Why Microsoft’s Reversal Is Bad.
Disclaimer: If you want a quick reason- read the final three paragraphs. If you want theory/my arrival to this point- read on!
I’ve been a hardcore Xbox fan since Microsoft’s rookie console. I loved the graphics. I loved Halo. I loved the controller. I loved the multiplayer experience. Until a couple years ago, I had never even owned a Sony console. They didn’t have games I could justify spending another $400 for. Even if they did, I hated the controller- that was my main reason for holding back. It never fit well in my hands! So I just passed on it.
There was something bothering me, though. I was happy with every gaming console I ever owned but never felt completely right for some reason. I knew it was something that had been with me forever. I couldn’t put my finger on it though.
May 21st, 2013- Microsoft announced their new console- The Xbox One. I was so excited for this event! Microsoft’s 3rd console! I really wanted them to bring serious innovation to gaming. I wanted exponentially better graphics and I wanted it to blow my mind. Admittedly, I wanted a lot. At the same time, it’s been eight years since the last generation of consoles- surely, they were working on something huge.
The Xbox One announcement was horrible, though. Even myself, a serious Xbox fan, couldn’t deny how disappointed I was. Microsoft talked about innovating the way we watch cable TV, something I hadn’t paid for in the past 5 years (Hulu, Netflix, YouTube). They talked about the improved Kinect- something I never cared about. When they talked about/showed games, I was never impressed with the graphics. And it was $500.
I felt defeated. I felt abandoned by my team, like I had been kicked off or forced to retire. I wasn’t sure what console, if any, I’d get.
As days went by Microsoft stumbled. Hard. It was like watching a slow motion trainwreck. The fact you couldn’t trade, sell or buy used games and had to connect to the internet once every 24 hours just to play your games made a lot of people unhappy. I had a sliver of hope though. Microsoft’s press conference at E3 was coming. Microsoft, please have something up your sleeve!
For a while, I actually believed Microsoft was trolling us. I believed their ridiculously poor marketing and inability to give clear information might be some genius marketing plan. Everything they said to try and clarify their extremely unpopular policy angered and confused more people. E3 would have been the perfect time and place to pull a “we totally got you guys! Here’s the real deal…” moment. It would have caught so many off guard in such a great way.
Unfortunately, Microsoft isn’t that clever. All they did at E3 was reconfirm their policies. They even went so far in saying that if we didn’t want it- buy a 360!
Then Sony gave their E3 press conference. They proceeded to slap Microsoft in the face! Sony President Jack Tretton announced that the Playstation 4 wouldn’t restrict gamers’ ability to buy, sell or trade used games, it wouldn’t require you to connect to the internet once every 24 hours in order to play games and it would cost $100 less than the X1.
There was a lot of cheer and applause when Tretton announced this. Reddit blew up and people went batshit! It was all genuine excitement!
Still feeling abandoned and lost, in the days after Sony’s press conference, I started considering the switch to Playstation. I was following a lot of gamers’ reactions over a bunch of different gaming news/social media outlets. Pretty quickly, I noticed an unbelievable trend of people considering the switch as well.
That wasn’t the most interesting part though…
Halo is something that spanned the majority of my life. Through high school and well past college, I’ve alway had a Bungie Halo game. Over this franchise, I’ve made best friends, enemies, gotten over crushes etc. I’d lie if I told you I didn’t shed a tear after finishing Halo 3. So when Bungie announced that Halo: Reach would be their last game I mentally checked out.
I knew that Microsoft’s 343 Industries was making Halo 4 but I was skeptical. When a franchise switches developers something gets lost in translation.
But Halo 4 released and got raving reviews! Even one of my friends who wasn’t into games that much couldn’t stop talking about how awesome it was. After he played through I started giving it a go. I’ve played about 3-4 hours of it so far and honestly- I wasn’t dying to continue/beat the game. All of my friends thought I was crazy. I started thinking that maybe I was going crazy! My friends that didn’t have an Xbox were telling me I was crazy. But wait- what did they matter?
Then it hit me.
Longtime Playstation fans were welcoming converts- giving us shelter from the bad Microsoft storm, console-ing us (ha!), if you will. I couldn’t believe what I was reading and in such frequency! Gamers were reaching out to other gamers- “welcome to the party!” “we got your back,” and “there’s a lot to look forward to from Sony!”
What really got me though was when reddit user, mazafakka, posted this: “I’m at E3 & for people choosing PS4 over Xbox One, I can confirm they will make these for PS4.”
I was surprisingly thrilled! Not only were others worried how uncomfortable the Playstation controller is but they’re worried because they’re switching to it. From the Xbox. The added bonus, of course, being that there’s already an alternative at E3 and it will be sold when the PS4 comes out.
The idea of all of these hardcore gamers making the leap from Xbox to Playstation was just so amazing.
My entire life had been split down the middle. Half of my friends had the same console I did and half did not. You were either Sega or Nintendo, Nintendo or Playstation, Playstation or Xbox. I could never share the same types of experiences with half of my friends. Similar to politics, we had the unspoken rule of not talking about our console allegiance.
So when all of my best friends that hadn’t owned a Sony console planned to switch, I felt relieved. World peace had been accomplished. We all agreed! We were all on the same team! It felt so effing great!
I enjoyed playing Halo and other games on the Xbox and the Xbox 360 but it wasn’t all cake and boobies.
I did hate that they had to offer a low-end model AND a high end model when the lower one was so obviously NOT what you’d buy. I hated that I went through ten (10) Xbox 360s due to the same red ring of death problem. Yes, really. TEN. I hated that when Microsoft said they “fixed” that problem in a newly redesigned 360 (4 YEARS AFTER ITS LAUNCH), that really “if it heats up [to the point where it would red ring], it will just turn off” (paraphrased). They even took the red rings out entirely. The Xbox Slim spec sheet says it only contains green rings! I hated all of their proprietary bullshit- “Microsoft points,” for the longest time not being able to use external hard drives- even when their controllers were just USB ports -that was a real big “fuck you” from them.
Why did we like this company again?
Microsoft reversing their policies to appease gamers is bad because it means gamers will continue to be a fragmented audience. For just a little bit- we were a 1-party system where everyone would play nice with each other. So many Xbox gamers were ready and willing to make the switch to the PS4. This reversal means we go back to a 2-party system.
Which console are you leaning toward now?