June 19, 2013

Microsoft backs down! Xbox One to be a lot more SANE!

After getting smacked in the face by millions of very loud voices of reason in the form of pissed off gamers, (including one Chad W. Smith), Microsoft has gained a small amount of sanity and changed the Xbox One draconian policies to something much less evil.

The main points of their press release were "An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games" and "Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today".  They also threw in the fact that "there will be no regional restrictions" on Xbox One games.

You will have to connect to the internet when you get an Xbox One - but only once. "After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again."  Still sucks for anyone who doesn't have the internet, but they probably don't know about the Xbox One yet anyway.  In areas where this is a common problem, hopefully some resourceful retailers will offer the use of their internet connection for this initial set up.

Microsoft noted that "these changes will impact some of the scenarios we previously announced for Xbox One," but did not elaborate.  I assume that they are referring to the sharing games via the cloud with up to 10 family members and/or friends that have been on your friends list for 30 days or whatever craziness they were planning.[Edit - more info has been revealed.]
Microsoft's Xbox One chief product officer Marc Whitten has confirmed and clarified "that does mean that features like Family Sharing won’t be there." and moving between Xbox Ones (like logging into Live at a friend's house) will no longer give you access to all of your games - just the ones you bought online.  You'll have to bring your discs to play those games. You will also still have to install every game to the hard drive, and Kinect is still required.  And to play disc-based games, you will have to have that disc in the drive (even though it will be playing from the hard drive).

Ultimately, I didn't see that plan working anyway.  Imagine getting 10 "family members" together and each buying one different game every other month.  With the "Family Sharing" plan Microsoft was planning, you could easily rack up dozens of games for $6 each.*  It would have killed their game sales.  And, trust me, there would have been websites helping you connect with your long-lost "Family Members".

In the end - this move (which is only back to sanity, mind you - it is not some brilliant new thing they are doing - it is the way console games have worked since the stinking Magnavox Odyssey, (which Wikipedia tells me was the first home video game console) will save the company from being last in the next gen console wars.  It may still not beat the PS4, but it at least now stands a chance of not coming in 4th behind the Ouya.  Just a chance, though.  Still has the all-watching, all-hearing Kinect creep-factor camera and the $100 higher price tag.

* (Ten members each buying one game for $60 and sharing it with the rest of the group.  So "Family Member A" buys Halo 5, "Family Member B" buys Forza, "Family Member C" buys Watch Dogs, etc..  Each only spending $60 - but because they are all sharing with each other, everyone would have access - from the comfort of their own homes - to all 10 games.  Then the next time they all go out, they get another 10 games while only having spent $60 for their one shared game.)

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1 comment:

Tod said...