Sony's Triumphant Night

Why embracing consumer rights has thrust the PlayStation 4 ahead in the early stages of the next-generation console war.


A cheer erupted through the GameSpot war room. The topic of so many raging debates the last month--strict digital rights management, Internet requirements, used game sales--had pitted Microsoft clearly against the consumer. Team Xbox seemingly took every opportunity to punish their loyal customers, and those who were scared of having such tight restrictions on all of their gaming systems were terrified that Sony would follow suit. And then, with just a few words, all of those fears were eliminated. Sony proved that abject greed is not a curse that all companies are afflicted with. By saying no to the used game restrictions and always-online that Microsoft is so happily implementing on the Xbox One, Sony has elevated the PlayStation 4 as the console to grab this holiday season.

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This is not a small issue. Consumers have been seeing their rights slowly siphoned away as companies have realized that our weakness for entertainment has caused us to accept even unsavory policies. We've complained on message boards that online passes are an unfair punishment for used game buyers. We've cried out on twitter that downloadable content often feels like pieces of the game have been removed from the core experience and then sold for a high price later on. We've stomached season passes that urge us to shell out money for content that hasn't even been announced. And through it all, we still bought games, because we love losing ourselves in digital entertainment for a few hours.

When Microsoft hinted that they would enact draconian policies on the Xbox One, it was clear that they had finally crossed the line. An Internet-wide campaign was created to pester Sony executives to do everything in their power to avoid a similar mistake on the PlayStation 4. This topic united players together into a rabid army intent on having their voices heard. We would not be shut out. We would not be shut up. And we would not relent. Loud and long we yelled for weeks, making sure that Sony understood the power of those who pay their bills. We had consented to the gaming companies' demands for too long. Our rights would not be taken away.

Microsoft is trying to change the definition of ownership on the Xbox One and it's failing miserably. Purchasing a physical product is not the same as a digital download. Microsoft is taking advantage of the technology inherent to video games because they can, but that doesn't make it right. Contrary to what those in Redmond claim, once we buy a game, we own it, and we can do what we want with it. Whether we resell it to a willing retailer, lend it indefinitely to a friend, or keep it in our permanent collection is our choice and ours alone.

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We will not be punished for the sins committed by so many companies. The industry has been losing money the last few years, but that dip into the red is not because we have the freedom to buy and sell whatever game we desire. No, it's the reckless spending so many companies are guilty of, pouring millions upon millions of dollars into a budget when there is no chance the market will buy enough copies to support that investment. It's the deluge of soulless sequels that have been churned out and die on the shelf because consumers can see through their brown and grey façade. We are not the cause of these problems and should not be punished for them. Microsoft hasn't learned this simple rule. Sony has. And that's the biggest difference heading into the next generation.

The most important thing we should take with us is that our voice is important. We screamed and yelled and Sony listened. But the fight is not over yet. We need to continue to voice our dissent whenever publishers attempt to take away our consumer rights without offering any benefits in return. Remember always that these companies are nothing without our money funding them, so we ultimately have the power over their every action. If we don't like something, let them know, because the smart companies will listen to those that pay the bills. Today has been both a great and terrible day for the industry. Sony has proven that not every company has a dark side, but Microsoft's descent into anti-consumerism is a sad setback for those who have enjoyed their consoles for so long.


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Avatar image for chyng85

Very nice~!

Avatar image for poseidion

Tom Mc Shea: you just made me cry. I'm not even buying GTA V for Xbox, but for PS.

Avatar image for freedom01

@HipHopBeats hey its Angry Joe

Avatar image for kaiserzero61

A decent article from Gamespot. Finally.

Avatar image for OzmaHD

Yep but apple already handed there asses to them before lol This is no surprise Microsoft screwed up they always do.

Avatar image for LukasVaikutis

Who Waiting E3 Day 3 ?

Avatar image for LukasVaikutis

PS4 For The Win

Avatar image for gr00tk0p

As happy as I am about the PS4 and Sony's consumer oriented approach, if Microsoft and Nintendo fall out of the bus, Sony will stand unopposed and we all know what happens in industries where there is no competition.

Avatar image for nep321a

@gr00tk0p Even if there was only one console on the market, the game developers will still be competing like crazy to win consumers to purchase their games. So yeah, even systems that dominated the market such as NES and PS2 still had a ton of great games -- arguably more so than when there are multiple consoles on the market.

Avatar image for nep321a

@gr00tk0p Well, not really. If you look at the PS2 generation, which dominated 70% of the market, the PS2 still had a TON of great games available for all types of gamers. It was a must-have system.

Avatar image for OzmaHD

@gr00tk0p Apple will replace Microsoft LOL

Avatar image for Perposterown

@gr00tk0p We all know that Nintendo won't go away though because it is a more family oriented console. It also seems like Sony will and always has cared about their customers so I don't know how much we'd have to worry about there. Plus there are other companies coming out with consoles, like Steambox and a few other TV based consoles. There will always be competition but Sony is just winning big time like how people saw the Xbox 360 when it was released.

Avatar image for Omega3210

Bad day for Xbox consumers, Good day for Sony.... :)

Great article!

Avatar image for Hadesinfernal82

I'm not sure what I'm going to do I have been a member for six years on xbox and there looks to be some awesome games ahead like Titanfall but if my internet goes down and how much a game costs for you not to be able to play plus they plan on charging per head of people watching a match and the kinnect is always listening to you it makes me just want to give up all together . I'm hoping Microsoft listens to the people and does a u-turn we are not asking much and it is us the people who pay the bills . They have until November to re kindle the love for one of the greatest machines ever or die like saga, atari ect

Avatar image for GrandMaster555

@Hadesinfernal82 There were too many multiplatform games at E3 to base what console you'd buy from it. But on the other hand there was plenty of information regarding game licensing rights and a $100 price difference to base a pre-order from.

Avatar image for freedom01

@Hadesinfernal82 good thing is Titanfall is multi platform and there are words that it will also be coming to the PS4

Avatar image for StupidMuppet

Shame xbox are making some schoolboy errors. I can understand what they are trying to accomplish. However you can only lead from the front. If xbox was being released a year before its competitor like last time they could be brave and throw some new rules in, as im sure sony would follow. But when your both launching together with similar stats then Microsoft just end up looking more stupid for trying to be different.

I have always been an xbox guy but i have to say things might change now.

Avatar image for Birth_By_Sorrow

What a disaster MS has made itself out to be. While certain things are blown out of proportion and Sony has admitted that console locking games will be up to publishers, the simple fact you need to check in with Live every 24 hours is not only an inconvenience but also something that does not sit well with me. As this article states, purchasing the game on a disc implies ownership and therefore you should be able to use it how you see fit. Should your internet go out for more then 24 hours, lose it altogether, etc. now the game you supposedly own becomes entirely useless. Your internet service plan basically becomes a mandatory accessory to your gaming console, like the old practice of "batteries not included" only the battery is far more expensive and much less reliable.

Avatar image for GrandMaster555

@Birth_By_Sorrow I don't think anything was blown out of proportion. I think many things were validated by MS at E3 and I don't like what they are selling for $100 more than something I do like.

Avatar image for bbogdanel71

Microsoft it`s a good company but he want just money... like sony but sony want to satisfact the gamer preference

Avatar image for Vuyolicious

While I don't like the design of the console, considering everything else, PS4 all the way!!

Avatar image for Grondiggy

Typical gamespot - always trying to find the negative story for the XB1 - I recommend for xbox1 fans to join me in exile. There quiet a few fan forums popping up on the net - I've just joined - join if you are still a fan

Avatar image for GrandMaster555

@Grondiggy lol. It's not that XBOXone is something people were picking on, MS did it themselves. Exiling yourself is exactly what MS wants you to do. Get more hardcore, just don't complain to us when MS screws you no lube.

Avatar image for ajleo

R.I.P Xbox :(

Avatar image for skinnymanadz

@ajleo unfortunately i agree, unless Microsoft make some major changes then ... R.I.P Xbox

Avatar image for mInDsHiFtEr

How much will games be? Not willing to pay $100 for 'em.

Avatar image for freedom01

@mInDsHiFtEr still the same $50-$60

Avatar image for hordaak

i have both the xbox 360 and ps3. i logged on the ps3 earlier today, and I had to update the operating system. OH YOU DONT KNOW WHAT IM TALKING ABOUT??? I havent played MSG in awhile and I put that in...UPDATE USING THE INTERNET...oh, never happened to you? I see. wtf is the problem with needing an internet connection. In the past- "I like ps3 because you dont need to pay to use multiplayer" today "oh, yeah, i have to pay, but it's cool..i was joking about not having to pay for multiplayer, no its totally cool now"

Avatar image for GrandMaster555

@hordaak I'm having a hard time following your story. Can you say it once more pls?

Avatar image for ajleo

@hordaak you cant exchange or sell your blurays, in other words, well you can never have complete rights over a disc you paid atleast 60$ for. ::R.I.P Xbox:: PS3's online charges are a disappointment but id rather go for one offering ownership of the product i buy rather than the one making me feel i am a criminal and i gotta check every now and then to , id go for charging me 5$/month for online play and many more services against this bullshit by microsoft, and i was all in for buying xbox before their epic fail conferences.

Avatar image for LeFeverBeaver

@hordaak lol dude I'm not sure which side you're on but boy are you REALLY on whichever side you're on :)

Avatar image for assais


Avatar image for thejollyroger25

I bought an xbox and an xbox 360, if I buy another console it will be a PS4. Although I'm bummed about multiplayer.

Avatar image for ken4062

@thejollyroger25 Some of you overreact and exxagerate to online features. PSplus is better than Xbox live arguably. Since this is not free internet anymore on Ps4 the experience is likely better too.

Avatar image for RedStar

@thejollyroger25 How are you bummed about multiplayer? Sure it isn't free anymore, but paying 5 dollars a month isn't any different than a gold membership imo.

Avatar image for GrandMaster555

@RedStar @thejollyroger25 I think it sucks to pay to play multiplayer online especially when they are not providing servers. It's kind of a rip if you ask me.

Avatar image for elverdadero

Thanks, Tom. That was a great read.

Avatar image for Saurabh-Khare

@elverdadero I second that !!

Avatar image for dem5000

@elverdadero Totally agree. Nice work Tom!

Avatar image for dem5000

Anyone think Microsoft is "listening" yet? Seems like they are still "dis-kinect-ed" from a lot of wallets...and even die hard fans.

Avatar image for GrandMaster555


Avatar image for LeFeverBeaver

@dem5000 Ah gotta love cheesy puns :)

I, too, really really REALLY hope they listen. Also, WTF is with the XB1 being $100 MORE than the PS4? I'm sure it'll only be a few months before it goes down, but still; one must wonder if they are intentionally shooting themselves in the foot on this one or if they just forgot their glasses, became frightened by the sound of the round exploding and weren't holding their weapon tightly enough...

Avatar image for adamg78

microsoft are a bunch of perverts that are hoping to see some breasts when a girl takes her top off while she plays her xbox one. that will happen for sure and probably x rated action so microsoft pervs can watch the whole thing lol sony all the way I want my privacy

Avatar image for LeFeverBeaver

@adamg78 (a) I'm pretty sure girls don't play video games and (b) if they did, they probably wouldn't play topless and (c) the ones that do play video games and would play topless are probably not the ones you wanna see but (d) if that's your thing, more power to you :)

Avatar image for airman20012001

@adamg78 lol, so are you the girl who undress to play video games? Or is this just your fantasy?

Avatar image for VexxRed

@airman20012001 @adamg78 ...hmmm. I was under the impression all girls played games topless. Are you telling me they don’t?!?!?

Avatar image for AllTimeGreat53

Being a Xbox fan and knowing Xbox is getting the tail whipped. A very sad moment.

Avatar image for airman20012001

@AllTimeGreat53 They turned on us first, I don't feel bad for them at all.

Avatar image for commanderxp90

What an excellent presentation at the Sony. I love the new Playstation 4's style. It looks much better than fugly Xbox One.

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