Quoted: on Microsoft’s do-over on Xbox restrictions

“Even the flip-flopping on this, even though it’s a good sign, it does paint a picture of a corporation that doesn’t know what it’s doing.”

Pete Dodd, a gamer from New Haven, Conn., who had urged other gamers to use Twitter to complain to Microsoft about the rules it announced for its upcoming Xbox One video game console, which included restrictions on trading of games and requiring users to be connected to the Internet while playing all games.

After dealing with a couple weeks of outrage, Microsoft has reversed course: “While we believe that the majority of people will play games online and access the cloud for both games and entertainment, we will give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content,” Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft’s interactive entertainment business, wrote in a blog post Wednesday.

Brian Blau, Gartner analyst, applauds the Microsoft reversal: “I think it’s a good thing if Microsoft are listening to their potential customers and responding to them,” he told the BBC.

Rolling back the rules means the $499 Xbox One’s terms now match those of Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 4, although Sony’s console will still be $100 cheaper. And Gieson Cacho points out on A+E Interactive that another main difference remaining between the rival consoles, of course, is Microsoft’s sensor-based Kinect technology.

The flap over digital-rights management (in this case, using gamers’ Internet connections to determine players’ “ownership” of the games they’re playing) is reminiscent of the problem-plagued launch of the Electronic Arts game “Sim City” in March. EA required an always-on connection for the game; servers couldn’t handle it; gamers were incensed. The Redwood City game maker seems to have learned its lesson: Last month, it discontinued Online Pass — which involved the use of codes to access a game’s online features, or to allow game play on another console — because, surprise, gamers hated it. At the E3 gaming conference recently, EA COO Peter Moore denied reports that the company had pressured Microsoft to adopt the DRM rules it announced. “EA did not aggressively lobby for the platform holders to put some gating function in there to allow or disallow used games. I am on record as being a proponent of used games,” Moore told Polygon.

 

Photo by AFP/Getty Images

 

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  • Markus Unread

    Honestly, does Microsoft hold focus groups and then do what pisses people off the most? How could they have NOT known about their customers’ reactions ahead of time?
    I think that they will keep trying to “pull a Cadence” with every product introduction because the concept of expensive, CPU-locked “rentware” is a wet dream of every overly greedy tech company.
    I feel sorry for the engineers that pour their souls into these products only to have the sales and marketing execs alienate the customer base.

 
 
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