Xbox One Just Went from Exciting to Deal Breaker
The internet exploded this morning with the perceived announcement that Microsoft’s new Xbox One system would block players from buying and selling used games. Gamers were justifiably angry. They should be angry. In a statement on Major Nelson’s Blog, Microsoft’s Larry Hryb made it clear: you can play your games on a friend’s console IF you’re signed in under your profile, for free. If you’re not–there’s a fee. Let’s think about what that means. Read below for the full breakdown, and get ready to be very, very angry.
1. If you sell your game to someone, they’ll have to pay an additional fee to play it. That immediately reduces the resale value of your game.
2. If they provide a method to circumvent this, then it complicates trade-ins and sales by adding intermediary steps. That’s bad for you, for retail employees, and for private party sales.
3. You cannot simply loan the games you buy to a friend. When they get home, they will have to pay a fee to play the game you already bought and paid for. Conversely, you cannot borrow games from your friends, either.
That’s basically the bad, the badder, and the worse. The games you buy will not be yours, not even to let a friend borrow. This is not a small issue. No one should defend this design flaw in Microsoft’s new console. There is only one reasonable way to look at this: It’s a deal breaker.
I’ve been an Xbox gamer for over a decade, though never exclusively. All told I own 21 systems and more than 600 games (which I’m slowly trying to liquidate). So it’s fair to say that I have given this industry a great deal of support over the years. In my circle of friends and family, I am, unsurprisingly, the “tech guy.” When people want recommendations or help with something technical, they ask my opinion. As I’m someone who worked in tech for many years, I tend to keep up with the news and know what’s going on. And for awhile now I’ve said that the next Xbox would probably be worth grabbing. I thought it would offer some great features and finally polish some of the many cool, but incomplete, concepts Microsoft has introduced on Xbox 360.
And, if the press conference today is anything to go by, that’s true: Xbox One looks to be a sweet system. In terms of specs, it is essentially a Playstation 4 with a superior camera (Kinect 2) and an impressive 300,000 servers-strong network backbone with Xbox Live. It has some pretty impressive app integration, including the ability to multitask while playing a game–that’s a sweet feature. Purely from a technical perspective, the machine is clearly a marvel.
But Microsoft has really screwed up in their decision to hinder the average gamer’s ability to simply enjoy their games and share them with the people they love.
And so I have to encourage gamers everywhere to say “No thank you” and bid Xbox a big goodbye. Join me in adopting the hashtag #GoodbyeXbox and spread the word: what Microsoft has done here is not okay.