Kotaku isn’t kidding when they say the Xbox One had a “very bad day” yesterday. In an attempt to assuage customer concerns over several key security and licensing questions, Microsoft has seemingly made things worse by either confirming earlier fears or creating new ones.
For instance, as had been reported before, the Xbox One will require an online authentication check every 24 hours. If it fails to establish an online connection the console will be locked out from offline gaming until one is established.
What’s particularly irksome about this policy is that honest gamers are being seemingly punished for the sins of others.
It also feels slightly big-brother-ish. As if we can’t be trusted with “our” consoles so Microsoft will take on the responsibility of “monitoring” us.
Also, consider this. Much has been made of situations where internet may not be present; such as: rural areas, Military bases, certain vacation spots. All valid concerns. However, what happens to your Xbox One in 15 or so years when Microsoft drops support? After all, An Super Nintendo from 1990 doesn’t require an authentication check every 24 hours to function. What happens to your old Xbox One when it has no service to check into?
That’s what should consumers the most about the Xbox One: that you’re essentially renting functionality from Microsoft.
Another “point of clarification” about the Xbox One: despite Microsoft’s initial sales pitch, the new Kinect sensor can be turned off until a game or service requires it.
So, okay, it won’t watch you sleep like some erroniously assumed it would. However, as the press release clarifies, you can use other input methods to control the system. Which begs the larger question: why the fuck is the sensor mandatory in the first place?
Unless, of course, Microsoft plans to backpedal on the Kinect’s importance as well.
Kotaku sums up some other choice tidbits:
The Xbox One will allow the sale of used games, at “participating retailers”, but only if the publisher allows it. Publishers being the very people opposed most fiercely to used video game sales.
There are restrictions on how you can “give” and “loan” your games away. What’s more, lending won’t be available at launch, with Microsoft still “exploring the possibilities with our partners”.
At least the One will allow you to have up to ten people in a “family” to share your content amongst.
It remains to be seen how the average consumer reacts to the Xbox One. I suspect Microsoft’s biggest hurdle won’t be authentication checks and used game sales - rather explaining to consumers just how this stupid console works.
I mean, the company can’t even figure it out themselves.
Update: Polygon points out that Xbox profiles accessed on foreign consoles (say a friend’s Xbox) will be subject to an authentication check every hour. What an amazing lack of faith in the user on Microsoft’s part.