Xbox One's Surprising 180

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Xbox OneA quick recap for anyone living under a rock: Recently, we all heard the explosion that was E3 and the battle between the three titans of gaming.

(Though, let’s be serious, at the end of the day, no one really cared what Nintendo had to say because it all came down to Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One.)

The two companies could not have taken more different approaches for their next gen consoles and Microsoft came under heavy fire for its totalitarian rules for its Xbox One.

The first thing I have to say is that I am not a Playstation fanboy.  I had only an Xbox for years and now only have a PS4 because I live with someone who has one.  So on that note, for those unaware, Microsoft came up with a long list of restrictions and rules for their system.  They told us that all games would be required to stay online to conduct a check every 24 hours.

This would be a huge problem to parts of the world (including here in the U.S.) where people have no, or very limited, internet connection.  You would only be allowed to have ten profiles at a time on your console, the Kinect would always be on as well, which means that it would be watching you all the time, and trading used games would be on their terms, and you basically couldn’t rent them either.  It all boiled down to that having to do with YOUR Xbox and the games for YOUR Xbox you were stuck with whether you liked it or not. So hopefully, you didn’t waste money on a really crappy game.

Sony, on the other hand, basically said everything you could do on the PS3 you can do on the PS4; the only difference being the obvious graphics upgrade.  More than that, they also plan on releasing their system a hundred dollars less than Xbox ($399 compared to Microsoft’s $499).  At the end of the day, Xbox came under heavy fire and many people, even those once completely loyal to Microsoft, were saying they were switching over to the Playstation.

To add insult to injury, the head of Microsoft decided to come up with this gem:

For those not wanting to watch the video, he basically said that if you don’t to deal with the rules of the Xbox One, stick with the 360 and don’t bother upgrading.  Yeah, because that’s a way to win people over.

But that is all in the past now, as Microsoft has done a complete 180 (no pun intended) on all of its “rules.” Recently announced, as in the past few hours, Microsoft has reported that, due to customer complaints and outcry, they have decided to change everything they said about the Xbox One.  The system will no longer need 24-hour check, (except for the first time set up) and it will allow you to trade and buy used games as usual with no penalties.

Ironically enough, this release has only sparked more controversy as we all know there is no pleasing the internet.  Though this time, I do think there is a point to be made here.  Ever since information on the Xbox has been released, people have been complaining; particularly about the “always online” thing.  At first, a representative from Microsoft said that people should get over it (he was later let go).  Despite that, Microsoft refused to back down and stood by their policies and rules.  Then of course, E3 happened and the world came tumbling down around them when Sony undercut them in every way possible.

Yes, I too believe that Microsoft’s revelations about their new system upset me.  I found everything about it as ridiculous as everyone else in the world.  It doesn’t change the fact that I’m more irritated now that they’ve changed their mind and are going the opposite direction all while trying to catch up with Sony.  It just shows a cowardice and weakness within the mindset of the company and how willingly they are to change their mind based on reaction.

More so, an issue of trust has been lost.  When a company has flip-flopped as much as Microsoft has, you have to wonder what else they may change their mind about.   Who’s to say that they won’t eventually slowly slip their old policies in very slowly and, suddenly, you’re stuck with the very system you hated?  Perhaps the greatest thing is how disrespectful Microsoft has been to the gamer community as a whole, even those that have stayed completely loyal to them.  Up until now, they couldn’t have cared less what people thought and who they offended but now, they’re suddenly clamoring on about how they just want to give the players what they want.

For some, the damage has already been done and there is no rectifying it (myself being one of them).  I had already made up my mind I was only going to buy a Playstation but this only solidifies that decision.  The only thing worse than a company who blatantly disrespects their audience is a weak-willed company who then tries to pretend everything they have said or done never happened.  I’m sure there are some who will be won over by Microsoft’s declarations of compromise but, until the price drops dramatically in the following years, I will not be buying one myself.

For those that haven’t seen the official statement, you can read it here.

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