The evil bastards!
They want us to be connected to the internet ALL THE TIME? Indies can't self-publish? They're not giving us a free headset? Kinect needs to be plugged in for it even to turn on? HANGING'S TOO GOOD FOR 'EM!
Well, firstly I still find it very hard to believe that a significant number of those willing to lay down FOUR HUNDRED AND THIRTY SODDING POUNDS on a new games console don't have a wireless network set up at home. But yes, I concede, some people use TalkTalk so will therefore not have a reliable internet connection and in those circumstances Xbox One might prove problematic.
The indie self-publishing thing? Yeah, that was utterly stupid. Thank god they reversed that. A free headset? The most boring story of 2013 to date. Kinect? As an optional extra I can see how it would appeal to people. It doesn't appeal to me. I swap my gaming between the main screen and a monitor for when the other house humans want to watch TV so basing any setup on the static housing of a camera is a pain for me. I'd rather be rid of it.
So I was pleased when Microsoft this morning quietly announced another Xbox One U-turn when it admitted that Xbox One will now be permitted to function without Kinect being attached to it.
After Microsoft's catastrophic E3 reveal there was no doubt in my mind that I'd never own an Xbox One. Has my opinion changed now we're two months down the line, the draconian DRM has gone and I'm free to leave Kinect in the box? Yeah, definitely. All they need to do now is shave 100 off the RRP and you can sign me up as an interested party.
But how can that be? Why on earth would I have changed my mind? Well, because Microsoft announced Xbox One alongside a number of ridiculous policies. Everyone told them over and over again that these policies were ridiculous so Microsoft has dropped them.
That's a good thing. Surely that's a good thing? How can that not be a good thing?
So why oh why do I read all this criticism of Microsoft every time another policy change is announced? Every time it proves that it's willing to listen to consumers? Every time it gets rid of things we hated about Xbox One?
"So what is Microsoft to do? Stand by its
guns and prove that it doesn't give a toss
what anyone thinks and try and sell the
Xbox One on the strength of principal,
hoping that a groundswell of respect for
its ongoing disregard for the views of its
target market slowly stokes up the pre-orders?"
Every time I dare ask this question on Twitter I tend to get more or less the same response. Microsoft looks weak”, Microsoft should have stuck by its guns”, Microsoft shouldn't have been so arrogant in the first place”, Microsoft's policies look muddled”.
No shit! Of course its policy is muddled. It revealed what it regarded as an innovative and forward-looking digital roadmap for the next generation of consoles and we all unanimously rejected it.
So what is it to do? Stand by its guns and prove that it doesn't give a toss what anyone thinks and try and sell the Xbox One on the strength of principal, hoping that a groundswell of respect for its ongoing disregard for the views of its target market slowly stokes up the pre-orders?
That's mental! Yes, it screwed up the launch big time. So now it is trying to make amends by doing all of the things that we all asked for.
Dear god, I even read a piece this morning arguing that the dropping of Kinect is bad because it might kill the accessory dead! Kinect will have a long and fruitful life provided it offers a suite of functionality that consumers are willing to buy into. If it doesn't, it won't. That's how consumerism works and that's how its fate should be decided.
Microsoft's sole responsibility and sole reason for existing is to make money and please its shareholders. That's an awful truth and it makes me despair about the world but that is how it is. If you don't like it then there's no point whining about Microsoft – join with me and together we'll forge a new world order built on a blend of socialism and responsible capitalism.
But until then, to expect – or even criticise – Microsoft to reacting to what was a period of prolonged and forceful feedback is stupid. Just stupid. It demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding about how the current world operates. Microsoft needs Xbox One to succeed. Therefore it is duty bound to release a product that will appeal. A product that will appeal to all the people who hated always online, mandatory Kinect and the lack of a headset.
If you honestly can't forgive Microsoft for the vision with which it announced the Xbox One then OK, you're absolutely 100 per cent entitled not to buy the console. But when the dust settles and Microsoft launches a console in November that is far, far more appealing than the one we were presented with in LA, I do wonder how many people will decide to miss out because of a now rectified set of mistakes that were made five months ago.