Why you should not buy an XBox One

10 06 2013

by Angry Panda

If you haven’t lived without internet for the last week (and if you do not have Internet you can not get an XBox one to work so you’re out already) you have already hurt a ton of valid reasons why buying into this new console generation is a terrible idea. My favorite is that so far they have not shown any advance in games that would make it worthwhile. And no, a dog in a gaming series that is already boring as hell doesn’t count. Anyway instead of my usual rants here is a seriously qualified opinion on why Microsoft’s new attitude is a problem.

Almost exactly a year ago, at the end of an E3 press conference in which Microsoft heralded fitness software, Kinect, Internet Explorer, Bing and dying action games as the future of entertainment, I wrote that anyone who has paid attention to Microsoft’s business over the years should not be surprised by its apparent lack of self-awareness.

“If we are entertained by what Microsoft chooses to do for its own gain,” I suggested, “then that is simply a happy coincidence.”

Guess what? The coincidence is over.

1

The fact that Microsoft’s policies governing game ownership, sharing and privacy are not surprising does not make them any less devastating to consumer rights, should they be formally adopted and become a standard. They sacrifice our freedom to own and trade games for no other reason than corporate self-interest.

To save you skimming large tracts of condescending prose about how much Microsoft loves and respects you as a human wallet, here is a summary:

  • You do not own the games you buy. You license them.
  • Discs are only used to install and then license games and do not imply ownership.
  • People can play games installed on your console whether you’re logged in or not.
  • 10 people can be authorised to play these games on a different Xbox One via the cloud, but not at the same time, similar to iTunes authorised devices.
  • Publishers decide whether you can trade in your games and may charge for this.
  • Publishers decide whether you can give a game you own to someone for free, and this only works if they have been on your friends list for 30 days.
  • Your account allows you to play the games you license on any console.
  • Your Xbox One must connect to the internet every 24 hours to keep playing games.
  • When playing on another Xbox One with your account, this is reduced to one hour.
  • Live TV, Blu-ray and DVD movies are exempt from these internet requirements.
  • Loaning and renting games will not be possible at launch, but Microsoft is “exploring the possibilities”.
  • Microsoft may change these policies or discontinue them at any point.

Read the rest of the article on Eurogamer, it is absolutely worth it. Now its no surprise that Microsoft is trying to copy the business practices of Apple in this way. Unfortunately many people will accept this and claim this is not a big issue, the faith of people (sadly this seems very common in the US) the market and cooperation is flat out stupid. They do believe that of course companies will not be completely unreasonable with their access or make things unplayable because it would be bad business. Here’s a hint: Half of these companies have no idea what they are doing. They are perfectly willing to provide bad service in the name of some imaginary gain for them. Also they can and will cut your access to any service they provide at any time and yes even if that service is still making them money. They might just decide they want you to spend your money on something else they offer, even if they can not be sure you will do that. They will make such decisions. They have made such decisions. Believe me I speak from experience.

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