Microsoft Takes It All Back. Guess I’m Getting An XBone.

If there is one thing that has been dominating the gaming news this past month, it would be the colossal screw up that is the XBox One. Microsoft’s $500 always online gaming system with intrusive DRM. Literally everything they say is bad news.

With Sony absolutely curbstomping them at E3 despite showing fewer exclusives purely by announcing that their system would not do what Microsoft’s is. Then you factor in Don Mattrick’s egotistical gaffe at E3 where he told everyone without an internet connection to “just buy a 360”. Microsoft has since been in full damage control trying to remove all traces of that interview from the internet while paying people to stake out WiiU events and hiring folks to promote them on Reddit. Then they got the army pissed off and started promising “deactivation codes” to allow them to play offline as well as codes for less connected countries…

Eventually you have to realize that the damage control is actually costing more than it would to re-write the OS, something they already had to do in order to cater to the rest of the world anyway. Eventually you have to realize you made some bad decisions. Eventually, Don Mattrick had to realize he’d need to fire himself.

Which is probably why, today, Don Mattrick announced that they’re taking it all back.

All of it.

XBox One will not require an internet connection outside of the initial setup (possibly to download the update that removes these “features”) and will be region free. Used games are allowed, sharing games is allowed, it’ll work just like the XBox 360.

Let’s be honest here, Sony probably helped. The standing ovation they recieved at E3 sent shockwaves through the industry. Not to mention there were those early rumors about Ubisoft and EA strong arming Microsoft into their new DRM setup. However after the PS4 announcement, Ubisoft and EA went on record to claim that used games were a good thing and that they had no problems with them.

Now I don’t want to incriminate anyone, but after saying that I could imagine Microsoft going up to them and saying “So…does that mean we can remove that DRM because it is really pissing people off”.

I mean seriously though, when every single gaming website on the planet is utterly bashing you for months over this boneheaded decision, you do have to take note. They brought up a plethora of situations where the XBox One would be a bad purchase decision and while each situation only represents a minority, you add them all up and you get a majority.

Also, as I was saying mere moments before hearing this announcement, if those deactivation codes were real, what happens when they get out? What happens when I get my hands on a deactivation code on a system where all games require an installation? Things could go bad really fast.

Having said that I am a bit sad. Why? Well because this was Japan’s chance to take back the industry. I am starving for some Japanese made games aimed at a Japanese audience in Japan. If you’ll notice, those kinds of games made up the majority of what I was raving about at E3 this year. To me personally, this E3 belonged to the PS3, not the PS4. So I was kind of hoping this would put Japanese companies back on top. Microsoft is not an easy company to work with for foreigners that don’t have clout behind them. The XBox One’s initial plan proves that without a doubt! That system was made exclusively for a U.S. market and did not give a crap about any other country at all. That mindset is still dangerous and Microsoft tends to lapse into it frequently.

That’s not to applaud Sony just for being Japanese. They do the same damn thing but for Japan sometimes, but since America is where the money is right now they have to market to us as well. Microsoft, being an American company in the middle of America only has to focus on America…until we bash them upside the head and remind them that America does not want purely Western made games! Variety is the spice of life and we need games from all over the world to prevent us from getting bored with endless rehashes! (Honestly I want more South Korean games! Magna Carta 2 was awesome!)

Microsoft does still have a bit of an uphill battle though, dealing with having a weaker system at a higher price because of their foolish decision to require a Kinect. Could they back down on that too? Could we see the announcement of a $400 Kinect-less XBox One? Similarly, could they put in 360 backwards compatibility through an emulator?

Still, they picked the best possible day to announce this as right now Sony is accidentally bricking consoles with a firmware update. Professional!

 

EDIT:

Forgot to mention the real upside to this. See, people are stupid. Microsoft was banking on this. There was a chance, however slim, that a bunch of idiots would buy and support the console in spite of screamingly anti-consumer practices and thus they could catch on. Now we don’t have to worry about that.

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9 Comments on “Microsoft Takes It All Back. Guess I’m Getting An XBone.”

  1. Göran Isacson Says:

    Oh man, consoles bricked? That is a pretty hilarious coincidence and indictment on the state of modern consoles, really. I have to admit that I had eyebrows up to the moon when I read this- like, how much does it cost to reverse engineer this? Will this burn any bridges with the publishers that banked on XBONE being their “safe haven”? Will the gamer audience that got burned in the early days come back or is it too late? What WERE they thinking?

    Also a lot of people point out (especially on Kotaku where the flame wars rage ever on in the articles discussing this) that it means the ability to share the games you download and the “family-plan” will now be cut, as will the ability to bring your library of games to whatever console you play on (as long as the HDD has room for them I presume) and that this means the “future” which Xbox One was supposed to bring has now been brought down burning thanks to the backwards troglodytes who just can’t get with the shiny jetpack future… it’s QUITE a scene to behold, the squabbles that have arisen. Time will tell if these changes will stick though. Like, I’m not even sure WHAT is going on at MS anymore and what will really happen from now on. Maybe we’ll wake up tomorrow and MS will announce that they are in fact not going to sell Xboxes anymore, just a box with a big fluffy bunny in it that you can play with and take care and provide you with endless hours of companionship and love.

    Zany speculation aside, I read Siliconeras test of Crimson Dragon, and it looks a bit rough. I quote:
    “The best way to describe Crimson Dragon’s interface is to imagine if both arms of your body has been mapped to one of the sticks on the Xbox One’s controller. Meaning, both the dragon’s movement, and that of the reticule, take quite a bit of movement of the sticks. It’s as if the full-body Kinect inputs were assigned to the sticks as is, without any adjustment.

    To aim with your arm, naturally the game needs to compensate for a wide range of motions. Why this range of motion wasn’t scaled down for controller is beyond me, but it most definitely should have been, given how confidence in Crimson Dragon is shaky, to put it politely. Thankfully, I was told that the controls in Crimson Dragon are still a work in progress, so hopefully it should be better when all is said and done.

    As is, it was tricky playing the E3 demo. Not impossible, just difficult to have any real degree of finesse. Unlike the previous demo, which had the dragon and its rider soar high above the skies, you were in a cramped, underground environment, which perfectly highlighted how unwieldy the controls were.”
    Hope they can polish this up until the games actual release date though.

    • GEL Says:

      Quite…and it’s funny you should mention a “shiny jetpack future” as that was LITERALLY what I was telling a friend of mine!

      GEL: Yeah I imagine Microsoft envisioned a “Jet Pack Future” as I’ve decided to call it.
      GEL: This ideal future world that could never exist in reality.
      GEL: Because, really, Jetpacks are a TERRIBLE idea!
      GEL: Giant tanks of fuel strapped to your back? If it explodes YOU explode? If it stops working you plummet to your death? AND landing one wrong means breaking your damn legs ON TOP OF the sheer amount of fuel they waste because ONLY the fuel is making you go, no gliding, no lift, no aerodynamics. Yeah, Jetpacks suck.

      It’s true. Jetpacks suck and the XBox One was a jetpack. Also, having full access to your games at a friend’s house would be IRRITATING because you’d have to install everything you wanna show them, which takes 45 minutes or more (trust me, I already DID this with Yakuza)! AND your friend has to make space for your crap on their harddrive? Fuck that!

      I probably could have tightened up this article quite a bit. See, I think they went back because they realized the infrastructure necessary to do what they want would cost too damn much! I mean it’s clear that the “family plan” and “sharing with friends” and the “GameStop Used Game License Wiping Machine” were all works in progress. Heck they were probably in the middle of programming and beta testing that crap now. Probably came back with some NASTY bug reports and issues WHILE Microsoft continued to be told of other situations where their shit wouldn’t work. They were probably in the middle of sorting out how their deactivation codes for the military would work and decided “Fuck it! Fuck it ALL!”.

  2. Sleepy Says:

    While this is a definite win for consumer rights, albeit a bittersweet one, I’m still not so quick to forgive Microsoft for this.

    They aren’t going to remove the DRM from the operating system entirely, but instead simply patch it out, so it’s still technically there. This essentially means there’s a chance that Microsoft could simply re-patch the DRM back into the system. They could then cover their asses by changing the Terms of Service to keep them from getting sued.

    But ultimately, I’ve realized in this generation that I see no real point in owning all three systems since there’s just so much cross-over with multiplats. Personally, the PS4 has a larger amount of exclusives that appeal to me, also the system is still $100 cheaper.

    I’m not going to tell people they shouldn’t go buy an Xbox One, that’s their prerogative. But for me, the damage has been done.

    But who knows? Maybe I might get one after a hardware revision and a couple of price drops. I still want to play Crimson Dragon.


  3. I still don’t trust them. They’ve already demonstrated that they’re willing to throw their customers under the bus to line their coffers, and only backed off because the media asked the questions they would have avoided altogether if they had things their way, leading angry gamers to call them out. I have no doubt that they’re already determining a new way to screw the consumer over, serving only the interests of themselves and their butt buddies at EA and other crappy third parties.

    • GEL Says:

      XD I have no qualms with this anger. My interest in the XBox One is still very begrudging. Currently it has more exclusives that I want. I WANTED to preorder a PS4 but realized there wasn’t a single game I wanted on it. In both cases it’ll probably be best to wait a year. This E3 belonged to the PS3 and WiiU for me.

      Then again, Tokyo Game Show could change my tune!

      But yes, there is still a lot to be suspicious of with Microsoft.

  4. RegalSin Says:

    Everybody already knew this one. Nobody in their right mind, would have such an item released, besides, they already have Zune and Apple Ipod/ipad/itampons/iphone/iflap for that kind of stuff. Microsoft just wanted to created hype, and they did that successfully. I think you already laid out the reality that Microsoft 720 is just going to do what every moron did, port games that could run on the 360, X-box, etc and call it a day.

    About Japanese, gaming. Look Japan is a nationalist nation, and with the many looney-tooney laws out their wasting time of our goverment spending, I do not really care anymore. Clinically

    When it comes to gaming Gel, the west like a slave pit of fear, hatred, commercialism, stereotypes, and a load of crap our generation was taught to ignore, but thank heavans for 2001 and the last ten years of watching morons on television make decisions that affects us negatively. I can’t even use the bathroom without feeling like that box-office smash failure “fortress”.

    What comeback? Japan had always had respect for videogames, and comics, to the tenth degree. All we will see is more blah blah blah and you dancing around to Wiiware and Harry Potter wands. That is it. Okay I might be wrong but when you look at what we missed out on, vs what is being massed produced, I rather pretend the years of 24-bit gaming, never ended.

    I am pretty sure most game creators and game people feel like “The Little Fugitive” when it comes to videogames. Have you heard the younger generation? Why go backwards into this spiral of “Wow, it is amazing”. I might sound like one of those geysers, who is still amazed by the light bulb, but seriously, that is how new toys feels to me. I feel like I have seen the same magic trick over and over again.

    Also when they meant by live update Gel, they mean to say that when you play a game, the world is alive, that is what they mean to say Gel. Imagine if you were in Japan, back when they had the Satelite view, that in a nutshell but now we are talking about the Apple Seri generation. Even the Wii U is also doing this as we speak.


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