This is your boy John here to present a new segment for (DPG) ONS Gaming, which we (read: I) will be calling Hindsight Hub. I call it that because hopefully years from now, with the benefit of hindsight, we can look back and see how either ridiculously stupid I sounded or how right I was. Today we’re gonna talk about Sony and Microsoft.
While we try to not show bias here, inevitably the three people running this blog have always been Sony guys. That’s not to say that we don’t enjoy other systems, but we often found ourselves going back to our PSX, PS2 and PS3 more often, especially the former. It especially becomes more and more difficult when systems cost so much to purchase, peripherals and online subscriptions adding to that total cost, and then keeping a decent game library for you to play for someone to own more than one of a generations consoles. I was very lucky to own a Wii, a PS3, and a 360, however I did buy the PS3 first. That being said, the system I find myself going back to has been my 360 lately, and I will say that I enjoy it as equally as my PS3.
So why does the PS4 have my money? Well, truth be told, even if the Xbox One had started off without the restrictions it tried to impose, I still would have went with Sony. Sony has always, in my opinion, tried to give the best customer experience. The Sixaxis and Dualshock 3 were rechargeable from the get go, you weren’t forced to buy a subscription to play online, having a Playstation Plus gave you a discount AND free games, and the PS3 had wireless internet capability built in without trying to get you to pay $100 for an adapter.
To me, the 360 was a console for first person shooters and sports games, two genres of games that I rarely play. Yes, it has some excellent exclusive titles that aren’t those genres, and I own most of them. I can look back now and say that the 360 was definitely the top console of this generation but I didn’t see that then. I also did not like the estimated 40% fail rate of the old model Xbox 360 consoles. Thankfully that was remedied, but I can’t say that I am ever happy to shell out $60 a year to play online with friends (superior online experience be damned).
The Xbox One has some great ideas, by merging many of our commonly used features that hook up to our tv, we eliminate the need to keep switching inputs. However, I do not care about integrated Facebook. I do not care about integrated cable. I do not care about the Kinect. I just want to play games on my game console. And I can do that on a PS4, for $100 less. Any game that I want is going to usually be multi-platform, and when a game is multi-platform, I normally went with the PS3 version unless it was way inferior. While the Xbox One could be a great system, it’s just not going to be the first system I purchase at launch.
Now you’re probably wondering why in the title I called the Xbox One before it’s time. Because in a way, it was. The ideas that were presented were pretty revolutionary, if not badly handled. As a collector, I like knowing that my physical copy of the game was worth something. The XB1 would have rendered it useless, however, many people do not care about the physical copy, as such, the ability to purchase the game without having to go to the store is a great feature for those people.
The XB1 also had ideas to store everything in a cloud server, your entire game collection being playable no matter where you are provided you had internet access. No more being on vacation and you accidentally forgot Halo 10, it was available to you from the cloud. This was an excellent idea.
The family sharing/game sharing idea was also very innovative. I could share my game collection with 10 people of my choosing? Man, that would have been pretty awesome too. I would have gotten behind that. While the whole concept of that wasn’t fully explained, it was a great way of thinking and I have to applaud Microsoft for thinking outside of the box.
Microsoft’s flaw was the way they presented the resale of XB1 games. With the heavy restrictions they imposed, it made it impossible to go buy games from Gamestop or eBay. It made it impossible to let a friend borrow a game. You can’t cut that whole option out. Games are ridiculously expensive as it is, and the prices for each generation increase. Only Nintendo has managed to keep it’s games below $60 new and even then $40-50 a game is still expensive. Especially since we don’t know if the game we are buying is going to be good or not. The downside to this is that the publishers make no money off of a used game, and this needs to be addressed. But this was not the way to go. GameStop is practically a monopoly, and they make all of the money off of a used game sale.
Microsoft could have found some way to make it work and please everybody. Charge eBay, Amazon, and GameStop a fee to resell their games, and give it to the publishers. They would have been forced to eat it, because those companies still make good money regardless. Make it so the game disc wouldn’t be useless, give us the option to use the Cloud or the disc. To prevent people from selling the game and still playing it on the Cloud, they could have enabled a check to see which account used the game last, and lock the offender out from playing it. The 24 hour check in should only have been there to allow you to play online or access the Cloud. If you didn’t check in, you can only play offline by using the disc. There were countless ways to go about this, and Microsoft didn’t look at all of the options.
The gaming community is very much a conservative one, we do not like change. This is why systems like the PSP Go failed. The ideas proposed for the Xbox One might have changed the gaming landscape forever, in a positive way. And that’s the way they needed to market it. Accentuate the positive, say “Yes, we run off the Cloud server instead of the disc, but here is why that’s benefits you…”. In the worst possible way, when confronted with the backlash, they didn’t come out and say “No, that is not what we meant by ____, instead we meant _____”. What Microsoft did, was try and be cute and funny by responding to the criticism and say “Well, if you can’t deal with it, there is always your Xbox 360”.
While many people are happy with the changes Microsoft have announced (myself included), I am still conflicted. Maybe these ideas could have worked. Sometimes all we need is time to understand things better. Maybe in the future the ideas proposed for the original vision of the Xbox One will implemented into a console. And maybe we will accept it then. But for now, this was the right decision for Microsoft to make, even if it is back to the status quo.
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