Why Microsoft’s capitulation on Xbox One is terrible news for gamers

Xbox_Consle_Sensr_controllr_F_TransBG_RGB_2013On June 19, Don Mattick, President of Interactive Entertainment Business for Microsoft caved to a vocal minority of gamers.  It was only a week ago on June 10, 2013 that Microsoft held their annual E3 press conference in downtown Los Angeles.  In their press conference, they announced a slew of new next-gen features for the Xbox One to go with new games like “Dead Rising 3.”  While the change to game ownership to a licensing option was a big change from the status quo, the benefits that were promised along with it arguably outweighed the new business model.  Along with the change, Microsoft cancelled many of the features that justified the price difference with Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 4.

The new Xbox One system promised gamers the ability to go to any Xbox One and play their full library of games without having carry and possibly damage their discs.  It also allowed gamers to share their entire library with up to ten people and then even loan a game to friend that didn’t make your list.  The Xbox One was also set to fully realize the promise of Smart Glass, Microsoft’s second screen option that works with your smart phone or tablet.  The downside of course is that the disc itself would hold less value and your Xbox One must be connected to the internet.

While graphics have marginally improved, the promised features are decidedly next-gen.  Previously, you could have argued that the Playstation 4 was not really a next-gen system.  There was no new media, and besides the change to more PC architecture, similar to the Xbox, there were only marginal improvements to the Playstation 3.  The Xbox One, love it or hate it, really changed things up.  It’s use of cloud servers, significantly changed the way gaming works.

Somehow, a vocal minority of people that want to be able to sell games on Ebay or for pennies on the dollar to a store like Gamestop, and don’t have internet, were able to get Microsoft to change their plans.  There were arguments about soldiers in the field not being able to use the system, though more often than not, deployed service members do have internet access.  It is also hard to believe that anyone that was excited about all of the new features Microsoft was rolling out, like Smart Glass, didn’t have internet access.  Microsoft had previously promised compelling reasons to upgrade to the Xbox One.  Today, that argument is a lot weaker.

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