Win/Lose – Commentary on the Xbox One policy change

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Microsoft employees have gone on to say it after all the bad press regarding their next game console’s policies and I’ll say it myself, I think it comes down to people misunderstanding the policies where all the hate stems from.  People reacted about as warmly to that statement as one would expect; the statement was essentially misinterpreted as Microsoft calling consumers “stupid,”  that’s not really the case.  What they’re saying is people made immediate and biased assumptions about the system’s policies and this perpetuated ignorance and hatred for the system.  Paranoia and unwillingness to change have, ultimately, had a negative impact on the future of gaming.

Microsoft was all sorts of elusive when confirming anything regarding Xbox One’s used game/always on policies.  This wasn’t really a good move for the software giant, but understandable given the huge amount of backlash received after they made any confirmations.  With some things cleared up, Microsoft went on to show off some astounding games at this year’s E3–which I thought gave the system the upper hand.  Sony showed off some great games, too, but not a whole lot new, and not nearly the number of exclusives that Microsoft had.  To win E3, Sony went for the throat and proudly undercut the Xbox One’s price by $100 and proclaimed that there will be no used game restrictions or always on policy.  The audience erupted and immediately declared Sony the winner.

New-Xbox-One-ConsoleFrom there, the internet and her high-class citizens went on about damning the Xbox One and its restrictiveness.  The assumption that gamers wouldn’t be able to buy, sell, trade, or lend used games was a major misconception in destroying the Xbox One’s reputation.  The necessity to connect your system to the internet daily was another point counted against the system.  The rampant disregard to purpose behind those systems is what screwed us all in the end.

I made my decision to pre-order the Xbox One immediately after E3.  Why?  Primarily because of the games.  Beyond that?  I knew what Microsoft’s policies meant.  I highlight all of that wonderful stuff in my now outdated article on why I pre-ordered an Xbox One.  I liked the idea of a game being linked to my account so I can play it without a disc.  Why?  Because it meant that no matter where I was or whether or not I had the game disc with me, I could download the game on any Xbox One and enjoy the game I purchased.  The license granted to me from purchasing a game on Xbox One was good beyond the game disc, I had access to the game on Games on Demand and could continue enjoying the game even if I didn’t have access to the game disc.  Pretty wonderful idea, if you ask me.  I loved the family sharing plan.  The fact that I could grant access to my entire gaming library to 10 of my Xbox Live friends was awesome.  Rather than having to be local to lend games, I could give full access of my games to friends of mine out of state.  Borrowing and lending games would be better than ever before because it wasn’t grounded strictly in real-world media.

I’m still a traditionalist–I love physical media.  I’ve got a huge collection of games spanning 15 or so game consoles and they’re some of my most prized possessions.  Gaming is a huge part of me and that tangible media is an important part of that–I love to collect.  Having the option to enjoy owning and collecting the physical media while maintaining access to my games in the digital world is pretty awesome.  Being able to borrow and lend games online is pretty awesome.  The fact that our world is pretty much always online just makes me wonder, why on earth were we all afraid of the Xbox One?  The DRM?  The DRM incorporated in the Xbox One was simply to check to make sure that the game was attached to your account or you had legitimate borrowing access.  That’s not a bad thing and it is, in no way, restrictive to what you can do with your game.  Microsoft confirmed that used games and borrowing would continue without issue as they do now–the main difference is that third-party publishers would have the capability to earn money back on game resells if they so chose.

Xbox-One3With all of that, the gaming community still complained.  Harassing comments wherever they could be posted and ensuring Microsoft know that you’d much rather have the PS4 than the Xbox One because of its “less restrictive” approach to gaming.  Your dollars spoke and, Microsoft being a business, had to react.  Making money is pretty important for a corporation, so they have to make sure you’re willing to give it to them.  Microsoft retracted their online spot check and DRM policies for you, but also for them.  Why?  Because you hated everything the system promised, so they had to make it more like the system you wanted to prevent the investment from being a total loss.  Win.

I’m not trying to say any one system is better than the other.  I have no doubt that I will own a PS4 before too long, but what I saw of the Xbox One made it my platform of choice at launch.  It is frustrating, to me, that some of the reasons I chose the platform are being taken away from me.  I made an investment in the system and now I’m losing the functionality I was so looking forward to.  I’ll still have the games, sure, and that was, ultimately, the top reason I selected Xbox One as my Holiday 2013 launch system, but it is saddening that I’ll have to give up some of the system’s most promising features because of you.

The removal of these policies may seem like a big win for the gaming community, but we’ve really just put a halt on some groundbreaking features.  Digital borrowing/trading was a huge win for us, but we didn’t want that.  Switching games without switching discs was a huge win for us, but we didn’t want that.  Access to our entire gaming library no matter where we are was a huge win for us, but we didn’t want that.  It may have seemed like all these policies were put in place to restrict us, but they really promised a pretty bright future for gaming, but we didn’t want that.  The next gaming generation could have been a huge leap forward, but, after eight years, we only wanted a small step.  So, let’s celebrate because we won the battle.  So, why then, does it feel like we’ve lost?

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Xbox One: All the policies you feared are NOT an issue

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Microsoft has confirmed that their upcoming console will not restrict the sale of used games and will not require an internet connection beyond the console’s initial setup.  Single player games will be playable offline and disc-based games will be playable with the disc inserted in the console.  The system has also been confirmed to not be region locked.

Microsoft has been pretty coy in outright confirming anything regarding the Xbox One, internet requirements and the whole borrowing/trading/selling/buying used games dealio.  They’ve been on and off about what the system does and doesn’t need and gamers have been just rallying against the system.  Now that we have some solid confirmation that the system will not be as restrictive as people have feared, it’s nice to be able to breathe a sigh of relief and look forward to this next generation of gaming without the fear of restrictions.

 

Source:  IGN

Dying Light trailer

From the studio behind Dead Island comes Mirror’s Edge (With Zombies).  It’s a CG trailer, but the promise behind this game is interesting, so I’m keeping my eyes on it.

Xbox One revealed as next generation console

Starting their event strong, Microsoft has officially revealed the name of their next Xbox console:  Xbox One.  Far from the speculated Xbox Infinity, this new system promises to be an all-in-one entertainment system bringing all of your gaming, television, and film experiences together in one cloud-based device.

The reveal of the system’s official name was followed by a teaser video showcasing the design of the system’s design, the new Kinect, and the redesigned controller.  The system is sleek, but, in my opinion, boxy and ugly.  It looks like a satellite box, honestly.  However, the redesigned controller looks incredibly comfy.  The design is familiar with some minor tweaks that change the overall feel of the device.  The d-pad is new and the teaser promised more precision than the Xbox 360 controller–the disc d-pad of the 360’s controller and it’s “tilt” input has been criticized for years.

Windows 8 features having multiple programs running with one on the main display and the other snapped on a sidebar.  Skype has also been finally added to the Xbox suite with chat across platforms being confirmed.  The system’s multi-app capability is a welcome feature and it seems to be able to cycle through all of those apps quickly and seamlessly.  It’s really quite impressive.

Stay tuned to PowerUp Online for more Xbox One news.

Rumor: Next Xbox to be called “Xbox Infinity”

In just one week, all of the rumors and speculation regarding Microsoft’s next videogame console will be confirmed or denied.  The latest rumor floating around is regarding the name of the console itself.  Casually referred to as the “Xbox 720” and codenamed “Durango,” it’s now believe that the system will be called “Xbox Infinity.”  There was some speculation after Microsoft registered the domain for Xbox Fusion, but an “inside source” has told IB Times that Microsoft has settled on the name Infinity.

Microsoft is set to reveal its next console on May 21.  What the system will be called, its capabilities, and, most importantly, the games will be showcased on that date.  E3 follows shortly thereafter, so expect some exciting news in the gaming world in the next few weeks.

 

Source:  GamesRadar

Call of Duty: Ghosts Officially Announced

 

As posted yesterday, and all over the internet over the past week or so, Activision’s next Call of Duty game will be subtitled Ghosts.  The game will feature an “entirely new story, setting and cast of characters, all powered by a new, next generation Call of Duty engine that redefines the series for the next generation.”  As you can see, it’s very next generation-y.  Ghosts is scheduled to release on November 5th and is in development for Xbox 360, PS3, PC and next generation consoles.  The first gameplay footage will be shown at Microsoft’s next Xbox event on May 21.

PS4 to be Unveiled this Month–Xbox this Spring

We all have known this was coming for a while now–the current generation of consoles is over 7 years old (the Xbox 360 originally launched in November of 2005) and many believe a new console generation is long overdue.  According to Polygon, the next PlayStation game console will be officially unveiled this month.  Microsoft, however, plans to unveil their next console in the spring.  Both platforms are expected to launch this holiday season.

A PlayStation meeting is scheduled for February 20 and will highlight the future of Sony’s PlayStation brand.

 

Source:  Polygon