Microsoft has been a pretty successful — scratch that — very successful company with their Windows OS and Xbox, their introduction to the console war. But now that the next generation is upon us, and the reveal of Playstation 4 has occurred, people are anxious to find out what Microsoft has up their sleeve next. Namely, the Xbox 720, or “Durango”.
Before I go into a rant, because it’s going to happen, I thought I would run through some rumors that have been circulating. Microsoft is allegedly getting ready for an event of their own, sometime in April, to what many think will be the reveal of their new console. It sort of makes sense, what with Sony having revealed their next console last month with more details to come this year. I suspect that Microsoft wants to 1UP them. No one wants to go into E3 already lagging behind. The specifications are said to be very similar to the Playstation 4, which could mean that both are equally simple to develop for. But the biggest rumor was that both Playstation 4 and “Durango” were looking to wipe out used gaming. When the Playstation 4 was revealed, there was a welcomed absence of the announcement to wipe out used gaming. But about a few days after, it was revealed that Playstation 4 does have the technology to implement this, but it’s entirely up to the developers, which shows me at least that Sony are alright with the used gaming market. Besides, Sony is a multi-billion dollar company, and they probably have a swimming pool of money for their employees just to swim in.
Now, this is where the rant begins; a news story, reported by our friends at IGN, has shown that Microsoft are going forward with wiping out the used gaming market. Each game will have to be installed, leaving the optical discs only use for installation purposes. The system will not be able to play from the disc itself. It has also been said that the new Xbox will be using Blu-ray this time around.
At this point, stop reading this article, put your heads down, and let’s have a moment of silence for our friends. Why? because I think this decision is outright suicide for a console. And to make matters worse, the Xbox will feature “always on, always online”. If that doesn’t sound familiar, it should. EA had a heart attack, resulting in the giveaway of a game from their back catalog, just so consumers would be satisfied with the server overloads on SimCity. And these games weren’t all old, seeing Dead Space 3 as one of the choices so technically, you got $120 worth of games, for $60. One would have assumed that Microsoft would have learned from EA’s mistake, resulting in loss of money, but it seems they missed the countless articles on EA’s blunder. They must not use computers.
The termination of used gaming will see such stores as GameSpot and Electronics Boutique suffer because a lot of their market relies on those sales. Not only that, but gaming is a very expensive hobby. The used gaming market allows those that are less financially stable to be introduced to new franchises and developers. I want to think that Microsoft is a smart company, so I started to think about what they could do to counter this decision. This is what I came up with:
Maybe what Microsoft is toying with is the idea of making games much more affordable for the consumer. Bargain bins are a gamer’s best friend, resulting in beloved franchises being sold for $19.99 after several months, and sometimes years after the initial release. The funds from these games are then sent to the developers and company, meaning that they are still garnering money from the sales. So, this makes me wonder if Microsoft is trying to come up with a system to see their games’ prices reduced at a faster pace, like say a few months, so that it can accommodate for the lack of a used games market. But then you think of the idea on a business front, and the company would ultimately start losing money because consumers will get wise to the tactics, and decide to wait because spending $19.99 is far better then spending $59.99.
I will leave you with this final thought. While speaking with some of my fellow Bago-associates, I came up with a crazy notion of why Microsoft is doing this. Maybe they are bowing out of the console war and this will be their last one. Reason I say this is because their pride won’t let them just outright say, “We quit.” So instead, they are setting themselves up for failure, and their commercials for advertising will actually be a white flag. Of course, this was all said in humor, but my opinion remains — Microsoft, what in the bloody hell are you doing?