Microsoft have been a hot topic of late, and their arrogant approach to the next generation of consoles has proven to be nothing short of a disaster. No more than two weeks ago many dedicated Xbox Fans were willing to turn away from the gaming giant due to the issue of DRM, Sony was out having a field day with their marketing teams, and rumors suggest things were not sitting well with GameStop. (Also known as EB Games in Australia).
The main issue was miscommunication as Microsoft blatantly avoided the topic in all their major press conferences. Whether or not their intentions were genuine, they simply failed to deliver any of the benefits of what an always online console would mean for the industry, and this approach only further contributed to the damage of their reputation. The public feedback was overwhelming, and in a shocking turn of events they decided to break under pressure and perform a complete “180” on these policies. Of course, the gaming community was overjoyed, but was this really to be the end of Microsoft’s miscommunication? We’re not convinced.
During the Microsoft E3 2013 Press Conference, it was stated that they would be introducing a service called “Games with Gold” which promised to deliver 2 free games each month to Xbox Live Gold Members. Of course, anyone familiar with PlayStation Plus will know that this was a strategic move to be competitive with what Sony was already offering. However, today it’s become evident that this may have been another example of misdirection from the company. The general consensus from many was that this program would begin a quality offering with games like Assassins Creed II and Halo 3. This is not the case, and it is actually a cheap Xbox Arcade title called Defence Grid: The Awakening that will be offered to subscribers this month. Just a little disappointing?
FAQ: “Halo 3” and “Assassin’s Creed II" were mentioned as part of the program – no date was given for their release http://t.co/vjnE1sBAYj
— Larry Hryb (@majornelson) June 30, 2013
The reason we haven’t stated that Microsoft lied is because if you review the clip from E3 below, you will notice that the exact wording used is as follows: “and to kick off that program I’d like to share just two of the titles we’re going to offer over the next few months – Assassin’s Creed II, and Halo 3”. It was never actually stated outright that these games would be the first two titles available, but it’s certainly not stated otherwise either. It’s word craft at it’s finest, and I think it has ultimately set fans up for unrealistic expectations as to what games would be on offer.
Was this another example of Microsoft being dishonest? That’s hard to say, but it certainly wasn’t a genuine approach, and that’s what their biggest problem is at the moment. I personally believe in the potential of the Xbox One as a platform, but I can’t say the same for the executives who have been delivering all the official information about this vision. Everything that they have told us so far has just been so confusing and filled with miscommunication. It’s appalling really, and it’s also shocking that Microsoft didn’t learn from Sony’s arrogant mistakes last generation when they directly contributed to the success of the Xbox 360.
When I see Jack Tretton, Mark Cerny or any of the PlayStation representatives stand on stage, I feel as if I can trust what they’re saying. I also respect the fact that they’re not afraid to apologise for their mistakes, or to address the elephant in the room. And yet, I still don’t clearly understand what Microsoft’s intentions were with DRM or how the Xbox One roadmap is actually going to playout, and that’s concerning. I just see a corporate face that believes it knows what is best for the industry, and whether this is correct or not, they seem to think that circumventing controversy is okay. It’s not, and all that does is damage their reputation. Be honest Microsoft, that’s all we want.