Friday, June 14, 2013

Xbox one, a symptom, not the disease

So Microsoft announced the Xbox one not too long ago, their next generation console. which I suppose makes my 360 the current generation, and my original Xbox a paperweight. while the Xbox one boasts some impressive hardware and some neat features there have been a lot of very vocal detractors, both from consumers and the industry at large. With restrictive DRM, an invasive presence in your living room, and the inability to play games you already own and enjoy on the 360 I can really understand  why people are unhappy with the product, as it stands now I will not be purchasing the XB1 and I cannot think of any gamer I know that will either.

I'm thinking though that this is really a symptom of a larger problem at Microsoft, or at least with their culture. Remember that for a long time Microsoft has been an Operating system and application only vendor. And for a lot of people for a long time they have been the only Operating system and application vendor. (if you don't believe me find and office that is not running windows as their primary OS, if you do I bet they are using office as their productivity suite). This has meant for a long time (decades even) Microsoft has been able to dictate the shape these environments were going to take. Over the years Microsoft has been able to make dramatic changes to Windows or the UI of their other products and pretty much force feed the consumers their new vision of the the way we should use our computers (remember when windows 8 launched, or vista, or XP, or 95). Every time there was a change that included things we don't like and every time we complained and then eventually shut up about it. This has built a culture in Microsoft that leads them to think they can do what ever they want and we have to follow whether we want too or not.

The problem they with Gaming though is that they are not the only game in town. While Market share is pretty evenly split between  Sony and Microsoft (Nintendo rounds out the big three) Sony has been in the game a lot longer than MS. The PS4 announcements at E3 seem to not contain any of the nerd rage educing features that the XB One has. Gamers are notoriously fickle, brand loyalty means very little to this group, if you cannot deliver the experience they want they are going to take their money else where, and at the current price point I have trouble imagining gamers dropping the money on both.


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