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Damage Done: Why Xboxís 180 changes nothing


If youíre reading this that means youíve probably read up on Microsoftís reversal and removal of DRM policies for the Xbox One system †due out later this year. Clearly this is something that should be applauded because itís a win for consumers, and Iíll at least dish out the Chuck Norris thumbs-up gif for it. That being said, the Xbox One-Eighty news doesnít change much regarding my current stance on the console or whether Iíll purchase one anytime in the next few years. The damage is done, and it would take a lot of kissing up in order to make me forget about what they tried to do with the new Xbox.

The removal of their DRM doesnít make the price magically drop down from its stupid $500 price point, it doesnít stop them from ramming more Kinects down our throats, the archaic publishing restrictions for indie games still exist, it doesnít make any of the systemís exclusives look better, and it doesnít free up apps like YouTube and Netflix from the Xbox Live pay-wall. †The DRM policies were a huge part of the problem, but there are plenty of other problems still sitting there.

Additionally, the removal of Xbox Oneís DRM policies means that (in my opinion) the best feature of the system is now gone with it. Xbox One game discs now need to be in the system tray in order for them to run (just like how 360 works), meaning you wonít be able to play your games directly from your hard drive Steam-style. I canít seriously imagine that Microsoft couldnít find a way to keep this feature (or other similar features now axed) because of the DRM removal, it almost feels like a slight smite for not accepting their DRM future. Itís not that big of a deal at first glance, but I think it will have a cascading effect on other features of the system that were also dependent on that.

For example, remember during the E3 demo where they showed someone playing Ryze: Son of Quicktime Events, they had matchmaking for Killer Instinct going on in the background and then quickly paused Ryze and went over to KI in a matter of moments? Yeah, thereís no way that feature is going to be seamless anymore if you need to be swapping discs in between every match of KI or Halo 5 or whatever. Iím sure there will be other features affected by that too, Iíll let you all talk about that in the comments section.

The biggest reason why this change means very little to me is because of why the change is happening in the first place. This isnít happening because Game Jesus suddenly spoke to Microsoft and Microsoft decided customer rights were the good thing to defend. They did this because some Microsoft employee probably looked on Amazon or walked into a GameStop, saw the PlayStation 4 outselling the Xbox One at around a 5-to-1 ratio, saw 3DSís flying off the shelves, and even saw the Wii-U and Vita having some sign of a pulse and went ďoh shitĒ because they were seeing the early signs of an Xbox One doomsday scenario. This is simply a financial move with light traces of PR thrown in. I also think itís an early sign of desperation from Microsoft, which is the only way I can describe such a knee-jerk reaction post-E3.

With that said, Iím not acting like Sony or Nintendo having no DRM was entirely some good natured gesture towards consumers as well. Nintendo and Sony not going the way of Xbox One was a business decision as well, it was just a smarter business decision that also came with the positive PR and good will with customers. †

On top of everything Iíve already said, another reason why this makes little difference for me is because I simply think the PlayStation 4 is still a better deal than the now sans-DRM Xbox One. Itís $100 bucks cheaper, tech-spec wise its equal to the Xbox One (actually, isnít PS4 more powerful?), PlayStation Plus has been a better deal than Xbox Live for a few years, a large majority of the games Iíd play on Xbox One I can get for PlayStation 4 as well, and I think PS4ís lineup of games looks more impressive.

Killzone: Shadow Fall I think looks like the most impressive entry in the franchise yet (plus it so far appears to no longer be BrownZone: Unlikable Cast). InFamous: Second Sonís gameplay demo from E3 wowed me pretty well, everything looked like a smart addition to the series (plus he has a Ghost Rider chain whip!). Knack looks pretty interesting, and while I didnít see much of The Order: 1886 itís being made by two developers that I think have pretty solid resumes so Iím going to go out on a limb and say it will also be pretty great.

Meanwhile Xbox Oneís lineup hasnít impressed me at all, Project: Spark being the lone exception. I donít see whatís so great about Titanfall what so ever, my general interest in Call of Duty has faded so Iím not going to get excited for its mech and jetpack expansion pack. Forza will always be swappable with Gran Turismo (but really, fuck both of those games, The Crew is where itís at). Dead Rising 3 got Capcomíd and now looks like Brown Zombie Shooter 2013, because they obviously didnít learn their lesson after DmC or Resident Evil 6. Iíve already made a joke about Ryse in this blog. Halo 5 will be Halo, and while Iím a longtime fan of the franchise it wonít pain me to bypass the next installment and perhaps adopt Destiny in its place. Killer Instinct is probably going to suck, and if you donít believe me Iíll just remind you that Double-Helixís resume consists of shit like Battleship, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters.

On top of that, the PlayStation brand (at least for me, Iím not sure about you Mr. Reader) has done enough good in the long run to earn benefit of the doubt regarding the systemís overall quality. The original PlayStation was a solid system that managed to challenge Nintendo in their prime after Nintendo had vanquished Sega. The PlayStation 2 speaks for itself; itís probably the greatest home console of all time with the SNES being the only competition. The PSP actually had a pretty solid run and ended up having a good library of games, even if it got overshadowed by the Nintendo DS (which, to be fair, outsold everything under the sun). The PlayStation 3 started off slow, but in the second half of this generation I actually think it overall became a better system than the Xbox 360.

Yeah you can probably try to label me as a PlayStation fanboy if you really want, but I think my logic is pretty sound. †Iíve been pretty satisfied with all of the PlayStation products thus far and I generally think they are safer investments.

In general, my trust in the Xbox brand has been pretty much shattered. Itís not entirely because Microsoft attempted these DRM policies either, but more because I havenít been happy with the direction theyíve been going even with the 360. The last game I got for my Xbox 360 was Halo 4, but beyond that the lack of compelling exclusives to the Xbox in recent years have pushed me over to PS3 and Steam, turning my 360 into a pretty dust collector alongside my Wii.

And Iím not a fan of Microsoftís attempt to turn the Xbox into the mythical omni-entertainment box. Keeping features like Netflix or other features that come free on almost everything else stuck behind the Xbox Live paywall is just moronic. Microsoft has even gotten to the point where they apparently think Iím too lazy to use the input button on my TV to switch over to cable. Iím a gamer and have been for 20+ years, Iím going to obviously appeal more to a system that has a more direct focus on gaming. Iím also smart enough to use common sense and realize that a huge majority of the features I have for Xbox I can get elsewhere, plus I generally donít think Iíd want all of my entertainment features to hinge on one device especially if itís being made by the same people who delivered the comically unstable Xbox 360.

Given that my trust in the Xbox brand is a lot weaker now I feel the need to raise this question, whoís to say the Xbox Oneís DRM policies are going to stay gone? The Xbox One is under a half-year away, if they can so easily ďturn offĒ these DRM ďfeaturesĒ this close to launch whoís to say they canít simply flip the switch a year or so from now after theyíve already gotten a sizeable amount of people invested? No, Iím not implying Microsoft has some sort of dastardly evil plan to screw over consumers and theyíre laughing about it right now up in their super villain skyscraper. Iím just saying that I donít think we should completely discard the idea that they will try some stupid bullshit in the future, given that they already tried some pretty stupid bullshit in the recent past.

Congratulations Microsoft on taking one positive step forward with the Xbox One. However, Iím still going to take my money elsewhere. You couldnít keep your information straight when you had these DRM policies, Iím not entirely sure anything will be different without them. Plus, Iíd rather invest my money towards companies that, at least publicly, didnít consider implementing any stupid policies like this in the first place. Maybe Iíll get an Xbox One down the line in 2 or 3 years, but right now the Xbox One is still near the bottom of the list in terms of systems Iím interested in. Most of the titles Iíd want I can get on either PlayStation 4 or Steam, and I can play them on systems made by people who didnít consider fucking me over in the first place.
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About Sephzillaone of us since 9:27 AM on 07.15.2008

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Who am I? I'm a guy who plays video games, talks way too much about comics and movies, likes Godzilla and Robocop. Why should you read my blog? Because when I write I have fun, make up bullshit lists, and when I do get a little serious with some blogs I try to be insightful and use resources and facts to try and back up my opinion as much as I can. And if you don't follow my blog, I'll send you a picture of a sad kitten who wants some love.

Also, I tend to debate a lot and get up on a soapbox a bit from time to time. I like to debate for the sake of debating and I tend to find it fun to get other peoples perspectives on things, and sometimes I like to play devil's advocate a bit just for the sake of it. Basically, don't take me so serious sometimes even if it seems like I am being serious.

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