In quite a shocking reveal yesterday, Microsoft has issued out statements (MS gaming license article, MS always online take article, MS xbox one kinect options article) as to how it was going to screw consumers and nail their coffins shut and bury them deep in the ground.
In the statements issued by Microsoft, it was outlined as how the used game policy will be handled by the publishers of the games and not by Microsoft itself. Microsoft said it will not be charging retailers, publishers, or consumers for enabling transfer of games. That means if you own a game and you want to share or exchange it with a friend, you can ONLY do it if the publisher of the game allows you to do so, if not its one game, per console, per person. What does that mean? well the friend you were going to share the game with needs to break his piggy bank to buy his own copy of the game or you have to break your piggy bank to buy a copy a game that you were going to receive during an exchange with a friend. Since we all know what kind loving souls businesses are, I am sure “all” the publishers will be lining up allow game transfers….NOT!! Microsoft has completely washed its hand off the responsibility of this entire fiasco and it said its own games (such as halo) will be available for transfer. I am sure the evil minions at EA and Ubisoft etc, are rubbing their hands together malevolently and relishing the demise of gamers and how expensive gaming is going to become for the everyday user and as to how thick their trench coats are going to get filled with money and trinkets.
I don’t know about you guys, but I do share and buy used games and games that I do love a lot (God of War) I buy full price on the release day. Sometimes I have bought a game that I thought was good but about 15 minutes playing into it, I find out how crap it is or the game is not my type of game and then one of my friends sees the game and loves it so i end up giving it to him, sell it to him or exchange with him. At other times I buy a game finish it and sell it off or give it away. With the new licensing policy in effect with the Xbox One, all of that is going to change. Apparently you paying hard earned money on a game and buying it doesn’t mean you cant do whatever you want with it and you cant share it (this is to all the kindergarten teachers, stop teaching your kids that sharing is good because when they grow up, they are going to get screwed by unfair policies such as this….and to pre-schoolers reading this…well first you are not suppose to be reading this so go to a corner and suck on some glue or something…..what still reading then OK, don’t listen to your parents or teachers when they say share you stuff, its frowned upon by money makers when you grow up).
I just feel like it is a way for the game publishers to strip the consumer from their power and leave them bare and naked on a street corner with a pseudo sense of security and false promises. When I pay money for something, and buy it as my own, I would like to think it belongs to me and I can do whatever I want with it. According to the new policies enacted by Microsoft, they want our money for their product but we don’t actually own then product, so technically we are paying money for something that we think we own but we don’t and so we cant do whatever we want with the product that we though we bought. It like you buy a cookie, and you want to break it in half and share with your buddy but the guy who sold the cookie is saying “NO….YOU BUY COOKIE….YOU EAT COOKIE…WHOLE COOKIE!!”
I am also wondering what this might cause for people who buy a game but need to move out to another country (for work, for studying, or a solider being deployed in a country, etc) and will they policies effect the new account on a new Xbox One you will buy , and if the games YOU already bought will work on the new machine when you reallocate to a new country? Apparently Engadget had the same question and the Microsoft PR machine had this to regurgitate “The blog posts on Xbox Wire detail everything we can share today. We look forward to sharing more details in the months ahead.” Quite a nauseating reply indeed.
Now to move on to the other interesting fact that was released my Microsoft yesterday. This one is quite stupid to tell the truth. Microsoft explained more on their “Always Online” policy. They mentioned that the Xbox One will check in once every 24 hours through the internet and if it cant check in, you will not be able to play the game. This is Microsoft again telling the consumer that even though you bought the game, Microsoft will still dictate to you when and how you play the game. This is a very redundant policy indeed. Honestly what about people in other parts of the world who do not have a fast internet connection or even a proper reliable internet connection? Heck I know some parents who do not get their kids internet but still get them a game console. What if your internet connection gets disrupted due to a power surge or a storm or whatever and the service provider says it will take a few days to get it back up again and in the mean time you wont be able to play games and forget about the terrible storm that ruined your internet connection? I could understand how Microsoft thinks this can curb piracy but rather than making the Xbox One system more secure, they chose to act as gate keeper on how you play your games. Sony chose to make their Playstation 3 system more secure than to instigate the game keeper policy and the piracy rate of the Playstation 3 was the lowest compared to all the other consoles put together (yes it had a few hiccups with homebrew when Geohot jailbroke it, but rather than trying to be gate keeper and tell its consumers on when and how to play their games, they chose to deal with the problem on their own). Guess Microsoft is paranoid as its Xbox 360 games had quite a piracy record what with mod chips and the dvd drive (blu rays are harder to crack than dvd games). So instead of beefing up their system, they chose to drive another stake into the heart of the consumer. I am just wondering if there is some guy in Microsoft, who sits in a room and thinks up stupid shit ideas like this.
Lastly about the Kinect and its privacy issues with the Xbox One. With the Xbox One, the Kinect has become an essential packed in. There seems to be a lot of privacy issues concerning the the new Kinect features for the Xbox One. Namely the “Xbox On” feature is in much debate over its privacy, considering it is always on, one comes to wonder if the data stream can be hacked into or where the data will be saved. The Kinect can also be integrated into games and other apps that can take videos, photos, heart rate monitors from accessories and store them. It is not yet knows properly how or where they will be stored, and if not stored locally on the machine, how long will it be saved on the Microsoft servers or other servers and who can access it? Considering the new enlightenment of the PRISM incentive program that the US government has which lets the government gather data from companies such as Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Apple, etc under the guise of surveillance (I will write more about the PRISM program on another post), will the data stored by Microsoft be accessible to outsiders without you even knowing? Microsoft keeps assuring that the privacy is good and slogans like “Privacy by Design”, which seems more like false advertising at the moment, but the new Kinect seems to be a very proficient hardware indeed, non can argue against that, but we also dont know what Sony has in plan for the PlayStation 4 Eye. Only time will tell.
Microsoft says stuff such as “How Xbox One and the New Kinect Sensor Put You in Control” and “Xbox One: A Modern, Connected Device”, but from what I can see, its a long way from that and after the debacle of Windows 8, it seems like another project that seems to carry too much baggage with problems from the start but even though Microsoft knows it, they are still going to be stubborn and go ahead with it just like they did with Windows 8.
So where does all this put Sony and its coveted Playstation 4? Actually we have no idea. Even though Sony representatives have said that the PS4 will not have the always online feature and also it will allow trading of games we still do not know officially and how exactly the trading will work, because Sony also said it will be leaving the option of trading games to the publisher of the games, but will it back step from that after seeing the negative fall back on Microsoft after officially annoying that very move? As of yet Sony has not made any official proclamations regarding trading games or the “Always Online” features but looks like this is an awesome opportunity for them to learn from the mistakes Microsoft is doing. Clearly it might be too late to make hardware changes to the PS4 but things such as licensing and privacy issues are things that Sony can consider now. Lets hope that at least Sony will not be as selfish as Microsoft and takes decisions that actually either give more power to the consumer or maintains the power the consumer already has at least instead of joining with Microsoft and sharing their policies and ending up stripping the consumer of everything. I guess we cannot answer those questions till E3 that will take place between June 11 to June 13, 2013. Contrary to what many people believe, the Playstation 4 does do almost everything that the Xbox One can do. IF Sony DOES address these issues properly, we can clearly state that Sony won this generation of the console war.
viva la consumer!!!!!!