Why I'm Somewhat Upset with Microsoft's Policy Changes...

Just in case you're here but not really here, Microsoft announced some stuff yesterday.

So with that announcement almost every complaint, with the exception of Kinect (which I won't be talking about in this Blog post), that was thrown towards Microsoft was swatted away and changed to what the very vocal majority wanted. But was it really for the best?

"An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games – After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360."

*Cheers* *Applause* First things first, I have had my Playstation 3 connected to the internet without a hitch in service for the 6 months since I moved. I'm definitely one of the lucky people without a doubt and I acknowledge that, I have a fast and unlimited internet connection. Not everyone has that, so to make a console that needs to be connected to the internet is just asinine as a business move. Now that's where I kind of agree with Microsoft's changes simply to help the video game industry reach as many people as it can, but not from my point of view. Here's where I get upset though.

"Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today – There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.

In addition to buying a disc from a retailer, you can also download games from Xbox Live on day of release. If you choose to download your games, you will be able to play them offline just like you do today. Xbox One games will be playable on any Xbox One console -- there will be no regional restrictions.

These changes will impact some of the scenarios we previously announced for Xbox One. The sharing of games will work as it does today, you will simply share the disc. Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold. Also, similar to today, playing disc based games will require that the disc be in the tray."

Digital media is the future, it may be a future that many dislike, but it's the undeniable future. With the rise of Netflix, Hulu, Steam, iTunes, Nook, Kindle, etc., it's simply undeniable. With this future comes many questions about what we really own, and that will continue for many years, but did Microsoft make a move to answer some of those questions? Did anyone think a gaming company would embrace what the Nook is doing and let you share a digital game? Well you can't now, now you have to physically share that game, like you've been doing for about 30 years. And was I the only one excited about games fully installing off of the disk? People like those plastic cases and disks for whatever reason, and you could have had the best of both worlds, put it on a shelf and never touch it again. I personally plan on going strictly digital this next generation, so I guess that's another reason I am completely ok with what they were doing. Now the problem with this policy is that it is obviously based on an always online system, which as I stated above, I was the minority that was ok with it.

So I know my purchasing habits and my ease of internet use influenced my decisions, but I am excited for a fully digital, fully connected future, and I feel like this was a huge step towards it and it just instantly disappeared.

With all of that out of the way, this is a victory for consumers strictly because it shows that just like saying "we won't pay $599 for a console" last generation, consumers have shown their opinions genuinely matters and they can get things done. Now another way this is a win for consumers, is now Sony can't sit around. Sony made their move at E3 saying they would go against everything Microsoft had said, that simply is not enough anymore, competition is a great thing and this only makes things more competitive.

But I have to ask, is change what we fear? Or is it simply a corporation that we as consumers saw as a threat?

With all of that said, I guess I should disclose that I currently have just a PS4 preordered, but as of right now I plan on getting an Xbox One at some point in 2014. I would also like to say that this was strictly based on policies, not on Microsoft's tone and delivery of all of these previous announcements. And no matter what I'm excited for the future of video games.

21 Comments
22 Comments
Posted by golguin

I use gamefly and redbox to play most of my games. It has nothing to do with fearing change. It's an issue of me simply not playing games if I have to pay full price.

Posted by Andorski

I don't understand this logic. Just because you more options for consumers does not mean you are anti-digital distribution. There is no reason for MS to not offer the exact same policies they initially had for only games bought over XBL.

Posted by vinone

@golguin said:

I use gamefly and redbox to play most of my games. It has nothing to do with fearing change. It's an issue of me simply not playing games if I have to pay full price.

And that's a very valid argument, I haven't rented a game in about 8 years so that often slips my mind. DVD's are now releasing rental only versions of movies, so I'm guessing Microsoft could have potentially developed rental versions of games.

Edited by bigjeffrey

If they offer the pre order bonuses that retailers have been touting for years along with the Day 1 Digital Copies, i will follow Microsoft into the future. If they don't they fuck day 1 digital.

Posted by vinone
@andorski said:

I don't understand this logic. Just because you more options for consumers does not mean you are anti-digital distribution. There is no reason for MS to not offer the exact same policies they initially had for only games bought over XBL.

They're not anti-digital distribution, but everything that made their digital distributions strategy awesome is no longer there.

Posted by Andorski

@vinone said:
@andorski said:

I don't understand this logic. Just because you more options for consumers does not mean you are anti-digital distribution. There is no reason for MS to not offer the exact same policies they initially had for only games bought over XBL.

They're not anti-digital distribution, but everything that made their digital distributions strategy awesome is no longer there.

And there is no reason for that infrastructure to completely be thrown out. MS could have had physical copies work the same way they do now and have games bought over XBL given all the features they were initially trying to push. They are exclusionary tactics. Hell, it probably would have made the transition to digital distribution a heck of a lot easier.

Edited by Akyho

Claps to you for being ready in every facet for the future.

You know what the entire thing has been with Microsoft and it affects me. Its been entirely at "SUCK IT POOR PEOPLE!" before you even get down to the morals of it all.

They want me to pay hundreds for the console, adding on the kinect which I dont want. They want me use my smart phone (they want it to be a windows 8 phone) to do stuff with the game....I dont have a smart phone....I barely have a stupid phone. They want me to get on my tablet computer (they would want it to be Surface) and do stuff with the game that way as well. I dont have any tablets.

Then they want me to buy xbox live for basic service's. They want me to buy full priced games all year round. They want me online all the time to check up on me that I am not doing anything to Save myself money.

They want me to subscribe to some other whatever have subscription they will come up with. They want me subscribed to Netflixs and hulu. NFL package on my cable box/ XBox. They want me buying windows movies and windows music.

They want me to put all my money for entertainment...purely towards them.

All the while creaming off the top with adverts all over the place.

This all adds up to thousands insteads of a few hundreds.

Mattrick was right....its not a 500 system it is thousands. Thousands for them.

I have the choice to not do half of that..I dont have a choice on the other half.

If I am not above the line on income they said "Fuck off! you dont buy enough! See this guy! he has a great paying job and a new Iphone every year! That means he has money and he is going to give hundred times more than your petty amount...now fuck off!"

In the end with all these policies in place...what would it get me in return? not much.

It gets you alot.....it gets me little, I lose more than I gain.

Sure be progressive......dont be elitist.

Edited by vinone

@akyho: As I said in the first post I was talking strictly to the two policies they announced changes to, always on, and used/digital games. As for the cost, and the peripheral loving machine, and the Xbox live costs, and the hundreds of advertisements, it's most of the reasons I'm getting the PS4 and I sold my 360 a year ago. Microsoft is kinda messed up when it comes to certain things, Windows 8 for example. But I finally thought they were pushing to the future in a correct area for once.

Edited by mrfluke

@vinone: just wanted to sincerely no bullshit no snark applaud you, as you seem imo to be one of the more level headed open minded pro digital people on this forum that ive seen, as you do get where the anti drm side is coming from. more digital users could definitely be more like you.

and to answer your question, its probably hard to believe im being selfless about it cause its the internet after all, but ultimately its the fear of change i guess, its more the removal of stuff like used games and rentals which there are an underestimated sizeable userbase that uses these utilities (i use gamefly and redbox a lot also.) and then having no gurantee of getting utilities just as good once im funneled into Microsoft's closed platform, if these utilities were replicated but in digital form (give the user a form of a % of credit for their game after parting with that license after X amount of time, and then just do digital rentals) then the digital route would be more inviting.

so a question i have for you, what do you think about this? (there is a post that i linked that users made an argument that this was where things were heading all the time) http://www.giantbomb.com/xbox-one/3045-145/forums/the-family-share-feature-was-basically-a-lie-all-a-1441816/#32 regardless of if its true or false, it ultimately seems like something microsoft would never fully admit to users now., but lets just entertain the idea that at gamescom they announced this stuff that the family plan was essentially a glorified timed demo, what would you think of the xbox one then? (i know it hard to believe, but im not looking to provoke console war arguments, just looking for a general reaction from the pro digital user)

Posted by TruthTellah

@vinone: I think you're at least missing the very real possibility that these features will return in some form. At the moment, they just made a quick decision and tossed them out, but they have said they are still interested in these things in the future. So, since it will only be firmware keeping these features out, I believe there's a reasonable chance that we'll see them again down the road. And when they are reintroduced, they can be optional opt-ins. -That- is the big difference. Taking it from the default to the option, and I think they would be wise to go that route. Even Sony has stated interest in a future like you hope for, and they will likely make a push, as well. Microsoft could rather easily turn a big negative into a positive by promoting these as optional opt-ins. That way, people willingly give up some choice in exchange for convenience they might prefer.

With all titles now coming digitally from day one and both Microsoft and developers having every interest in the world in seeing more digital sales, there is a good chance they will work on a transition this generation. And the great thing is, both consoles appear to have the ability to do this. Xbox One was designed with this as part of its construction; so, once they decide to make a big push for people opting for "cheaper, more convenient" digital versions of titles, they'll have plenty of capability to do so. It's the future they appear to desire, and they could very easily make it a very compelling option for those who want to opt into it.

Posted by Akyho

@vinone: Yeah I went on my own track. Also typing that up I actualy got up set since it rang pretty true MS was saying suck it poor people and would still say suck it poor people if so many people that have money said no aswell.

Actualy if they wanted to go into the future and would not need a single one of the restrictions...they would not have put a disc tray in it. It would be a purley digital download machine where the rules are already set like this. Were people accept it, because it makes sense with servers and such. They own the servers you download from and if they shut them down then you dont have it.

The problem MS had wasnt the future. It was the past. They tried to change the past, why not forget about the past if the future is so awsome.

With the massive backlash they had with DRM. It would have been halved if it was a no disc all digital machine. Instead of forcing physical classic media to conform to their rules when it hasnt for 60 years.

Posted by Tackchevy

MS just got beat down by the media heat. The Internet craze was going to likely cause a decisive defeat in the next console cycle, so they changed. Not really about the future of the industry, it was about the dollars.

The message was "We can't afford to be the bad guy."

So, I've mentioned this in some other thread, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of big name publishers or AAA titles going digital only in next few years. They'll just manage the message and PR better.

Posted by Akrid

You're the first pro digital person I've seen on these forums that hasn't touted features that don't actually exist given no word from Microsoft as eventual fact, so good on ya.

The thing is, I don't think the features gained specifically from DRM on the disc are worth it. Digital lending and selling can still happen - there's no reason it can't, because guess what, digital goods already have DRM on them. Microsoft would just have less control on when that lending stops - which they arguably shouldn't have control on in the first place, given we still have the right to let a friend borrow a game as long as they like. Even without 24 hour checks, they could still accomplish limited lending by simply timing the game-time, online or off. That would take some serious ToS breaking in order to circumvent, which I think is enough of a deterrent for most people. Digitally lending and selling being intrinsically linked to their 24 hour check is a falsehood, as far as I can tell.

The only things that seems legitimately lost to me is the game sharing thing - whatever that may or may not have been - and the ability to play without the disc you bought, neither of which persuade me personally. As for a promise for the "digital future", well, I've been living it with Steam for years now, and lemme tell you - not all that different from the good old analog past. Aside from no PC discs on my shelf, there's not been any sort of revolutionary idea that's made this DRM actually an added bonus. I mean, if Valve hasn't found some amazing way for DRM to directly work for and aid the consumer, I'm really not confident Microsoft could.

Posted by tescovee

@akyho: considering all of your other posts, we get it you're getting a ps4. Christ you are acting like you are rosa parks. Others (me) think that sony is just as shitty (and shadier)...its no big deal, dont think they are diminishing your purchase. I only say this because anything that anyone say's potentially positive you do a full on rhetoric of sony...

Posted by Zirilius

@golguin said:

I use gamefly and redbox to play most of my games. It has nothing to do with fearing change. It's an issue of me simply not playing games if I have to pay full price.

This entirely for me. I use Gamefly to play 80-90% of most games. I also fully support the digital future and love Steam but typically only purchase games when they are on a sale. It's the sole reason I pre-ordered a PS4 instead of a Xbox One and even with the policy changes don't regret it.

Posted by Spankmealotus

I would like to point out that them requiring you to always have the disc in the tray is just a bullshit dick move by microsoft. They could just as easily only require you to have the disc in the tray if you're offline. When you go to play a game it checks for internet and hits their servers (cloud if you're into the douche marketing lingo) and if you don't have an internet connection then it checks the tray for the disc. It really isn't that complicated and seems like they are kind of saying "If you don't want to play my way I'm taking my ball and going home." This would allow for full install to the HDD and no disc play for most people, and disc requirements for those who don't have an intenet connection. At most 1 extra person per copy of the game could play it single player only.

As for the digital sharing thing, them pulling this out seems like the same thing. I don't see why any of the policy changes would effect that functionality. If you don't have an internet connection you can't do it. It isn't that complicated. Plus the whispers around have been sounding like the library sharing thing is really more of a way for them to let your "family" have extended demos of the games you own anyway.

Then there is the part where even though they aren't requiring you to connect to the internet on a regular basis for check-ins. People seem to be ignoring the part where you still have to have an internet connection to basically activate the console in the first place. "After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again." I suppose some people could bring their new black box somewhere that they can get internet, activate it then bring it home. Still seems pretty dumb to me.

All of that Bing said (wow that was dumb). It is at least a step in the right direction even if they're taking good ideas away with the bad ones.

Edited by GaspoweR

@spankmealotus said:

I would like to point out that them requiring you to always have the disc in the tray is just a bullshit dick move by microsoft. They could just as easily only require you to have the disc in the tray if you're offline. When you go to play a game it checks for internet and hits their servers (cloud if you're into the douche marketing lingo) and if you don't have an internet connection then it checks the tray for the disc. It really isn't that complicated and seems like they are kind of saying "If you don't want to play my way I'm taking my ball and going home." This would allow for full install to the HDD and no disc play for most people, and disc requirements for those who don't have an intenet connection. At most 1 extra person per copy of the game could play it single player only.

Yeah I actually do agree with you in regards to the console asking for the disc to be in the tray if you are offline but keep in mind we are also not Xbox engineers (hehe) and with the recent policy change it kinda put a wrench in their plans and I don't think they had set-up the Xbox One to have that feature from the get-go like the X360. They might find a way for both systems to work somehow and bring back the family sharing at some point down the line.

Edited by Akyho

@tescovee: Dude....you don't know me. Sony just bricked their PS3's this week, two years before they had rampant hackings and data theft. They were crazy mofo's 7 years ago and didnt realy changed till the last 3 years. They dont have a good track record and Microsoft have been dicks for for the last 3 years and continue to ramp it up.

I am concerned in putting my money where it benefits me the most.

I am going to buy some new parts for my current gaming pc, throw that in front of the tv and have it act like a console for my family, over the next year work on a bigger better pc thats better than my current pc so I can play games uncompromised.

Since I want out of all the closed systems of Microsoft and Sony. Then after that time if there is room for a console which it would be a ps4 I may buy it, come that time Sony will have shown if its going to fuck up, and consoles will have alot of games on it already.

Since its not a two horse race and they are both just as bad as each other for different reasons. I will ride my own horse....powered by mostly steam.

Posted by jimmyfenix

@akyho: Sony have been doing this for a long time. Them and nintendo know what they are doing. Look at the 3ds now its unstoppable and who would have thought the playstation 1 and 2 would totally derail sega and nintendo(at the time) in the console war.

Online
Edited by vinone

@spankmealotus said:

"If you don't want to play my way I'm taking my ball and going home."

This is how I feel mostly about this whole situation... Their messaging and tone still just seems off.

@mrfluke said:

so a question i have for you, what do you think about this? (there is a post that i linked that users made an argument that this was where things were heading all the time) http://www.giantbomb.com/xbox-one/3045-145/forums/the-family-share-feature-was-basically-a-lie-all-a-1441816/#32 regardless of if its true or false, it ultimately seems like something microsoft would never fully admit to users now., but lets just entertain the idea that at gamescom they announced this stuff that the family plan was essentially a glorified timed demo, what would you think of the xbox one then? (i know it hard to believe, but im not looking to provoke console war arguments, just looking for a general reaction from the pro digital user)

That's pretty lame if that was the case, but I never assumed it would be completely open sharing for the family stuff, just more than 45 minutes. I know Microsoft was quoted saying they were looking into rental/lending digitally, but said it was not something available for sure. I still believe the family stuff was more than that, but if that was the case it kind of shoots down everything they seemed to be pushing towards with digital games. I mean you can lend on a nook, the technology is there.
@akrid said:

As for a promise for the "digital future", well, I've been living it with Steam for years now, and lemme tell you - not all that different from the good old analog past. Aside from no PC discs on my shelf, there's not been any sort of revolutionary idea that's made this DRM actually an added bonus. I mean, if Valve hasn't found some amazing way for DRM to directly work for and aid the consumer, I'm really not confident Microsoft could.

I've been living the Steam "future" for years as well. And it seems like it's the only place that's realized digital games cost significantly less, which it reflects in sales on a regular basis. Also the fact that everything is digital I can go on my phone, buy a game on the Steam app, and when I get home the game is fully installed and ready to play. Little quirks that lend to the fully connected future everyone talks about, nothing astronomical and life changing, just ease of use.
As for everyone saying I shouldn't rule out that these futures will be added later. Why should they add them later? Everyone spoke out and said they didn't want a lot of this stuff and I don't really see Microsoft embracing it any time soon. I could be totally wrong, I'm not in the business yet. On I side note, I would really like to say that I'm very happy with the incredibly civilized and respectful discussion so far. I've never really seen this on the internet before, lol.
Edited by tescovee

@akyho said:

@tescovee: Dude....you don't know me. Sony just bricked their PS3's this week, two years before they had rampant hackings and data theft. They were crazy mofo's 7 years ago and didnt realy changed till the last 3 years. They dont have a good track record and Microsoft have been dicks for for the last 3 years and continue to ramp it up.

I am concerned in putting my money where it benefits me the most.

I am going to buy some new parts for my current gaming pc, throw that in front of the tv and have it act like a console for my family, over the next year work on a bigger better pc thats better than my current pc so I can play games uncompromised.

Since I want out of all the closed systems of Microsoft and Sony. Then after that time if there is room for a console which it would be a ps4 I may buy it, come that time Sony will have shown if its going to fuck up, and consoles will have alot of games on it already.

Since its not a two horse race and they are both just as bad as each other for different reasons. I will ride my own horse....powered by mostly steam.

Thats what I'm talking about, you already had a solution as to what you are going to do. Acting under some other guise is disingenuous. Acting as if a hobby that is innately pretty expensive, and is trying to kill the poor is crazy. There are plenty of ways to get your gaming fix, shitting on peoples posts to get some weird agenda out is nutty. I run linux and use amd, both are not optimal for steam (not to mention the customer support nightmare i went thru with them) and I find it far more expensive for me to upgrade. All i'm saying is I personally find what X1 is offering is better for me, It's just boring to read others shit on my decision based solely on a bias and the fact that they NEVER were going to get the console.