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I Ain't Mad about the Xbox One, Bro

Posted by CheapyD, 26 June 2013 · 46,382 views

xbox one cheapyd cheap ass gamer e3 2013 playstation 4 microsoft sony
I Ain't Mad about the Xbox One, Bro Sorry guys, I ain’t mad about the Xbox One and I ain’t mad at Microsoft. Do I think Microsoft has screwed up plenty? Sure, however, I ain't mad. As someone who was rejected from two of America’s top business schools, I feel like I am in the perfect position to explain how everything went down.

The big three started revealing their plans for the 8th console generation and gamers were immediately skeptical about DRM, its effect on game trade-ins, and other “features” that would make gaming less convenient and more expensive. As Microsoft clumsily kicked over the chamber pot that held their marketing strategy, you could see their overall vision for the Xbox One seemed quite similar to Steve Jobs’ vision for the future of Apple TV. As a daily Apple TV user and someone pretty invested in the Apple ecosystem, it sounded like Microsoft & Apple’s DRM mechanisms would be similar.

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Microsoft thought gamers would prefer the convenience of complete hard drive installation (not having to swap discs) and sharing across multiple boxes over the freedom of allowing gamers to sell their games on eBay or on sites like Cheap Ass Gamer. Even with the new, more restrictive DRM, the discs were to retain value, and could be traded-in at select retailers. Many gamers were not happy with this trade-off.

As far as I know, Microsoft designed their DRM on their own and not as part of some consortium of publishers, intent on locking down used games. If you have seen an article or heard otherwise from a reliable source, please let us know, but this is how I understand it. I wouldn’t assume publishers had the inside track on Microsoft's always-connected future, or were big fans when they learned about it. But as I mentioned earlier, Microsoft had a (Steve Jobs’) vision for the Xbox One, and this is how it was to work.

Beyond the massive Microsoft PR blunders, what really baffles me is the extent of the anger Microsoft stirred up with the Xbox One. I’ve seen many people irrationally accuse Microsoft of trying to obliterate gamer's rights and destroy gaming, for basically emulating what Steam, a beloved PC download service, is already doing. On NeoGAF, there is a Corporate Apologist Games "Journalism" blog list highlighting those who haven’t come out vocally against a console which wouldn’t exist for 6 months. I’ve had people curse and threaten me on Twitter because I haven’t condemned the Xbox One to the depths of Hell. Are we forgetting that the Xbox One is a consumer electronics product? If this THING that doesn’t exist until several months from now is so horrible and offensive, DON’T BUY IT. It’s great to give these companies feedback on their products, but personal attacks against people who may not share your worldview on electronics is completely ridiculous.

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I see the tag “anti-consumer” being hung around the Xbox One, and that too really confuses me. How can a consumer product be “anti-consumer”? Its silly to believe that a company would willingly create an “anti-consumer” product with the intent of selling it to the public. This makes no sense. It’s true that companies make bad products, products you have no interest in with features you do not want, and products that can only be used if certain criteria is met, but these products are merely undesirable or unavailable to you, not “anti-consumer”. A company that willfully creates and sells “anti-consumer” products is akin to a restaurant knowingly serving poison to its diners.

As we return from crazy internet rage land to the real world, where numbers talk and bullshit walks, it’s pretty obvious the Xbox One pre-order numbers were not as competitive with PS4 as expected, damaged by their complete mishandling of the Xbox One DRM/Used Games PR campaign and the $100 price difference. As the proprietor of this website, I have insights into pre-order numbers and can confirm that the PS4 had a distinct advantage. If only Microsoft had been able to properly explain why it’s always connected plan was more beneficial than unrestricted used game trades, or even perhaps, make it optional, things would have gone differently.

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On the CAGcast, we’ve always agreed that there was no way Sony or Microsoft would allow its competitor to be completely open to used games, while they themselves would be restricted. The value of having an “All Buying/Selling/Trading OK!” check-box on their product comparison sheet far outweighs the risks of upsetting customers and unraveling an economy that may or may not be beneficial for console gaming's success. We were proven to be correct when Microsoft recently relented on frequent online authentication check-ins and removed all restrictions on used games. As a consequence, it appears some of the cloud-based sharing features, as well as the always connected, instant-on Apple TV-like features Microsoft had originally planned for the Xbox One are no more.

I have received (often over-the-top) criticism for not being more outspoken on gamer’s rights and an unrestricted used game trade. The simple reason for this is that CAG makes money on the used game business. People buy used games through CAG and we get paid. Also, people come to CAG to trade their games with fellow members, which, leads to more site visits, and indirectly, to more money for CAG. For me to come out strongly for the used game business would be about as meaningful as an GameStop executive doing so. Just like the Big 3, I have no idea what game shopping would look like without these secondary markets, but, I do understand that customers fear uncertainty and I guess it is this fear that produces so much anger.

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Did Sony originally intend to restrict used games on PS4? I don’t believe there was any anti-used game publisher consortium so Sony would really have no reason to lock it down. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no solid evidence that the used game business is harmful for the industry. When it became clear the Xbox One would have certain restrictions, going completely unrestricted on used games had to be the right move for Sony. Do you think Sony went this route because they love their customers more than Microsoft, or because they believed this differentiation could help them sell more PS4s? If you believe the former, you’ve learned nothing; go get rejected from multiple business schools.

Microsoft really wanted everyone to like their box. You can be sure it was designed with the purpose of getting as many people as possible to pay $500 for it. If you think the Xbox One was created with the intent to: destroy gaming, destroy used games, steal your secrets, hack your life...basically anything that is not getting you to pay $500 for it, you are mistaken. In a free marketplace, there are no anti-consumer products, only products that succeed, and products that fail. Microsoft made changes in their policies because they feared not doing so would cause the Xbox One to fail. Looking at all this stuff any other way is just a distraction until late November.

Image sources:
http://9to5mac.com/2...gets-mocked-up/
http://news.ripley.z...rice-used-games
http://yamamoto114.d...s-PS4-373228423




Well put! I personally love where the industry is headed. There will be more mistakes and more successes along the way. Gaming is more dynamic then ever and policy aside, these systems rustle my jimmies in a good way.

 

I would wax a philosophical on the differing companies strategies but I feel its premature. 

This entry is fuckin' ace, Cheapy! I don't understand the "anti-consumer" ranting either...because it makes no damn sense. Microsoft isn't that stupid (arguably up for debate though). I guess time will tell with five more months until launch.

 

EDIT: Also, it's probably a good idea to stay out of Neogaf for awhile. There aren't any meaning discussions that I've seen so far regarding this topic, only Xbox One bashing.

It's mostly just Sony fans trying to keep the hate alive at this point.  I agree with you on your points though Cheapy and have since the start on all this.

I am surprised after reading this. Well I can speak for myself. Where are the comments? Well, now that I got that out of the way. I personally have to say this was very objective take on the matter of the next generation consoles. After all, you hit the point that many consumers neglect. It comes down to the wire of capitalism. It is business. Both companies at the end of the day want our money. Some will play it safe, and other's will take the risk. In this case Microsoft wanted to take the leap, but had no idea of bridging the gap on how to get consumers to be on board with making used games a thing of the past, being connected to xbox live constantly (have it for updates, or feedback of connection speeds, servers, bugs, etc.), and the cloud.  

 

I like that you addressed the specs on both consoles. Call me insane, however, they are really closed. The $100 price difference may cause some people to take the Playstation 4 over the Xbox One. That is up to the consumer and to each is own. We are still early in making the assumption that one console is superior than the other. Like this last generation, shell out on buying all the next generation consoles, or choose one. I have to say that after buying all consoles, day one (Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360), I have learned my lesson. 

 

This time I will patiently wait and make smarter consumer decisions, and understand that there is no way I could keep up and play every other AAA title and Exclusive title on each console.

 

Thanks CheapyD for your insight!

 

Much Respect

 

xXI SPECTER IXx

I love the title.

I don't know why people are tearing cheapy a new one.  He just wants to buy the product that has served him well for the past 7 years.  I agree that Sony does a bad job of managing their products (ex. PS Vita), and I am hesitant to buy a PS4 because I don't think Sony can optimize their products well.

I gotta say, I agree with you 100% on this. Yes, Microsoft really screwed up their message. Yes, the importance of certain things to the consumers were underestimated. But I can't honestly believe their goal was to make people angry. However, they really look like amateurs who didn't learn anything from the past eight years.

 

Personally, I was looking forward to the features and didn't care as much about many of the things that made the Internet angry. I have to swap discs way more often than I buy or sell or trade games. Now in order to get that, I'll have to buy digitally. I doubt that digital games will go on sale within two months, which regularly happens on Amazon.

 

I believe Chris Grant said something to this effect on last week's Vergecast. Before Microsoft flipped a 180, we at least had some differentiating factors between the two consoles. Now they're both pretty much the same. So it'll be status quo for the next eight years.

The XB1 doesn't have these restrictions anymore so "no harm, no foul"  

 

Microsoft tried and new strategy and were lucky enough to catch it pretty early if you ask me. All they have to deal with now is the bad PR which will I assume will die down considerably later on.

I didn't read the whole post Cheapy, I skimmed the anti-consumer stuff though. I feel like you are off base on that. Here's why: would you say DRM is pro-consumer? Probably not. It's pro business, pro profit, etc. Usually the best it can do for the consumer is not get in the way of the user experience. We are not talking about a toaster or some appliance, we are talking about a complex device that plays a large role in digital rights. So I think you are knowingly being too dismissive there, and misrepresenting the issue people had with it.

The Xbox One is a product, it is not DRM. 

DRM is not a product.

Honestly, its not the console makers that are holding back gaming, its the developers and publishers that are afraid to not try and make different games and new things. Seems like the only ones really trying new ideas are indie developers now.

Thanks for writing this up. As much as people in the CAGcast thread thought I was so upset or offended by your opinions that asking for a more in-depth explanation of your thoughts was unreasonable, but this is basically what I was hoping to see.

 

There have been reports (like Giant Bomb's Xbox One DRM Video) that publishers like EA, Activision, and Ubisoft were pushing for Xbox One-style DRM, which is supposedly why Microsoft built that in but said they would not use it themselves. That is also supposedly why EA stop the online pass program a few weeks back. I don't really believe that Microsoft came up with the entire DRM idea by themselves since the platform holders usually consult many of their third-party partners about what they want from their next platform.

 

The big problem with that whole thing is that Microsoft seemed to have this grand plan, but they never sat down and explained why the benefits outweighed the cons. We only learned about the plans for sharing and all that in fact sheets and news releases, but Microsoft decided to not go in-depth about that stuff at the big reveal, the weeks leading up to E3, and during E3 itself. It's hard for anybody to take them at their word when they're not being upfront with their audience. Their PR since May 20 has been extremely bad from the bottom to the top with Don Mattrick saying the dumbest things that anybody could say when you have to earn the audience's trust for the risky DRM they built this system on.

 

I don't think Sony's doing anything with only our best interests in mind, but they know where they can take the easy roads to earn our trust (no DRM and allowing used games) and where they can push the limits of what we'll endure (requiring PS+ for online MP). If they want to make money and do well, they can't just force a bunch of questionable features on us and expect us to just take it because we want the shiny new thing.

Well said, Frisky.

One of the reasons I question the Publishers involvement is why would they want Xbox to lock down used games, but let Sony just do whatever?

Microsoft wants to push it's software licensing shenanigans from it's highly profitable OS business into it's gaming and multimedia business.  That would've spelled the end of consumers truly "owning" their games and put the control of the media into the hands of publishers and ultimately, Microsoft.   It isn't "anti-consumer" per se, but I do believe this is not in the consumers' best interest.  Perhaps you are less attached to the things you buy and maybe consumers in general shouldn't be?

 Volt1up, you should read the whole thing. Kinda got the vibe you misinterpreted the report.   

  It is a really good read. The toaster and and some appliance bit takes away from the

  article. We are talking about entertainment. The product here provides entertainment at a 

  price. Were do you stand on Digital Rights? Your sentence, "we are talking about a complex

  device that plays a large role in digital rights." What do you mean? please explain, and also elaborate on

  why you think CheapyD is being dismissive and misrepresenting the issue here? I am just

  stating the facts, and backing up my opinions. Which I hope you clarify, because it

  sounds like your not being objective. 

I didn't read the whole post Cheapy, I skimmed the anti-consumer stuff though. I feel like you are off base on that. Here's why: would you say DRM is pro-consumer? Probably not. It's pro business, pro profit, etc. Usually the best it can do for the consumer is not get in the way of the user experience. We are not talking about a toaster or some appliance, we are talking about a complex device that plays a large role in digital rights. So I think you are knowingly being too dismissive there, and misrepresenting the issue people had with it.

I was so excited for Microsoft's showing at E3 because I thought they'd explain to consumers how the "power of the cloud" would make them the much better console. I was hoping for a quick demonstration: "Here is a game running on (let's say) an offline Xbox One, and now here's the same game running while connected to the cloud. Quite an incredible difference, wouldn't you say? And it's only available on Xbox One," etc. How about explaining family sharing too, they would've won a lot of people to their new policies.

 

I think everyone realises that Microsoft missed a huge opportunity, they didn't explain the advantages of their system at all. But still, I was really excited for what that future would bring. 

 

Buy a retail game on sale and keep a digital copy? Great! I never want to switch disks again. But their reversal of their policies now means that if I want to buy digital, I can only buy it at one price: Microsoft's (close to, or above retail) price. 

 

Making all of their retail games connected to a digital copy would have been great, and now I'm kinda sad thinking about what could have been.

Mattwestcott,

 

You hit it right on, thats what my post was about. What the hell happen to the PR team at MS. They just needed to touch on the basic functions. I guess it was too difficult to explain

how the cloud, 24hr constant connection, and game sharing worked. Good argument Mattwestcott!

 

I was so excited for Microsoft's showing at E3 because I thought they'd explain to consumers how the "power of the cloud" would make them the much better console. I was hoping for a quick demonstration: "Here is a game running on (let's say) an offline Xbox One, and now here's the same game running while connected to the cloud. Quite an incredible difference, wouldn't you say? And it's only available on Xbox One," etc. How about explaining family sharing too, they would've won a lot of people to their new policies.

 

I think everyone realises that Microsoft missed a huge opportunity, they didn't explain the advantages of their system at all. But still, I was really excited for what that future would bring. 

 

Buy a retail game on sale and keep a digital copy? Great! I never want to switch disks again. But their reversal of their policies now means that if I want to buy digital, I can only buy it at one price: Microsoft's (close to, or above retail) price. 

 

Making all of their retail games connected to a digital copy would have been great, and now I'm kinda sad thinking about what could have been.

So glad there is at least one gaming site that doesn't have their head firmly up Sony's ass. Well put, Cheapy. Definitely earned more respect points in my book.

 

Microsoft fumbled this whole damn thing from the start, but I think that those that are the source of all this internet outrage are giving Sony far too much credit. Did they have a bigger bomb-dropping E3 conference? Of course they did. No one is arguing that. That said...they did back-pedal pretty quickly, which is something no one has mentioned. Yes, they claimed that you could freely trade your games on PS4; but the very next morning, Jack Tretton went back and said DRM was going to be up to the publisher. And Microsoft NEVER said used games were out. They said they were working on a plan for that. Period. Would it be available at launch? Maybe, maybe not. But why would you care if a USED GAME MARKET for a BRAND NEW CONSOLE GENERATION is available at launch? There will be no used games at launch!

 

This "always-online" stuff...yes, Microsoft did fumble in making it mandatory for EVERYONE. They should have had an option in place where you can still play games off the disk without an internet connection. That would have made the most sense. I think Ryan MacCaffrey over on IGN's Podcast Unlocked was saying that Microsoft has no problem forcibly pulling consumers into the future of gaming with this internet connection.

 

What gets me, though, is that now that Microsoft has changed this policy, THERE IS STILL OUTRAGE TOWARDS MICROSOFT? They bowed to your wishes, and there is still internet outrage aimed at them? Sadly, I just think there will always be internet outrage for no reason whatsoever. Gamers will never be fully happy, unfortunately, and it's giving us a horrible image in the mainstream media's eyes.

 

Now that my rant is over, again, kudos to you, Cheapy, for giving this very level-headed analysis of the Xbox One. Now, lets all get back to the games!

Just for the record: The Xbox One's DRM policies were far more constrictive then what Steam uses.  Steam needs to be online to download the game and depending on the game might need to be run once to verify all the files are there.  The rest of the DRM is dependent on the publisher (for example ubiSoft's UPLAY).  You can disconnect your internet right now and play the vast majority of games you've downloaded on Steam in offline mode.  A month after you stopped paying your cable bill and had service shut off you'd still be able to play those games.  If Steam were to disappear tomorrow then you'd still be able to play those games.  

 

If it was Microsoft's goal to emulate Steam then they completely failed.  In fact with the reversal of their DRM policy they are more in line with what Steam offers.  Now you can download your game to your console then take it offline should you choose.

It's mostly just Sony fans trying to keep the hate alive at this point.  I agree with you on your points though Cheapy and have since the start on all this.

I disagree... while I was extremely intrigued by the Xbox feature set and initially kinda wanted one, I soon realized they haven't released which cable providers a lot of the video switching would work with.  I live in Missouri, Springfield to be exact... and our cable offerings are Mediacom.  I highly doubt it's going to work with Mediacom or even dish.network.  So half the stupid features on the Xbox are useless to me out of the box.  Then when you couple that with the higher price tag for features that won't get used... no thanks.  Which brings me to another thing, from the initial launch information of Xbox.  They connection thing, having to be connected of which they retracted.  My parents, and all my friends live in small towns surrounding this main town.  Broadband internet does NOT cover the entire country, if you consider 1meg top speed with a 10gig monthly cap broadband, that is crazy.  Until the rest of the country can be provided with the speeds of coastal US it's just not feasible to do all this digital crap.  Xbox immediately alienated all of my friends with that initial statement.  Granted I live in springfield and I have a 50meg connection with no cap well 500gig but I've never come close.  I wasn't bothered by any of what they said to me because I keep all my games and I never buy used, who needs to when it goes on sale 2-3 months later and I have a massive backlog of games I will never get through.  Though, all my friends aren't nearly as lucky because of the craptastic small town "broadband" that is offered as well as the complete lack of any cable competition.  While I love Microsoft's vision... it was overlooking a large portion of people in rural areas, not just here in Missouri but all over the US.

its ok Cheapy. There are better podcasts out there that explain all of this, I do not expect Cheap Ass Gamer to do so. I wouldnt bother trying.

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