It’s no secret that, on the whole, the gaming community have grabbed their torches and pitchforks and chased the Xbox One in to locking itself in to its castle dungeon. Xbox One at E3, while a success for gaming, was overshadowed by two key factors: Always on and their DRM policies.
While locked in its dungeon during the days following the expo, Microsoft and its developers had a lot of thinking to do. It was generally agreed that the PS4 ‘won’ E3 because it didn’t have complex rules for connecting to the internet and lending games to your friends. On the gaming front, I have to say that Microsoft won, but it’s these two factors which everybody has focused on and allowed them to be a deciding factor.
It is because of this that during the week following E3 Microsoft announced that the Xbox One would NOT require you to log on to the internet once every 24 hours, and we can trade, gift and lend games just as we do now. All the system will require is a patch which will download the first time you turn on the console.
You would imagine the gaming community would rejoice at this information, but it just seems that the announcement has been met with more animosity.
“Look at them trying to weasel out of the situation.”
“It’s going to take a long time for them to regain my trust.”
It is such as these which are frustrating. By doing what they have done, Microsoft have acknowledged that they had made an unfavorable decision, and they are concerned enough about the backlash that they have completely reversed their standpoint.
While nuclear submarine staff will now be able to play their new Xbox One games and then give them to a friend without any hassle, there are drawbacks.
The Xbox One will now require the disc to be in the tray in order to play a game, regardless of it being loaded to the console. This means there won’t be instant switches between games. This is a small price to pay, but a price none the less.
Cloud storage, or lack thereof, now means that family members won’t be able to share games. Now if Dad wants to play Halo at home while his son wants to play at college, they will need to buy two separate copies in order to do so. You could see what Microsoft wanted to do by limiting resale and gifting – they were working towards a digital/download future, whereby you cannot resell.
Microsoft wanted the future, whereas gamers want to remain in the present. Without having to sell hard copies of games the cost of distribution would come down – thus we would be paying less for our games.
And it’s not like you get much for trade-ins. I got £3 ($4.63 USD) for a copy of Dead Rising 2: Off The Record just 6 months after the game was released.
Always on was a good idea for those of us lucky to have stable internet connections as it meant that the system could update even if we weren’t around. Imagine a gaming world where you could load a game and never have to see the dreaded message ‘an update is available.’
It is small touches such as these which Microsoft were working toward, and it’s unfortunate that gamers just weren’t ready to embrace them yet. Eventually we will have Steam-esque systems on our consoles, so there will only be the option of downloading games, and zero option of trading them in.
While this will see the downfall of gaming retailers, it will see a rise in midnight sales of big releases.
But these factors are not what interest gamers at the moment, and after witnessing such a vocal backlash, it’s unlikely that we will see a developer attempt similar DRM policies in the next generation either. It is likely to be something which the community will need to be drip fed and introduced to slowly. Change scares people, and people clearly want to continue to receive 10% trade in value for their brand new titles.
Despite the issues of the week during and post E3, Amazon have announced that pre-orders have exceed all expectations. Figures of +4000% on the same period last year have been thrown about. Surely that shows that these policies weren’t all that important to those who care about the bigger picture: games.
What do you think about the Xbox 180? Were you pleased? Disappointed? Do you expect to see it reappear in the future? Let us know in the comments.
Article by - Mike Jeavons
Insert Date: 6/24/2013
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