E3 and the XBox 180

This years E3 was the funniest episode of the Apprentice EVER! And I can’t wait to see who gets fired.

The more I think about it, Microsoft simply did every single thing wrong. From the naming of the console all the way through to their greedy DRM circus.

This was not the year (or generation) to be alienating gamers. Since the last generation of consoles, gaming has grown an extra limb in mobile gaming, and in comparison to however successful the gameboys of the past have been, the ubiquitous nature of the mobile phone makes it a very powerful limb indeed.

But mobile gaming has brought even more than a gaming platform to the pockets of almost the entire population. We also now have fully realised micro-payments, freemium and cross-device ownership with arguably NO risk of piracy. Phenomenal!

Meanwhile in console world many people didn’t even feel they needed a new console as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 have completely blossomed in the last few years.

So the XBox One gets announced and trounced; People hate the name (XBone), internet connection was mandatory, It didn’t allow game swapping, sharing or selling (due to the nature of the Digital Royalties Management) and was, to top it off, considerably more expensive than the PS4.

Many accuse the attempted assignation of the second-hand market as the killer blow that chased away otherwise faithful hard-core fans, but I also believe that strategically, backward compatibility is the peg that holds in customer loyalty.

Because without backward compatibility it would make little difference to the customer if they did choose to move to PS4 or other console. Perhaps Microsoft was gambling too high on gamers built-up profiles and achievement collections.

Whatever mechanisms console and game-makers implement is understandable. They deserve to get paid. But selling on old games is a sacred ceremony of a larger gaming religion that has clearly been violated here.

Sometimes you have to let some crumbs fall to the bottom feeders who in turn sustains a larger ecology. Should you get greedy and gather them up, the whole house of cards could fall.

Microsoft has wisely done a 180 on their position and have removed online DRM and will allow gamers to share and sell games as before. But damage has most certainly been done. I hope for their sake not too much.

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