Microsoft should’ve never caved

The modern gaming community is very unforgiving towards a lot people, particularly the giants in the industry. When large companies screw up, we notice. And most of all, we aren’t stupid. We know when something is up and when we have been wronged.

One quality I will not understand is how easily gaming communities forget, accept and move on. Remember when Sony was hacked and the PlayStation Network was down for nearly a month? User information was supposedly accessed and taken! How could a consumer forget that so easily? Or when companies sell “downloadable content” that is already packaged on one of its games?

That previous example is common practice nowadays, but it still doesn’t settle right. Though it’s this kind of treatment we as gamers have gotten used to. In this fascinating world of technology and the next generation of console hardware right around the corner, we have a lot of cool things to look forward to. One of those things is no longer a part of that future.

The digital only gaming space has existed on the PC for years. It’s not hard for me or any avid PC gamer to understand that when you purchase a digital item that it’s yours forever and nontransferable. So what’s the big deal about that happening on a console? It already happens when you buy a Xbox Live Arcade game. I find a digital library much easier to manage than a consistently growing stack of DVD cases. The Xbox One would’ve been one giant and much needed step towards the inevitable future of gaming … until we complained. And it worked.

Basically, Microsoft was offering a similar ownership environment to the PC, only with some other perks. If you buy the game, it’s yours, physical or digital. The assumption with the physical copy is that you wouldn’t be able to trade it with a friend or sell it back to a retailer. Also, an online connection would be needed to verify the product. Gamers despised this notion, quickly siding with Sony on the issue once it was announced that the PlayStation 4 games could played without such restrictions.

Microsoft backed down shortly after laying out the plans for the Xbox One and after seeing the effect it had on the public. But why? Microsoft was definitely headed in the right direction with the Xbox One. I really don’t see the problem of their approach because it so similar to what already happens on PCs. I will admit the constant Internet connection does seem a bit farfetched since a lot of PC games don’t have that kind of DRM.

One feature that was potentially pretty cool that Valve seems to be picking up on is the Family Sharing program. I think a lot of gamers would’ve loved this idea if it wasn’t tied to the Xbox One’s proposed DRM policies. Given the fact that Microsoft as strayed from their original intentions, it could mean that we’ll be seeing this feature implemented sometime in the upcoming console generation which starts this November.

I see the gaming community as an incredibly welcoming one and at the same time I see it as a very immature one. A community that is easily upset and delicate when it comes to change. On the other hand it’s defensive to criticism from the mainstream and changes that disrupt the norm. Some company is going to have to make the unpleasant move towards stricter DRM policies. All of them seem scared of upsetting their user base while the gamers are just as scared about having to make the inevitable changes.

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