It almost seems like yesterday when everyone who was a gamer and had access to the internet was indulging in both the initial and E3 2013 presentation of the Xbox One. Although a suitably powerful and promising system for the next generation, its other attributes that included DRM, always online connection, a mandatory 24 hour check in and more anti-consumer quirks were quickly abhorred by not only now non-potential consumers, but also their most loyal of the bunch in Microsoft’s Xbox community.
Compounded by the horrible PR undertaking of their assessment with product promotion and the standoffish—not so much confident—attitude showcased by former Xbox President, now Zynga CEO, Don Mattrick and Xbox Programming Director Larry Hyrb, just about anyone who so much glazed over the issue were calling Sony to be the bigger star to aim for when both consoles release this holiday season.
Funny, yet appropriate memes were made, comments that questioned Microsoft’s transparency to the situation took to higher levels and if that wasn’t bad enough, presales saw a huge decline.
Like a young protégé against Muhammed Ali in his prime, the social media outcries and loss of money were all too heavy punches, so it was only natural for Xbox team to throw in the towel and head back to the locker room, or rather take arms in a less powerful skill set that would erase all restrictions, mandatory online connections and allowed for gamers to hold onto their buyers rights to their purchased products by giving them the freedom to trade or sell their games whenever they wanted to.
This change was a needed way of direction for the company and a newfound system of solace for those who initially wanted to buy the console and now don’t have to reluctantly do so, but the real reason for celebration rested within those who made it happen. Those who tweeted, blogged, ranted in front of their cameras on YouTube, e-mailed the companies of their concerns and—in the nicest way possible—bitched about Xbox One atrocities deserve the right to pat themselves on the back, taking partial credit for making such a powerful technology conglomerate realize that their ways weren’t the way to go. In the midst of it all, a company with so much spears aimed at their heads surly needed a shield and an answer to the attacks—but rather than answering, they mildly admitted that that outside voices were saying to remove restrictions, something that political parties and non-profit awareness organizations wished they could come close to achieving when trying to overturn a law.
The point is that all gamers who spoke up about these infringing policies should feel a great sense of pride and vigor knowing that their voices have the power to change the future as we know it. However, it’s unfortunate to find that not everyone can respectfully use this power for the greater good. Rather they mock that power in such a way that it almost makes us look as if the gaming community is undeserving of such privilege.
Though it may be a miniscule one-off, there’s currently a petition going on that downplays the efforts of the gaming community, as it urges Microsoft to revert back again to their restrictive gaming structure of the Xbox One console. The level of seriousness is questionable, but want all the things that nearly everyone wanted Microsoft to throw away—DRM, always online and lack of real game ownership. It sounds like a joke, but it’s not as the petition listed on Change.org has been spearheaded by a Georgia citizen named David Fotenont.
“This was to be the future of entertainment. A new wave of gaming where you could buy games digitally, then trade, share or sell those digital licenses,” the petition wrote.
“Essentially, it was Steam for Xbox. But consumers were uninformed, and railed against it, and it was taken away because Sony took advantage of consumer’s uncertainty. We want this back. It can’t be all or nothing, there must be a compromise.”
As of this writing, there are currently 20,529 people who have signed the petition, but some who have signed have done so for various reasons. One signed with the understanding of the future goals that Microsoft was aiming for while others signed simply because they feel that restoring those restrictive policies back would be a sure-fire way to catapult Sony’s PS4 up to even higher heights while Xbox One runs six feet under.
The people signing and commenting on the page are a non-factor. The petition itself possesses a high level insult to the gaming community for two reasons: 1.) it takes an uneducated and ill placed diss at the intelligence of those who rose against Xbox One restrictions and 2.) the lack of depth in the reasoning for why Fotenont thought the console held a huge ‘future for gaming’ makes the petition look so sketchy that Craigslist ads begin to look more accessible.
Fotenont’s claim that the people were uninformed is confusing, unless he’s directly talking about how the Xbox One was literally a Steam-like outlet for video games. In tacking the first premise of the console being misunderstood, anyone who rose against these anti-consumer rights policies had an ample amount of information at their disposal regarding Xbox One’s ulterior motives. Released shortly after the first initial reveal in May, there were several–okay, many–articles and newsfeeds being released regarding the issue. Microsoft planned to have a DRM agenda that would make a game disk obsolete whenever you first install the disk on the console. After that you’re free to play it on that particular console. You couldn’t sell or trade your disk copy because Microsoft had plans to provide that for you via Cloud and the always-online rule that would be imposed on the consumer.
The Xbone—an abbreviation of their flagship next-gen console that they should think well to fix or rather change the name entirely—also enforced a policy for the mandatory 24 hour check in. In exchange for all these ghastly requirements, the constellation prize became an up-to-10 person “family plan” game sharing module, more achievement perks and TV, TV, TV.
This is exactly how the information came out and while it does matter if the information was handled poorly by Microsoft’s PR, neither the company nor the petition leader can argue that the mass community of video game enthusiasts were misinformed.
‘But what if the Cloud breaks?’ ‘What if I don’t have an online connection?’ ‘I have to check in every day, but what if I’m gone from home for a week?’ ‘I bought this game with my own money so it should be up to me on how I use the product that I purchased!’
All formidable and reasonable arguments after being properly informed by the information, gamers felt that the system was turning into a nightmare…thankfully Microsoft’s pull-back allowed them to wake up.
The second premise in the argument is that the Xbox One was going to be ‘like Steam,’ the PC driven video game outlet that’s primarily known for their quickness in powering up a game and their impeccable display of sales of various AAA titles.
The petition leader would be right in this regard if only the Xbox One’s previous policies had allowed for offline gaming. With the information available for the so-called “uninformed masses,” Xbox One games wouldn’t be playable offline if their internal servers would somehow become damaged or shut down, since the older policies state that playing any game on the console strictly requires an internet connection. In comparison, if Valve’s servers were to undergo the same, Steam games would still be readily playable on a player’s local PC. This is the lack of depth in the petition reasoning that separates them from perhaps a user on a gaming message board who offered a more concise and well-detailed argument as to why the Xbox One past polices should return from the dead.
No one is going to take this petition seriously. It’s lack of a real argument and it’s mockery to how gamers can use their voice to change the industry is hazardous and sickening. For any real, passionate gamer, the petition gives off the incentive that the pledge to urge Microsoft to revert to their stern policies promised at E3 is purely asinine and nugatory. Why Fontenot thought this was a good idea should open up the question of how he spends his free time.
Anyone who signs it can freely do so, but it will unfortunately amount to nothing. Microsoft has been busy doing other important things now, such as moving on from more negative stints occurred in their business infrastructure—the struggle to jump back up in pre-order sales and Mattrick jumping ship to Zynga. However, there’s a bright light ahead of them now that the newly refined business model entirely reworked for Microsoft features a heavy focus on making games fun again, as well as Xbox’s new leader—though not necessarily ruling out Ballmer–Julie Larson-Green spearheading the brand until something concrete can come to a head. The company is all focused on moving forward, as they should be. If the petition reaches the goal number of supporters, there are huge doubts as to whether or not the company will answer with even a note of their recognition.