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Microsoft meets Orwell and EA

Microsoft meets Orwell and EA

We’re all, to some degree, familiar with George Orwell’s nightmarish novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. It’s about civilization’s plight against Big Brother, a fascist dictator who surveils the populace through everything, even their televisions.

The way it seems, the Xbox One is on its way to making that possible. The Xbox One requires the packed in Kinect 2 to work. The Kinect 2 is much more powerful and accurate than its predecessor. It has the ability to recognize your voice and is powerful enough to detect your heartbeat and surroundings, even in absolute darkness. An internet connection is also required, along with personal information. It looks like Orwell’s worst nightmare has come true.

Of course, I’m joking. But, admittedly, these requirements might make a lot of people uncomfortable. Who could blame them? On top of that, it’s also a major inconvenience.

If you ever used the Xbox Kinect, you know that it is kind of a piece of garbage. Using it for menu navigations is horrible. Using it in game is even worse. It only seems functional for voice use, like in Skyrim. But that’s about it. The Kinect would need a ton of work before it’s ready for all-the-time use. I can’t imagine Microsoft made it that good in such a short amount of time.

A required internet connection could also be difficult for a lot of people. Many people outright don’t have internet. Many more people have internet connections that are not reliable enough for a required connection.

On top of this, Microsoft is getting a little tight-fisted, a lá EA.

Introducing new, inconvenient DRM. The Xbox One requires the periodic internet connection so that it can verify your library of games. Which hasn’t been a problem or been a major dent in Microsoft’s pocket to begin with. No method of DRM will ever be 100% fool-proof. All that inconvenient DRM does is alienate you from your paying and loyal customers. Piracy will always be an issue, but punishing your customer base will NEVER be the solution. The game Amnesia had one of my favorite piracy-stopping methods. What they did was they gave the Justine DLC to every legitimate owner of the game. That is how you slow down pirates.

On top of this, if I wanted to try a game before I buy it, I can’t. The games force hard drive installs, meaning the disc is just a shell for the game to get to your Xbox in. That game becomes registered to your Gamertag. If you put the same disc in another Xbox, you have to buy the whole game online, paying full price. There’s another flaw here. If I wanted to play local multiplayer on a game at a friend’s house and the friend has his own Xbox, that doesn’t matter. I still have to haul my whole system over there. How unreasonable is that?

The used games market is going to come to an end at the hands of the Xbox One as well, it seems. Since I can’t play a disc already registered to another user, I can’t just buy a second-hand copy of a game. I have to buy a brand new one. The only clarification Microsoft has offered on this is that they themselves will handle transfers of used games themselves. Which sounds scary. Assessment of fees up to full release price of the game have been rumored, but there’s no confirmation about that as of yet.

I find GameStop to be a pretty evil store, with them charging more than a game’s worth and paying out 1% of that, with their fake cases and lack of cover art, with their quick eradication of previous-gen software. But the Xbox One seeking to take them out ruthlessly by eliminating their control of used games? THAT is much more evil. Along with damaging all of the other used games shops that I happen to love.

A lot of people weren’t impressed with the Xbox One. I’m among them. I hate the console wars, especially since the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 were almost indistinguishable. But in this one, the Sony and Nintendo fanboys can sing. Microsoft is damaging the consumers and fast. I hope they can make a comeback from all of this negativity.

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