By Llewellyn Crossley
So over the last few days we have seen numerous articles, rants and mudslinging between the camps of digital content and physical content in face of the new Xbox One policies. The majority of people are over the moon and then there are some that are exceptionally upset that these policies have been removed.
No one is particularly sad about the fact that you no longer need to check in online every 24hours. Everyone, even those in the digital camp, realized the very real possibility of being locked out of their system (for games anyway) if you lost your internet connectivity for whatever reason. If you are in SA this would most likely be due to cable theft which can take weeks to replace. Not to mention the general poor delivery of proper fixed line internet services and speeds.
The fact is the Xbox One was in a unique position to outshine all competition when consumer feedback started coming back. They already have the systems in place to make an amazing device. In fact, before the policy change it was a fantastic system. Yes, I said fantastic. It just had one big flaw that brought it to its knees… Zero choice. This is where Microsoft failed.
Now, let’s have a look at what we have lost and how Microsoft failed to capitalise on consumer wants and needs.
Discs and digital content
This is one of the biggest complaints I’ve heard. Many people are very upset that they can no longer purchase a physical disc in store, install it and then link it to their profile so that they can enjoy it wherever they go and on any device as long as they are logged in with their profile.
Let’s be honest, this feature was amazing and it is sad that it is gone. For those who could afford the data and speeds needed to be able to download their games to any device no matter where they are this feature was perfect. They got to have the best of both worlds. They could have a physical disc, yet never need to worry about losing it as the game can be downloaded from “the cloud”. It’s nothing ground-breaking as it has been done with the likes of Steam. But the convenience is what really makes it worthwhile and something that consoles are lacking.
Digital Game sales
Let’s not forget that unlike Steam and other digital distribution platforms, Microsoft were going to allow you to resell your digital games via the market. This single additional feature is what would have set them apart from the rest and it made Microsoft’s system even more desirable. There would be people who would be willing to use this system. Sure, having the system offline introduces a few problems surrounding this and makes it a bit tough, especially if you change your physical purchases to digital ones. But surely Microsoft could come up with a solution?
Another great feature which has now been taken away. Now, just to recap, this feature would allow you to share your games with up to 10 family members (haha, family members… riiiiiight :P) who could then download the game to their device and try it out for themselves and if they liked it could buy it then and there from Live and link it to their accounts permanently.
Now, I am sure there would have been some form of restrictions in place like only being able to play the game being shared when the primary holder isn’t playing it or whatever the case may be. The fact is this feature is no different to lending out your physical disc to a friend. The only difference being that up to 10 people could enjoy it instead of just one at a time. So this feature really would have helped developers get their name and games out to a wider audience and potentially achieving higher sales if more people can enjoy their games without initially having to commit with any form of fee.
Where Microsoft failed even after listening to the consumer
So, some cool features lost, but I mentioned that Microsoft failed to capitalise on their policy changes to really make themselves shine. How did they do this? Simple, they took away features that a lot of people still wanted (Whether that is a majority or not is beside the point and negligible.)
Microsoft could still have included these features. With the amount of complaining people did they failed to hear what the consumer was actually shouting and that was “Choice!”
We didn’t shout that it must disappear. We didn’t shout that what they were attempting must not happen; we simply wanted to choose whether to use the functions available or to ignore them.
Linking a game to your profile can still be done. It’s done on PC with physical discs. You install the game, link it to Steam, Origin or whatever is out there and if you lose your disc you can simply download the game by logging in to your profile. Microsoft can implement an extra step in their installation process when installing your game to your HDD, a simple “Do you wish to go online and link your game to your profile?” If you click no then fine. You carry on offline and enjoy your game, but say yes and it will log in and link the game to your profile after authenticating the validity of the actual game disc. Simple as that. Once there on your online profile why would you need to authenticate your system every 24hours? There is no logical sense to that. So it’s completely possible to do this in a hybrid environment.
Family sharing is also still possible, if you choose to take this path then Microsoft can say, right, for this you need to authenticate once every 24hours so that we can be sure you haven’t sold the game off or that you are still allowing family member X or Y to play the game. People would understand this requirement to go online. It’s not forced for normal use but is forced if you want to share. This is for security reasons and to ensure no shenanigans and abuse of the system. If you do not authenticate once every 24hours then the sharing rights simply fall away, leaving you able to play the game you paid for but unfortunately those sharing the game must understand that they were only sharing a game and wasn’t theirs to start with. It’s a simple solution and doesn’t require the system to be permanently online for everyone across the world. Only those wanting to share need to be online with no penalties to the owner if he/she can’t authenticate in 24hours.
Microsoft again didn’t listen and instead come across as a schoolyard bully whose mommy just shouted at him for not sharing his toys and instead of going ahead and sharing goes and destroys the toys so that no one can have them at all. I’m sure that Microsoft didn’t do it out of spite but it is what it seems like.
They had a unique opportunity to give a system that is capable of giving the best of both worlds. They could have provided a system that can have all the features they had while still allowing you to properly use the system offline if you simply don’t have a proper connection.
For those of you angry at the general public for forcing Microsoft’s hands just stop and think a bit, had it been online only all those people complaining would be unable to purchase the device and the Xbox One would have failed. Microsoft needs to provide for those unable to be online. Microsoft has decided to pull the features even though they don’t need to. Be angry at Microsoft for being like this. Blame Microsoft for not being innovative enough to provide a system that can be online and offline with all the features available if you choose to use said features. Microsoft should have been innovative instead of trying to force their vision of the future on to people who couldn’t yet be part of that future due to whatever limitations they have.
Do what the people did to get MS to bring back those features. Petition them, write blogs, do videos. But don’t demand that they return the system to how it was. Get them to make it a hybrid system that brings the best of both worlds. Get them to allow you to use the features if you want those features. Make it clear that they are capable of doing what they wanted to do yet still allowing an offline system if need be. This is Microsoft, one of the largest software companies in the world. They have the knowledge and the resources to get this right.
They just need a little bit of logic from us normal folks.
This post was submitted by a member of our community, and does not reflect the opinions of Lazygamer.net or its staff.