As a gamer, I must admit to being a little put off by Microsoft’s big reveal of its next-generation console, the Xbox One, on Tuesday. With a focus so far on the things I don’t care a lick about – live television, sports and Kinect voice controls – and a couple of gamer-unfriendly features, I can’t help but get the feeling that Microsoft is putting gamers in the backseat.
First, there’s the biggie – the always-on issue. For months, the rumour mill swirled about how Microsoft would require a persistent internet connection for games to work in any capacity on the next Xbox. It turns out that’s not entirely true, although the company confirms that all games will have to be installed on the console. Games will then be linked to a unique account and if anyone wants to use that same disc on another machine, they’ll have to pay an as-yet undisclosed fee.
The concerns about the connection requirement were always about whether people would be able to trade in their games once they were bored with them. For their part, game makers want to kill off that used market because they don’t see a penny from it. While not as draconian and prone to technical failure as the always-on option would have been, Microsoft’s authentication-and-fee scenario effectively accomplishes the same thing if game makers set those secondary charges high enough – and why wouldn’t they? Read the rest of this entry »