The lights are on
Yesterday was the first big news day of the next generation. Sure, the PlayStation 4 reveal was exciting. Yes, the internet exploded (many times) as the Xbox One came into focus. Of course, E3 2013 was a monumental event. Yesterday was still bigger.
When a report on Giant Bomb first disclosed that we'd be seeing sweeping changes to the Xbox One DRM and online connection policies, social media channels erupted (largely) in applause. The optimists believe Microsoft executives were listening to consumers. The pessimists are certain that it was financial motivations that forced the change. The realists know that it doesn't matter.
With the good news comes one major, unfortunate development. The down side of Microsoft's reversal is that all game sharing has been eliminated. This includes digital purchases that shouldn't necessarily be affected by the change to retail games. Xbox chief product officer Marc Whitten explained to us that prior to the switch, all media was viewed the same way. This shift to an environment in which retail and digital are different has left Microsoft with no choice but to abandon game sharing.
Yesterday's big story isn't the change in tactics. It's that Microsoft finally realized that it couldn't force the digital future it so desperately wants. Despite the delay, the company hasn't abandoned its plan. Far from it.
No, Microsoft has gotten smart. The vision of a digital future spearheaded by Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft's interactive entertainment division, is still alive. I have no doubt that plans are already underway to lure gamers away from physical media. All is not lost for Microsoft. The Xbox One's original endgame is still something the company very much believes in, and here's how I think they are going to get there:
The difference is in the communication. Change is scary, and the knee jerk reaction is often one of revulsion. Microsoft attempted to force sweeping alterations to how consumers view ownership in the console space without fully considering perception.
The company can still achieve its goals of a digital future. Now, it can get there with gamers saying, "thank you" instead of "screw you."
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Those are all great ideas. I was disappointed when the the policy change also undid the awesome install then play without a disc feature. It would have been amazing to be able to have an all digital library of games without paying the high online store prices. I don't really care about bonus incentives but simply giving the online stores a competitive pricing model is so simple I don't know why it isn't already in effect. I have noticed that the online stores for both sony and microsoft have slowly been getting better so maybe they'll get there some day.
Well I clicked the bs tweet link instead of submit as I was scrolling up and lost my thesis. Oh well. First off Mike you seem to be in a good mood today:) I enjoyed your opinion piece today and your bombshell news piece yesterday. On most days I would like your job. I realized today that while I believe in buying digital I still love going to the store and buying a disc and opening it. Digital means I get to keep my games which is nice down the road when I crave them again. However I still find myself trading in games to Gamestop for new ones in a way contributing to the used market that I say I don't support. Sheesh I guess I do need the best of both worlds as Don said. MSFT isn't so bad they're just a little too ambitious.
I do agree that Microsoft's policies for the Xbox One were forward thinking, but they were unrealistic. It would severely impact their international market. Internet quality worldwide is not suficient for going full digital and always online, and probably won't be so until the next generation. The TV integration won't work properly outside the US for quite a while as well. It was too much, too soon. They would have shot their own foot and simply had to change.
Also, I'm really doubtful that the great discounts on digital content would kick in for a while.
Not to mention their whole presentation of the console and its aftermath were awful. It is true that they thought about what they wanted for the future and not enough about what consumers wanted. It really amazes me how such a company can be so bad at their planning, although the technology they developed is exciting in many ways.
The more I think about it, the more I think the Xbox One might be the console for the future, but not the one we need right now... (Dark Knight Feelings)
I'm still going with PS4. I certainly didn't regret having a PS3, in spite of the YLOD, their presentation issues in the beginning and other issues. I'm sure lots of people will enjoy the Xbox One as well. But I really like Sony exclusives and their policies for the PS4 sound better so far. It also focused on gaming, having more powerful and cheaper hardware by not focusing on the TV and Kinect 2.0 integration that wouldn't be used by me in the foreseeable future.
Good article, now copy and paste it EVERYWHER GF! I for one didn't have any problems with how it was going to be, but with these changes I now have to change how I plan to buy my games.
But for the good of the system / company I fully understand why they did what they did.
If they would have kept the game sharing, which I know could have been done it would lure so many people into buying this. I would almost rather have game sharing than the other removed. About the only thing I don't agree with is the 24 hour check in.
It would be great to have some sort of opt in scheme for some of their policies. people who opt in could possibly have reduced prices on games and the family sharing thing could be all be used as incentives to agree to the 24hr check in nd the DRM stuff.
I do hope they bring back those digital features, or even allow to opt in for the 24 hour check for certain games and be able to download them, from your disc, to the console with out needing the disc instead.
Steam Sale-Xbox style? Count me in. Take more of my money.
Nice article Mike. I've always been a "disc" kind of guy but if MS was to do the stuff that you listed, I'd definitely be a fanatic of digital.
In game items as bonuses are sooooo *** stupid. Whatever gets the casuals to buy the game.