Xbox One’s Perception Right Now With Consumers? One Word: Restrictions
Somewhere deep in the offices and halls of Microsoft headquarters, there must be some heavy mulling over their recent decisions over the Xbox One’s strategy going forward. To say that things have been smooth the last 24 hours would be a gross misjudgement, and now the public outcry of anti-consumer policies and incredibly restrictive features in Microsoft’s next gen console are at fever pitch. If there is anything that Microsoft has learned since the closing curtains of their E3 conference is this: It’s not all about the games.
Right now, Microsoft is losing a very important aspect of the public opinion, and that is the public perception. Gone is the wholehearted optimism that a new console launch and the era of a new generation of next-gen experiences would bring with the new Xbox One. In its place, its the perception that Microsoft has truly lost the plot and implemented certain restrictions to the way individuals can loan, resell or give away their used games. As a social platform for gamers these new implementations of DRM and restricted avenues to sell consumer’s pre-owned games punches through the face of what gaming is all about, specially in light of how Xbox Live and the Xbox brand is synonymous with a community of like-minded and hard core individuals devoted to gaming and the social community of borrowing a game from friends or relatives.
Also true is the inexplicable use of a constant online connection that allows the Xbox One to “function” properly. In practice, this is a non-issue. Think about the last time you had an extended period of time where you were disconnected at home from a broadband connection. For me, I can never recall a day where I didn’t have a steady connection in the past four years. And true, if I had an Xbox One for the past four years, I would never have had a problem.
Yet, if a catastrophe befell me or millions of other gamers by means of natural disasters, economic hardships or just plain incompetence of broadband providers, your choice of an Xbox One would be set for a folly experience just after 24 hours of disconnect. In essence, you’d have a bricked Xbox One if you were a gamer. To escape the stresses of such hardships while owning an Xbox One would leave you high and dry.
Get used to playing solitaire in the mean time.
This decision also disenfranchises the millions of people with low-income households that do not have access to high speed internet, and the thousands of active members of the military that are overseas with little to no connection or the absence of internet altogether. Not to mention gamers living in rural areas where broadband connections are spotty or non-existent. It’s appalling to think that Microsoft would completely cut-off a sizable portion of the gaming community over the decision to keep your eyes averted from an update screen.
So all of this culminates into public outcry. The perception now, as it stands today, is that Microsoft is greedy (along with publishers) and ignorant of what’s actually important to gamers. Which also spells the disconnect in which Microsoft is moving ahead with their console. That keeping publishers monetarily happy will undoubtedly make gamers happy. That leaving players with a slew of restrictions in how they go about lending, selling or borrowing games will be a good thing for the future of the industry. That in the end, the legacy of the Xbox 360 will push gamers to buy the next console at a price tag that is $100 more than what the Xbox 360 launched at. If I recall, being the highest priced console didn’t exactly pan out for Sony, did it?
Yet, lets hold out for hope, and that public opinion will actually create enough noise to entice Microsoft to change its current destination. In the past few hours, regardless of the great exclusive games, the fan-fare of Titanfall and Halo 5, there has been more yelling and screaming about what Microsoft did wrong than what Microsoft did right, exclusives be damned. If Microsoft cant change its public perception, and soon, all I can say is that the Xbox One will be for no one.