In response to criticism of the Xbox One’s DRM and used game policy, Microsoft has removed the system’s daily online connection requirement and restrictions on game trading. The Xbox One can now play games from the disc, and owners will not have to download the game.
I was thinking of writing a longer article on the entire Xbox One vs. PS4 debate, but Microsoft’s decision to completely reverse their policies has changed the argument. I never expected Microsoft to completely change their stance. The fact that they did suggests that the negative reaction they received coupled with Sony’s popularity at E3 really scared them. This is huge step for gamers and consumers, and shows that your opinion does matter. If Microsoft can be frightened to the point doing a complete 180°, the same can be done for Sony, Nintendo, and all the various publishers and developers out there. You can’t just put out any product you want while ignoring feedback, and if you want to sell a console or a game, you need to have the fans on your side. The Xbox One is officially back in the running. Now let’s see if they can justify the higher price.
Microsoft has released the official details about the Xbox One’s online connectivity and used games policy. While it won’t need a constant internet connection, the Xbox One requires users log in once every 24 hours on their main console and once every hour on other consoles. Xbox One games can be traded in to “participating retailers.” Up to ten people can use your game library from any Xbox One, and you can give your Xbox One games away to someone else, but you are required to have been friends on Xbox One for 30 days, and you can only give a game away once.
Microsoft had very hazy policies on these two topics, until now, and I couldn’t be more disappointed. It seems people care more about their used games than anything else, because that seemed to be the issue on various message boards as opposed to literal DRM. What no one seems to realize is that PC games don’t have a used option, and it works just fine. If anything, PC gaming is better off because, without used games, developers can afford to have huge sales on their games because they are making a profit. When someone buys a used game at GameStop, the developers see none of that money. I was hoping the Xbox One would embrace digital distribution in exchange for used games, and possibly opt for a system similar to Steam. Instead, used games still exist with new, strange restrictions.
Meanwhile, the online policy remains the same, connect online once a day, or we take your games. Or once an hour if you are not on your main console. This is DRM, plain and simple. And it should never be tolerated, especially when it is coming from the console itself. This is a ridiculous requirement, and the fact that it went through unscathed while used games were shoehorned into the system is insanity. At this point, none of the next-generation consoles have managed to catch my interest. Rather, I feel more isolated as a gamer than ever before. Of course, E3 is right around the corner, but even if Microsoft pulled out all the stops, I can’t see myself opting into such a system.
Precursor Games plans to cancel their Kickstarter and Paypal crowdfunding drives for Shadows of the Eternals on June 6. The campaigns, which were scheduled to continue until June 18, failed to meet their $1.35 million goal, receiving a total of $284,959. The spiritual successor to Eternal Darkness will have a new crowdfunding campaign withing the next few weeks, which will also feature new developments into the game.
The former members of Silicon Knights have something to prove if they want to succeed with their new game. It is unquestionable that Eternal Darkness has achieved cult status, but that alone doesn’t entitle the developers to a cool million and change. Considering the developer’s more recent works, the new developments better impress. I want Shadows of the Eternals to happen. But first Precursor Games need to prove they can make it happen.
Creative Director at Irrational Games Ken Levine recently addressed the choice of box art for Bioshock Infinite, which has faced criticism from many. Levine explained that the cover art was designed to appeal to people unaware of the game, as opposed to fans who’ve been following the title since its announcement. Levine assured fans that Irrational games will provide alternate cover art that can be printed out.
Walking the tightrope between business and art always seems to be an issue with media. It’s easy to cry “sell out,” but you need only look at history to discover that the quality of your work doesn’t mean a good life. Can I blame Irrational Games for trying to appeal to the type of person who will spend $60 because the cover has a gun, fire, and the American flag? No. Will the box change the content of the game? Also, no. This is not the worst cover art ever made for a game. (This is.) However, what could have been great has resigned itself to mediocrity, a blemish on what seems will be an amazing game.