Xbox One: The Damage Is Done

Yesterday, to the delight of gamers around the world, Microsoft performed a pretty dramatic U-turn, ditching a swathe of policies surrounding its next-generation console, the Xbox One.

In short, users will be free to play retail or downloadable games anywhere offline, the unpopular daily login system scrapped for a one-time activation. Perhaps even a bigger relief to gamers is that Microsoft has done away with its draconian used-game restrictions. Before the 180-flip, Xbox One users would only be allowed to play borrowed or second-hand games if they purchased a “license”.

Now, as with the Xbox 360, you are free to swap and trade-in freely: it’s business as usual.

Needless to say, this is great news for gamers. Sure, there are a few unpopular features that remain (namely Kinect 2 and Microsoft’s drive to promote the console as a multimedia platform) but the most egregious policies have been now been remedied. Good on Microsoft, eh?

Well, no, not really. If there’s one thing we should all take away from this it is that we literally had to force them to make these changes.

Ever since the Xbox One was revealed to the world last month, it has been the butt of every industry-related joke.

However, beneath all the “TV, TV, TV, sports, sports, sports” wisecracks and “where the games at?” jibes, there was a serious message being put across. Having gone from underdog to being a top player, Microsoft was now throwing its weight around at the expense of its dedicated customers, touting the new Xbox as one box to rule the living room and not the next innovation in gaming.

On top of that, Microsoft had the audacity to impose a string of totalitarian restrictions, instructing users exactly where, when, and how to play the products they purchased with their hard earned money. It was a complete joke -from top to bottom- a big middle finger to those Xbox supporters who made the brand what it is today; and it only got worse.

At E3, Microsoft made an excellent delivery, showcasing a string of solid first party titles and exclusive, yet a shadow still loomed. Though games such as Quantum Break, Halo 5, and Project Spark piqued the interest of many, this excitement was dampened by a slew of unanswered yet extremely-important questions about the console.

Even when PR reps and guys in-the-know, including Don Mattrick himself, responded to the press, it was hard to determine who really had their facts right. Instead of coming clean, Microsoft was still floundering behind the scenes, fumbling around for answers that would appease gamers and justify their unpopular Xbox One policies.

Meanwhile, stock prices fell (if only marginally) and the internet’s distaste for the company and its console only grew. Reddit was aflame with “conversion” threads, memes, and Xbox support trolling. Even Sony was in on the joke when it released an “instructional video”, showing PlayStation gamers how to trade and swap their games.

Finally we had the Facebook poll conducted by Amazon, asking gamers which platform they would side with. The result was almost unanimous with a staggering 30,000 favouring the PlayStation 4 and not even 2,000 rallying behind the Xbox One. It seemed that, wherever you searched on the internet, not one person had a good word to say about Microsoft’s next-generation platform.

So, back to our main point, will the recent U-turn change people’s perspective of the Xbox One? Put simply, nobody really knows.

For many the damage has already been done. Microsoft, quite clumsily, revealed itself as a money-hungry corporation willing to set aside the core needs of gamers to get its console in every household. Even after this latest newsbreak, there’s a good chance many left chagrined by Microsoft’s rhetoric of ownership and licenses will still opt in the opposite direction.

With that said, there’s always a good portion of the market who don’t stay on top of gaming news and may not know that the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One even exist. It’s these gamers who are left unaffected by Microsoft’s previous floundering yet they are ones set to gain the most from the announcement.

Them, and of course, brick and mortar outlets such as GAME and Gamestop. Pre-owned is a huge part of their business and the news that Xbox One games will be tradeable has no doubt prompted managers to already set aside vast stretches of shelf space in anticipation.

Whichever way you look at it, the playing field has been somewhat levelled and, in the words of many an onlooker, the console war can now truly begin…

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64 Comments

  1. Oh course the damage is done. Why would I buy back into Xbone when they didn’t even understand what gamers wanted in the first place! now it feels like they’re begrudgingly giving gamers what they want. Not a fan of Flip-Flopers

  2. Before yesterday there was a 0% chance that I would ever get an Xbox One. That number has now skyrocketed to 6%.

  3. As it stands, after showing such disrespect for the general public I wouldn’t buy an Xbox Juan if they lowered the price to £100.

    • I would suck in my pride along with my gut to buy Juan at £100. I have no pride lol

      I think it would be worth it just to see if the kinect could react to my dog barking…

  4. It’s going to be interesting to see, i think many will return to xbox now, or at least consider it a viable second machine. Sony may need to re-revise their sales expectations.

  5. Off topic alert…..Sony why are you having Vita and PSP sales when I have no more room left on all my memory cards?!

    OK sorry about that rant….

    Yeah I think this may make some reconsider, but the PS4 is still the better option for many….especially those that have no interest in shouting at their XBone or having to stop their kids changing to the cartoon network just as they’re about to get past that impossible level…

  6. The thing is this prooves that nothing of what they promised was worth it. If they’d trully believed they would change gaming than there would have been no backing down. Every policies they had were just made to control the customers, to try and control a free market. They had ZERO cards up their sleeves. It was all hocus-pocus.

  7. I’m glad they changed their mind about the always online/DRM nonsense but the damage is done and there are still other issues with X1… the price and kinect for instance.

  8. there are people who don’t care there the ones who will take what ever MS say & probably were buying it before it was even known what it does. but a lot of more older gamers will not go back trust is very important MS have 0% now imo.

  9. Microsoft has betrayed your trust? Cry me a river, they have been very forthright about DRM, Kinect and other such issues. By saying you can’t trust Microsoft, I assume you’ve already got the Xbox One at home and only just been notified of these issues? Admittedly, there is PR confusion, but the basics of these concerns had been declared hours after the console was announced.

    You’ve got to be an incredibly bitter person to still be mad at them for going through this, undoubtedly, excruciating process of almost a complete reversal just to make the customers happy with their policies regarding DRM and used games. People are acting like they’ve been “had” because they tried a new method of digital gaming on consoles even though they were in no way obliged to purchase it. I, personally, was looking forward to the ability to share games with my friends digitally at the press of the button and switch between all of my purchased games instantly, regardless whether or not I bought them on disc and installed them later. Unfortunately, I will only be able to do this with the obvious restrictions, but is nonetheless a great feature.

    In short, cut the guys some slack. They’ve really gone out of their way to change for the benefit of their customers and are getting not much more than slander for it. In my opinion, PS4 had very little features in contest with Xbox One, perhaps not in games, but features almost definitely. PS4’s big announcement was their policies regarding DRM and used games, and now that Xbox have the very same, what have they got now? For me Xbox One would be my first purchase and perhaps the PS4 at a later date, but in regards to the article, “this is not a sprint”!

    • cut them no slack they tried to force there future on everyone & it failed, not just going to forget because Sony forced there hand to make there changes. if PS4 was not in the race NOTHING would of changed.

      • That door swings both ways I’m afraid. You think if Xbox wasn’t in the race, PS4 would be as good as it is today? No. Just no.

      • the Playstation has been a great brand before MS even got into the market all I see MS do is follow Sonys lead lately.

    • @Unmindful – Basically there is no pleasing some people. Simple as that. They could have dropped the price at the same time and people would have still moaned it came with the Kinect.
      As it stands, speaking as someone with a limited budget and is looking to get himself a new console, both offerings are basically level-pegging in terms of value now, with similar specs and a couple of exclusives each. The only difference is the £80 price difference, because one console offers a camera as an optional peripheral (and therefore won’t be utilised by developers once again) and one is sensible enough to make it compulsory so we are likely to get some half-decent games which use it.

      • I can see exactly how the lower price tag will attract more customers, especially those parents who want to get their children the next new console and that £80 difference would be more than enough. But, personally, as much as a strain it would be on my coin purse, I think the mandatory Kinect will oblige developers to push the limits and ability of the device and really create some fantastic features integrated into our next-gen games, which I simply can’t wait to get my hands on

      • Exactly. The Move and original Kinect may have sold well but were ultimately a waste of time as they were optional peripherals and therefore not supported.
        If you want your hardware to be a success, you make it compulsory and get it in everyone’s living rooms. If it’s possible to ignore it, most people will do just that.
        I’m really hoping for good things from the Kinect this gen, as the 360 version was solid, just under-developed.

      • Kinect is something i would never want,as i hate motion gaming give me a controller any day,im past the age of wanting to wave my arms around like i demented loon, and for the amusement of anyone passing by the window lol ;D

      • Lol :P Can’t say I use my current Kinect much, but it is a lot of fun played in large groups or with family.
        If they offered the option to buy the X1 without the Kinect I would go for that, but I don’t think it makes much business-sense for them to do so.

    • “Bitter” might be too strong a word but millions of people will be extra mindful of their short-term endeavours because of what happened here. Just because I promise to stop thumping someone in the face doesn’t mean they need to trust me the moment my fists stop flying! A bizarre but accurate analogy. Microsoft has looked at the overwhelmingly negative feedback and done the right thing. Sadly, what would’ve been far nicer would be for them to have done this in the first place but there we go. They’ve tried something new and it’s bitten them on the arse.

      They’re in Damage Limitation Mode and will bounce back accordingly, I’m sure.

      • Reading back, I think I might’ve been the bitter one. But, you’re right, and an excellent analogy that was! I understand that they’ve done wrong and now see how they have lost the trust of all types of customers, but, luckily, I wasn’t to be and hopefully more people can enjoy the Xbox One in the way they used to enjoy the previous generation of consoles!

  10. Well I’ve gone from definitely not buying to probably buying once I see some games I want to play.

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