Friday, June 07, 2013

An Inevitable “WTF Microsoft?”

So Microsoft has taken the time to sit down and explain some of its actions with the XboxOne. We’re sure to hear more about it at E3 this year, but clarification time is turning into horror. Guess who isn’t buying this system at launch? *raises hand*

Always Online: The XboxOne is designed to run at a low-power, online state so that games and apps will be updated constantly. A connection isn’t always required in order to play games. However, you get a 24 hour window. Yep. You can only game for 24 hours before the XboxOne forces you to connect online and verify your system and game. And you only get 1 hour if you are logged in from a different console.

It gets better. The XboxOne has this restriction to check your games. I.E. it will be able to detect when you have a new product, if you have sold a game, or are using a used copy, effectively trying to screw over any used game businesses. It’s a backwards ass DRM. Microsoft, please don’t try to sugar coat it any other way.

DRM isn’t the only concern. The connection itself can be daunting. There are a number of gamers who don’t have access to lightning speed internet. There are parts of the U.S. that still only use dial-up because it’s the only medium available. Can you imagine having to dial in and check your system every 24 hours just to verify that it’s still a legit system with legal copies of games you’ve purchased? Not to mention the updates…my god the updates already take long enough for me and I have FiOS. But Microsoft doesn’t seem too worried. Why?


"[B]ecause every Xbox One owner has a broadband connection, developers can create massive, persistent worlds that evolve even when you’re not playing."

Access as of 2013. Note: Access /= Cost.
Many of these places the only reasonable pricing is for
below 10mbps.
Um…what? Everyone has broadband now? When did that happen?

Used Games: So while we’re on the subject of always online, what happens to those used games? Well Microsoft has stated that publishers can still impose their fees for access to content. They won’t make any money off of them. It also means that if you play a used game you have to register it somehow with the system because of that “online” requirement. So guess what? Even if you don’t want any of the extras to a game, you’re going to have to pay for them in order to verify that your used game is now yours. Example: Mass Effect 2 created the Cerberus Network as a backwards-ass method to verify that you purchased a legit copy. Now you don’t need it to play the game, but you do need it if you want to get any of the DLC. ME3 has a similar system if you want to play multi-player. How do you get said access? By paying $5-10 bucks to EA and getting their code.

Now how is this an issue? Well if Microsoft’s system needs to verify that you have a legitimate copy of a game, they’re going to need codes. How do you get those codes? By paying more money. It’s a vicious cycle that no one seems interested in stopping because someone is making money off of it, somewhere.

Oh, and you can trade your games digitally to your friends, only if they have been on your friend’s list for 30 days or more. And you can only give out the game once. Not once to a friend, one time and one time only. They clarified that.

Game Installs and Downloads: A lot of the hype with the XboxOne is that physical games are going to be phased out. This is true, but discs will still be available for those wanting box purchases. This will probably dwindle over the years, but at launch you can get games from stores without having to buy online.

Kinect: So the XboxOne requires you to use a Kinect. And not the one you bought for your 360, but a brand new Kinect. Microsoft is enabling privacy settings for the Kinect because the damn thing needs to be on all the time. It will also record your movements and conversations to upload online…red flag! If they didn’t add in these privacy settings I would be flipping tables. But they will have them in place at launch so people can still play in their underwear without worry that video of their gaming ways will be uploaded. You can also turn the Kinect off, but most apps and games will require it.


With these clarifications, are gamers ready for the XboxOne? I think I’ll let the Twitter responses speak for themselves. Check out the one about EA. So true!


If you want something a little more lighthearted after that train-wreck, Kotaku posted a few things that game publishers have patented. For example, that Mass Effect dialogue wheel? EA has that patented so no one else can use it without paying loads of money. Genius and silly. Or Blur’ “social interaction” system with Activision. Ahhh patents. There are no limits!

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