Xbox One: Still Not Sold
Xbox One Major Nelson Don Mattrick Xbox 360 Microsoft
Recently Microsoft backpedaled on it's controversial decision regarding their DRM practices. While many were happy with the change, some of us still see more things that need to change. Some label us "Sony Cronies" or "Haters just to hate", Microsoft still has some legitimate complaints. I'm not particularly excited to have a peripheral I don't care about, the $100 difference is still disappointing, not allowing indie developers to self-publish, and more.
To me, it goes beyond that. I don't look at just the past month and make my decision to hold back for years on purchasing the console; I take into consideration the past few years of the Xbox 360's life and judge whether or not I want a console that may be going in the same direction.
And no. I don't.
You see, when Microsoft's Xbox 360 originally came out, I was sold on it. It had a large number of games coming out, the price was right, and developers loved it. Live was a fantastic plus, even if I wasn't fond of paying for it, but the ecosystem it provided was only out-rivaled by the PC itself. I was the consumer they were selling the box to, and I was the consumer willing to purchase it.
So much has changed in recent years. Microsoft put out a large number of exclusives the first few years of the Xbox 360's existence. Games that would once only be released on a Sony platform the previous generation such as Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon, and Infinite Undiscovery. They had some strong series just starting out including Dead Rising, Saints Row, Crackdown, Gears of War, and Left 4 Dead. Include the popular Halo series, and the Xbox 360 came out with a chip on its shoulder and a point to prove.
But somewhere around 2009-2010, the tone changed. The number of exclusive games started to dwindle, and the focus changed from hardcore gamer to a more casual gamer. Part of this was clearly the focus on Kinect to try and cash in on the popularity of the Wii success by taking motion gaming one step further. So some of the exclusives that did come out were Kinect exclusives. And as many review sites will show, didn't quite live up to what we were promised.
I also started to question where my $50 a year for Live was going to. I didn't really notice any change in the servers to make the online play any better. But what I did notice was more ad space. More difficulty finding the stuff I wanted. More media apps I had no interest in. Instead of my money going to better the Live service I was paying for, it was going to other media apps that I would have to pay additionally for on top of Xbox Live.
So suffice it to say, as I wasn't a big online gamer in the first place outside of a few games, I didn't feel Live was worth it anymore. Around this time I also found myself playing more Playstation games with a free online service, that outside of certain chat functions, didn't really seem that drastically different from what I paid for on the Xbox Live. I preferred the simplicity of the XMB, and the store was far less difficult to find things from my experience. Yes, the scheduled maintenance and slow downloads were incredibly frustrating (and still are), but wasn't enough to warrant a trip back to Xbox Live.
Then due to the way my shoddy house was built, having the Xbox was more of a pain to play due to the trouble I had to go through to set it up. Not Xbox's fault, but it was inevitably the reason I traded in my Xbox to Gamestop.
Fast-forward to May 2013 and the reveal of the Xbox One came to fruition. Instead of seeing a new potential gaming device I was eager for, I was greeted with a media box that had several functions I would never use. Oh, and it plays video games. Of course after receiving some bashing from gamers about the lack of games, we were promised games were coming for E3. Which, to be fair, they delivered on.
But the original reveal is where my doubts started coming in. For years Microsoft has tried to infiltrate the living room with a box of their own to challenge Apple, Roku, etc. The announcement back in May just solidified my opinion that this was the route they were still going. However, when they heard the disappointment from gamers, they felt they needed to "win them over" by showing them games.
The doubt still remains though. They showed their true hand at that conference and everything else has felt reactionary. Literally, everything.
For a company like Microsoft to come out and have employees (some very high ranking) not have any answers, have conflicting answers, and generally seem stumped when it comes to the gaming side of the console is pretty worrisome. Microsoft has been in the business for a long time, and for these employees to not even give a simple "We cannot discuss this at this time", feels amateurish. They should be embarrassed with how everything went down the following weeks. They scrambled and made it worse for themselves.
And if those problems weren't bad enough, then the smugness of specific employees really started to shine through. While not the worst offender, Major Nelson made some waves while doing an interview with Angry Joe. During the interview, Angry Joe made a comment about turning off the DRM, clearly referencing the complaints given to Sim City and how easy it was for them to turn off the always-online portion that was touted as not being possible. Before Angry Joe could finish, the Major decided to steal the microphone and correct him. Which, if you believe what Microsoft has reiterated up until that point, is correct. It simply wouldn't be easy for them to do this as the entire hardware was built from the ground up with this policy in place.
Four days later, that was no longer the case. Policy reversal. Nowhere near as difficult as they made it out to be, especially with as dead-set as they were about it being part of the "future of gaming".
But who really takes the cake is Don Mattrick. If anyone deserves to have a job re-evaluation, it's good ole Don. Who has been so gracious in giving his opinion about the Xbox One such as:
“If you’re backwards compatible, you’re really backwards.”
“We have a product for people who aren’t able to get some form of connectivity; it’s called Xbox 360.”
"We're delivering thousands of dollars of value to people."
"We're over-delivering value."
Good work there Don. Keep up the good work dismissing consumers and pissing on their valid complaints.
So to some, this may come off as a big bitching post that has no merit. To me, who has felt burned by Microsoft and their direction over the past few years, I can't justify purchasing an Xbox One right now or in the immediate future. They have to prove to me that I'm a consumer they care about, and right now, I don't believe I am. I want a gaming console first and foremost, and the PS4 is striking me as that console. Their management has a clear focus on the gamer while Microsoft wants everyone, and the way to achieve that, is by winning over the gaming fan-base first. But like with the 360, I'm afraid we will fade into afterthoughts for the most part.
But like I've tried to reiterate, I'm not dismissing the console entirely. It has things that I'm interested to try out, but not for $500. The Cloud features are promising, but according to developers, are still a ways from reaching it's full potential due to the current limits of Internet connections here in the States. The Kinect could be a really cool device, but most of what we have been shown now, is what we were shown with the last Kinect. So I'm waiting to see how that turns out. The games they've shown have piqued my interest including Dead Rising 3, Titanfall, and Quantum Break; but I want to feel confident that more games like it will be sustained in the foreseeable future.
Right now my pre-order is on the Playstation 4, and that will not change. But if the Xbox One receives positive reviews and they are committed to providing a robust gaming experience on par with the PS4 for many years, then I'll pick one up. But unlike Sony who has impressed me the past few years, Microsoft has done the exact opposite. This is the time to win me back. Do not disappoint me Microsoft.
- RKasa likes this
I want to make a statement and not deter from the fact that you have quite a few fantastic points (and a few I don't quite see eye to eye).. but one statement I that stood out to me was this:
So I've worked at one of CAG's favorite companies for many years now and was a part of the program that launched their "mothership technology". I can tell you that being an employee of Microsoft right now might be one of THE MOST STRESSFUL jobs to have right now, bar none. All money aside, right now these guys are under constant fire. Anyone on the their company hierarchy, from their "Customer Service" all the way to their developers are getting hammered with questions, insults and anyone related in PR is probably right on their heels any chance they get. This probably isn't just going on in the office.
If Microsoft is anything like any other corporation, they are probably huge on avoiding speculation and just as big on not letting anyone but a small handful give answers to the public. More so, any information given out from the mouth of an employee (even if they have nothing to do with the project) is technically a leak. This is usually an on spot termination of employeement.. and that's if they are lucky and don't get sued and lose bonds. These rules pretty much apply no matter how high in the company you ranked, without the appropriate green light, you can't say jack.
So more than likely, this shite answer is given mostly out of fear. Because Microsoft is big enough to be everywhere.
Figured I'd throw this out. We all want answers. Microsoft is being incredibly vague, but I have faith they are still reworking things to fit the general public's liking so they can project their success for the fiscal year. Which probably means a LOT of public testing for response.