It’s hard to keep up with all of the changes Microsoft has made regarding its policies for the Xbox One. Not so long ago, you needed an internet connection just to play a game, you had to have the Kinect plugged in at all times to play your Xbox One, and there was a brand new way to share games that the gaming community didn’t seem ready for yet. Now, all of that has changed. Gamers have reacted in many different ways to these policy back turns, and it seems that Microsoft is going to have a hard time convincing people that they have changed.
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I interviewed three local gamers: Andrew Semicek, founder of wethenerdy.com, Ryan Gross, an Xbox 360 loyal, and Evan Podlaseck, co-founder of PXLpushers on YouTube, to get their opinions on the Xbox One’s policy reversals.
When you first saw the Xbox One announcement at Microsoft’s press conference earlier this year, knowing the price point, required internet connection, and the new policy on sharing games with friends and family, did you think you would be buying an Xbox One?
Andrew: No I did not. All but the family sharing plan turned me off immediately.
Ryan: No, I wouldn't have batted an eye over the Xbox One. The idea of sharing games with several people is awesome, but it upset me with how they treated their customers. I'm not a military man by any means, but to tell the armed forces that you're stuck with the 360 and act smug about it? That's poor representation as a company.
Evan: I knew it from the start that I wasn’t buying an Xbox One, and that’s coming from an Xbox 360 fan. The Xbox One is no longer a gaming system; it’s a TV box that sometimes plays games. Some of the features were cool, but it seemed like they didn’t trust their customers anymore.
Did Microsoft’s press conference at E3 a few months later change your opinions on the Xbox One and your decision whether to purchase one or not?
Andrew: No, it solidified my decision. After the off-handed comments Don Mattrick made about the One, I decided that if I were to purchase any new console moving forward it would be PS4.
Ryan: No, because if it weren't for Microsoft being obnoxious, I might've considered it. Let's face it: broke college students can't drop $60 on a single game, and they offered a way to cope. However, they ruined that. Now since they're reverting back to the physical disc policy, I don't see a reason to ever go with Xbox again. I won’t be buying a PS4 either; there isn't enough support for it to be considered as a worthwhile investment, in my opinion.
Evan: It improved the image a bit, but it still didn’t convince me to buy an Xbox One. Some of the games looked good, but they didn’t sell me on them.
It seems that, even though Microsoft has changed a lot of its policies, gamers aren’t being very forgiving. Do you think Microsoft lost some of their fanbase that they cannot get back?
Andrew: I think they lost a large amount of their fanbase, namely armed forces who have no internet access and many of whom played 360 to relax.
Ryan: As a redditor (a well-known online community), when they dropped the news about the Xbox One and its always-on policy, PS4 memes went rampant. Even now, people are leery, and I know some people who'll get the system, but it's because they're stuck with their Xbox-exclusive first-person shooters like Halo.
Evan: Oh yeah, definitely. They lost ME, which is saying a lot. I don’t disagree with the used game policy, I just don’t think it was the right time to implement something like that. They lost a lot of their fanbase because they were rude to their customers.
The Kinect is now optional, but it will still come bundled with the system. Do you think this is going to steer some people away from the console if they aren’t interested in the Kinect?
Andrew: Yeah, I think so. By adding the additional $100 price onto the console, it will hurt early adopters when PCs are already higher powered and actually cheaper now.
Ryan: Not really. The R.O.B. came with the NES to make it seem more like a toy than a video game after the arcade market crashed. I think it makes Microsoft's purpose unclear though. I don't want a DVR; I want a mostly dedicated console.
Evan: If they announce there will be an Xbox One with no Kinect, I might strongly consider buying one, especially if it goes down to $400. Even though you might not use it for games, people will use it for a lot of the other TV-related stuff. A lot of gamers say they don’t like Kinect, but I think Kinect is underutilized a lot. I want to see Kinect utilized for games, such as in Mass Effect 3 where you can shout out voice commands. I want to see more of that.
At the end of the day, after all of these policy changes, do you, today, plan on buying an Xbox One at launch? Why or why not?
Andrew: I do not. For $400, it's too expensive for me in my current state. Also, none of the launch titles look like they will blow me away.
Ryan: No. Microsoft is assuming that people will buy their console regardless of how they act. That is not the case. They only changed policies because of a public outcry, resulting in PS4 preorders beating them tremendously. I, however, will not be buying a PS4; in my opinion there isn't enough support for it to be considered a worthwhile investment.
Evan: As of right now, no. I will keep my 360. I’m going to do my best to pay for my PS4 without selling my 360. It’s not just about policy stuff, it’s about PlayStation trusting their customers and Microsoft doing the opposite. I think PS4 could lead in the next console race for a while. A lot of their games looked better and more innovative. I plan on getting an Xbox One eventually, but not at launch.
So there you have it. All three of these gamers were not won over by Microsoft, even though they reversed the policies that most gamers were upset about.
Do you plan on purchasing an Xbox One at launch?
Have the policies regarding the system changed your mind about purchasing one?