“Since unveiling our plans for Xbox One, my team and I have heard directly from many of you, read your comments and listened to your feedback,” Don Mattrick, Microsoft’s President of Interactive Entertainment Business, wrote. “I would like to take the opportunity today to thank you for your assistance in helping us to reshape the future of Xbox One. “
In one blog post Don Mattrick and Microsoft have reversed its policy on digital rights management (DRM) and its decision to have an always online Xbox One. Like the Xbox 360, people will be able to resell, play, and do whatever they like with the games they purchase, hence, a complete 180 from last week’s E3 announcements.
As for the always online element, every new Xbox One will require an initial one-time system set-up. This means that disc based games will be able to be played without ever having to connect to the internet, allowing people to take their Xbox Ones wherever they want and play without any online requirements obstructing them.
Also revealed in today’s post was the fact that people will be able to download games off of Xbox Live on day one of the Xbox One’s release. Games that are downloaded will also be able to be played offline and regional restrictions will not apply to the new console — any Xbox One game will be able to played on any Xbox One console.
Because of these changes, disc based games will require the disc to be in the tray and digital games will still not be able to be resold or shared.
“We appreciate your passion, support and willingness to challenge the assumptions of digital licensing and connectivity,” Mattrick said, “While we believe that the majority of people will play games online and access the cloud for both games and entertainment, we will give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content. We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds.”
This is Microsoft admitting that they were wrong about the future of gaming and that they will concede and follow Sony and the PlayStation 4’s path to the future.
This has its pros and cons.
While it’s good to admit when you’re wrong, this may be a circumstance where it’s not because it shows a weakness and tells the world that your competition was right about the future. The decision to revert back to the status quo of how games are played today is a step backwards for Microsoft, it only appeases the critics of its next-generation console who did not agree with the Xbox One’s vision of the future.
I don’t think appeasement will win this console war.
While I wasn’t particularly fond of the DRM that Microsoft was going to implement, I was fond of the always online functionality and the ability to share games with select people. While it may seem a bit mad to have a console be always online, let’s imagine the future.
Internet will inevitability become better than it is today and it will become more available, connectivity will increase and this fuss about always being online would be stamped out. The future of gaming isn’t sharing disc games with friends and buying used games, it’s downloading games and buying games at discounted rates — much like the way that Valve’s Steam operates.
Steam is arguably the best online service for the gaming community and that’s what Microsoft was striving towards. Sony aims to keep the status quo of games and not strive to innovate the experience on how people share the games they play and digital content’s importance. The PlayStation 4 is an updated, stronger PlayStation 3 because of this and, for me, that’s not the future of gaming, that’s just appealing to short term wants of gamers and not striving for something greater.
While I appreciate how much Sony has listened to the gaming community when it created the PlayStation 4, I really don’t want Sony to make the console that I had a hand in making. That’s just how you sell units, it’s good business strategy to tell your customer that they’re always right.
I want Sony and Microsoft to create the consoles of the future that they envisioned, create the future gaming machine that I’ll want to own.
Much in the way that Steve Jobs did when creating the iPod and many Apple products, he didn’t give in to what people wanted – he made the products that people would want. He created the future.
Was it good for Microsoft to tuck its tail between its legs and give into Sony’s envisioned future, probably not, but I don’t pull the strings at Microsoft and I know they wouldn’t do this with good reason.
It’s just disappointing to see Microsoft give up on it’s vision of the future so easily because of hostile comments on the internet.
I am still very on the fence in regards to which console I’ll be owning this coming fall, and with news like this, the decision has become even harder. My mind says go with the PlayStation 4 but my gut says stick around and see what the Xbox One can do in the coming weeks.
For the full Microsoft post click here.