By Jeff Neuenschwander / June 21st, 2013
The following musings are those of the writer, do not reflect oprainfall as a whole, and are meant as a means to open a dialog.
Ladies and gentlemen, the war is over!
In case you missed it, I’ll explain: Microsoft has announced that the controversial used game and always-online policies they had initially laid out for the Xbox One will no longer be implemented. They have reversed course and will now implement the same policies they had with the Xbox 360. In short, after shooting themselves in the foot after the reveal—and then have Sony grab the gun and shoot them some more at E3 2013—they have decided to put the gun away.
And while I’d like to think they listened when I had my future conversation with an Xbox One, we all know that we should thank Sony for this—or rather, we should thank the people watching the Sony conference for this.
Sony was the catalyst for this change. When SCEA President Jack Tretton came out on stage near the end of Sony’s E3 conference and started attacking the Xbox One, Don Mattrick (president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business) must have been beside himself. Tretton was getting standing ovation after standing ovation as he bullet-pointed that the faults of the Xbox One would not be coming to the PlayStation 4. And I can all but guarantee that the Sony chant ringing through the LA Memorial Sports Arena was ringing in Mattrick’s nightmares.
Then, there was the proverbial nail in the coffin of Xbox One as Andrew House, Group CEO of SCE, announced that the PS4 would be priced at $399 USD, $100 less than the Xbox One at launch. Let me make sure this is clear: a higher-powered, less restrictive console was priced less than the mess that Microsoft wrought.
Also, this. This was funny.
It was an absolute dismantling of Microsoft’s new console. They didn’t just kill it that night—they killed it, had everyone pose for pictures with it, gutted it, cooked it for dinner, mounted the cover on the wall, and then threatened to do the same thing to Nintendo (and I totally understand now why they didn’t do a press conference this year).
And then, there was the ripple effect from the conference. After Sony was done, all major publications were declaring that Sony had beaten Microsoft. Jack Tretton even did a ceremonial mic drop after an interview with Geoff Keighley during GameTrailers’ coverage of E3. You can’t buy better press coverage than that.
And then, the fans came out in support of the PS4. Best Buys across North America had their allotment of PS4s sold out within the first two days of E3, while only a few Xbox Ones had been accounted for. In polls across the web, the PS4 was beating the Xbox One by a ratio of 18 to 1. It was clear that gamers were sending a message.
So, with all the happenings, writings, and messages during E3, it completely made sense that Microsoft would go back on their DRM and used games policies. This isn’t the first time they’ve done that with a product, either—a similar situation happened when Microsoft launched Office 2013.
I honestly feel sorry for Don Mattrick. It seems like he’s trying to have his Andy Dufresne moment (see The Shawshank Redemption). However, instead of coming out clean after crawling through 500 yards of crap, he’s still covered in crap. And it doesn’t help when one of your employees is abrasive with an interviewer. Granted, Larry Hryb (a.k.a. Major Nelson) is more of a figurehead than an executive, and “Angry Joe” Vargas was asking questions more suited for Mattrick, but things like this are uncalled for:
|Full credit to Joe for staying composed. I’m not sure if I would’ve.|
Regardless of what you think of Mattrick, Nelson, or anyone else at Microsoft, the important thing is this: the Xbox One will no longer have its controversial measures.
And we can thank Sony and their fans for that.
DRMMicrosoftPlayStation 4Sonyused gamesXbox One