IGN.com posted an article this week about The Sims creator Will Wright’s comments to CNN about Microsoft’s Xbox One, or “Xbox 180.” Will Wright called it “impressive” and said, “To see a company like Microsoft actually sit back, listen, and understand the fans and respond to them is impressive. For a company that size to be that responsive is great.”
If that were truly what happened, he’d be correct. I’d agree, and Microsoft would look better, but that isn’t what happened. Microsoft didn’t listen to the consumers’ voices; in fact, its response was that people should deal with it and buy the Xbox 360 if they want an offline console.
Wright is talking about Microsoft’s removal of its restrictions on used games and required daily Internet check-ins, of course. What really happened was that Sony forced its hand by doing absolutely nothing. Sony decided to stick with current-generation policies going in to the next-gen console cycle, allowing customers to do what they want with used games and play the PlayStation 4 offline. Granted, we’ve now heard that Sony will leave certain decisions about digital rights management up to the publishers, but Sony’s choice to stay the same made it look good compared to Microsoft’s new, unpopular policies, and that is what Microsoft responded to.
If Sony had backed the same policies, Microsoft would’ve kept its own, but it didn’t — despite claiming the DRM policies were publisher-pressured, which is questionable when it takes one update at the setup of your console to undo all the “publisher-pressured” policies.
Sure, preorders could be what Will Wright was referring to when he mentioned Microsoft understanding what fans wanted as those numbers according to Amazon.com were in the PlayStation 4′s favor. Now the situation has changed. However, as someone who loyally supported the Xbox 360, I went through four consoles before calling it quits. I don’t feel like Microsoft listened to me, nor do I feel Sony listened to me. But when it comes to Will Wright’s comments, he’s giving Microsoft too much credit because it didn’t do this for the gamers. It did its own benefit — and that is business, not customer relations.
GamesBeat 2014 — VentureBeat’s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market — is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase one of the first 50 tickets and save $400!