Last generation, Microsoft were the gamers’ saving grace, a white knight, if you will, defending gamers with lesser costing consoles and overall better looking cross platform games. After all, Sony did launch the PlayStation 3 at a staggering $599 price point, albeit with a very powerful architecture that almost exactly three developers were able to make use of efficiently – for the curious, the developers I’m referring to are Naughty Dog primarily, Quantic Dream, and Sony Santa Monica – and it is because of this architecture that almost all cross platform games looked better on the Xbox 360.
This upcoming generation however, it would seem as if the console war has ended before it even started with the Xbox One suffering a crushing defeat, not at the hands of Sony, mind you, but at the hands of Microsoft themselves. I’ll explain my reasoning for this in the following points.
Any gamer who has been playing games for the last 6 years at least know that publishers impose DRM, not the console, be it through online codes, activation codes, or any other kind of restriction that may be present. However Microsoft have valiantly went out of their way to mention to the masses and anxious gamers that the Xbox One will have DRM over used games, then went on to correct themselves in saying that they will not impose any DRM themselves, but will leave it up to the publishers – which was already the case since time immemorial – making the very mention of this a moot point, I mean, why mention something that you have absolutely no control over?
That’s one part of the DRM though, what are the others, you ask?
Microsoft have also said that the Xbox One will support the sale of used games, however this won’t work in the common sense of the “sale” word, it’ll involve the individual selling his/her license of the game to a participating retailer (i.e.: Gamestop, Walmart, Best Buy, etc…), in other words, if you’re unfortunate enough to live outside of Microsoft’s scope such as myself, you will not be able to sell your games, ever. Not to mention other restrictions that I’ll mention in a little bit.
You will be able to lend your games to anyone on your friends list by transferring the game’s license to them – although this sounds a lot like gifting rather than lending – but they have to have been on your friends list for at least 30 days.
You can add up to ten people as family members who will be having unrestricted access to your account and its content, or in other words, you can share your games with ten different people, and that’s it.
Here’s where the fun really starts, the Xbox One will only be supported in 21 countries and according to Microsoft’s Xbox One’s website, the games will only be activated in these countries. So if you’re unlucky enough to live somewhere else, well, no Xbox One for you.
While the Xbox One does not require an always online state to function, it does need to check your game licenses periodically to make sure everything’s in check, which would be problematic to people with no internet access.
Kinect will be bundled with every Xbox One, not bad, really, until you realize that Kinect has to always be connected to your Xbox One in order for the console to function. While some people don’t mind that, others do. So in other words, this is very debatable in the sense of privacy, and no, not because Google or Apple track your location or your phone calls or what have you, gives Microsoft the right to do so, at least in my honest opinion.
- Cloud processing:
This is actually something I personally am looking forward to, Microsoft have mentioned that they will use the power of the cloud in order to enhance the visuals of the games. Never mind the fact that if you play offline you might get worse graphics, but the thing is, this gives the console an outstanding shelf life, even though more than one company have tried that concept and failed miserably (I’m looking at you, OnLive).
- Price point:
This was the final nail in the coffin for Microsoft’s Xbox One, a $499 price tag was preposterous to say the least, for a console so closed I expected the price tag to be a little bit lower than this, but the reasoning behind the price is that every Xbox One comes bundled with the Kinect, so this supposedly justifies that price tag, somehow.
- The game demos were not running on Xbox Ones:
Yep, you read that right, they were running on Windows 7 based PCs (now why on earth would Microsoft not use Windows 8?), moreover, those PCs had Nvidia GTX GPUs inside of them, which is absolutely different to the AMD hardware the Xbox One is built around. This could mean lots of things, maybe Microsoft hadn’t finished a dev kit in order to demo the games on, maybe they wanted to ensure a smooth conference, but that would mean they used far superior hardware, which potentially means the Xbox One will not perform as well as we’ve seen on the demos.
- Xbox One’s reveal:
Last but definitely not least, that reveal a month ago. I presumed a gaming console was meant for gaming, but I digress, it’s a multimedia platform, catering to fans of live television (and advertisements) and fantasy football leagues, and Call of Duty’s dog, not gamers!
Now how did Sony crush Microsoft? By doing absolutely nothing, in a nut shell. What Sony did was simply call out what Microsoft mentioned, and said they were not going to do that. Had Microsoft not mentioned the whole DRM dilemma, Sony wouldn’t have said a word about it, and Microsoft would have maintained their dignity. Sony also announced a lower price point, at $399 you get the console, a controller and a mono earphone, sure you don’t get the eye, but let’s see how much the console would cost if you did buy the eye as a stand alone purchase, currently on Amazon, the PSEye is for $59, which makes the console price go up to roughly $460, let’s say you also want to get a one year PlayStation+ subscription to play online, your total is now $510. Now you want to get an Xbox One with a one year gold membership, you’re going to pay $550, which makes the PlayStation 4 cheaper.
To spare you my ramblings, Microsoft have shot themselves in the foot, repeatedly, and Sony took advantage of that. Repeatedly. Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think of Microsoft’s restrictions, what would Microsoft have to do in order to convince you to buy the Xbox One? Personally I would like to see the periodic checks gone, but again, that’s just me.