Wouldn’t it be nice if Microsoft could settle on a strategy? Not that I’m complaining: by E3 2013 in June Sony was all ready to be declared the winner of the 2013 Console War before either contender had seen a Chinese factory floor. Since then Microsoft has more or less gotten its shit together, and gone back on pretty much all its horrendous policies, and is actually looking quite like an actual, strong contender for the race.
Currently XBOne doesn’t need constant connection, as if your modem is a life-support machine or a parole officer, accepts used-disk games and does not realize George Orwell’s vision in 1984 with a constant Kinect eye watching you eat waffles and masturbate, or constantly stand by ready to call the police to your house, if it sees you play the game with someone not previously screened by Microsoft. The XBLA and XBox marketplace are even going to allow indie developers into the game. XBOX One is starting to look more like a crappier PC and XBLA starts to look a lot like a crappier Steam. Yes, it is not the worst thing ever anymore. So is it a good guy now? NO!
Here I’d like to quote Microsoft’s Interctive Entertainment Business President Don Mattrick. If you like, you can read the following statement in your head in a disrespectful, ironic and dismissive tone.
Since unveiling our plans for Xbox One, my team and I have heard directly from many of you, read your comments and listened to your feedback. I would like to take the opportunity today to thank you for your assistance in helping us to reshape the future of Xbox One.
I don’t think you are quite as grateful as you say you are at millions of angry, self-righteous nerds complaining at you at the top of their voice, but whatever you say Don.
You told us how much you loved the flexibility you have today with games delivered on disc. The ability to lend, share, and resell these games at your discretion is of incredible importance to you. Also important to you is the freedom to play offline, for any length of time, anywhere in the world.
– “Your Feedback Matters – Update on Xbox One” on June 19th 2013.
Even though Microsoft got down from their Ivory Control Tower cracked under investor and end-user pressure, we should not yet forget all the things it wanted to do. Did it want to instigate extremist end-user control? Absolutely yes. Did it want to knob the end-user with connection restrictions and subject everyone to a monopolized digital market? Absolutely. Did it want to eradicate the free used-games market for the benefit of its own distribution system and major corporate affiliates, such as Game Stop? Fuck. Yes. Would they do exactly that, if there was not a serious Japanese-based contender, that did not dick its consumer base as bad and was slightly cheaper? All signs point to…yes.
And perhaps this is a good time to bring up another issue with the next generation: eradicating the previous console’s library with a blunt refusal to incorporate backwards compatibility into the huge, hulking fucking box. Personally, I want to hold on to my 360 games: I put enough bloody money into them in the first place. Backwards compatible hardware is not the technological dead weight that comes with the console, it’s the useless motion control gimmick that never caught on in the first place, that they insist on packing along for the ride.
So here is the current generation: exactly the same as the last one, minus the stick-waggling Nintendo Wii. It’s kind of endearing to see that while even Microsoft – the closest thing after Apple to a totalitarian dictatorship, where war crimes are a national past-time – can learn from its terrible, tragic mistakes, Nintendo is still sitting in a puddle of its own pee and hitting a toy lorry against its own head. Some people are quite upset about the lack of “innovation” in the new line of consoles, but maybe it’s not that bad. The current 360-PS3-Wii console line-up was (is still until Christmas) very well balanced and offered something for everyone, and worked very well for the consumer. All actual “innovation” that Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo were wanting to bring to the market back-fired fabulously, and it might be worth considering that the current place in gaming is as good as current hard-ware will allow. At least until Oculus Rift hits the market, or until gaming hardware can simulate cheese cake and blow-jobs.