E3 2013Features

Opinion: An open letter to Microsoft

Dear Microsoft,

Ever reminisce about the days when your only contribution to the console space was nothing but a piecemeal OS for the Sega Dreamcast? Remember when the original Xbox was nothing but a fever dream shared by a bunch of crazy guys with the balls to pull it off? When Halo was destined to be a Mac title?

I do.

It’s barely been twelve years since the original beast of a black and green box hit the stores (or in our case, our favourite parallel importer) and from a feisty, scrappy competitor with the gumption to take the fight to the big boys that were Sony and Nintendo, you’ve managed to be the de facto console of choice for many. From Gears of War to Halo and a slew of titles, Kinect or otherwise, it’s been good.

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So why are you so hellbent in performing the video games equivalent of an anal probe on a user base that has ensured your prosperity?

Killing the used games market is one thing. But disrespecting the ownership rights is another. You might argue that the power of the cloud would open up new experiences. That we should wait for E3 to see the games. Or that Kinect can be switched off.

But what’s the point of all that when you’ve put an expiry date on content? Heaven forbid the Xbox One games I buy run into a legal conundrum like Too Human which found itself pulled from stores and destroyed. Considering the lack of control we have over the Xbox One, you could easily make a title disappear with the flip of a switch.

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You might even say that PC services such as Steam do the same thing. Well, Steam also lets me mod my games, obtain fresh titles at a super low price thanks to sales and allows me to play offline. Thanks to the open nature of the PC, there’s always a way or two to get around any potential hindrances that lets me continue enjoying the content I have paid for. And speaking of purchasing, it’s not like I’d be buying games no. You’ve thought it to be a good idea to sell me damn license to play the game that’s tied to my account. If I’m on a friend’s Xbox One, you’ll be making his console phone Redmond every hour instead of the usual 24-hour DRM check which is bad enough.

Most of the crucial details on the Xbox One seem sketchy and to be honest, there’s more confidence to be derived from Nigerian email scammers than a company responsible for some of the better video game experience I’ve been fortunate to have.

The point I’m trying to make is, you are where you are thanks to me and millions of others. It’s not entitlement to ask, nay, request that you don’t treat your audience like they were criminals because that’s the feeling I get every time I hear news related to your latest and greatest box of goodness.

Yours truly,

Rishi

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