After the abysmal reaction from the public to Microsoft’s Xbox One reveal, the company is pulling a 180 degree turn on their secondhand games restriction and removed it from the new Xbox One. The company has also said that they are ditching the 24 hour on-line check.
With Microsoft announcing that they are dropping two major features of the next-generation console, the Xbox One, it appears that pre-order sales for the new console dropped enough for them to listen to their core demographic.
Loyal Xbox fans were, for the most part, furious at the new requirements for the console, one of which was the regular online authenticity checks that were required to play video games offline and the draconian restrictions that were placed on secondhand games.
The company released an update on Wednesday that stated that Microsoft were only responding to consumer feedback. No mention was made about pre-sales figures dropping, but as consumers had already told the company before the disappointing reveal it may well be a case of too little too late.
Don Mattrick, the president of Microsoft’s Interactive entertainment business, who had made the earlier statement that, “We have a console for gamers who don’t like the new Xbox, It’s called the Xbox 360,” made an amazing about face and lost his rather snotty attitude toward Microsoft consumers.
He said in a statement, “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.”
The Microsoft statement now says that an internet connection will not be required to play any Xbox One game. The company have also backed off on the restrictions that they had placed on trading, renting, lending or selling purchased games. Restrictions that microsoft claimed were out of their control and up to the game’s publisher’s to change.
This somewhat slow about face on the new Xbox One requirements still doesn’t accomplish anything in the area of price for the new console, which will be $499 when it launches in November this year. But obviously Microsoft feel that removing the secondhand games restrictions and getting rid of the online requirement will make up for the, still, high price.
The backtracking on the new console’s options prompted a strong rebuke from rival Sony, who are planning a holiday release of their new console the PS4. Sony revealed to their consumers at the Sony E3 Conference that they were not putting any restrictions on secondhand game use and would not require the console to be online 24/7 for “routine” checks.
Mattrick went on to attempt more damage control with his “new” statement about dropping the restrictive measures that the company put on the new Xbox console. He said, “You told us how much you loved the flexibility you have today with games delivered on disc. The ability to lend, share, and resell these games at your discretion is of incredible importance to you. “
Apparently, the turn around on policy means that some features that were planned for the new Xbox One will be shelved.
According to the chief product officer for Microsoft’s interactive entertainment business, Mark Whitten, consumer feedback led to the changes. Whitten said in a telephone interview after the update was issued. “They tell us what they love about what we are doing and when we are doing something they don’t like, they tell us, too.”
DFC Intelligence analyst David Cole said that consumers felt the Xbox One was, “a highly restricted system. The idea of online connectivity is bad from a personal usage perspective. For example, many potential consumers are mobile college students or young kids being shuffled between parents. Having to always have their system connected is a major pain.”
While the news appears to be good for consumers, the company have disillusioned a large amount of their consumers. The company knew before the original Xbox One reveal that secondhand games were a huge issue with their target demographic, as well as the constant online requirement. The late removal of the secondhand restriction, as well as the online requirement, smacks of cynism and an upfront disregard for their existing fan base. This late date attempt at damage control will cost the company in terms of console loyalty.
By Michael Smith