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No, Microsoft, I Won’t Buy Your Anti-Consumer, Super Restrictive Cable Box Accessory

xboxoneno

We believe that if all you want is gaming, you’ll still pick us, at the end of the day.

That quote is from Phil Spencer, Microsoft Studios’ corporate vice president.

Well, Mr. Spencer, all I want from a console is gaming, which is exactly what I’ll never pick Xbox One EVER.

I should be writing my E3 predictions for Sony right now, and I should be writing a review of 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded and Ring of Fire, but I’m not. No, I’m writing about Xbox One… AGAIN.

The absurdity that Microsoft is doing with Xbox One is just mindboggling. Even more insane is that people can defend it, and try to spin it as being, in any way, a good thing for gamers. There’s very little good about what Microsoft announced for Xbox one today. In fact, the one possibly good thing is completely negated by everything else announced.

Let’s allow this to sink in for a moment. Microsoft is actually going ahead with the 24-hour check-in requirement. Who thought that was a good idea?

Your Xbox One, that massive box they expect folks to pay at least $400 for, has to connect to the Internet every 24 hours or else you can’t play a game on it. But you can watch TV or a Blu-ray. Some genius at Microsoft thought was a good idea, and other geniuses agreed.

Let’s assume for a minute that your Internet connection comes from your cable or satellite provider. There’s been bad weather; it could be a hurricane, a tornado, or a just a regular old nasty thunderstorm. You still have power, or you regain it, but your cable is still out and it has been out for 25 hours. It’s raining outside, but the worst of the storm is over, so you’re not going to want to go outside and do anything. Since your cable is out you can’t watch television. Your Internet is out, so you can’t browse the web on your PC. Wouldn’t it be nice to able to sit down and play that game you paid $60 for and enjoy that single player campaign you had been invested in during this moment?

Well too damn bad; your Xbox One hasn’t connected to the Internet in 24 hours… no gaming for you!

That is moronic, and all because a system has to automatically check for updates and verify whether or not you still own a game tied to your account.

That is THE most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of. The amazing thing is, when Microsoft revealed all of this trash yesterday, they did so by trying to pass all of these horrible restrictions on gamers off as features of the console. Like gamers are somehow benefitted by not being able to play a single player game if their console hasn’t phoned home in over 24 hours.

This one “feature” alone guarantees that I will not buy an Xbox One… ever. How long will it take after this console releases, with the amount of anger Microsoft has drummed up, for someone to hack into the network and basically force Microsoft to take down the servers until they can fix the security hole? It happened to Sony just two years ago and the result was the PlayStation Network being down for weeks. Microsoft fanboys laughed and made snide remarks like “you get what you pay for,” but at least PS3 gamers were allowed to play their single player games offline. You’re not going to be able to do anything with your Xbox One if it gets in a similar situation. And no, watching TV is not a feature of the console. I don’t need an Xbox One to watch the cable that comes through my cable box.

Moving on from that idiotic design choice for a moment, the other idiotic thing is having all games tied to your account. Once you put that disc in and install the game, because the entire game has to be installed, and the disc is then worthless. The game is tied to your account and exists in the “cloud.”

So what happens if someone goes running to Microsoft lying that a gamer was harassing them, and Microsoft then bans that person’s account. Does that person have any way of getting their games back if they can’t get unbanned? Do they have any way of accessing their games while they are banned? Who the hell knows? It doesn’t seem likely, and Microsoft surely won’t answer questions, hell they canceled media briefings and one-on-one interviews during E3.

As I said in an earlier piece, I never buy used games. And if I buy a game, I keep that game regardless of whether or not I’m going to ever play it again. But even I have a BIG problem with the Xbox One’s used game DRM.

I’m a Libertarian, or you could say an anarcho-capitalist and I wouldn’t disagree. I don’t typically agree with the “consumer rights” stuff, but what Microsoft is doing with Xbox One used games is absolutely ridiculous and a major disservice to a large percentage of gamers.

When I purchase a game digitally, be it on PC through Steam or even a PS3 game over PSN, I know that I can’t turn around and sell that game or trade it in. That’s not a problem, all though I think there should be a market provided from the digital providers to allow their customers to sell their digital games (and I would have no problem with Valve, Sony, or Microsoft getting a small percentage of that just sell since I would be using their services).

Way too many people when talking about physical used games on console try and compare it to digital titles or music bought on iTunes, or mobile games. This is comparing apples to corn… it’s not even close to the same thing. At all.

When I purchase a physical copy of a game, I own that game. I understand that I can’t make copies of the game and give it away to everyone, and I understand that if the game has multiplayer that the servers will eventually be taken down and I won’t be able to access that. I’m fine with that too. I understand that the physical copy of MAG I bought will one day be totally worthless since it won’t be able to be played (it’s an online only game). But when I have a copy of a game like BioShock Infinite, which is an entirely single player game, I expect the damn game to work whether I have an Internet connection or not.

What I don’t like is the collusion between Microsoft, third party publishers, and big retailers like GameStop. Oh, you can take your physical copy of an Xbox One game to GameStop and trade it in, but you can’t sell it yourself. You have to go through an approved middleman. And what about the mom and pop gaming stores that sell used games? Nope, they’re not big enough. You wanted to rent that game? Not happening. Oh, you wanted to sell or lent that physical copy to a friend? Yeah, that’s not happening either.

That’s a helluva monopoly that these big corporations have put together. This isn’t capitalism or a free-market, it is corporatism. It’s disgusting. No wonder Microsoft won’t allow indie developers, or just developers in general, to release their games on Xbox One without having a publisher. Microsoft has their nose so far up the ass of the big publishers that they can’t stand the thought of someone being able to put their work out there without some other company getting most of the money.

There’s a really horrendous aspect to the gaming industry, and it pretty much all revolves around the big publishers. Most of the gaming press are too afraid to call them out on their BS policies because the publishers have all the control. Anger them, and they’re not going to give out review copies, or grant access to previews and interviews, and so forth. That isn’t good for those sites who rely on the publishers for all of that content, because the sites themselves are businesses. They need the money, and thus they need the access.

It’s the publishers that push for all this DRM because they want to control every aspect of the game and how it’s played. They somehow think they are entitled to receive a cut of any used game sold. Of course they’re idiots who only deserve to be paid for the sale of a new copy, something that basically 99% of people who put out a physical product seem to understand. The publishers use their sway to push all of this on Microsoft, and of course, Microsoft doesn’t care because they’ve never been consumer-friendly anyway. According to the publishers, you don’t own that physical copy of game, you’re just renting it. It has been licensed to you and the publisher can somehow revoke your access to playing the game, or selling it, or giving it away. That is completely ludicrous.

Don’t think it is all of the publishers either; it’s not. I don’t for a second think the people at Deep Silver, Atlus, SEGA, Capcom, Square Enix, NIS America, or a bunch of others are out there just begging for a way to prevent used games from being sold if they aren’t getting a cut. It’s pretty much the big three; EA, Activision, and Ubisoft.

How does Activision have so much leverage anyway? They have one franchise, and that’s Call of Duty. Take away Call of Duty (and I haven’t bought or played a COD game since the first Modern Warfare), and I guess Skylanders, and what does Activision offer the consoles? Just a bunch of trash or mediocre games. Maybe Destiny will be great, but how many games does Activision put out that makes you say “oh I gotta have that?”

Maybe Sony will have some used game DRM, but nothing Sony does with PlayStation 4 is going to be as bad as what Microsoft has done with Xbox One. At least I’ll be able to play games on the PS4 without ever connecting to the Internet. At least Sony is allowing developers to self-publish their titles, which means PlayStation 4 will be supported with a ton of great, cheap, indie games.

I wouldn’t care if EA, Activision, and Ubisoft made all of their games exclusive to Xbox One… I would not buy the thing. That massive piece of plastic with its big mandatory NSA spyware isn’t coming in my house. It is a horrible device that is completely anti-consumer. It deserves to fail. I’m halfway tempted to pretend the thing doesn’t even exist and just not cover it or any of its games anymore. I wouldn’t care if Microsoft announced every third party game was exclusive to their system AND they purchased Naughty Dog and would have Uncharted 4 as a launch title. This console is a giant piece of plastic crap that needs to be flushed, plunged, and flushed again.

It’s just sad that people sat around a table bouncing ideas off of each other, and somehow came to the conclusion that any of this was a good idea. It screams of a bunch of suits getting together and figuring out the best ways they could possibly screw consumers, or would be consumers. How out of touch are the people who came up with these brilliant features?

Serious question to those of you still planning on this monstrosity: Why? Why would you want to support the horrible company that has designed a games console so that you can’t even play any of your games if you are without Internet for more than 24 hours? Why would you want to support the company, or companies, that are going to tell you where you are allowed to trade your used games in at? Why would you possibly consider wasting your money on a console that will be completely worthless and unable to play games one day, and support a company that obviously doesn’t give a damn about you the consumer?

We’ve already heard Microsoft guys say that YOU, the core gamer, will buy it anyway because that’s what YOU do. Nope, not happening Microsoft. I don’t want it and I’m not going to buy it. If Microsoft sent me one, I would send it back to them. It is a hunk of garbage. And I do feel bad for the talented developers who are stuck having to develop a possibly great exclusive game for this crappy system, because I hope no one plays it. This console deserves to fail hard and completely bomb, regardless of whatever games it has. A thousand exclusives wouldn’t make this system worth buying.

Sony, one Microsoft guy said “we’re going to kill Sony at E3.” At this point, all you have to do is walk out on stage and say “no used game DRM” and you will have won this generation. The ball is in your court Sony, don’t screw the gamers the way Micro$oft has. You’ve been very consumer friendly the entire time I’ve had a PS3, keep it that way for PS4 and you’ll continue to have my full support.

And publishers who support Microsoft in their used game DRM and choose to block used games, I won’t be buying your games either. If you want to be anti-consumer and think you deserve to be paid multiple times for your over-budgeted, over-priced mediocre game, then don’t be surprised when people just don’t buy the things at all. There are TONS of great indie developers putting out games that are better than your blockbusters for a fraction of the cost, and I’ll gladly support them.

Xbox, shut down.

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About Gary Smith

I'm the creator and Editor-in-Chief of VortexEffect.net and the TVE Network. I'm usually posting news and reviews, and doing all the back end stuff as well. I'm also the Gaming Expert for Answers.com. I like to play games, watch movies, wrestling, and college football (Roll Tide Roll). For more about me click here.

Comments

  1. I’m waiting for Microsoft to explain why any of these things are good for gamers.
    Super pissed about not being able to rent games — what about the games I want to try before I buy? Ugh.

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    • They’ll just tell you to download a demo. And you’re going to be waiting a long time, I bet this is the reason Microsoft canceled their media briefings after their E3 press conference and one-on-one interviews. They don’t want to answer questions because they don’t have answers that anyone wants to hear.

      Like

  2. Angry Joe keeps flipping out about this haha its so bad! xD

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  3. Jay Shah says:

    Finally, someone who is not afraid of telling how it is and then some. Many sites have been pussyfooting around what Microsoft is doing and refusing to condemn what is in reality an assault on consumer rights by the one of the biggest corporations on the planet. You are absolutely right about how many are actually defending and even justifying such policies which in the long run will result in something similar to what is plaguing the film industry – bloated, expensive end product that is derivative, uninspiring, and often boring.

    Like

  4. I am 100 percent not getting an xbox one. This article does a good job breaking it down. What really does it for me though is how microsoft is partnered up with the nsa. LOL!! Gamers are terrorist now? Being monitered all the time? Its bull. Its against our rights and I wasn’t put here on earth to be watched all the time. I like privacy. I dont need to be paranoid about me and my partner having sex in front of a camera that can be easily hacked. If your going to be monitoring me and watching me, Microsoft should be paying us. Not us paying them an annual fee. Its disgusting and this is only the beginning. This is the prelude.

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  5. All I know is this:
    No device with an always-on camera and microphone and a requirement to be connected to the internet has a place in my home.
    I’m more concerned that Kinect always watching could charge you per people in the room to watch TV and movies
    $400 xBox One competing for the living room with the Wii-U and the OUYA…congratulations Microsoft.

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  6. Right now, i live in a small lil back house that gets internet, but its spotty. I live in a great area, but just the way the internet is set up i can only use wireless, and it goes down…A LOT. And i cant even get my ps3 to connect to it. Now lets say this was the Xbox One, i wouldnt even be able to play the console i just paid for because i couldn’t get a connection. That feature really really really sucks, i don’t know how anybody could support it. So if someone moves, and sometimes they have to go a week or two before internet is set up. That means you can only look at your console but not play it. Thats lame. And i don’t think ill be buying the next Xbox if that’s the case.

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  7. Bravo sir, bravo. This is the greatest thing you have ever written. Simply fantastic. I even had to tweet the link for it to @Xbox.

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  8. Amen, let’s vote with our dollars. Just kinda sad that this might be the generation where me and gaming part ways.

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  9. This pisses me off too. As you know, I thought the initial Xbox One reveal being focused on voice commands and other media was great. I loved that.

    But this DRM and online-every-24-hours stuff? It’s beyond frustrating. It’s even insulting. I’m hoping that there’s a good reason for these features, but it seems to be nothing more than a method of policing gamers — the very gamers who spend hundreds of dollars on consoles and purchase games (yes, new games too!) to support the industry that they love. We need better ways to share games — ones that benefit the game developers, too — not this kind of shutdown on trading games. It’s like gamers are being treated like kids who have been naughty for purchasing used games or something. As you highlight here, these ideas are not beneficial to us or even innovative at all.

    So it is like a media console — because that’s what consistently works — not a gaming console. I have nothing against a media console, but it’s not what Xbox is about. And my friend who lives in a rural area with shoddy internet? I guess she’s getting a PS4.

    Like

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