Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Microsoft: Our Bad!

Microsoft hasn’t been making many friends over the past few weeks. With the unveiling of the Xbox One, the company boldly admitted that the new system will not only place restrictions on the trading and buying of used games, but will require users to sign in to Xbox Live at least once a day to play their titles. These prohibitive features of the new console spurred many longtime Xbox loyalists to pronounce their early allegiance to the PlayStation 4, which debuted last week at E3. Meanwhile, Sony’s next-gen console promises to place no such restrictions on gamers, and was announced at a $399 price point — $100 less than Microsoft’s forthcoming system.

Given the uproariously negative response to the Xbox One, the folks in The House That Bill Gates Built have now reversed their prior decisions regarding digital rights management (DRM), and have done away with the previously announced online requirements.

“We appreciate your passion, support and willingness to challenge the assumptions of digital licensing and connectivity,” said Dan Mattrick, Microsoft’s President of Interactive Entertainment Business. “While we believe that the majority of people will play games online and access the cloud for both games and entertainment, we will give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content. We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds.”

But is this knee-jerk reaction to the harsh criticism of Microsoft’s policies truly enough to sway gamers who have already decided to join the Sony camp this fall? Regardless, Microsoft’s backtracking at least evens the odds enough to let us focus on what really matters when the warring systems hit shelves this coming holiday season: the games themselves.