Big company… listening to fans? What is this world coming to? So E3 happened, and – there’s no nice way to say this – Microsoft got owned. Hard.
They had the big public debut for their new console, the Xbox One, and screwed it up in every way imaginable. Their press conference seemed to spend more time talking about watching TV than playing games, and the games that were shown were all rehashes – more Madden and Call Of Duty, neither of which looked that much better than current-generation games. Oh, and then there was the price tag: 500 bones.
But the biggest misstep came with the company’s new Internet policy: Your Xbox One needed to connect to the company’s servers every day or it would disable access to your games. Your games. That you bought. You couldn’t even play them single-player. And loaning them to a friend? Forget it. This also meant that you couldn’t sell used games when you were done with them – the buyer would have to pay another fee to Microsoft to “activate” them.
Needless to say, Sony jumped on all of this pretty hard, releasing a hilarious video showing how easy it is to share a game on that system (spoiler: hand the disc to a friend). And with the PS4 coming in $100 less, the winner of the next generation of console wars was looking pretty clear.
Well, that is, until MS said “Just kidding.” The company announced yesterday that they are stepping back from the controversial plan, releasing a statement on the Xbox One website that basically undid everything. The new system will work just like your Xbox 360 did in regards to games – you can lend them, you can sell them, the disc needs to be in the tray to play them. The machine won’t check in with Microsoft every day to make sure you’re not up to no good.
The thing is, their old plan wasn’t all that different than how PC gaming works now. Take Steam, Valve’s digital game retail service. Steam games live in the cloud and can be played wherever you hook up your Steam account. It seems to work fine for them, why not console gamers?
What do you think? Was Microsoft just ahead of their time? Is this announcement going to help them gain ground on Sony or is the war lost before it even started?