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The Guns of Navarro: Microsoft's One-Track Mind

Alex didn't hate Microsoft's Xbox One reveal, but even he is flabbergasted by the console maker's ill-conceived post-event messaging.

A few months ago, if you'd told me Microsoft would completely annihilate what positive momentum it had going into E3 with an awkward series of awkwardly contradictory PR messages, I wouldn't have thought it possible. Then, this past week happened, and suddenly I don't know what to think anymore.

Microsoft's unveiling event for the Xbox One wasn't necessarily all that terrible on its own merits. It's really the post-show messaging where everything fell apart.
Microsoft's unveiling event for the Xbox One wasn't necessarily all that terrible on its own merits. It's really the post-show messaging where everything fell apart.

Following Tuesday's unveiling of its new next-generation console, the Xbox One, a lot of people on the Internet are very upset at Microsoft. Not just in the typical ways one of the Internet typically gets upset when a corporate event meant to showcase new technology fails to yield the precise types of products and features that said person expects--nay, demands. Rather, the core gaming audience effectively revolted at the prospect of Microsoft's new machine, the games (or perceived lack thereof), and new media technologies Don Mattrick, Phil Harrison, and the rest of the console maker's revolving door of tie-less suits trumpeted for a solid hour this past week.

Nobody seems to have expected this kind of vitriolic reaction. Some vitriol, sure, but outside of the mainstream press (who were ostensibly the target of this particular event), nobody seemed very happy about the Xbox One by the time Wednesday morning rolled around.

Granted, by the time the sun came up on Wednesday, nobody seemed entirely sure what Microsoft had even said about its new system. The core messages were relatively clear--the box is powerful, Kinect is better (and now required), it can do live television, and it will have Call of Duty, because of course it will--but the lingering questions that have been plaguing Microsoft's non-messaging for the last few months were still lingering. If anything, they became increasingly mucked up as time went along. The question as to how the system might handle used games turned into an outright debacle as mixed messages came from various interviews at the event ("There could be a fee involved!") and Microsoft's own support staff ("There are no fees involved!"). On the always-online subject, Phil Harrison suggested it would require a check-in with an Internet connection every 24 hours. Now, Microsoft PR is just citing that as a "possible scenario." In the few instances where clear answers were given, they weren't often what the dedicated gaming audience wanted to hear.

For a company that has spent an abnormally long amount of time waiting to show the world its new hardware, Microsoft's post-event chatter seemed confused, addled, and utterly unsure of its own messaging. That's sort of bizarre when you consider what a targeted attack the event itself was. Some of the anger toward Microsoft's event is genuinely unwarranted, specifically because the company had been quite up-front about the fact that this conference was for a broader, mainstream audience. The event the core audience was hoping for, the one with lots of games and less talk about ancillary things like TV signals and NFL partnerships, would be coming at E3. It said this several times, in fact, so if you were one of those people screaming "BUT WHERE ARE THE GAMES?!?" at your screen, you likely did this for naught. Based on Microsoft's own words, we should expect to see quite a few games at E3. Whether they'll be any good or not, we obviously don't know, but proclaiming that Microsoft has instantly abandoned providing interesting games for the audience that helped buoy the Xbox brand for more than a decade seems, at best, premature.

Of course, Microsoft did itself no favors by not offering up any minor concessions to the core audience this week. Microsoft's messaging was hyperfocused on the Xbox One as an all-purpose entertainment center, and with only an hour to cram in what it could, it chose to stick to the easy targets. When it did talk about games, it talked about a Call of Duty sequel and a bunch of EA Sports games. Forza Motorsport 5 was Microsoft's only big franchise to make an appearance--unless, of course, you count Steven Spielberg's vaguely interested-sounding announcement of the Halo live-action series he's stamping his name on. The Remedy reveal presumably would have been Microsoft's offering to satiate the core gaming masses, but the trailer shown was so opaque, confusing, and downright nonsensical that nobody seemed to get any kind of impression out of it whatsoever.

Any time Remedy makes a new game, it's a cause for excitement. But MAN did that trailer for Quantum Break do absolutely nothing for me.
Any time Remedy makes a new game, it's a cause for excitement. But MAN did that trailer for Quantum Break do absolutely nothing for me.

But again, with only an hour to broadcast a message aimed at an audience with an incredibly diverse array of needs, interests, and financial capabilities, Microsoft's conference wasn't really a disaster. It was focused, moved from bullet point to bullet point with relative ease, and the personalities on stage (such as they were) managed to avoid doing anything too hilariously blundering. Really, the problem is what came after. No one at Microsoft should have been surprised that questions from the press members in attendance skewed toward the many, many rumors that had surfaced in the last few months. Since Sony announced the PlayStation 4 in February, all we've talked about is how Microsoft might counter that unveiling. As we waited and waited for Microsoft to finally show its hand, dozens of writers have written lengthy missives about the most hot-button rumors over and over and over again. You couldn't have telegraphed what press members were going to ask harder if you'd actually sent Microsoft a goddamn telegraph with all the questions on it.

The total lack of coherent messaging from Microsoft on oft-talked about topics like always online and the used games market is really the most insulting thing about last week's whole debacle. I can accept an hour-long press conference that is decidedly not for me, but when you offer the press hours upon hours to talk to executives, try out the device, and basically just mill about talking about what they've seen, I don't understand how you don't spend the entire few weeks prior drilling exact messaging into the heads of anyone who might even think about talking to press. Even if the answers aren't what we want to hear, you deflect. You say that information is forthcoming. And eventually, Microsoft did, albeit after many of the less-pleasing rumors were essentially confirmed by people like Phil Harrison, before becoming decidedly less confirmed later that same day by people like Phil Harrison.

Some of that vagueness likely stems from Microsoft not being entirely ready with all its different service plans. It likely has solid ideas of how it expects to handle things like used games, online checks, and whatever else. But those things could very easily diverge from their current road map sometime between now and the holiday season, and to promise one thing, and then end up doing another, never goes over very well.

Except, that's sort of what happened anyway. With messaging unclear and executives either going off the reservation or just talking nonsense (or both), then being quietly "corrected" by PR later on, it presents an image of a company disorganized; fractured, even. Whether or not you believe the "six months behind" rumors as they've been presented in recent weeks, you have to admit that such disorganization seems fitting with that scenario.

As bad as Microsoft's messaging was, it was especially fatal given the overall tone and tenor of the event--one of absolute, unflappable confidence. Again, as much as you might not have liked the content of the Microsoft presentation, its laserlike focus on the features it believed were most important to the mainstream audience felt consistent with a company that acted like it had nothing to prove. Even Don Mattrick, who has often presented a stiffer, less slick stage presence to previously over-groomed executives like J Allard, seemed completely in his element. Microsoft was talking like a company that felt it had all the momentum going into E3, and foresaw no scenario in which that would change, thanks to its various new innovations.

Sony's unveiling of the PlayStation 4 felt much more like that of a company that knew it had some work to do to to satisfy its audience. By comparison, Microsoft's seemed all but sure you'd just be satisfied with whatever was shown.
Sony's unveiling of the PlayStation 4 felt much more like that of a company that knew it had some work to do to to satisfy its audience. By comparison, Microsoft's seemed all but sure you'd just be satisfied with whatever was shown.

In fact, it most immediately reminded me of the tone struck by Sony during its PlayStation 3 roll-out. That's a comparison others have made before, but this week really solidified it for me. Sony, after having led for two solid console generations, built the PlayStation 3 largely around the notion that developers, publishers, and players alike would flock to their new system simply because it had the word PlayStation branded on it, and that it was super-duper powerful. While the PlayStation 3 was by no means the total incompetent disaster some make it out to be (in worldwide sales, it's practically neck-and-neck with the 360 at this point), Sony did spend a good chunk of this generation staring up at both Microsoft and Nintendo, a position it was hardly accustomed to as the primary leader for the two generations prior.

Perhaps as a result, Sony's PlayStation 4 press event was anything but preening in tone. Practically from the word go, Sony essentially admitted that the PlayStation 3 had problems, and that the PlayStation 4 was very much about addressing those problems. They spoke of an easy-to-develop for system architecture (a far cry from the clusterfuck that was the Cell processor), touted support from numerous developers and publishers ranging from Square Enix on down to indie stalwart Jonathan Blow, showed a few actual game demos, and basically presented a console that was all about making the PlayStation brand better than what it had been. Compared with Microsoft's presentation, Sony's conference was practically an act of contrition.

Microsoft, on the other hand, seemed either unaware, or uninterested in the problems of the 360 era. Granted, the Xbox 360 didn't have the same developmental challenges that Sony did, but areas like Xbox Live Arcade (which is effectively being discontinued), the company's disinterest in allowing indies to self-publish (nothing is changing there, apparently), and system breakage (it's not like the red ring of death disappeared all that long ago) were mostly ignored. Instead of those problems, Microsoft (barely) addressed new problems, like the used games market, and backward compatibility.

It also did this with the absolute minimum display of sympathy or understanding for the consumer. The company keeps saying it has a "plan" for used games, though if it's anything like the one MCV details in this report, there is the distinct possibility that retailers may simply give up on used sales as a viable revenue stream. The merits of what Microsoft will/won't do to the used market is a whole other topic for another day, but even if Microsoft did have a decent, consumer-friendly solution to negate the losses suffered by game makers at the hands of used game retailers, they'd have a hell of a time convincing anyone at this point.

And backward compatibility? Microsoft just says no, because the architecture is different, and therefore that would be too hard to pull off. Mattrick's "If you're backward compatible, you're really backward" comment is one of those things that probably sounded really clever and funny in his head, though comes off as incredibly dismissive when spoken aloud. Never mind that the 360 is a system that is perhaps known best for its ability to self-destruct on a whim, which puts a lot of people with extensive 360 libraries in a precarious position going forward.

Consensus seems to be that retailers of used games will be the ones suffering more at the hands of Microsoft's used games policy, rather than consumers. Still, will there even be a used market if GameStop can't get its customary 100% of the sale?
Consensus seems to be that retailers of used games will be the ones suffering more at the hands of Microsoft's used games policy, rather than consumers. Still, will there even be a used market if GameStop can't get its customary 100% of the sale?

By not having solid answers to questions people have been asking publicly for months, Microsoft has painted themselves into a strange, unfortunate corner. Again, I have no problem with the basic content of what Microsoft showed. As Wired's Chris Kohler smartly noted this week, game consoles are in a terrible position right now, and the entire market is exceedingly uncertain. Microsoft's appeal to the casual player who wants an all-purpose entertainment device for the future isn't some grand betrayal, but more likely a savvy play by a company trying to weather an inevitable storm. The problem is, it failed to present that information to its dedicated audience in a way that made them feel like they were even part of the equation.

Now, short of a strong showing of awesome games at E3 turning public opinion around, Microsoft will have to spend the summer explaining to its audience why its console isn't the soul-sucking, anti-consumer machine it's suddenly being made out to be (which it may very well be, in fact, but we just can't be certain yet). For my part, I'm still reasonably hopeful that the games will deliver, and that both the PS4 and Xbox One will be machines worth getting excited about. The race just seems a hell of a lot closer now than I expected it would be back in February.

What a difference a few months makes.

--A

Alex Navarro on Google+
232 CommentsRefresh

Avatar image for cthomer5000
Posted By cthomer5000

@rasrimra said:

Microsoft left a sour taste in my sweet mouth

So the rumors about you are true.

Avatar image for councilspectre
Posted By CouncilSpectre

And what about the always on spy device? In George Orwell's 1984 the main character hid from the always connected camera and monitor in a small alcove of his apartment. But not even Orwell could have conceived of a future in which people would pay hundreds of dollars and a monthly fee for the privlage of being spied on. It is truly mind blowing :/

Avatar image for spraynardtatum
Posted By spraynardtatum
Avatar image for raidenmitsuru
Posted By RaidenMitsuru

Always on Kinect is bull shit, I don't want to even have that thing in my home let alone it always having to be connected to even run the box.

Avatar image for naeblis213
Posted By naeblis213

@spraynardtatum: Well, they'll easily dilute the effects of achievements by overusing or abusing it (http://www.giantbomb.com/articles/giant-bombs-game-of-the-year-2010-day-three/1100-2802/) but the creepiness of the camera being in your house 24/7 doesn't change. The only way to change their mind is to support other companies though, so if the new xbox does really well in preorders (http://crave.cnet.co.uk/gamesgear/xbox-one-hits-amazon-as-console-breaks-pre-order-records-50011346/), this will only encourage them to go further down this route.

Avatar image for spraynardtatum
Posted By spraynardtatum

@roland1979: Man, that's a creepy picture. You know they're going to scan your house for brand names, measure your reaction time to advertisements and sell all this data to other companies. I can't believe people are okay with paying Microsoft to collect data.

Word.

have you seen anything about the patent they filed in 2011 about using achievements to give people more of an incentive to watch ads? Now imagine if they used that camera to see what happened to your heart rate and your mood when you get an achievement? What if they do that!? Stuff like that should never be included in a mass marketed device. I hope to god it isn't.

Avatar image for naeblis213
Edited By naeblis213

@roland1979: Man, that's a creepy picture. You know they're going to scan your house for brand names, measure your reaction time to advertisements and sell all this data to other companies. I can't believe people are okay with paying Microsoft to collect data.

Avatar image for roland1979
Edited By Roland1979

@presidentofjellybeans: I admit, it's pretty unsettling. HAL, anyone?

Yeah... so I made this after the announcement (and others written: "I see you", "I spy with my little eye" and others):

No Caption Provided

Avatar image for rasrimra
Edited By Rasrimra

If Microsoft were into games, i.e. weren't exclusively looking at the money they could be making, it wouldn't be so hard at all to communicate your ideas to the gamers. You could write something in a day that would have settled most of this. So it speaks volumes to me that they are showing so much constraint and dissonance with the gamers.

They are looking at their bank accounts, and not at the gamers. They are here to reel in the money and not to deliver the goods. Before you say all companies are about reeling in money, there are definitely companies that consist of people who care about what they are doing, or who want to make money by delivering the goods. In the end all companies need money but companies can go about it in different ways. Not all of them rely on parlour tricks.

Microsoft left a sour taste in my sweet mouth and thinking of what they may have left in store for us (against us?) it makes me feel worried about them being successful with some devious scheme, rather than looking forward to their games. That is not the way it is supposed to be.

Avatar image for cc_now_child
Posted By CC_Now_Child

This reads like a very forced article, and is surprising coming from Alex. So it's "Anti-consumer" to introduce protections for the artists who generate the content that we get to enjoy? I am not a rich person but have always bought games new because I want my money going to the companies that make them rather than Gamespot and the snot-nose who turns in a game to buy a new game to turn in. I think Sony and MS and Nintendo should all move toward a policy (much like the $60 for new games price point last gen), that completely obliterates the used game market. Anyone who complains didn't learn anything from Steam. Fix the revenue stream. Then the extraneous pre-order bonuses, annual sequels, and genre rehashes might become a thing of the past. Besides, there's way more to be disappointed about in this cycle than "mah used games" and "mah old games". We waited 10 years for 3 year old tech (in terms of power)? Why isn't anyone talking about the compromises that ensure console gaming is a thing of the past now that the PC is resurgent? Instead everyone is talking about tablets and smartphones. If you're satisfied with the experiences available *solely* on these low power devices, then you just aren't a gamer who understands what processing power can do to evolve our favorite hobby. I can only hope that pack-in Kinect, smart-glass, and the Azure cloud computing resources can combine to do *something* unique for Xbox gamers. I also hope Sony comes out with something better than "youtube button" (at least their games will look better). None of that comes close to something like the Oculus Rift, though, at least for my money.

Avatar image for spraynardtatum
Edited By spraynardtatum

@n2nother said:

@chplusink said:

As for the DRM. Guess what? Game distribution is shifting away from physical discs, towards digital. Have you thought about what happens when digital copies inevitably replace physical copies? When was the last time a company allowed you to resell or turn in a used digital copy of something for cash? "Yea, I'm done with this T.I. album. iTunes, give me $4.99." At least they're trying to flesh out a system that allows borrowing and possible resale, before that happens.

Additionally, a musical album maybe requires a few subjectively "skilled" artists (and possibly a few objectively skilled audio engineers) to record, but it absolutely requires several objectively skilled employees (as much as several hundred) to create a triple A video game. The size of these operations now require significant financial support to successfully deliver quality games. And the financial compensation is not like the, comparable in operational-size, movie industry. The movie industry gets revenue from ticket sales and physical/digital copy sales. The gaming industry only sees the single purchase.

My point here is that many developers have been wanting some used game control for a while (and these are the guys making your beloved games). Too much money in the used games market is going to middle men (Game Stop, Best Buy, etc.) and not the developers who put their blood and sweat into the games. The issue is more complex than, "Hey, I live in fairy tale bubble land and I want to play more video games without having to pay more." I believe a new method of game resale is needed when the creators of content are no longer receiving proper financial compensation for increased usage of their content. Whether Microsoft's method will be a step in the right direction has yet to be determined, because we haven't even heard the details (they are probably still working the last details out). So untangle those panties until we hear the details...at which point, you can twist and deform your undergarments however you want.

I can tell you from experience that the grips, gaffers, FX, craft services, wardrobe, hair and make-up, the extras, most if not all of the actors and all of the "objectively skilled employees" that are required to make a AAA blockbuster film, or even an independent film, do not get any money from the those ticket sales, DVD sales, TV and streaming rights etc. They collect their pay when the job is done and that's it. The ones who collect from the ticket sales and such are the studios, producers and SOMETIMES the directors and actors. Again, the hundreds of other people involved with making the films don't.

My point here is that your argument, no matter how well intentioned, is flat-out wrong and doesn't have any bearing on what is the issue at hand.

So what if the middlemen are making the profit? They saw a need for a market, created that market and are profiting from it. What people keep missing is that used games don't procreate and make more used games. Used games are there after a new game has been sold. You can never have more used games than new games sold (stolen games don't equate here because it's not an epidemic) and I can tell you as someone who has bought many a used game, that I wasn't going to buy a specific game new because I wasn't interested enough in it to pay full price. Also, most retailers have the policy that a used game can be returned for a full refund within the first 7 days. So if I buy a game I wasn't interested in enough to pay full retail for, and it turns out that I was right, I can return it and get something else.

I have been doing private sales via eBay to buy and sell my used games and this so-called "plan", as it stands now means that private sales will become extinct. I don't buy many digital games because A) I don't want to wait the hours that it would take to download a full game, B) I like having the option, which I often take, of selling my game when I'm done with it.

No one should be entitled to money from used sales except the two parties involved in the sale.

I am all for supporting developers with purchasing their games, if their game is something I want to pay full price for or can afford to at the time of release. Unfortunately, life doesn't always work that way.

Edit: I agree with n2nother

Avatar image for kaincarver
Edited By KainCarver

let me add... I'm an adult. I work for a living. I have two kids and my house can be noisy at times.

  • I do NOT want to talk to my TV. Even if I did it's often to noisy. I'm not going to tell the other 3 people (my wife and two kids) to shut up every time I want to change the channel... or ever.
  • I do NOT want to wave body parts around like an idiot in my living room.
  • My living room (like most normal people's) is not even big enough for me to stand that far away from my TV. I sorta can but I am not reorganizing my whole house so I can wiggle at my TV.
  • Remote controls and buttons (and touch pads to a lesser extent work just fine).
  • Your controller was always to big, makes my hand physically hurt after playing for a while, and now, its, um, what, bigger again? really?
  • I DO NOT watch TV and don't care about it one bit.
  • My kids might like the idea of dancing in front of the TV but I'm not going to let them hurt themselves in a cramped space. Mommy always said no jumping and rough housing inside.
  • There is one place where voice commands work naturally and well. In my car so I don't have to take my eyes of the road. (by extension this makes talking to space ships... any vehicle really... OK)
  • My gaming time is limited these days. Show my why I would want to play GAMES on your GAMING DEVICE or SHUT UP.

just some thoughts from a grumpy 30-something Dad late at night who lives in, you know, the real world.

This ^

Avatar image for n2nother
Edited By N2NOther

@chplusink said:

As for the DRM. Guess what? Game distribution is shifting away from physical discs, towards digital. Have you thought about what happens when digital copies inevitably replace physical copies? When was the last time a company allowed you to resell or turn in a used digital copy of something for cash? "Yea, I'm done with this T.I. album. iTunes, give me $4.99." At least they're trying to flesh out a system that allows borrowing and possible resale, before that happens.

Additionally, a musical album maybe requires a few subjectively "skilled" artists (and possibly a few objectively skilled audio engineers) to record, but it absolutely requires several objectively skilled employees (as much as several hundred) to create a triple A video game. The size of these operations now require significant financial support to successfully deliver quality games. And the financial compensation is not like the, comparable in operational-size, movie industry. The movie industry gets revenue from ticket sales and physical/digital copy sales. The gaming industry only sees the single purchase.

My point here is that many developers have been wanting some used game control for a while (and these are the guys making your beloved games). Too much money in the used games market is going to middle men (Game Stop, Best Buy, etc.) and not the developers who put their blood and sweat into the games. The issue is more complex than, "Hey, I live in fairy tale bubble land and I want to play more video games without having to pay more." I believe a new method of game resale is needed when the creators of content are no longer receiving proper financial compensation for increased usage of their content. Whether Microsoft's method will be a step in the right direction has yet to be determined, because we haven't even heard the details (they are probably still working the last details out). So untangle those panties until we hear the details...at which point, you can twist and deform your undergarments however you want.

I can tell you from experience that the grips, gaffers, FX, craft services, wardrobe, hair and make-up, the extras, most if not all of the actors and all of the "objectively skilled employees" that are required to make a AAA blockbuster film, or even an independent film, do not get any money from the those ticket sales, DVD sales, TV and streaming rights etc. They collect their pay when the job is done and that's it. The ones who collect from the ticket sales and such are the studios, producers and SOMETIMES the directors and actors. Again, the hundreds of other people involved with making the films don't.

My point here is that your argument, no matter how well intentioned, is flat-out wrong and doesn't have any bearing on what is the issue at hand.

So what if the middlemen are making the profit? They saw a need for a market, created that market and are profiting from it. What people keep missing is that used games don't procreate and make more used games. Used games are there after a new game has been sold. You can never have more used games than new games sold (stolen games don't equate here because it's not an epidemic) and I can tell you as someone who has bought many a used game, that I wasn't going to buy a specific game new because I wasn't interested enough in it to pay full price. Also, most retailers have the policy that a used game can be returned for a full refund within the first 7 days. So if I buy a game I wasn't interested in enough to pay full retail for, and it turns out that I was right, I can return it and get something else.

I have been doing private sales via eBay to buy and sell my used games and this so-called "plan", as it stands now means that private sales will become extinct. I don't buy many digital games because A) I don't want to wait the hours that it would take to download a full game, B) I like having the option, which I often take, of selling my game when I'm done with it.

No one should be entitled to money from used sales except the two parties involved in the sale.

I am all for supporting developers with purchasing their games, if their game is something I want to pay full price for or can afford to at the time of release. Unfortunately, life doesn't always work that way.

Avatar image for n2nother
Edited By N2NOther

@n2nother said:

Ah, straw man. I guess you're going there.

People's negative reactions are based on the media reporting direct quotes from people like Phil Harrions, a VP at Microsoft. So yes, I am guilty of assuming that Phil Harrison knows what he's talking about and that Microsoft planned exactly who would sit down with the media, who would give the message and what that messaging would be.

He hadn't said what he said to several outlets, then no one would be reacting. Notice how this didn't happen after Sony's PS4 announcement, or if it did it was much quieter? People are reacting to being told very specifically one thing and it was only AFTER the vocal, "immature" reaction that MS came back and made a PR puff quote that kinda, sorta said that the thing they heard earlier was not really what they meant. In this day and age, gamers are much smarter than you are giving them credit for and can see that this is them trying to put out or control a fire they started. You have two respected members of the staff of Giant Bomb calling them out on this but yet you get on your high horse like you the beacon of rationality by making sweeping generalizations and blanket statements. No one needs a lecture on maturity. It's the internet, it's a public forum and unless anyone is saying hateful things, it's harmless. Well, except to you since you think it's hurting oneself. Not sure how that works, though.

Again, I watched the Xbox One reveal because I was looking forward to what MS had to say about the next generation. And up until I read the things coming out of Phil Harrison's mouth and watched the Adam Sessler interview with Matt Booty, the General Manager of Redmond Games Studios:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y508_rXPogQ

About 1 minute in even he says, "If you want to play the game on your profile it's as if you're buying the game." These are MS mouthpieces saying these things out loud, to press. Are we not supposed to take these things at face value?

I guess this doesn't compute in the land of straw men.

I find it funny that you probably saw someone say straw man one time and now you just whip it out in a discussion even though you have no idea what it means. It's the same as when you talk about sweeping generalizations while you sit and do the same thing. It's impossible to have a discussion with someone that doesn't understand or use logic, especially when you simply bring up things that are irrelevant to what I've been saying. It's almost like you're having a conversation with yourself just to convince yourself that you shouldn't feel insecure about your initial gut reaction to something as insignificant as the reveal of a consumer electronics device.

You have not responded to anything I've said, but instead just mashed together a series of disjointed sentences that don't make any coherent sense. Then you use a quote from a video as if it's some kind of proof to a claim you haven' t made. In fact, I pretty much agreed with what you said two responses ago because it didn't even have to do with with the point I'm getting at, yet you respond with a completely different set of discussion points.

So to get back to what I was actually saying, even if we somehow knew everything about the new consoles and what would happen after their release, you still have absolutely no argument as to why certain facts about the console are bad other than simply because you think so. That isn't an argument, that's just an opinion based off of emotion which is hardly proof of anything but your own character. That's the entire point of what I'm saying.

So unless you actually want to read and respond to what I'm saying instead of just going on about more nonsense, I won't be responding and repeating myself for the 5th time.

First of all, what you are doing is exactly what a straw man argument is. Deflecting or insulting doesn't take away from that fact. I am replying to exactly what you're saying. You're saying that the reaction to what MS has been saying about the issue is immature and irrational and I'm giving specific examples as to why people are reacting the way they are. There is NOTHING irrational about reacting to what has been said when it's their quoted stance on the matter. No amount of back pedaling or PR "no further comment" responses by MS can change what was said has gotten a negative reaction and justifiably so.

"Something as insignificant as the reveal of a consumer electronics device." Hmm. I find it funny that you say that when you're on a website dedicated to talking about a variety of said "electronic devices," insulting people who have a reaction you don't like about "something as insignificant as the reveal of a consumer electronics device."

My argument is that having a gut reaction, based on the information given at the time, which in case you miss it, is to INFORM the readers of features and ideas being set forth on this new console. Based on that information - which again - was given by people who are actually involved in the project, people are having a negative reaction and there is nothing immature or irrational about that. If this was before the reveal, like the months leading up to it when these very same rumors were flooding news outlets, then I would and do agree with you. Why get upset about a rumor. But unfortunately those rumors were true and MS was saying so across the board. Then they said something else, and something else and the finally said effectively, "we will say more later." It's absolutely fantastic and your prerogative to not get upset about it. And like I said, I respect your "wait and see" approach to that information, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with going the other way. No matter how much you like to insist that it is.

If you were as rational and logical as you think you are, you would just admit that there is nothing wrong with feeling and reacting this way and be done. But I highly doubt that.

Avatar image for scampbell
Edited By Scampbell

If Sony had stuck with the Cell I might have bought a next generation console. Clearly more and more developers are getting the hang of using the architecture, all this acquired knowledge will be basically wasted. Sony should have had the guts to use it for the PS4.

Avatar image for chplusink
Posted By chplusink

As for the DRM. Guess what? Game distribution is shifting away from physical discs, towards digital. Have you thought about what happens when digital copies inevitably replace physical copies? When was the last time a company allowed you to resell or turn in a used digital copy of something for cash? "Yea, I'm done with this T.I. album. iTunes, give me $4.99." At least they're trying to flesh out a system that allows borrowing and possible resale, before that happens.

Additionally, a musical album maybe requires a few subjectively "skilled" artists (and possibly a few objectively skilled audio engineers) to record, but it absolutely requires several objectively skilled employees (as much as several hundred) to create a triple A video game. The size of these operations now require significant financial support to successfully deliver quality games. And the financial compensation is not like the, comparable in operational-size, movie industry. The movie industry gets revenue from ticket sales and physical/digital copy sales. The gaming industry only sees the single purchase.

My point here is that many developers have been wanting some used game control for a while (and these are the guys making your beloved games). Too much money in the used games market is going to middle men (Game Stop, Best Buy, etc.) and not the developers who put their blood and sweat into the games. The issue is more complex than, "Hey, I live in fairy tale bubble land and I want to play more video games without having to pay more." I believe a new method of game resale is needed when the creators of content are no longer receiving proper financial compensation for increased usage of their content. Whether Microsoft's method will be a step in the right direction has yet to be determined, because we haven't even heard the details (they are probably still working the last details out). So untangle those panties until we hear the details...at which point, you can twist and deform your undergarments however you want.

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Edited By Mikewarrior
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Edited By chplusink

I don't see what the fuss is about. Let's be honest, most "polarized gamers" don't like consoles because of exclusives, they like the exclusives because they are fanatics of the console. Microsoft realizes the future of living room entertainment isn't exclusive gaming, but clean integration of all home entertainment. The fact that XBox live media usage outpaces gaming usage by a huge margin says a little something (actually, a lot) about the future of consoles.

Also, in this day and age, exclusive games aren't ideal for large publishers/developers. Developing cross platform games does not require anywhere close to double that of a single platform game, but single platform game sales are theoretically cut in half, due to the limitations in market. Among many other aspects, console makers must pay a lot more to convince a developer to ignore half of the market.

Additionally, to all those complaining about the lack of direction for gaming showcased, you're being impatient babies. With the largest game convention around the corner, why would publishers/developers prepare an additional showcase for a console unveiling, when they already have E3? Resulting in the same issue mentioned above, with Microsoft having to fork out more money to get exclusive showcases, with only marginal benefits.

So why waste money on huge exclusivity contracts that may interest a few gamers, when you can use that money to develop a better user interface for everyone who has a TV? The answer is, you don't. Microsoft put their money where the statistics are, not where the whiney gamers sweat and salivate. Frankly, I think their presentation has me convinced that they will be providing a clean universal interface for living room entertainment. This is something that no other product has successfully offered yet, that's why Steve Jobs had his eye on that market space (too bad he's dead and Tim Cook doesn't have his insight or conviction). As a bonus, this beast of an entertainment system will also act as a formidable gaming console.

So the question is, did we really all want Microsoft to continue an ostentatious war for game exclusivity, or did we want them to make a new product that may change the way we consume and interact with entertainment? If your answer is the former, your perspective is probably blocked by the enormous stacks of empty Monster energy drinks and the lack of sunlight in your parents' basement.

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Posted By DoctorWelch

@n2nother said:

Ah, straw man. I guess you're going there.

People's negative reactions are based on the media reporting direct quotes from people like Phil Harrions, a VP at Microsoft. So yes, I am guilty of assuming that Phil Harrison knows what he's talking about and that Microsoft planned exactly who would sit down with the media, who would give the message and what that messaging would be.

He hadn't said what he said to several outlets, then no one would be reacting. Notice how this didn't happen after Sony's PS4 announcement, or if it did it was much quieter? People are reacting to being told very specifically one thing and it was only AFTER the vocal, "immature" reaction that MS came back and made a PR puff quote that kinda, sorta said that the thing they heard earlier was not really what they meant. In this day and age, gamers are much smarter than you are giving them credit for and can see that this is them trying to put out or control a fire they started. You have two respected members of the staff of Giant Bomb calling them out on this but yet you get on your high horse like you the beacon of rationality by making sweeping generalizations and blanket statements. No one needs a lecture on maturity. It's the internet, it's a public forum and unless anyone is saying hateful things, it's harmless. Well, except to you since you think it's hurting oneself. Not sure how that works, though.

Again, I watched the Xbox One reveal because I was looking forward to what MS had to say about the next generation. And up until I read the things coming out of Phil Harrison's mouth and watched the Adam Sessler interview with Matt Booty, the General Manager of Redmond Games Studios:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y508_rXPogQ

About 1 minute in even he says, "If you want to play the game on your profile it's as if you're buying the game." These are MS mouthpieces saying these things out loud, to press. Are we not supposed to take these things at face value?

I guess this doesn't compute in the land of straw men.

I find it funny that you probably saw someone say straw man one time and now you just whip it out in a discussion even though you have no idea what it means. It's the same as when you talk about sweeping generalizations while you sit and do the same thing. It's impossible to have a discussion with someone that doesn't understand or use logic, especially when you simply bring up things that are irrelevant to what I've been saying. It's almost like you're having a conversation with yourself just to convince yourself that you shouldn't feel insecure about your initial gut reaction to something as insignificant as the reveal of a consumer electronics device.

You have not responded to anything I've said, but instead just mashed together a series of disjointed sentences that don't make any coherent sense. Then you use a quote from a video as if it's some kind of proof to a claim you haven' t made. In fact, I pretty much agreed with what you said two responses ago because it didn't even have to do with with the point I'm getting at, yet you respond with a completely different set of discussion points.

So to get back to what I was actually saying, even if we somehow knew everything about the new consoles and what would happen after their release, you still have absolutely no argument as to why certain facts about the console are bad other than simply because you think so. That isn't an argument, that's just an opinion based off of emotion which is hardly proof of anything but your own character. That's the entire point of what I'm saying.

So unless you actually want to read and respond to what I'm saying instead of just going on about more nonsense, I won't be responding and repeating myself for the 5th time.

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Posted By MonkeyKing1969
@excast said:

I just found it sort of amazing that they had like 3 months to reflect on what Sony offered and respond in the best way possible, but that was what they came up with. Nobody really told them they had to have an hour long event and only discuss the media features. Nobody told them they had to completely ignore the biggest questions that people have about the system and then give confusing responses after the fact.



Microsoft has a terrible message that needs massive amount of spin even to seem mildly palatable. So, the question becomes, if Microsoft has to spin it so much - why do it?

Before a pirate can copy a game they have to get it and then crack it, so isn't the legal publisher already two steps ahead because they have the game and they have it first. Shouldn't the legal publisher have the least costs to put it out and the biggest time window to do so. Piracy doesn't occur in a vacuum it occurs where there is not enough easy supply and too many restrictions on getting what people want.

The solution to pirates is to sell all goods by a process that is fair, fast, easy, and safe. Why didn't Microsoft spend years of R&D on fair, fast, easy and safe?

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Posted By N2NOther

@n2nother said:

It has no bearing on the console and the games for sure, but I don't think that's the issue. The issue is that MS clearly has or had something in mind that didn't sit well with a lot of people, myself included. Maybe you keep your mouth shut when something bothers you, others don't. It hardly makes the immature for voicing their opinion. And it doesn't make you any more mature because you don't. Different people handle things in different ways. Protests exist for a reason. If they never got results, people wouldn't do them. Just like you say we have no idea how this will all turn out, you have no idea if the extremely vocal and apparently large swathe of gamers will have no affect on MS's or Sony's or anyone else's decision.

Also, why wait until the console comes out? Everyone has a voice and should make it heard whenever they can. If there is even a 1% chance that this can make a change then that chance should be taken. Waiting until the console comes out is too late.

What seems to be missing from your sweeping judgments and generalizations is that the reason why people are upset is because they WANT to get the Xbox One. They WANT to play all of those games because they matter. The reason they're upset is because if MS does go through with this terrible idea, that means they won't be getting the console and won't be playing those games. It's better to try and nip in the bud before it's too late.

Some people could voice their opinions in a better, more articulate way, but they don't have to. As much as you might wish they would.

You aren't really arguing anything against my point. Instead, you just seem to be trying to convince yourself that your reaction is justified. Sure, reacting to such a small bit of information is a viable way to react, it may be extremely foolish, but you have every right to be as foolish as you want. Yes, voicing an opinion can sometimes be a viable way to get things changed, there's no doubting that. In fact, pretty much everything you said there makes perfect sense. That is why I don't think you understand the core of what I'm saying.

People's negative reactions are based off an assumption that they know something about the new systems, when in fact they know absolutely nothing compared to what they will know in 6 months to a year. Anyone with a head on their shoulders can see that passing judgments with such little information is simply idiotic. Part of being mature is learning how to assess, react, and make decisions with reason and not simply spur of the moment emotion, and this is obviously something "the internet" and the vocal part of the gaming community is not very good at. So, like I said before, have all the negative gut reactions you want. Kick and scream when you don't get your way even though you have absolutely no logical argument as to why the thing you're mad about is so horrible. React however you want, but just realize you're only hurting yourself at the end of the day.

Ah, straw man. I guess you're going there.

People's negative reactions are based on the media reporting direct quotes from people like Phil Harrions, a VP at Microsoft. So yes, I am guilty of assuming that Phil Harrison knows what he's talking about and that Microsoft planned exactly who would sit down with the media, who would give the message and what that messaging would be.

He hadn't said what he said to several outlets, then no one would be reacting. Notice how this didn't happen after Sony's PS4 announcement, or if it did it was much quieter? People are reacting to being told very specifically one thing and it was only AFTER the vocal, "immature" reaction that MS came back and made a PR puff quote that kinda, sorta said that the thing they heard earlier was not really what they meant. In this day and age, gamers are much smarter than you are giving them credit for and can see that this is them trying to put out or control a fire they started. You have two respected members of the staff of Giant Bomb calling them out on this but yet you get on your high horse like you the beacon of rationality by making sweeping generalizations and blanket statements. No one needs a lecture on maturity. It's the internet, it's a public forum and unless anyone is saying hateful things, it's harmless. Well, except to you since you think it's hurting oneself. Not sure how that works, though.

Again, I watched the Xbox One reveal because I was looking forward to what MS had to say about the next generation. And up until I read the things coming out of Phil Harrison's mouth and watched the Adam Sessler interview with Matt Booty, the General Manager of Redmond Games Studios:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y508_rXPogQ

About 1 minute in even he says, "If you want to play the game on your profile it's as if you're buying the game." These are MS mouthpieces saying these things out loud, to press. Are we not supposed to take these things at face value?

I guess this doesn't compute in the land of straw men.

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Posted By Rixalabur

Good article overall. I disagree with the notion that the audience is mixed etc etc. MS is showing off a game console. Then show off a game console! It is that simple. As for all the questions and non-answers. Probably a lot changed just before this presentation. Given the email that stated that 'always on' has been scratched. Seems MS is trying its best to get out of the way of bad press and by doing so, causing more bad press. I guess there is no one at the helm there and it shows.

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Posted By PXAbstraction

Very good article Alex. However, as I wrote on my own blog, while I do understand that Microsoft wasn't targeting this event at the hardcore, that doesn't mean it was the smart thing for them to do. When people can buy a $70 Roku (or pay a bit more for a Boxee, WDTV, Apple TV or even get a lot of media options inside new TVs), convincing them to spent $400-$500 on a box that does that with a snazzier interface isn't a sell you're going to make in a good economy, forget the mess the world economy still is right now. Hardcore gamers are the people who are going to provide the initial drive and evangelise this box, you should be speaking to them first, as Sony did with the PS4 reveal. Sony has more interests in media that Microsoft does, there's no question that the PS4 is going to be a crazy all-in-one media box too. But Sony was smart and knew they should have spoken to the core gamer audience first because they'll get the PS4 into people's homes and from there, that's when you start targeting the mainstream. Microsoft bungled the message even more than I think some people are saying.

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Posted By DoctorWelch

@n2nother said:

It has no bearing on the console and the games for sure, but I don't think that's the issue. The issue is that MS clearly has or had something in mind that didn't sit well with a lot of people, myself included. Maybe you keep your mouth shut when something bothers you, others don't. It hardly makes the immature for voicing their opinion. And it doesn't make you any more mature because you don't. Different people handle things in different ways. Protests exist for a reason. If they never got results, people wouldn't do them. Just like you say we have no idea how this will all turn out, you have no idea if the extremely vocal and apparently large swathe of gamers will have no affect on MS's or Sony's or anyone else's decision.

Also, why wait until the console comes out? Everyone has a voice and should make it heard whenever they can. If there is even a 1% chance that this can make a change then that chance should be taken. Waiting until the console comes out is too late.

What seems to be missing from your sweeping judgments and generalizations is that the reason why people are upset is because they WANT to get the Xbox One. They WANT to play all of those games because they matter. The reason they're upset is because if MS does go through with this terrible idea, that means they won't be getting the console and won't be playing those games. It's better to try and nip in the bud before it's too late.

Some people could voice their opinions in a better, more articulate way, but they don't have to. As much as you might wish they would.

You aren't really arguing anything against my point. Instead, you just seem to be trying to convince yourself that your reaction is justified. Sure, reacting to such a small bit of information is a viable way to react, it may be extremely foolish, but you have every right to be as foolish as you want. Yes, voicing an opinion can sometimes be a viable way to get things changed, there's no doubting that. In fact, pretty much everything you said there makes perfect sense. That is why I don't think you understand the core of what I'm saying.

People's negative reactions are based off an assumption that they know something about the new systems, when in fact they know absolutely nothing compared to what they will know in 6 months to a year. Anyone with a head on their shoulders can see that passing judgments with such little information is simply idiotic. Part of being mature is learning how to assess, react, and make decisions with reason and not simply spur of the moment emotion, and this is obviously something "the internet" and the vocal part of the gaming community is not very good at. So, like I said before, have all the negative gut reactions you want. Kick and scream when you don't get your way even though you have absolutely no logical argument as to why the thing you're mad about is so horrible. React however you want, but just realize you're only hurting yourself at the end of the day.

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Edited By TheRedDeath

Really nice article Alex, as always. Easily becoming my favorite part about the site. I do feel that the most successful company of the last generation, which was technically Nintendo, but I think everyone knows that's coming to an end, always develops this hubris of "Okay, we're the best, so we can do anything we want." It just ends up biting them in the ass, just like Sony did with the PS3. I also liked Sony's presentation better, but I did end that with "What are they going to do with E3?" They showed a ton of stuff. Is there anything left for E3 to show that we haven't seen before? Microsoft isn't in that boat because of their presentation, but they also really didn't focus on the gamer because of that. I think Sony realized who watches these things and catered to that, Microsoft didn't really care. In the end, I think Microsoft's presentation really held no value to me as a gamer.

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Posted By N2NOther

@doctorwelch:

@president_barackbar: If you saw my first post you would notice the very first thing I mentioned is how it is the vocal minority of the internet. Also, I'm not saying you have to be logical or reasonable when looking at their announcement. You can do whatever you want, and if you choose to react that way I'm simply saying you're only hurting yourself.

If the games come and they are good people will buy the console. So getting all up in arms about an hour long press conference 6 months before the thing comes out is simply a waste of energy.

@n2nother said:

The entire purpose of the interviews done post reveal were to shed more light on the console, generate buzz, and get people talking about Xbox One. The information they have is what is causing gamers to "freak out" and "bitch on the internet". I am a rational person, I have always been a multi-console owner, and I spend most of my gaming time with my 360. That being said, I think everything MS has done in the past week is beyond absurd.

Sure Sony hasn't been THAT up front about their used game stance beyond saying it would be up to the publisher. But they also didn't have executives saying "There will be a fee", then having a rep on Twitter saying, "there is no fee," etc. Of course in a ideal situation we would all just sit tight and wait for more information, but the messaging we have received has, in fact, been wholly negative to a LARGE portion of people.

Like Alex points out in his piece, it's not like they couldn't have known about the used game issue. This rumor was leaked MONTHS ago and people have been vocal about it. But as a rumor, then it's very easy to be rational and say "OK, well that's just a rumor" and reserve judgment. But guess what, judgment time has begun because these things are no longer rumors. They have been said, OUT LOUD by people like Phil Harrison, a friggin' VICE PRESIDENT at Microsoft. Rationale and logic would dictate that he, of all people, know what is going on. So by that token, why shouldn't people be upset about the things he is saying when they are clearly upsetting to the people that are upset by it? Then coupled with the PR nonsense like "Reports have been inaccurate and incomplete" and then being told that that's all we have until someone makes them accurate and complete at a later date.

I appreciate your stance of "wait and see" but these "immature" folks you talk about? Some of them are quite smart and can see through PR bs and say to themselves "well that can't be good. Why one earth would they not clear this up now so we can all move on or make a final decision?" For me the answer is that MS wasn't expecting the "immature" and "irrational" "internet bitching" and have decided to look at their upcoming strategy again and figure out what to do before E3. You don't issue a comment if it's irrational. You issue a comment when it's an actual, valid complaint.

And I can tell you, as someone who will be attending E3 as press, that it has tainted by perception going into E3. See, though I am press, for now I don't get paid for it. I have a full-time job, not affiliated with the video game industry, and as such I have to pay money for everything I get. I make my purchasing decisions based on what I know about a product and right now, what I know about the Xbox One isn't good at all. That's subjective and objective. Nothing they showed or have talked about after the show has appealed to me as a gamer, as an aspiring journalist and ultimately a consumer.

Certain statements after the press conference weren't handled as well as they could have been, that is certain, but that has literally no bearing on how the console is going to turn out and what games we are going to play on them. In reality, everything they've said about used games has absolutely no effect on the current used games market. The only difference as of right now is that we don't need disks after they install, but everything else is exactly as it's always been.

Even if Microsoft completely eliminated the used games market, reacting like spoiled children doesn't do anything but make you look like a spoiled child. Instead, be an adult and just don't buy the console if you don't like it. Then, if enough people speak with their dollars, the console will fail and the best policy will emerge as the one people feel comfortable supporting with their money. In fact, I would compare the reactions to those who say they want to move to Canada because of Health Care reform. People talk about sticking with the PC and not buying a new console because of the used games problem, when the very service that provides them with PC games has been implementing the policy they're scared of for years.

Like I said before, it's fine to be skeptical or make predictions, but you are only hurting yourself by being irrational and acting immature. I love games, but it really saddens me that so much of the audience has no concept of what matters in their own hobby (hint: the games). Also, it doesn't make me feel too confident about the so called "press" if people that are willing to make such wild factual claims about things they have no way of knowing are attending E3. In fact, I've said this for a while, but I think a large reason why the audience for games is so immature and illogical is because those who cover them are equally immature and illogical. Everyone is so quick to anger and judgement instead of being calm and using reason to assess a situation, and this problem is constantly perpetuated by those in the press.

It has no bearing on the console and the games for sure, but I don't think that's the issue. The issue is that MS clearly has or had something in mind that didn't sit well with a lot of people, myself included. Maybe you keep your mouth shut when something bothers you, others don't. It hardly makes the immature for voicing their opinion. And it doesn't make you any more mature because you don't. Different people handle things in different ways. Protests exist for a reason. If they never got results, people wouldn't do them. Just like you say we have no idea how this will all turn out, you have no idea if the extremely vocal and apparently large swathe of gamers will have no affect on MS's or Sony's or anyone else's decision.

Also, why wait until the console comes out? Everyone has a voice and should make it heard whenever they can. If there is even a 1% chance that this can make a change then that chance should be taken. Waiting until the console comes out is too late.

What seems to be missing from your sweeping judgments and generalizations is that the reason why people are upset is because they WANT to get the Xbox One. They WANT to play all of those games because they matter. The reason they're upset is because if MS does go through with this terrible idea, that means they won't be getting the console and won't be playing those games. It's better to try and nip in the bud before it's too late.

Some people could voice their opinions in a better, more articulate way, but they don't have to. As much as you might wish they would.

Avatar image for doctorwelch
Posted By DoctorWelch

@president_barackbar: If you saw my first post you would notice the very first thing I mentioned is how it is the vocal minority of the internet. Also, I'm not saying you have to be logical or reasonable when looking at their announcement. You can do whatever you want, and if you choose to react that way I'm simply saying you're only hurting yourself.

If the games come and they are good people will buy the console. So getting all up in arms about an hour long press conference 6 months before the thing comes out is simply a waste of energy.

@n2nother said:

The entire purpose of the interviews done post reveal were to shed more light on the console, generate buzz, and get people talking about Xbox One. The information they have is what is causing gamers to "freak out" and "bitch on the internet". I am a rational person, I have always been a multi-console owner, and I spend most of my gaming time with my 360. That being said, I think everything MS has done in the past week is beyond absurd.

Sure Sony hasn't been THAT up front about their used game stance beyond saying it would be up to the publisher. But they also didn't have executives saying "There will be a fee", then having a rep on Twitter saying, "there is no fee," etc. Of course in a ideal situation we would all just sit tight and wait for more information, but the messaging we have received has, in fact, been wholly negative to a LARGE portion of people.

Like Alex points out in his piece, it's not like they couldn't have known about the used game issue. This rumor was leaked MONTHS ago and people have been vocal about it. But as a rumor, then it's very easy to be rational and say "OK, well that's just a rumor" and reserve judgment. But guess what, judgment time has begun because these things are no longer rumors. They have been said, OUT LOUD by people like Phil Harrison, a friggin' VICE PRESIDENT at Microsoft. Rationale and logic would dictate that he, of all people, know what is going on. So by that token, why shouldn't people be upset about the things he is saying when they are clearly upsetting to the people that are upset by it? Then coupled with the PR nonsense like "Reports have been inaccurate and incomplete" and then being told that that's all we have until someone makes them accurate and complete at a later date.

I appreciate your stance of "wait and see" but these "immature" folks you talk about? Some of them are quite smart and can see through PR bs and say to themselves "well that can't be good. Why one earth would they not clear this up now so we can all move on or make a final decision?" For me the answer is that MS wasn't expecting the "immature" and "irrational" "internet bitching" and have decided to look at their upcoming strategy again and figure out what to do before E3. You don't issue a comment if it's irrational. You issue a comment when it's an actual, valid complaint.

And I can tell you, as someone who will be attending E3 as press, that it has tainted by perception going into E3. See, though I am press, for now I don't get paid for it. I have a full-time job, not affiliated with the video game industry, and as such I have to pay money for everything I get. I make my purchasing decisions based on what I know about a product and right now, what I know about the Xbox One isn't good at all. That's subjective and objective. Nothing they showed or have talked about after the show has appealed to me as a gamer, as an aspiring journalist and ultimately a consumer.

Certain statements after the press conference weren't handled as well as they could have been, that is certain, but that has literally no bearing on how the console is going to turn out and what games we are going to play on them. In reality, everything they've said about used games has absolutely no effect on the current used games market. The only difference as of right now is that we don't need disks after they install, but everything else is exactly as it's always been.

Even if Microsoft completely eliminated the used games market, reacting like spoiled children doesn't do anything but make you look like a spoiled child. Instead, be an adult and just don't buy the console if you don't like it. Then, if enough people speak with their dollars, the console will fail and the best policy will emerge as the one people feel comfortable supporting with their money. In fact, I would compare the reactions to those who say they want to move to Canada because of Health Care reform. People talk about sticking with the PC and not buying a new console because of the used games problem, when the very service that provides them with PC games has been implementing the policy they're scared of for years.

Like I said before, it's fine to be skeptical or make predictions, but you are only hurting yourself by being irrational and acting immature. I love games, but it really saddens me that so much of the audience has no concept of what matters in their own hobby (hint: the games). Also, it doesn't make me feel too confident about the so called "press" if people that are willing to make such wild factual claims about things they have no way of knowing are attending E3. In fact, I've said this for a while, but I think a large reason why the audience for games is so immature and illogical is because those who cover them are equally immature and illogical. Everyone is so quick to anger and judgement instead of being calm and using reason to assess a situation, and this problem is constantly perpetuated by those in the press.

Avatar image for flannelbeard
Edited By flannelbeard

let me add... I'm an adult. I work for a living. I have two kids and my house can be noisy at times.

  • I do NOT want to talk to my TV. Even if I did it's often to noisy. I'm not going to tell the other 3 people (my wife and two kids) to shut up every time I want to change the channel... or ever.
  • I do NOT want to wave body parts around like an idiot in my living room.
  • My living room (like most normal people's) is not even big enough for me to stand that far away from my TV. I sorta can but I am not reorganizing my whole house so I can wiggle at my TV.
  • Remote controls and buttons (and touch pads to a lesser extent work just fine).
  • Your controller was always to big, makes my hand physically hurt after playing for a while, and now, its, um, what, bigger again? really?
  • I DO NOT watch TV and don't care about it one bit.
  • My kids might like the idea of dancing in front of the TV but I'm not going to let them hurt themselves in a cramped space. Mommy always said no jumping and rough housing inside.
  • There is one place where voice commands work naturally and well. In my car so I don't have to take my eyes of the road. (by extension this makes talking to space ships... any vehicle really... OK)
  • My gaming time is limited these days. Show my why I would want to play GAMES on your GAMING DEVICE or SHUT UP.

just some thoughts from a grumpy 30-something Dad late at night who lives in, you know, the real world.

Avatar image for levio
Edited By Levio

Maybe Nintendo will win this generation after all...!?

Avatar image for storms
Posted By Storms

Microsoft may have said that they wouldn't be focusing on games at this event; but WHY? No matter how you look at it, only gamers generally follow events like this. Especially so early on. Were all the 60 year olds watching this? No; and if they were, why would they want to replace their Blu-Ray playing PS3 with something new that requires them to wave their arms and shout?

Avatar image for kaincarver
Posted By KainCarver

@grandizer said:

I also wanted to state that while “hard-core gamers” (whatever the hell THAT means) may not be interested in using a “game console” to also watch TV/browse the Internet on their TV/multi-task media, a significant portion of the population of the planet is. . . . . sorry. This will probably translate to many more people deciding to buy the X1 rather than the PS4 simply because...

SNIP

Dude you can't possibly know that "a significant portion of the population of the planet is..." eg wanting a multi-tasking console. If you're going to argue facts than you can't interject you're own opinions into said argument and expect no retribution.

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Posted By KainCarver

If the XBOX ONE does indeed need to be connected (even once every 24 hours) to play games I purchased, on a machine I purchased, then I'm out. Granted it may be such a small amount of data sent, and maybe I'm being an archaic old man, but I'll not have terms dictated to me by a piece of hardware I'm paying for. If I want to connect than that should be my prerogative, not mandated to me by the manufacturer, and if it is, than like I said; I'm out.

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Posted By Bunny_Fire

i for one will be buying 1 or 2 xbox 360's to keep in reserve just in case the old one i have dies. Won't be buying a xbox one don't have allways on internet here.

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Edited By AV_Gamer

If you want the full next-gen gaming experience, here's what you do: Build a gaming PC and buy a PS4. PS4 have more exclusive and many of the games released on the Xbox One, will have a PC version anyway. And as far as All-In-One? Just connect your gaming PC to your television via the HDMI cable. Then use a universal remote to switch between television and the PC. It's simple. Forget the new Xbox.

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Edited By HerbieBug

@briggs713 said:

Over the week, I've kinda settled on the "this press conference wasn't directed towards me and that's ok". I went back and took a look at the PS4 conference out of curiosity last night; what a 180 that presentation was to Microsoft's. I originally had a PS2 last generation, but I currently own a 360. First impressions mean a lot and Sony did more to sway me back than Microsoft did to interest me. You can say that the "games" portion is coming at E3, but you only get to make one first impression. Still realizing it wasn't aimed at me, I think Microsoft could have taken a more even-handed approach to the presentation. Also, one of the key lessons I've had to learn about presenting is anticipating your audience's questions and tailoring your content to answer them. As mentioned by Alex above, it shouldn't have been difficult to do this. They could have saved themselves a lot of heartburn by shutting up about TV for 5 minutes to answer lingering questions about "always online" and "used games". It's better to address those in a prepared statement on your own terms, rather than muddying the waters afterwards. I remain excited for E3 and we'll get to see a lot of great games coming to all platforms (as well as the exclusives).

Agreed. :)

All they had to do with the DRM and always online stuff -if we're assuming this is still in flux at this time- is say "we are still working on that and will have more information once our policies are officially decided". That's all that was necessary to avoid the backlash. Instead they gave half answers and contradictory information. Media admirably jumped all over them for it. Based on those half answers, assumptions have been made and voiced all over the internet. Microsoft still refuses to issue a confirm or deny. So people assume a core of truth to those assumptions.

Also, on the issue of paranoia in regards to always online and always connected to Kinect; You may call it paranoid if you like. It's not like I'll a wholly sane individual. I do have issues with real paranoia. But. Microsoft can fuck right the hell off if they think I will allow an always online system attached to an always on camera in my home.

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Edited By aldo_q

Great article. What I do wonder however is if this is really true:

"Microsoft's appeal to the casual player who wants an all-purpose entertainment device for the future isn't some grand betrayal, but more likely a savvy play by a company trying to weather an inevitable storm."

If the price is going to be that of a brand new console (say 500 dollars or more?) will the casual market really in a time of crisis decide that is a good price to pay for a set-top box with 'swiping at your tv gestures'? Because of Microsoft is seriously aiming for that marketshare it needs to be the price of a set-top box and be around 100 dollars or less. And we all know it won't be..

All the all-purpose entertainment device stuff is something that can convince a gamer to get it vs a PS4. As more and more the consolewar will be fought over which interface and additional features you like best (if your not someone who's going pure by brand loyalty or emotion). But I can't see people who are not really gamers forking out that much cash just for a fancy future looking set-top box to watch tv with hand gestures and voice commands. A few will, but that's a very small market already filled with very expensive electronics most of us have never heard of.... because it's to bloody expensive to spend that much money on something like that :)

At least that's my thoughts on that part..

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Posted By flannelbeard

I don't want to simply hate on the Xbox One... in all likelihood I will wind up with both the PS4 and an Xbox One (I own a PS3 and 360 now)... but honestly...

One thing I've haven't seen talked about much is...

They said it runs the Windows kernel (which I don't really buy entirely). Xbox One, underneath, appears to be just a Windows 8 appliance box. I really don't want just a Windows 8 box. If that's the case I could build a better one than that. I've used Windows 8 on a PC and a tablet and hate it. I can't imagine it being any better on my big screen. And really... fuck live TV. I don't need another box to watch commercials on.

Tangent... I use my consoles that I pay for, on a service I pay for (Live/PS+), for games I pay for, over an internet connection I pay for, and watch videos over Netflix which I pay for. For all the paying we have to do I want to be as far away from commercials and ads as possible. I understand ads support content, but free content. Paying this much money... get rid of the damn ads all over the Xbox UI or I not going to use it!... end Tangent.

Anyhow. We'll see what E3 brings but I have always liked Sony's first party titles so at the very least I will be getting a PS4. The verdict is still out on the Xbox One. I'm under impressed thus far.

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Posted By Ironhammer

I'm not going to buy an always-on, internet-connected game console with high fidelity audio, video, and infrared sensors. Microsoft has underestimated my paranoia and now it will cost them the (approximate) 3000 dollars I would spend on their product and games this generation.

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Posted By Krakn3Dfx
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Posted By Lucidlife

Of course he didn't hate it. As a member of gaming media he doesn't delve into the used game market. He lives in a very urban location where 15 meg internet connections are the norm and not the exception. Said service doesn't go down very often.

So yeah, I can see why he doesn't hate the console. However, your normal everyday people are completely justified in laughing at Microsoft for trying to make us swallow the pill.

Regardless of anything else a few things remain FACT:

(1)Any manipulation of how the used game system works now that introduces any type of fee no matter how small = BAD IDEA

(2)No backwards compatibility = BAD IDEA

(3)An occasional internet check for console to remain usable = BAD IDEA

(4)Kinect "connected" a requirement = BAD IDEA

(5)Tying games to your account = BAD IDEA

The 5 things above are instant no purchase reasons each by themselves. Combined they are a laughable blunder. Even if some of the above turn out to not be exactly as described, the very fact they haven't released any official confirmations or denials means this console in a no-go for me. If they weren't prepared to answer the questions they should have waited until they were. As it stands now they completely come across as trying to pull the curtain over the truth until the last minute. All the exclusives in the world won't get them my money after that. They have wasted untold millions on developing technologies that absolutely no one really wants. I am not going to run my TV service through the console so it can immediately start tracking and disseminating what my habits are. Anonymity is rare enough as it is. I'm not going to have them tracking my every move because that's just what they're going to fuel your customized ads from. And let's not even start with Kinect watching you all the time. Very creepy. Very Orwellian. No thanks.

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Edited By chose

To me, all this is just BS to keep the press from really looking into the Xbox One. A third of the console is a motion sensing gimmick, a fancy cable box and a multitasking computer that can't do much, that to me is the real controversy. At least a third of the price is for shit the majority of buyers will not need nor use.

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Edited By firecracker22

Great article, Alex. And I couldn't agree more.

It's probably the most dumbfounding thing about how badly mismanaged all of the post-reveal stuff has gone down. Just how were they not prepared for it? These were things that were clearly bothering people up to the reveal. These are things that were obviously going to be asked and brought up. How they didn't see it coming, or didn't care to, is the craziest part to me.

Of course the always online issue will be brought up. Of course used games will be brought up. Why wouldn't these issues be brought up?

I thought Major Nelson's statement, the one that Patrick posted about a few days ago, was actually offensive. Trying to make it seem like there was some kind of agenda against Microsoft by throwing false information into the water, making it sounds like something you'd read about in Washington. But, all of these headaches are entirely Microsoft's own doing. Entirely. I agree with Alex, the conference itself wasn't for me, but I thought it did the job that Microsoft intended for it. But everything afterward has just been a mess.

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Posted By spraynardtatum

I just wish Microsoft would have lubed up first is all. Jk.

In all honesty though, I can't wait to cuddle with my kinect. I'm going to name it HAL and we're going to be best friends. I'm going to talk to it all night and hold my wallet out so it can scan my credit cards and buy anything it wants because I'm going to love it unconditionally. That is customer support if you ask me. A device in every household that can make sure the users are happy and content. I can't believe no one was allowed to do that sooner.

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Posted By nutter

Great summation and analysis. There's A LOT of doom-and-glooming out there that seems reactionary even by Internet standards. Many are writing something off before there's nearly enough information to back-up said write-off. Microsoft and Sony both have plenty of time to hype the world up or flounder through launch. It's far too early to dig your feet in.

I thought the presentation was fine for what it was always going to be. I hope both platforms bring a great show to E3.

Microsoft sure bungled that PR post-show, though...it's ugly and has allowed the unknown to manifest itself as something to fear and reject. Masterful bungling...

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Edited By DedBeet

Boggles my mind about the outcry that occurred after Sony and Microsoft's conferences (though MS' seems to have been worse). Nothing is set in stone for either of these consoles so there's no reason to get upset (or overly excited) about either. If you want to get upset about something, funnel your energies toward the increasing uncertainty around gaming console and triple A title's future. I'm personally envisioning a future where the big 3 all fail and we live for a time with just mobile and PC gaming. This is not a future I personally want to inhabit but it's starting to feel inevitable.

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Edited By Chibithor

@grandizer:

People were talking shit about the console and Microsoft during the reveal when there was nothing to parrot. The used games talk just added fuel to the fire.

And where's this seething anger you're talking about? All I'm seeing here are people dissatisfied with the reveal and commenting on what we know of their used games policies. And there's nothing special about Microsoft, shitting on big corporations is like that.

As for why there's no positive press going on, personally the reveal didn't give anything positive to talk about.

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Posted By Spectral

Looking at this from outside the US is even worse. Not only did they only focus on TV features, those features wont even work if you happen to not live in their own country! So outside the US what does it offer? A more expensive console(they cost more in Europe) and less features. So at best its going to simply be a more powerful version of the 360 with added anti consumer features. Europe is already very pro Sony compared to the US and the whole used game drm,etc isn't going to help with that one bit

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Posted By JillSammich

@grandizer: You make some extremely valid points. Video games are a business, yes. It's also an industry that many of my friends work in. I hate to see layoffs due to piracy, or mismanagement, or whatever the reason. I think some of the vitriol aimed at MS is a bit ridiculous myself.

However, I won't be buying the new system. I'm not mad. I don't hate MS. It's just not worth it for me to put money into something that seems to be so anti-consumer. I don't like that Kinect is required (some of that is my inner Orwellian conspiracy theorist coming out), I don't like that it has a required connection (whatever that may end up being), and I don't like the amount of emphasis MS is putting on things that aren't playing games. Also, the way they're dismissing backwards compatibility shows a lack of respect for the people buying their products.

As I said, I'm not mad at MS. They just haven't showed me anything I'm interested in, so I will be voting with my money. I might have to admit to myself that console gaming isn't for me any more if this is the way of the future.

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Edited By GRANDIZER

@fustacluck:

I am not saying that "people don't have a mind of their own," I am saying that people are not using their minds. They are simply parroting what media tells them.

The Microsoft X1 conference DID in fact use Kinect / Voice controls to switch from TV to a game and vice versa. You are not remembering the event correctly.

I am NOT defending Microsoft. I admit, their messaging about Used Games and Always Online Media were not clear. What I AM saying however is that everyone who wants Microsoft employees to be burned at the stake for doing so needs to just "calm down." Seriously! How many other game companies etc... have presented mixed messages in the past? Has there EVER been anywhere NEAR this level of Universal HATRED for them?!?! I think since this instance happens to be Microsoft specifically people just use the opportunity to shit all over them. . . simply because it is socially expectable to do so. That is pretty idiotic and sad. (and Why is it that shitting on Microsoft is "socially exceptable" anyways?)

Also, for those of you who think that Sony (or anyone else) will NOT implement "Always Online Digital Only Media," think again. ALL game manufacturers, developers, etc... are going to do this in the future. It is ONLY a matter of time. The reason why this is happening is because of a lot of reasons. (Software Piracy, Used Game Sales at Gamestop, Media Journalists stating that they want it repeatedly, etc...)

So, Good Job guys!! Now the rest of us will have this forced upon us as the result of all your bullshit. To all of you that say, "Well, Microsoft / Sony / everyone else, has to 'make this right!'" No they don't. And guess what, they WON'T! They will make as much money as they possibly can. The End. Also, it is NOT their "fault" for trying to make money! If you don't like their policy - don't buy their products ! (I am of course making the point about ALL game manufacturers. NOT just Microsoft. They ALL have this policy. You are fooling yourself if you think otherwise.)

Here's a news flash for y'all. Making games is hard work. It takes effort and when some little punk decides to just copy someone else's hard work (AKA - Steal it) instead of paying for it, I find it very hard to argue with a company that wants to take steps to prevent that kind of obscenity from taking place.

There is also the issue of used game sales. Used Game Sales are a great thing! It is really too bad that business wants to stop it altogether, but again - Making games is hard work. It requires a LOT of manpower, time, and money. Every used game sale is money being "lost" from the developer that made the game. That means (ultimately) that people lose their jobs. Both sides of that argument have good points. Always Online Content / Digital Only Media is the natural result of all this. It is too bad for us (the consumers) but what can you do other than make your own games and game consoles?

As for the "tin-foil hat" remark. I deserve that.

At the same time however, there IS universal hatred of Microsoft (for some odd reason) When you said that "you won't have to go far to find a journalist that is supportive of Microsoft," I have to disagree. G4 TV may be the ONLY ones that are really saying ANYTHING that is even REMOTELY positive.

So I have to ask myself, "Why is that?"

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Edited By Tebbit

@jagehtso said:

I don't think the reason I was upset at the Xbox One reveal event was because it was aimed at the mainstream. It was that it was aimed at North America only. Which just seems to happen a lot lately. A lot of Americans and American companies seem like they couldn't give less of a shit about the rest of the world right now. And I find that arrogance and/or ignorance revolting.

That statement is pretty unfair. I mean, look at Microsoft, and what they are offering that North American audience: potentially cool stuff. Basically, what you're saying is:

"Why can't Microsoft offer an identical-value solution for each country it will be releasing in?"

And the obvious answer is: "Because Microsoft is a company of finite (though relatively vast) resources, and making the kinds of deals they are making for North America on a global scale would be stupendously expensive.

The reason the PS3 has now exceeded the 360 in global scales is that exact mentality. Doting on the US, while having comparatively fewer features elsewhere doesn't pay off in the long-run, compared to Sony's more even distribution of features and functionality.

It's a carpet bomb vs. a tactical strike. You're gonna hit a fuckload more houses with the carpet bomb, but a tactical strike will hit what you're aiming for.

Anyway my point is don't be crazy. Vote with your wallet if the Xbox One isn't offering you what you want in your country. Don't take their reluctance to spend millions of dollars on partnership deals worldwide and turn it into "arrogance" or "ignorance". Don't be mad at the lemonade stand because it's not on your corner.