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How Microsoft screwed itself for the next generation of video game consoles

Above: Xbox One.

Image Credit: Xbox
This post has been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.
Editor's Note from Jason Wilson:
Michael Kyle admits he's a Microsoft fan. But for this piece, he's looking at the Xbox One announcement from the perspective of someone who wasn't happy with the company's big console reveal -- and how many other people are upset and vocal about their anger, too. How do you feel about the Xbox One's announcement?

Microsoft’s Xbox One announcement last week was supposed to be big, shocking, and amazing. It was supposed to blow the PlayStation 4 reveal out of the water and take everyone by surprise. It was supposed to prove all of the Xbox naysayers wrong. But it didn’t. In fact, it went as bad — a mess of mixed messaging and a focus on everything but games.

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It’s been a week since the Xbox One event, and everyone’s had time to mull over what they saw and heard. Ultimately, I was very disappointed. But I certainly wasn’t the only one who felt so. Gamers everywhere are grouping together and saying how much the Xbox One sucks and how the PS4 is without doubt going to be better.

Microsoft has received such negative backlash from the reveal event that the question of whether or not they have just completely screwed up the next generation for itself is becoming more prominent.

Currently, few like or are siding with the Xbox One. But why? Why does it look like Microsoft has just fucked up their next console? Microsoft needs to impress consumers. And to do this, you often have to listen to them and take their views into account, something Microsoft hasn’t seemed to have done.

Microsoft has three core issues here that it did not approach or deal with properly. These three issues are what are greatly contributing to the Xbox One looking like a bad deal. These three things, which the company could have avoided, are what are really angering consumers. Three things Microsoft didn’t take note of — and apparently didn’t ask its consumers and fans enough about.

Why did Microsoft go it alone? Why did it not listen? Why does it not seem to have any idea what we, the buyers, the people with the money, want?

Lack of games, too much living room

The first issue is the lack of games and the whole entertainment side of the console.

Sony’s reveal was all about games. Sure, it did not show the console — and I was very disappointed by how shady it appeared to be about some aspects of the it — but it did not forget its audience: the people who it was broadcasting to.

My sister likes movies and TV and entertainment. She does. The things that Microsoft highlighted that the Xbox One does in the entertainment area of things are probably things my sister could very well use and like. But she doesn’t care about the Xbox One. She didn’t watch the reveal. Why? Because she doesn’t game. It’s not her deal. So, Microsoft, the Xbox One is still a game console. It is an Xbox. It’s part of a gaming brand. It has hardcore gaming capabilities. It’s why people buy the console.

a0d59-quantum-break-xbox-one-trailer

Above: Quantum Break was the most interesting game-related thing Microsoft showed. Which isn’t bad. I can’t wait for it. But this wasn’t even proper gameplay — all we saw was a trailer.

So why were you pushing all of this entertainment crap? Why on Earth were you emphasizing areas of the console and what it does that no one watching cared about? You want to make an all-in-one entertainment device? Go ahead. But just don’t call it an Xbox and market it as a game console at the same time.

The lack of games at the reveal was stupid. Microsoft totally neglected its entire audience and following and tried to convince us other things mattered. But no one cared, Microsoft. We just want games. And that’s what Sony and the PS4 is making sure it will deliver.

So, why aren’t you?

We have an (online) problem

The second issue is the online requirement. How many times did people have to yell and scream and make it clear that they did not want online to be a necessity?

OK, OK, so it isn’t a “constant necessity,” but the Xbox One’s core features still rely on it.

The Xbox One doesn’t have to be constantly connected to the Internet, but it reportedly needs to be connected about once a day in order to keep functioning. This could mean that if the Internet goes down you can still game and do things on it for some time (about 24 hours), but you will need to reconnect it at some point soon to still be able to use it before it shuts off completely.

This isn’t a big deal for those who live with stable Internet connections, but what about people who don’t have consistent or constant broadband? Well, they may not be about to use their Xbox One. That it must have an Internet connection to function long-term is not what we, the consumers, wanted. It might not be always online, but it’s as good as. All Microsoft did by making the console like this was reduce people’s confidence in it.

And show that it wasn’t listening to its most valuable consumers.

Used game debacle

The third and final main issue is the reported charge for used or borrowed games. You can use a friends game on your console if you are signed in as them, but if you’re not singed in as them and you simply want to borrow a game for a week, you may have to pay a fee. A full-price game fee. So basicall,  you have to buy the game yourself.

This is the final straw for many people. It’s the thing that proves just how much Microsoft don’t seem to care. While Microsoft has said used games will still be available and game rentals will still somehow work, not being able to borrow or simply lend games is a ludicrous feature to get rid of. People made it clear months, maybe even years ago, that they did not want restrictions like this. And what has Microsoft done? It has fucked you. It has fucked me. It has fucked the consumer.

Xbox One home

Above: Yeah, Microsoft, no one cares about apps on a game console. Where are the games?

Image Credit: Microsoft

It’s almost like Microsoft thought the pros would outweigh the cons, but didn’t it realize everyone was going to be looking at the bad parts of the new console? It’s like the company tried to say “Yeah, it has to have a consistent Internet connection to work, and you have to pay to use a friend’s game, but, hey, look, we have — sports games and entertainment things!” But Microsoft, wake up. No one cares. Nobody gives one shit. No one cares about this “app” and that “app” and this “movie thing” and that “movie thing.” No. One. Cares.

Hey but you know what gamers do care about? Games. We care about games. We care about being able to lend a friend a game for free. We care about being able to game without an Internet connection. We care about the fucking video games we can play on your fucking video game console. And basically, everything we, gamers and consumers, care about are things you don’t seem to care about. You seemed to brush these aside or screw up. And it’s hard to have faith in a company like that.

That’s why so many people are pissed. That’s why so many are saying the PS4 is better. That’s why many gamers say the Xbox One is rubbish. Basically, that’s how you, Microsoft, fucked up the next generation for yourselves.

Take a fucking bow.


Don’t forget to check out my blog for more exclusive content, like my Metro: Last Light Review or my Xbox One reveal coverage. Follow me on Twitter, too.


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