Constantly in the business world, companies try and take advantage of the consumer for whatever reason; mostly to see what the competitor’s cards are. This has been a business practice for many decades, and I highly doubt it will stop anytime soon. The preface of this article is this little release by Microsoft:
Last week at E3, the excitement, creativity and future of our industry was on display for a global audience. For us, the future comes in the form of Xbox One, a system designed to be the best place to play games this year and for many years to come. As is our heritage with Xbox, we designed a system that could take full advantage of advances in technology in order to deliver a breakthrough in game play and entertainment. We imagined a new set of benefits such as easier roaming, family sharing, and new ways to try and buy games. We believe in the benefits of a connected, digital future. Since unveiling our plans for Xbox One, my team and I have heard directly from many of you, read your comments and listened to your feedback. I would like to take the opportunity today to thank you for your assistance in helping us to reshape the future of Xbox One. 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. Also important to you is the freedom to play offline, for any length of time, anywhere in the world. So, today I am announcing the following changes to Xbox One and how you can play, share, lend, and resell your games exactly as you do today on Xbox 360. Here is what that means: An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games – After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360. Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today – There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360. In addition to buying a disc from a retailer, you can also download games from Xbox Live on day of release. If you choose to download your games, you will be able to play them offline just like you do today. Xbox One games will be playable on any Xbox One console — there will be no regional restrictions. These changes will impact some of the scenarios we previously announced for Xbox One. The sharing of games will work as it does today, you will simply share the disc. Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold. Also, similar to today, playing disc based games will require that the disc be in the tray. We appreciate your passion, support and willingness to challenge the assumptions of digital licensing and connectivity. 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. Thank you again for your candid feedback. Our team remains committed to listening, taking feedback and delivering a great product for you later this year. - Source Xbox.com
There are a few things in this release that really had me scratching my head. Wording is everything in the world of Game Journalism, and this is of course no exception. I am going to read between the very gray lines here and call out what I think happened. So let’s start picking apart the announced changes in this release shall we?
“An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games”
This one is the main spark for writing this; do you see a particular area where they do not say something they… well should? In this particular case, this is how it SHOULD have been worded: “An internet connection is no longer required to play offline Xbox One games.” Every PR rep, CEO knows that wording is everything, and in this case I want to say they dropped the ball. Is it that dumbfounded to believe that Microsoft in their infinite wisdom possibly creates a PR stir / ploy to see what exactly Sony may or may not have up their sleeves? Let’s take another example:
“There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on the Xbox 360”
Really? I mean, REALLY? I have been calling this since they originally announced the Xbox One. However, again this is another example of where your wording is very important.
Judging by how this is actually one of those more expected announcements centered around what would be a PR flop; this does not come as a surprise whether it was intentional or not. Is it that hard to believe that maybe… just maybe Microsoft was having Sony come out and show their entire hand? We are months away from launch, and Sony did –for the most part- pretty good at keeping mum on the entire thing. Until that is, Microsoft went to E3, and did the opposite of what everyone had thought they would do.
I for one –as a Game Designer- look forward to the entire industry working on these platforms, regardless of what DRM it may –or may not- require. I do have to tip my 5-gallon hat to Microsoft though, they may have had us all fooled.