Is Microsoft Pulling A “Windows 8” With Xbox One?

Go online after Monday’s revelations and have a look around at the news on the Xbox.  Headlines in all the general media say that the PS4 has beaten the Xbox One, months before the Xbox One is out.  You’ll see terms like “XBone” to demean the new MSFT console, or “Ex-Box” from people who are claiming that they are switching brands. 

A number of things have either concerned or enraged current Xbox users.

24 Hour Activation

I haven’t read the source or watched a briefing so I don’t know the facts on this one.  People are saying that your Xbox needs to call home every 24 hours to activate (like Windows KMS but more often).  If there’s no connection after 24 hours then the Xbox stops working, allegedly.

Uh … that aint good.  Not everyone lives in a connected world.  Requiring a net connection (or even a decent/reliable one) drastically reduces the potential market.

Second Hand Games

Once again, I don’t know the facts, but people are claiming the new licensing of Xbox One games will kill the 2nd hand market.  This does concern me – most of my games are 2nd hand that I’ve bought legitimately in a store.  I think a lot of gamers play until they are bored, and then trade in for something new.  And what they hell are you to do when Granny buys you Kinectimals for Christmas?  You’ll definitely want to get rid of that before your friends see it on a shelf.

Price

Price matters.  In Ireland, the price difference between the platforms is EUR100, in favour of the Sony machine.  That’s roughly $130, nearly the price of an 8” tablet from the likes of HP, Lenovo, or Samsung.  From the sounds of the rumours, it’s also roughly the price of an Xbox One game.  Surely Microsoft has learned from the tablet “wars” that being expensive doesn’t give you the “Apple desirable affect”, it just makes you expensive.  I have no doubt that the EUR499 price is the traditional bleeding edge bleed-em-while-you can marketing price, and that it’ll come down quite a bit in February 2014.  But will the critical lead be lost by then … friends want to be on the same platform and they’ll follow the early leader.

Loyalty

There is no loyalty when it comes to acquiring a new generation of consoles.  The games on the Xbox 360 are incompatible with the Xbox One.  So there is no reason to stick to a brand – moving to this new generation of consoles for Xbox customers is a leap to an incompatible platform, no matter what.  Your new copy of Grand Theft Auto 5 (not announced for Xbox One) will work fine on Xbox 360 but not on Xbox One.  There’s nothing to stop you from buying a Sony PS4 (cheaper, no net dependency, and supporting unlimited trade market) where you will have the exact same compatibility with your Xbox 360 (that is, none). 

Microsoft’s Reputation In The Consumer Space

There has been a huge negative reaction to the controversial features of Xbox One.  Have we seen this before from Microsoft?  Yes: Windows 8.  Sinofski, Julie-Larson Green, et al, all refused to listen to the feedback that started on the week of Build, September 2011, and that deafness to critique (“We’re right, and you’re wrong”) continued right up to and after GA in October 2012.  Now that sales are well and truly down in the consumer space, and Windows tablets have made no more than a dent (nothing more) in sales (the sub EUR200 Android tablet rules), they’re bringing us the changes we wanted in Windows 8.1.

Am I the only one to notice the same thing is happening with Xbox One?  The “always on” scandal, higher price than the competition, killing the trade market, a focus on stuff (entertainment) that the core market doesn’t care for (and 6.7 billion of us probably won’t get access to).  Is Microsoft telling us that “they’re right and we’re wrong” all over again?  Is this really going to be the era of Ex-Box?  Surely Microsoft employs someone with a backbone in marketing and can see that they’ve already lost to Sony on the next gen console wars.  You only have to look at any forum or news (not even IT news) site.

What Am I Doing?

I have been an Xbox 360 user for years. Before that I had a PS2 and first gen Xbox.  I’m not a hardcore gamer, but I enjoy creating chaos in the streets of Liberty City as much as anyone can.  I used to use my Xbox for entertainment, until I realised it was a pain in the hole and switched to the much simpler (and quieter) Roku for watching movies from my PC or Netflix.  I have pre-ordered an Xbox One, but I’m not committed.  Like I said, I prefer to let others pay the premium for new games so I can get them for less later.  And there’s no GTAV to reel me in.  I can always cancel the pre-order – I’m 75/25 in favour of doing that because there is no game there that I want.  Or if I find supply is low in December, I could always sell the device at a profit so someone’s little Johnny can be one-up on the Jones’s next door  Or maybe I can sell an Xbox One “Package” on Ebay Smile

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3 Replies to “Is Microsoft Pulling A “Windows 8” With Xbox One?”

  1. You are right that loyality shouldnt be a point when switching console generation. But if users can take their gamerscore/trophies(which they earned with hard work) with them over to the new generation, changing the brand is hard for most of them. As much gamers are addicted to their gamerscore not buying the xbox is not an option.

  2. Aidan, isn’t it alarming how you can come up with this sensible appraisal and the million dollar a year execs in Redmond can’t see this rationale.

    Maybe they are surrounded by people afraid to go off script and call it like it is.

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