Ever since it’s announcement, the Xbox One has been met with some strong criticism. Most Xbox 360 fans hopped onto the PlayStation bandwagon after the Xbox One announcement.
The main reasons behind this, which I’m sure most of you know, were the inability (or complications) to run used games; and connecting to the internet every 24 hours. Trading or lending games to friends was problematic as it was announced that these particular friends had to be a part of your Xbox Live friends list for 30 days. The Xbox One was a problem-filled machine, trying to impose heavy restrictions on gamers.
At E3, Sony announced that players would not have to face these ridiculous restrictions on the PlayStation 4. Their console would be able to play used games without any problems; would not require online connectivity and would be region-free. A few days after that, the PlayStation 4 outran the Xbox One in the pre-orders race.
Now, it seems like Microsoft has finally opened it’s eyes. Note that I said “The Xbox One was a problem-filled machine”. Past tense.
As you may know, Microsoft dropped the ludicrous DRM and used game policy yesterday (meaning that you can now trade, share and play used games as you always have) , along with announcing that the Xbox One would be completely region-free, unlike it’s predecessors and more like the PlayStation 4. Furthermore, it was announced that online connectivity every 24 hours would not be required. Instead, it is only a requirement for setting up your Xbox One for the first time.
All this sounds pretty good, but is it enough for the Xbox One to redeem itself? Is it possible to repair the damage it has caused?
Here is what Microsoft’s official statement said: “(We) have heard directly from many of you, read your comments and listened to your feedback.”
Really Microsoft? Did you listen to us? The gamers? Or did you peek at the number of pre-orders?
E3 is undoubtedly one of the gaming industry’s major events. Gamers had been voicing their concern about the Xbox One’s problems for weeks before E3. Had Microsoft actually listened to us, there would’ve been some talk of them. But no. Microsoft chose to completely ignore the topic. Sony, on the other hand, turned out to be wiser. It addressed this issue and made the gamers happy. What was Microsoft thinking at the time?
Personally speaking, I am not satisfied. Fine, Microsoft corrected the problems, but it is a little too late. Sony has already grabbed a hold on many gamers and shown them how much they care about the gamers.
Lets take online multiplayer as an example. The Xbox One requires an Xbox Live membership to play online. This was the case with the Xbox 360 as well. The PlayStation 3, however, allowed free online multiplayer. Yes, I am aware that one needs to have a PlayStation Plus membership for the PlayStation 4, but it’s quite clear that the PlayStation Plus subscription is a lot more beneficial than an Xbox Live membership. I mean, the instant game collection, discounts and other special offers are worth a lot more than what gamers are expected to pay. Sony hasn’t been all that profitable lately, which is why it needed to charge for online play. Despite this, they are keeping the gamers happy by offering them so much more. They know what we want.
Until E3, Sony had not announced it’s used game policy. They could have gone with a similar policy as Microsoft. It could have been profitable for them, but they didn’t. Why? Because the gamers did not want it.
I’m not saying that Sony has won the ‘console war’ and will ‘dominate over Microsoft’. My point is, Microsoft needs to listen to the gamers. They need to properly address our concerns, like Sony does. They changed their policies after listening to the consumers, but had they done it earlier (preferably before E3), it would have benefited them greatly. They might win back a few gamers now, but the majority will remain doubtful. The damage has been dealt.
With many Xbox 360 fans having pre-ordered the PlayStation 4, I find it unlikely that they will switch now. Another reason for hesitation towards the Xbox One is it’s higher price as compared to the PlayStation 4 while being technologically inferior. Granted, it’s only a $100 difference, but that makes all the difference.
Then again, one must consider that The Xbox One is coming with the Kinect, which accounts for the higher cost. It makes more sense then. But then again, there are gamers who care naught for Kinect and would gladly buy the console separately. Microsoft, gamers don’t need a camera watching their every movement. Quite frankly, it’s creepy.
I do think that Microsoft has done a good job with the games. Their E3 conference focused entirely on video games, and surprisingly, they have more exclusives than Sony this time. With Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III coming to the Xbox One, the grip Sony had on most of us has lightened. However, it must be noted that the Xbox One apparently does not love Indie games. This may be hard to believe, but a lot of gamers love Indie games. Hear us, Microsoft!
But as I said, Microsoft needs to do a lot more to gain our love now. The Xbox One may be able to redeem itself yet, but not instantly. Wounds heal (even these deep ones that Microsoft gave us) and scars fade, but all with time.