It seems that Microsoft has gotten a bit egocentric these days, first there was a disaster called Windows 8 and now we are looking at Microsoft Xbox One. It is a gaming console which doesn’t want to play games; this is quite baffling as we thought that gamming consoles were made for this particular task. I have been playing games on my Xbox 360 ever since it was released, I loved and cherished every moment of glory and amazement the console provided me with. Imagine my surprise when I saw the Microsoft Xbox One announcement event. I was astounded by the lack of focus on games.
Although Microsoft managed to salvage some face by showcasing some games on E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) last month and reversing their insanely restrictive stance of used games, gamers like me are still turned off by the Microsoft Xbox One. Here is exactly what Microsoft did wrong to achieve that and why we, the gamers are deeply offended.
Restrictive DRM policies
I admit a large portion of the gaming community pirate games. This has happened on every console imaginable and will continue to be so for the unforeseeable future. If there is a method of input on a device, the hackers will find a way to exploit it into giving free stuff. But not everyone is a thief, not everyone wants to steal and play. We, the true customers pay full price for a game and want to enjoy without any bounds or restrictions.
Microsoft Xbox One introduced a new breed of DRM; the console would need to check the game for verification once in its lifetime. Although the previous stance on this was a lot more restrictive, but Microsoft managed to back paddle and changed it. Still the company is giving controls to publishers on how to manage second hand sales and online checks. What do you think big publishers like EA, Ubisoft and Rockstar will do? That’s right; they will fully implement these chains.
The core gamers don’t need the Kinect 2.0 which unfortunately is mandatory with the Microsoft Xbox One. You cannot switch it off; you cannot tape its sensor. It is vital to the Microsoft Xbox One experience and might give an error when it is removed from the console. The user interface is designed around the motion sensing capabilities of Kinect 2.0.
While this might make you feel like Tom Cruise from Minority Report, the Kinect 2.0 is always listening and always watching even when you turn off the console. With the recent HAS debacle and the lack of privacy respect from governments, we are highly suspicious of a motion sensing camera in our living rooms. That’s not all the Microsoft Xbox One will also listen to each and every word you say and has advanced motion tracking capabilities. While Microsoft denies that they will track us, we really find it hard to believe. What’s there to stop the government spying on our daily and personal matter? They are already tapping our phones and what not.
Lack of focus on what matters
We buy consoles to play video games, period. We don’t want a TV tuner, a weird internet surfer and social media checker. We already have devices which are much better than anything Microsoft Xbox One has to offer in terms of entertainment. Most of us already have a PC and a smartphone, so streaming movies and catching up with friends is not on our minds when we turn on our consoles.
Microsoft tends to differ though; they think that we want to Skype with grandma while we are gaming. We need to update our status on Facebook while we are racing and Tweet instantly about the head shot we took. We the core gamers just want a great gaming console which has bonus features like streaming and net surfing. We don’t want an entertainment hub which also happens to play videogames.
No official specs are announced
When you make a powerful machine, let’s say a car, you want to brag about its great exhaust system and amazing cylinders. What do you do when you are stuck with an underpowered one? Well you can do the right thing and admit that or you can say that specs don’t matter. This is exactly what Microsoft is doing with the Microsoft Xbox One. They are not disclosing the full specs which make them logically inferior to the competition. They need to tell us the hard specs; otherwise the educated gamers will continue to lean towards their arch rival.
Region locked features
Let’s say you happen to live in Pakistan, well congratulations sir/madam you cannot use 50% of the publicized features of the Microsoft Xbox One. No TV for you, no streaming, no music and no special offers. Oh and if you want to import a game from America, it won’t play on your console because its region locked too.
Release date delays
To make matters worse for the Asians, Microsoft Xbox One won’t be releasing until 2014. That’s right, there are no solid release dates announced for almost 60% of the world’s population. This clearly says that Microsoft only cares about America and Europe.
A former employee Adam Orth of Microsoft Tweeted the following:
And Don Mattrick, the main guy behind the Microsoft Xbox One, when asked about the offline option said, “We have a product for people who can’t access the internet, it’s called Xbox 360”. Basically it’s a slap on the face of anyone who was remotely interested in procuring the Microsoft Xbox One but has bad internet connection (almost everyone is prone to disconnections now and then).
So what can a gamer do?
Well I have already jumped ship to PC and I’m enjoying every moment of it. But to quench my thirst of console exclusives, I will be purchasing the Sony PS4. Sony’s new console will be available everywhere at the same time and for only $400 compared to the $500 Microsoft Xbox One is going for. Microsoft is going to learn the hard way that insulting their customers will only yield drastically lower sales.