(I am going to start using this blog space to archive some of the longer comments I make on GameSpot. LiveFyre doesn't seem to offer a way to find my previous comments. Archiving them on a document locally on my PC is not much fun. ;)
In response to http://www.gamespot.com/users/Starshine_M2A2/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-26030976,
Very well written article. Just some random thoughts that crossed my mind:
- I honestly do not believe these policies (online verification, region-lock, used game) Microsoft tried to enforce had anything to do with innovation. They were aimed at maximizing the profit for the company and their partners, nothing more. In addition, the way Microsoft went about it was anything but constructive to the industry. Comparing what transpired this past month to what Sega had tried to accomplish with the Dreamcast does the latter injustice.
- Instead of trying to enforce such policies which many view as anti-consumer, Microsoft could have gone straight to the happy medium, where physical and digital versions of their games coexist. Each provides a different set of benefits and limitations inherent to the format. Then leave it up to the customers to decide which one they prefer.
Those who wish to continue to purchase their games in physical form is free to do so. They will enjoy the benefits of owning a physical disc, such as the ability to trade it in once they are done with it. Those who wish to purchase the digital version is free to do so. They will enjoy the benefits of owning a virtual library of games, such as the ability to access that library on any Xbox One console. The caveat is that, for authentication, with the former you must keep your disc in the tray of the Xbox One and with the latter your Xbox One must always or periodically beconnected to online.
This strategy is not dissimilar to what Nintendo has been practicing on the 3DS this past year. Nintendo delivers its new games in both formats, physical in the form of the card, digital on the Nintendo eShop. Even though they don't proclaim it outright, it is quite obvious that Nintendo is respectfully urging more players to migrate to the digital format. They do so by publishing videos that demonstrate the advantages of owning digital, limiting retail production (speculation), and providing utilities that allows users to transfer their saves from physical to digital.
Had Microsoft adopted a similar approach, the backlash from the media and the consumers would not have been as strong. The focus would have been placed on the other aspects of the Xbox One. Which brings me to my next point...
- Although I understand what Microsoft is trying to do - to provide a unified and consistent experience for their entire line of products - I wonder if they are going about it the right way with the Xbox One. Convergence is only successful if the newly integrated features naturally enhance or significantly extend the core experience for the user. I feel that Microsoft is simply trying to do too much with the Xbox One.
Yes, it is an all-in-one entertainment hub, but who exactly is it for? Is it a device for the gamers? Is it a device for the sports fans? Is it a device for the living room? Is it a device aimed to extend the PC experience? Who will be lining up for the device on Day 1? It is hard for the consumers to identify what you are trying to hit when you have arrows pointing in so many directions at the same time.
But if Microsoft is able to re-focus and seamlessly execute their ideas, the Xbox One can be just as successful as any other entertainment product. If not, they only have themselves to blame.
- Don't worry about Microsoft losing confidence. Like any powerful organization, they need to be reeled in every now and then so they don't feel like they can get away with anything. Like Nintendo and Sony of the past, Microsoft will learn and grow from this experience.