If you haven’t heard already, MS have back-tracked on their policies that previously blocked used games and required the Xbox 1 to be connected to the internet once every 24 hours. Surely this a good thing you might ask? Well, as it turns out, not necessarily.
The enormous backlash from the gaming community against Microsoft regarding its previous aforementioned policies cannot be understated. The issue was so divisive that it eclipsed any good that Microsoft did when it came to its impressive showing of games at the E3 conference. What many people fail to realise is that Microsoft were making a big, albeit controversial step, towards a more ‘digital future’, in a similar vein to what we have witnessed with movies with the likes of Netflix. Not only did this serve the interests of publishers, who currently lose out on a lot of revenue as a result of retailers re-sale on used games as well as piracy and other issues, but this system had some great benefits for gamers, which we will no longer be able to enjoy.
* An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games- A welcome announcement but one which means that we will no longer have a digital library which would have allowed you to play your games on any Xbox One you logged in to. This would also mean that you would no longer need game discs once you installed them on your X1. We can’t help but feel disappointed at the removal of such a convenient feature. The ability to say, for example, go to your friends house and instantly access your complete library of games via your profile would be brilliant as opposed to carrying several game discs over and even then, not having access to your digitally downloaded ones.
* No block on used games- Under Microsoft’s original policy, we would have been able to share our games with up to nine family members, however, in reality, the sharing facility would have be extended to non-family members. Depending on how this would have been implemented, this would be an amazing feature. Now, we can’t really do any such thing except lend our games via the draconian method of physically handing over our discs to someone else.
* No more cheaper games in the long-run- Remember how Steam was much maligned when it was first introduced to the PC gaming crowd? Look at the situation now; Steam is touted as an amazing service by the vast majority of gamers who always make a point about the cheaper price of games and its popular sales. Gamers however, haven’t even given Microsoft the chance to establish the service, which could have been extremely competitive in a similar vein to Steam.
* Hemorrhaging publishers- Its no secret that one of the key reasons for Microsoft’s decision to block used games in the manner proposed is because of pressure from publishers who have lost out a considerable amount of money through retailers selling on used games and through piracy. The sad thing is that, even Sony will be leaving the the decision to place such restrictions to publishers themselves, who ultimately might decide to go with them due to financial pressures. If this sets a precedent for other publishers to follow suit, we will essentially get a situation where the block on used games will become the norm anyway, without any of the benefits available through Microsoft’s, now removed share facility.
Industry veteran, Cliff Bleszinski, also tweeted a darker picture of what’s to come as a result of Microsoft’s u-turn:
“Brace yourselves. More tacked on multiplayer and DLC are coming.”-
Ultimately, it seems that console gamers simply weren’t ready for the digital future. Sony forced Microsoft’s hand and have potentially set the industry back from moving forward. To us, it appears that Microsoft really faltered in their explanation what their policies entailed. Had they done a better job at explaining the service better instead of giving us generic comments about ‘the power of the cloud’ , more gamers might have embraced the idea.
A really amusing satirical article from www.dorkly.com does appear to hammer our points, although in a considerably more entertaining fashion. [Warning! The article contains strong language that some might find offensive]
So what do you think? Have we missed the point? Is Microsoft’s decision to backtrack on its policies a good thing? Let us know in the comments below.