Microsoft has some good ideas for consoles, but the recent announcements concerning their stance with the Xbox One has me wondering if those ideas ran out. The big one – Used games. They claim that the digital distribution is better and that restricting used games will drive prices down. I’ll admit it worked good on the PC and that consoles are getting closer to the PC than ever before. But – Consoles ARE NOT PC’s.
Old gamers remember taking their NES to their friends house for a sleep over because they only had a Sega Master System (I was the one with the Sega). If they both had an NES, they’d bring a pile of games for the night. Now, with Microsoft’s new strategy, it makes it difficult to bring my console over, as I must bring the Kinect and make sure it’s working, and if it’s longer than 24 hours I need to make sure they have a good, solid internet connection available. If they have a console, I can’t bring my games over to play but I can loan them to them (make sure to do it a few days ahead of time so they have time to download), one at a time. Now, that is old school thinking. I doubt that it happens very often anymore. Except, I still see kids taking games to other peoples houses when they have a sleep over, so it’s not too rare.
Then, you have those kids that mow lawns to be able to afford some cool games. Definitely not enough to buy a few games at full retail price. My kids like taking a $20 bill to Game Stop and buying a couple, maybe 3, used games and coming home and playing them. So do I. I will buy new games, as well, especially if they are some great ones. But, for some (Duke Nukem Forever is a great example), I would NEVER buy new unless they hit the bargain bin at $5, which I seriously doubt a new game would hit that price. Take the used games market away, and that really limits how many games I will buy. That is a big part of the decision when buying a console. I finally bit the bullet and own a Playstation 3 now. There is a large game library that I can go out and pick up fairly cheap. If games were $20 for the older ones and $50-60 for the newer ones with no used game market, I would skip the console all together. But, the used game market pulled me in. They sold the console, a few accessories and several new games (Last of Us comes tonight!).
Finally, the always online requirement. I am always online anyway. But, I do know that sometimes things happen, and they have. Sometimes, the internet is down for more than a day. Sometimes, the Xbox servers have issues and are down. I expect my console to work. When it doesn’t, and it becomes a paper weight. A $500 paper weight. No thank you.
Microsoft – as much as a fan I am, I will not be buying an Xbox One. I wasn’t going to buy a Playstation 4. I was going to continue being a fan boy and support you. But, you pushed me away, and you sold me on the competition. Now, I have a PS4 pre-ordered. It’s about the games. You took those away. I don’t care about TV. I have TV. Sorry, Microsoft. You lost a sale. You want to educate people, fine. But, I’m going to play games while you do that. And judging from various forums, Reddit, Facebook and elsewhere, I’m not alone. We want to play games. We’ll play games online. But, when we unplug the cable – we’ll still play games.
I’m hoping (yet definitely not expecting anything) that Microsoft will make an announcement this summer to backtrack on a few things – Kinect requirement (I don’t want one, drop the price $100 and get rid of it), online requirement, used games restriction. Fix those, and you’ll have a lot more sales. Even with the price higher than the competition, it would be alright. But, a tightly controlled ecosystem at a higher price? You’re not Apple. These aren’t iPads. These are consoles. You can’t be the game changer here.
There is a limit to how far people will go (even us fan boys) to buy the name “Xbox”. I can’t go that far.