Well, we did it. The combined stern reactions and analysis from gamers, industry officials and media has actually helped reshape the next generation of console gaming. Microsoft first spoke about there “all in one” entertainment platform known as the Xbox One in their May unveiling event and left everyone confused towards its feature set which at first read more like a list of rules and restrictions.
At E3 2013 the Xbox One was priced at a hefty $500, all the while Microsoft canceled many of their media opps, seemingly to avoid the hard questions that led to a train of bad PR leading up to, during and after the big event. Then came the PS4 E3 press conference later that same day where Sony went on a direct assault on Microsoft, happily announcing that they support used games, don’t force online check-ins and will sell their console for $100 less.
The result? The audience actually cheered during Sony’s E3 conference. It was as funny and intriguing as it was unprofessional. Microsoft had effectively turned a vocal portion of their playerbase against them and it seemed so absurd. It was absurd. Amazon Games held a poll during E3 pitting the PS4 and Xbox One head-to-head where the vast majority chose PS4. We saw the same results in our own site’s poll, and when combined with industry analysts – even the military – sharing displeasure with Microsoft’s next-gen strategies, the buzz couldn’t get any worse for Microsoft and that’s not the way to launch new hardware and an important part of Microsoft’s future.
And this is all without even getting into Microsoft’s awful lack of indie support, being the only one of the “big three” to force developers to have a publisher and to charge expensive rates on devs for updating their games.
After hearing all of the “feedback” the decision-makers at Microsoft’s Xbox division last night made a groundbreaking announcement. The plan for the Xbox One has changed, so much so that we can rename the console the Xbox One Eighty. Only moments after multiple reports hinted at the possibility last night, Microsoft updated their official Xbox site and sent out press release to announce that with the Xbox One, players can trade and lend games as you do now, that an internet connection is no longer required to play non-online games you have, and that there’s no 24-hour check-in.
What does that mean? They were wrong. If Microsoft’s leadership believed in their strategy and if they knew it was better for the consumer (read: the opposite of anti-consumer) then there would be no change. But it’s not all good since some of the interesting and potentially awesome features of the Xbox One have dropped as well, including the ideas of a shared games library and the ability to download your own game from the cloud at someone else’s house.
With these changes, the PS4 and Xbox One are far closer to one another in their feature sets, meaning there’s an even stronger reliance on the games each will offer. There is still however, that $100 price difference thanks to Xbox One shipping with (and still requiring) a Kinect. Has Microsoft’s ability to be flexible and listen to the community resulting in these changes swayed your buying decision come this holiday season? Let us know in the poll below:
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