It’s been a few weeks now, and the dust has finally started to settle since Microsoft turned away from a used game DRM policy that set the internet on fire earlier this year, and yet, despite these changes, it’s still difficult to say whether any consumer trust been regained. The internet is a vocal place, and it’s not always easy to gauge whether we’re hearing the opinion of the majority, or simply an aggressive minority. However, sales speak for themselves, and despite the turnaround, the PS4 has simply been eclipsing the Xbox One in pre-order sales.
So, with all this being said, what’s the next step for this corporate giant?
Microsoft: “We have an idea, let’s try and give some love to the indie community, self-publishing appears to be a strong point for Sony and important to consumers” – The Resonse: Okay, that’s fine. Still not good enough.
Microsoft: “Oh, I know, lets do an unboxing video to show fans we’re including a headset, that way we can clarify that they won’t be forced to chat with the Kinect!” – The Response: Outrage over an external power brick.
Microsoft: “Ouch, we weren’t expecting that! How about we just don’t force consumers to have the camera plugged in at all, that way people can feel more comfortable with the system being in their livings rooms?”
That announcement was made this morning, but I have doubts whether it will make a lot of difference. The name “Xbox One” has been branded as dishonest, and it’s anyone’s guess as to how that reputation can be repaired.
This is not a safe position for Microsoft, and whilst it’s actually reasonable to assume that Xbox isn’t vital to the company given their arrogant approach during the initial announcement, the interactive entertainment division is actually one of their most profitable areas. I can assure you that there is a lot of panic going on at the Microsoft offices whether they choose to openly express it or not, and lets be honest, what are their options? Trust can take a lifetime to earn, and yet, only seconds to destroy. There is no quick fix that can change that. Naturally, listening to public feedback is a positive quality, but taken in hindsight does not help to build upon their integrity – at all. If anything, Microsoft is acting like the arrogant ex-boyfriend who just got dumped, and is now grovelling at our feet promising that he can change. Clearly, desperate times call for desperate measures, so why should we trust them?
If anything is clear by now, it’s the fact that trust is the real problem, and whether or not every single action they take truly deserves to be criticised so harshly, it’s all irrelevant because they have lost the faith of their core consumer base. I’m not justifying how ridiculous some complaints have been, but when you can’t trust someone, anything they do is subject to questioning. “What stops you from restoring DRM if it was so simple to remove? Why didn’t you include a headset in the first place, and why are you changing your stance on the Kinect when you said it was the future? – What’s your deal?” Ironically, it may be genuine, but we just can’t truly know that, and that’s what’s so worrying. Honestly, I’m intrigued by how far they will go to try and win back the consumers by launch, because without a complete re-brand and re-introduction of the system, I’m at a loss for anything other than time.
From Microsoft PR (Albert Penello), posted on NEOGAF:
“We still believe in Kinect. We aren’t interested in splitting the development base. The more demos I’ve seen, the more I’ve used it – the more impressed I am. The team feels strongly about Kinect, and I hope we’re able to prove that when you use it.
We also have a ton of privacy settings to allow people to turn off the camera, or microphones, or put it in a state just for “Xbox On” and IR blasting – there will be a lot of user control for that.
The thing we all understood, and hence this change, is that there are some scenarios where people just may not be comfortable. We wanted people to be 100% comfortable, so we allow the sensor to be unplugged. And clearly the “it dropped” scenario is possible.
The most obvious thing is watching a DVD/BD, or streaming a movie, or HDMI pass-through, your experience isn’t impacted (except you miss voice and IR blasting)
There is no “gotcha”, but obviously, if there is a game that REQUIRES Kinect (like Rivals), or something where Kinect IS the experience (like Skype), those won’t work.
That said, for people who have privacy concerns there are user control settings, which we believe are great.”