Thursday, 20 June 2013

Rant - Has Microsoft really made the right choice by removing DRM?

To answer the question directly, in terms of staying alive for this generation's console war, yes they have. They have pretty much regained public sympathy now, thanks to listening to gamer's concerns over the whole DRM issue and shown that they truly care about their fan base. And money. After all, it's all about the money.

The downside is we have lost all the features that really set the Xbox One apart from both the PS4 and the 360. The features were divisive sure, but they had the potential to change the face of gaming. This is what we lost.

The "bad" things
-No more 24hr check in. This feature was one of the most criticised functions, so many were pleased to hear about it's removal.
-Used games would work and you could lend/trade a game as many times as you like. Again, a really divisive feature.

The really good things
-Gone is the whole 'digital library' of games, so no chance of booting up a copy on another console without the original copy. Also, if your disc breaks, you have to buy a new game. This sucks. I was looking forward to their new "Steam"-type features.
-You can't add a 'family' to your Gold account anymore, which is a real downer for large families where all the kids want to play. One account per person.
-DRM potentially meant cheaper games in the long run, though this was always just speculation.

In the end I feel like Microsoft have told us what we want to hear but have punished us at the same time, kinda like "You don't like what we offer, fine we'll do things the old way but it also means you can't have these awesome new features either".

Gamers were complaining about the wrong things. They were more worried about their right to play pirated games and deal in free trading than they were about the console or the games themselves. I'm not saying Microsoft handled that situation very well, as their uncertainty and incoherence was one of the main catalysts for all the negative rumours, but I'm very disappointed in them for chickening out.

I think Microsoft have made a terrible mistake. Sure, everyone's happy and they will probably sell ten-fold more consoles now, but there's nothing unique about the Xbox One anymore, other than improved capabilities.
On the plus side, the focus will once again shift to the most important questions everyone should be asking which is what can the console actually offer (not what does it not do).

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