very confused. It was a PR disaster. What made the difference is that the mainstream media began reporting things that Microsoft had never said or announced as news.

When someone who has no interest in gaming reads in their daily international newspaper that Microsoft is releasing a console that requires you be always-connected (despite the fact they aren't and never were), there's no coming back from that. It's time to admit you've gotten off message, people are confused and to ditch the whole thing.

Because if gamers are bad for reading headlines and judging their whole opinion off the very narrow stream of news that directly interests them, the wider public are even worse. It's what makes politics so much fun.

zerocrossing1946d ago (Edited 1946d ago )

I know one thing for sure, it certainly wasn't because of any regular gamers.

The negative PR Microsoft received after both the Xbox One reveal and the E3 Microsoft press conference, did little to sway them from following through with the controversial DRM.

It seems the moment a public media network started to turn on them, MS realised they where about to loose their target demographic and went into damage control, however I sincerely doubt this is the last we've heard of MS's DRM, it'll be back in another shape or form.

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DragonKnight1946d ago

They may have said that, but they had no intention of doing it. The arrogance of their executives was proof enough of that. Don Mattrick saying he doesn't comprehend what "living in a nuclear sub means" and telling people if they don't have the necessary connection requirements, stick with the 360. Yusuf Mehdi saying people need to be educated about it. Major Nelson saying they won't change DRM. Microsoft didn't care about anyone until shows like the Jimmy Fallon show proved that the mainstream audience knew about these restrictions and didn't like it any more than the core audience.

But for Mattrick to say they changed their minds due to the Xbox community is just a complete lie.

matgrowcott1946d ago (Edited 1946d ago )

"They may have said that, but they had no intention of doing it."

And therein lies the issue. We don't know what they will or will not have done. All we know is that, from what we can tell, they intended to.

It was also mentioned multiple times across multiple publications and by people at different levels in the company, which leads me to think there's probably something somewhere that explains this in detail. We'll never see it.

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UnSelf1946d ago

now watch Cat win the blog contest this month

Cat1945d ago

I need better connections.