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Ever since Microsoft first unveiled their next generation console, Xbox One, it has been met with an overwhelming amount of scorn, some of it warranted, some not. Fortunately, Microsoft has done a complete 180 on their DRM policies, much to the chagrin of Internet comments worldwide. Everything you thought about the Xbox One has changed, for better and for worse. If you still haven’t caught up on the news, you can read all about it right here.
Glad you’re up to speed. There are a lot of good and bad things about Microsoft’s decision to completely change its course on the Xbox One. Good and bad things? Yes, definitely, especially if we’re thinking about the long run of the video game industry, and not the short term.
The short term goals of Microsoft were apparent when this reversal was first leaked; they were doing their best to appease the masses who were suddenly turning to their competitors. It’s a smart business move to sell as many units as possible this year but the Xbox 360’s life span was seven years. That’s a long time for one console, however it should give us more perspective when looking at the Xbox One. The console hasn't even been released yet and we’re already demeaning it because it is trying to be different, instead of churning out the same old product that we’re used to. Why not let Microsoft try and innovate and see what happens? What if we had a public damning of the Xbox 360 and it changed to be nearly identical to the original Xbox, would you have been happy with that? No, it would've made the industry stale and people would be even madder. Instead, Microsoft changed the Xbox 360 for the better, and it’s pretty great device, even after all these years. It may be time to just let some things come to fruition, play the wait and see game, instead of instantly condemning something that hasn't been released.
Looking at how Microsoft operates on the other had, it won’t be too long before we see all that was taken away slowly creep its way back into the Xbox One. It is inevitable and, if they keep some of the cooler aspects, a great step forward in providing a well-rounded entertainment experience. Everyone who thinks that the consoles of the future are going to be gaming devices first and foremost are probably going to be disappointed, that’s just the way of the world. Imagine that you’re moving into a brand new home and you want to watch TV, play games, surf the web and watch movies but only have $500 to spend. Would you try and build your entertainment system on a budget or get the Xbox One and have all of those options in one device? Exactly. This also goes along with the pricing of Sony and Microsoft’s consoles.
In the long run, let’s say seven years like the Xbox 360, is $500 really that much? No, so the gap between the Xbox One and Playstation 4 prices really isn't that big of a deal. This all deals with long term thinking. Unless Sony and Microsoft plan to turn into Nintendo and churn out a different system every few years, you’re $500 investment will pay off in the long run.
This may seem like a rant, and it kind of is, but too many people were bemoaning the Xbox One for all it’s policies, they’re now praising the lack of them, because they’re all thinking short term. Long term, when those policies reappear, and they will, Microsoft will seem like they know exactly what they’re doing. They’ll have innovated the video game industry and pushed video games into more mainstream and accessible places, which is what we should want for all of our products, since they will sell, making the companies more money, allowing them to have larger budgets for bigger teams, giving those teams a chance to make great games which will in turn allow us consumers to continue marveling at those great games. Short term thinking has become a plague on mankind with the now-now-now generation; long term thinking, especially in the world of video games, has nearly been thrown out the door. Sony hasn't won the console war, since it really won’t even start until both consoles are in homes and people are using them.
I love video games, I love Sony, and I love Microsoft. I want to see both companies succeed and do well because it’ll make video games better and more enjoyable for all of us. Sony versus Microsoft isn't a sprint, it is a marathon and its about time we started realizing that.