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The Console Wars 2013 – Part 3: The Reversal

So I’m back for Part 3 and this will be the last segment for the Console Wars 2013 series. If you’ve read this series up till now, thanks a lot for reading! Also let me know if you’d like to see more of these type of posts. So let’s wrap this up. I first want to cover the interviews Gamespot did with Jack Tretton (Sony) and  Don Mattrick (Microsoft).

I’ll start with Mattrick’s interview because there’s one critical thing I wanted to cover and that’s the quote Mattrick made: “If you don’t have good internet we have another option for you and that is the 360”. Sigh… I really don’t wanna bash Microsoft since they’ve been taking a beating but damn it they’re feeding me so tough for them. Sure stick to you’re policies for always online but to say get a 360 if you have bad internet?  That was a horrible thing to say and if Mattrick was told to say that, then it’s even worse. 360 is a cool console but everyone focusing on E3 wants to play next gen games! What I heard was “If you don’t like the console buy a PS4”.


Jack Tretton’s interview was interesting too. He did say that DRMs might be implemented from 3rd party publishers but that’s not Sony’s fault if that happens but I’m glad he addressed that when asked. But the most needed thing that happened was the mic drop and walk away. Just the genius marketing, research and presentations Sony did outdid Microsoft this year, the mic drop was well deserved.

So big news happened last week and I have to admit I saw this coming. On June 19th, Microsoft renounced it’s plan for it’s online DRM policies:

  • No more always online requirement
  • The console no longer has to check in every 24 hours
  • All game discs will work on Xbox One as they do on the Xbox 360
  • Authentication is no longer necessary
  • An Internet connection is only required when initially setting up the console
  • All downloaded games will function the same when online or offline
  • No additional restrictions on trading games or loaning discs
  • Region locks have been dropped

Let’s go over these real quick:

  • The always online requirement was dumb in the first place. There are times when you’re internet can go down and there are places in the world that don’t have decent internet.
  • 24 hour check was also dumb. A first time authentication, ok sure, debatable. But checking if I own a game I bought for a console every day?
  • Games discs is kinda related to the previous points
  • Authentication no longer necessary. If for a game, again debatable.
  • Internet required for initial set up, makes sense
  • Downloaded games should work the same online or offline
  • The additional restrictions on trading or loaning discs is a hot topic. I think that I should be able to do whatever I want with a game I bought. But this is debatable since the issues of developers not getting the money they deserve.
  • Region lock was due to the online authentication stuff most likely, with the authentication gone, they can do this now

So… we can all guess why this happened. With all the negative feedback the Xbox One was getting it needed some sort of edge otherwise they’d really have poor sales (I also think they saw they we’re having poor sales). With this change, I see Xbox One being more competitive with the PS4 (if you don’t mind the other issues like the Kinect “always on” and such). But sadly for Microsoft, the damage is already done. Thanks to Microsoft’s previous policies and smart marketing by Sony, the majority of gamers were convinced to get a PS4 or at least PS4 is the main choice for launching consoles. There are some people that are die hard Xbox fans and will get the Xbox One regardless. I even know a person who’s getting the Xbox One before the policies changed.

In the end, Sony had the best way to start the always online trend. A lot of the top console games at E3 are more online oriented games. This is the way to pave a new path for gaming. Ease gamers into it slowly and we’ll adapt to it. Gamers won’t adapt to it if a new idea and a bunch of restrictions are shoved into their faces, that looks to them like a cash grab and expect them to accept it.

I know Microsoft wanted the One to be the next Steam for consoles but they really approached it wrong. When Steam started out, there was no competition. Microsoft has Sony and arguably Nintendo. So Microsoft HAD to get it right from the start. Sadly they didn’t and they paid for it. Again I think that Xbox One will be fine due to the fan base and Microsoft might perform other improvements down the road.

And this concludes The Console Wars 2013 Series. Thanks for reading and be sure to tune in for more on my thoughts on big gaming news that drops in the future!