Listen people, this is H-U-G-E. Before we start talking about what or how that happened, we have to be aware that Microsoft’s decision declares a big, maybe the biggest win for the gamers. I don’t remember the last time I saw consumers turning around a whole business plan, simply by their actions. You won’t see that headline featured on mass media in that way, but right now we have to focus on one thing: Gamers won this battle on their own….
… and with a little help from Sony. You could imply that Sony secured another “free DRM” gaming generation for us gamers with their Playstation 4 strategy. We can safely say that Microsoft was not ready for the E3 announcements made by their competitor and I think we can all agree on that after yesterday’s news.
Of course, we can be sure about one thing: the massive criticism made by the gaming community played its own role on Sony’s decision to follow the typical gaming-model at the end of the day. We have to keep in mind that many executives from the Sony camp had never given a clear answer when it came to the “always online” and the “used games” policies after their first revealing back in February. So we can assume that they were also targeting towards the same concept as Microsoft, but they played their cards right. There is no way that Microsoft planed all of this without having the right information about the “other side”.
It would be far-fetched to imply that the Playstation 4 was never supporting DRM etc. at first place and that they probably “trolled” Microsoft all the time. It would be hilarious, but the gamers should be aware of the fact that they won the battle, not the war. Everyone from the industry wants to go to the new digital era, with no used games and always online. Sony , EA, Ubisoft, Microsoft…. You can clearly see that something is going on and what they want to achieve in the incoming years and I don’t think we can stop this plan once and for all. But we can try battling hard against this “anti-gaming” and “pro-mass-consuming” strategy in order to show those big companies that they cannot do whatever they want with our hobby.
I admit that all of this seems a little bit “too rebellious”, but there is no other option. Microsoft did not react on our comments, on our (independent) Youtube and forum communities, on negative articles from (some) media who criticized their policies from day one, but when it comes to the pre-orders and to the competitive market, things change. They were losing the hype, they had to fight with a massive criticism from the consumers, and on the other side you had Sony who played perfectly the role of the “good guy”.
The only time where companies are “listening to our feedback” is when they want to make more money. So yeah, the maybe didn’t want to listen to our feedback at first, but this time they had to. Think about this again, we’re talking about a gaming business plan that was constructed for two-three or four years and they had to revamp EVERYTHING. I mean, it’s only four days ago where Don Mattrick was saying the famous “Stick with the 360” line and where Major Nelson was asking “us” if we wanted” to follow him to the future”. Well, no, we do not like this “futuristic” world, thank you.
So, how does all of this affect Nintendo? First of all, the competition gets stronger again. We were about to witness a second “PS2 Era” and I really didn’t like that generation as a whole. It’s always good to have more than one successful console because this helps the competition a lot. A strong gaming market gives more good games.
(Nintendo) Gamers should look at what happened to the Xbox One and understand that we can “order” the games we want to play with our money. We can influence some of their decisions simply by buying and supporting the right stuff. You want new IPs? Go out there on August 23 and support The Wonderful 101. Do you want more third party support on the Wii U? Buy the upcoming Splinter Cell and Watch_Dogs releases on the Nintendo console and not for example on PC.
Of course, those games have to be good, have to have the right price tag, they should be getting their release date right and they have to feel “complete” as a release. Many of those things, if not all of them, were missed from some (rushed) Wii U versions, so I cannot blame the consumer at all. If every company would spend as much effort as Criterion did on Most Wanted U, the consumers would feel a lot better and safer.
So in the end of the day, Microsoft’s decision is something good for the rest of us. Would I buy this console? Well, no. I am not feeling 100% sure about these policies, because you have to admit the following. Even if this change was the right decision for the Xbox One in order to stay alive on the upcoming console wars, it does not give me the impression that this console belongs to a reliable company. I mean, who can reassure me that they will not change everything again, with a small patch in 2015 or 2016?
As I said before, the “war” is not over. We will definitely see more episodes in the upcoming months; I just hope that we can focus again on the one thing that really matters: Playing the games…
P.S.1.: Now that everything goes DRM free and with a normal offline support, I am quite confident that several third parties will be fairer with Nintendo in general. The Wii U needs just a small push to sell a respectable number of units…
P.S.2.: Out of all home consoles, the Wii U is the only one that reassures me that I won’t have to deal in the future with DRMs at all…
P.S.3.: Now that Microsoft was humiliated by their own decisions, they will have to also introduce a “day one patch” on their system launch. I wonder if the Xbox One will get the same negative commentary and coverage from the “big” websites as the Wii U had to endure…