Well Done, Microsoft
The reveal of the Xbox One didn’t go as Microsoft hoped. Gamers loved the system, but hated the absurd restrictions placed on the games. But Microsoft listened and just today reversed its stance on some of the more ridiculous policies. Good for them. Good for us.
I mean, the outcry was hard to ignore. The memes, the tweets, the visceral anger was everywhere. Even the talking heads on nationwide morning talk shows were debating the curious DRM restrictions.
Gone is the daily Internet check. Gone is the very limited region locking. Games can now be rented and traded and passed among friends just like always. Things are essentially back to normal, for better or worse.
This move was clearly to save face and eliminate potential digs Sony and Nintendo could (and would and already did) take at the Xbox One. The last thing Microsoft needs is Sony pointing out that the PS4 doesn’t require an always-on Internet connection like the Xbox One.
Microsoft didn’t have to reverse its stance. It could have taken the potshots and rolled out, touting the Xbox One’s features alongside the forward-thinking requirements.
After all, the company has historically been pretty good about not responding to consumer feedback in a timely manner. Just look at Windows 8. Or Windows Vista. Or Xbox Live. The company has a long history of doing whatever the hell it wants.
Even with the crazy restrictions, the average consumer would have probably purchased the Xbox One anyway. Gaming forums and Twitter represent just a small (if noisy) portion of the One’s target market. And with the One launching months from now, in the midst of the holiday season, the talk would have quieted down before it hit Walmart’s shelves.
The Xbox One still requires a Kinect to always be connected, and today’s reversal removes some of the more novel features like game sharing from the system. But at least Microsoft is listening and responding quickly. That’s new. Gamers wanted to love the Xbox One but Microsoft made it impossible. Now things have gotten slightly better.
[Image via Flickr/dalvenjah]
By Matt Burns