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Microsoft did not handle the fallout from its Xbox One announcement particularly well. By failing to explain exactly how its new online features would impact gamers, it sparked a wave of comments, anger and, let's face it, hatred, which has now resulted in the company doing a complete 180. Insert 360 joke here. The Xbox One no longer has to connect to the internet once every 24 hours; games can be traded and shared as they are now; the idea of owning 'a licence' has been forgotten about entirely.

It's fair to say that a number of these policies were a little eyebrow raising. Game ownership and the everpressing debate on how to handle trade-ins has been nibbling at the industry's feet for years, a very strict divide being constructed between gamers – who rightly believe they can do as they wish with their bought product – and publishers – who rightly believe subsequent sales of their property should make its way back into the business. In all honesty it's a travesty that the audience should even have to be involved with such an argument, and even if Microsoft hadn't reversed its stance it's unlikely this sore point would have just all-of-a-sudden vanished.

The real problem with this u-turn is what it means for the next-generation of hardware. Along with falling into the same old trap that we now have two boxes that are more or less identical to one another – exclusives notwithstanding – it delays a digital future that may've just worked out for the best.

It's easy to fly the 'Microsoft is trying to control us' flag, but given that the Xbox One hasn't even got an official release date yet means that's nothing more than hearsay. Admittedly the same is true of taking the opposite stance, but there's every chance the ideas Don Mattrick and co. were supporting could actually have benefited us in the long run. Right or wrong, I've been intrigued and interested about the console since it was revealed on 21 May, much as I was at Sony's conference earlier in the year.

In the same way as iTunes did with music, Amazon did with books and, yes, Steam did with games, Microsoft could've installed similar concepts that granted us things we've been hoping for since online become so important. Affordable, cheaper games; the ability to get a fair price on your digital sales; DLC that wasn't overly priced or often hidden on a disc; the death of tacked-on 'we must include this to stop pre-owned sales' multiplayer. There would've been a settling period, sure, and if the last few weeks are anything to go by the Xbox One would've made plenty of mistakes before, hopefully, getting it right. But that's the same story for iTunes, Amazon and, yes, the now untouchable Steam which was once, believe it or not, universally despised.

It's all well and good to believe that Microsoft is the personification of evil, determined to destroy all in its path, but surely at some point you have to take a step back and think whether or not it does, in fact, have some business sense: sense which would’ve served both the company and you, the consumer, for the better. Just take a look at Apple, for example.

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It also raises the issue of how other publishers will respond. Despite saying otherwise, I cannot believe that EA just happened to drop its online pass mere days before the Xbox One's announcement, and nothing would surprise me less if new measures were now showcased before the new console era comes into effect. There's every chance these are even more controversial than what, before last night, were already in place.

The saddest thing about this whole debacle is that the sharing functionality has, naturally, now been removed entirely. As questionable as having your console check-in once a day was, it was a feature that could've genuinely moved things forward, if only a tad. Much like sharing a book through Amazon's Kindle service (you can lend it to another reader for 14 days), it embraces the age we're currently living in. Sure, the model we have is serviceable, but if nobody embraces what we are able to do now, then what's the point of it all? Admittedly it may've been too early for most gamers, and a big reason for this switch is largely to do with Microsoft's fear about how sales would match up against Sony's PS4, but there was still a choice for those who weren't ready to accept it. It potentially could've offered something legitimately new and different, a far cry from the stale environment we're currently experiencing.

Ultimately, the decision to merge the physical with the digital seems to be the biggest bugbear. If the company Bill Gates built had a specific, more concise and sympathetic message, more people may've warmed to the proposal, but then doing so would've created a rift as far as retailers are concerned. With a console to sell, Microsoft couldn't cut them out the loop entirely, even if that may've been in the plans a few years after launch. Now, we may never know.

Aside from seriously denting what Microsoft had intended for the next-generation – good or bad it obviously had a strategy it was keen to implement – now that it has categorically changed course it'll be interesting, if not a little worrying, to see where it ends up. Undoubtedly once the dust has settled and the Xbox One has found its way into people's homes the initiatives of old may return, but on many levels flip-flopping again may not work out as well as some think. Personally, it just feels like an ardent stance against moving forward with the times, happy to stay rooted in the same place we have been for seven years, complete with the same problems none of us were happy about in the first place. That doesn't sound like too much fun...

I'm sure many of you may read this and think it's nothing more than click-baiting nonsense but I assure you it isn't. In the same way it winds up a publisher when someone at says a game is utter pap, I completely understand why you may feel the same if something you feel so strongly about is questioned. At the same time, I've got to be honest. And I have.

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User Comments

alphafour's Avatar


The people saying "oh it's not that bad" (referring to the X1's original used game and DRM policies) don't seem to understand the implications in the long run.

How long were you willing to keep saying that? Until we get picked clean to the bone?
Posted 00:08 on 28 June 2013
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ guyderman

It's a fair point and one I raised myself previously. You could sell your game on but it would only be to once and that person would have to be in your friends list for 30 days. However my solution for this would be simply make eBay a partner and work with them to develop a solution to transfer games in this way. Rather than 10% maybe take 15% but it makes things far more secure for not only the buyer but also the seller. How many times have you had a buyer claim that an item didn't arrive? I maybe unlucky or do more business on there than some but I'm at about one every few months trying it on. I learn and get proof of posting with everything I've even had a tracked item claimed not to of arrived although the person had signed for it.
Posted 14:18 on 25 June 2013
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman@ Karlius

We designed Xbox One so game publishers can enable you to trade in your games at participating retailers.

One of the main problems I personally had was this part, and I'll give an example why - I bought the Prince of Persia 2008 on day of release for £34.99. It only took me 2 days to complete it so I took that game back Game to see about trading it in for another game. They offered me £12 cash or £15 trade. I decided to sell it on Ebay instead and got myself £30 for it - even with the charges that Ebay have for selling I still ended up with £27 for the game. With having my options for reselling games limited to a 'participating retailer' my concern is that I am going to get stung on any games I decide to sell. I personally didn't want my options dictated to me.
Posted 12:37 on 25 June 2013
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ CheekyLee

That fact was in the original Xbox Wired article:

Originally Posted by XBOX Wired 07/06/13
Trade-in and resell your disc-based games: Today, some gamers choose to sell their old disc-based games back for cash and credit. We designed Xbox One so game publishers can enable you to trade in your games at participating retailers. Microsoft does not charge a platform fee to retailers, publishers, or consumers for enabling transfer of these games.

Give your games to friends: Xbox One is designed so game publishers can enable you to give your disc-based games to your friends. There are no fees charged as part of these transfers. There are two requirements: you can only give them to people who have been on your friends list for at least 30 days and each game can only be given once.

In our role as a game publisher, Microsoft Studios will enable you to give your games to friends or trade in your Xbox One games at participating retailers. Third party publishers may opt in or out of supporting game resale and may set up business terms or transfer fees with retailers. Microsoft does not receive any compensation as part of this. In addition, third party publishers can enable you to give games to friends. Loaning or renting games won’t be available at launch, but we are exploring the possibilities with our partners.

My issue is that a lot of this blew up because people didn't actually read the full article and just reacted to certain sections.

The important part of that statement is that loaning or renting games won't be available at launch. However they do say that they will look at the possibilities. You can either take this as oh yer whatever that's never going to happen then or MS are working on a solution and if possible and more than likely lucrative (Lets not forget this is a business after all) they would have supported this function as well.

But as for trade in I never saw it as an issue as it would be in the publishers best interest to sell second hand games. You may think that would have had a detrimental effect on the market however I think if the publisher was getting a cut of sales they would be happy for the game to be sold at whatever price the store wanted. Even now PS3 and 360 games have different trade in values and resale values but within a couple of quid of each other and I don't see this gen as ever being any different.

The beauty of the xbox one way would be no more get to level 10/12 and crash there is a scratch on the disc. Take it back to the store and say the game you sold me is faulty and they turn back to you as it's been 14 days+ since you purchased the game and say how do we know you didn't do it. No all I do is go home whack in the disc the code registers to my console and I can download the game if I so wish.

You can say that never happens but I myself have experienced this and two of my friends also. One a PS3 owner and one 360 owner. If we had all tried to install the game to HDD rather than play from disc then we would of been fine as the game would of come up with an error. So partly our fault but hay ho you learn.

The other issue I have with trade in is with hardware. I know I traded in my elite for a slim as a ticking time bomb. I knocked the thing over and the HDD was making a god awful sound after 5 mins of use it would fail. So I traded it in to Game for some poor bastard to get it however knowing game would take the hit and have to replace the HDD. I know numerous other people who had the RROD/YLOD got it working once then traded it in knowing it would only be a matter of time before the hardware failed. Why did we do this to game as they would have insurance for this sort of crap surely. Wrong I know but I'm guessing lots of us have done it. But still an inconvenience to the purchaser.
Posted 09:05 on 25 June 2013
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee@ Matr1xOne

This entire post is like somebody wrote down the ramblings of one of them crazy bag ladies. I'm so thankful to Microsoft for starting the games industry in 1995! I don't know what I'd been doing for the 20 years before then, but it apparently didn't count.

Here, let me ask you. If the DRM does nothing, and nothing has been changed by its non-inclusion, then why was it ever there in the first place?

Originally Posted by Karlius
Also remember MS was only going to be controlling MS games at trade in. The other publishers controlled their own destiny.
Just like everything else over the last few days, this was NOT mentioned before the U-turn. The plan, as detailed by MS themselves, was for every game to be subject to the DRM at a console OS level. In fact, the plan could not actually work if there was a way for games to circumvent it. How could I (allegedly) share a game with (allegedly) 10 people if said game was freely distributable?
Posted 01:05 on 25 June 2013
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ CheekyLee

You are right most of the information here is opinion however there have been certain posts that that try to pass off opinion as fact and lets be honest this subject is now hypothetical.

However my main issue is that we have facts and the terms of the DRM. We cannot predict that these terms would of been anything but what was stated and suggesting otherwise without any proof or evidence is plain wrong. You have to take this at face value if in the bizarre world where these terms were broken then there would be a class action within the week.

Also remember MS was only going to be controlling MS games at trade in. The other publishers controlled their own destiny. Meaning they probably have a plan that will effect both next gen consoles even now.
Posted 22:13 on 24 June 2013
Matr1xOne's Avatar


People confuse me. Is it just because its Microsoft? People need to get over it.
Posted 18:07 on 24 June 2013
Matr1xOne's Avatar

Matr1xOne@ TheLastProphet

Ok, so lets look at what we have actually lost. The 'family sharing' option would have allowed up to 10 people to play your personal games collection, with any 1 of them playing a game from your library at a time.
First of all, how is this any different from simply lending a physical copy of a game to your mates? Apart from meeting them to give them the game or posting the game to them it's exactly the same as lending games as we do now, so what great lost feature are you lamenting over exactly?

So your saying the DRM actually doesn't change the way we share games.....

Then why are people so upset about DRM. OMG Microsoft got that so wrong...did they?

60 mins is rubbish and fanboi propaganda

Actually most of your points are unsubstantiated.

Microsoft have done a lot for the games industry (more than Sony), that could have been dominated by Sony (who are just as Evil as you make Microsoft out to be, they are a business just like Microsoft, share holder, profits, everything).

Microsoft are the single largest investors in R&D something like $12bil. Yeh totally evil - brining you new toys, innovations (that are regularly copied - re: Kinect > PS eye), live (now being copied by PS). Cloud Gaming..etc etc

Think back to 1995 and Microsoft started the damn games industry by putting a PC in every home. They started whole industries, without them and IBM, Google, Facebook, Android, none of it would be here today.

Microsoft are 100% the reason you have such a games nirvana as you so state right now. You should be Kissing a poster of Bill G every time you start up a damn console.
Posted 18:06 on 24 June 2013
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee@ Karlius

I agree, MS currently have a monopoly. One which was going to become even more of one if the proposed limitations on pre-owned were to have gone through. And, I know full well that Steam lower the prices to get more volume of sales, but that is actually only half of the story. The other half is the psychology of sales, of conditioning vast amounts of your customers to be ready to spend money they might otherwise not have spent when the Summer Sale is announced any day now.

Originally Posted by Clockpunk
I still see only conjecture and opinion appearing here... bravo, Karlius - spot on analysis.
But, Karl is as guilty of conjecture and opinion as anybody in this thread. He's still a step up from Simon, by virtue of at least attempting to provide verfiable facts to back his point up instead of plucking random claims from Fairyland like Mr. Miller did, but the large percentage of his thoughts come more from hope than any actual evidence. I wonder why his opinion is worth more than ours is?
Posted 16:15 on 24 June 2013
Karlius's Avatar


Steam is a STORE, just one of many on the PC.

So what I see there is competition drives down prices. MS currently have a monopoly on some of these titles for console with more competition there has to be lower pricing. If you think Steam are lowering prices out of the goodness of their hearts you are mistaken. Lower prices means higher volumes of sales with a more loyal user base equaling higher profits for all.
Posted 12:18 on 24 June 2013
Clockpunk's Avatar


I still see only conjecture and opinion appearing here... bravo, Karlius - spot on analysis.
Posted 10:28 on 24 June 2013
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee@ Karlius

We think that MS won't compete on prices because, so far, they haven't been. The Games on Demand prices are generally asking for silly money. I'll be fair to EA, at least prices do tend to deflate over time on Origin, but then they do tend to start off at the top end of "Too expensive" anyway.

Steam is a STORE, just one of many on the PC. Publishers set their own prices, in conjunction with Valve when the sales come around. Some games have never been on sale. Whereas, there are a few reported instances of MS forcing people to sell XBLA games at higher prices than they wanted to. Bizarre Creations wanted to give Geometry Wars away for free, Jonathan Blow wanted Braid to be 800 MS points, and Jeff Minter had to fight to get Space Giraffe out at 400.
Posted 10:04 on 24 June 2013
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ Karlius

So the Steam box is going to come out and will be very similar to the Xbox One DRM model. However we know that Steam has mega sales and prices drop on a weekly if not daily basis. EA are a steam publisher so there is that point gone.

So my question is if Steam take their highly successful model to console why do you think that MS won't compete on game prices? If they didn't surely the product would die?
Posted 09:39 on 24 June 2013
Enundr's Avatar

Enundr@ Enundr

added to the EA dropping the online pass , they were banking on the new consoles to do the dirty work for them so they no longer look like the "bad guys" they are , sony passed the ball to them saying its up to the publishers , though i believe M$ tried saying the same thing.
Posted 07:49 on 24 June 2013
Enundr's Avatar


im sorry but if you think they would ever lower the price of games , your wrong. look at a good portion of EA games for example , look at Skyrim , how long they stay at full physical copy price , not that skyrim was bad but just saying even now for the pure digital products , these companies want $ more then anything , some of them make games worthy of it , but what M$ was doing would NOT have lowered game price. it would have only been a nuisance to gamers while the games would stay the same price unless M$ and Sony FORCED the publishers to lower their game costs , and lets face it i dont see that happening since their initial responses to people complaining about being forced online everyday was to go buy an xbox 360 , then doing the 180 in their policies after the pre order #s came in on how badly they were doing.
Posted 07:46 on 24 June 2013
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