Xbox One: Changing Policies for the Worse


The console wars have been going for many years now. Previously, archenemies Nintendo and Sega were the two colossal companies competing with each other. Now, this battle has been replaced with the frenetic, amusing and ugly war between Microsoft and Sony. Obviously, with new consoles coming in November for both parties, there’s bound to be competition, but to me, some of it pushes it too far. Before I start, yes I own an Xbox 360, but I wouldn’t consider myself biased. Both companies’ consoles look amazing and I respect what both MS and Sony have done with their products.

Now, to begin with, the Xbox One didn’t have the greatest reveal. Well, in all honesty it had quite the opposite. Critics and fans were bemused by what the Xbox One actually was, and Microsoft not being very clear didn’t help either. Microsoft’s policies may have been different, but there’s nothing wrong with trying to innovate. Sony on the other hand, played it safe. Now, I’m not slating either party for what they had brought to the table. I respect and see where both companies were coming from, but honestly, Microsoft wasn’t given a chance.

Sony capitalized on Microsoft’s failure in an instant. Regarding the Xbox One’s used games fiasco, Sony released a video (see below) of two men exchanging a game, showing how to share used games on the PlayStation 4. I’ll admit, I enjoyed the video, but the unseemly dig at Microsoft was unneeded as Sony was already dominating the console war. Everything looked as if the console war was finished before either console was even released.  Sony had the high ground, and there seemed to be no way that they could falter. And then Microsoft’s stances and policies began to crumble.

I was proud of Sony, as they stuck to their guns, which was a pleasant surprise. Right off the bat the PlayStation 4 and an immense presence, both power and market-wise. Sony’s strategy and marketing was flawless too. Showing tons of games as soon as possible, before even showing the console, was a fantastic idea. Their policies may not reinvent the gaming industry, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Adding new features, which were unique (until Microsoft copied them) and having great exclusive games (hopefully The Last of Us 2 in the near future) made Sony the clear frontrunner in this console war. Now that Sony is finally making a profit, things can only get better. For the PlayStation 4 and Sony, the future looks very bright.

On the other hand, Microsoft had the biggest turn-around in gaming history regarding consoles (that I’ve witnessed), by completely changing everything about the Xbox One. All their policies had been revamped to please the consumer, and to compete with Sony. All the innovative ideas had been thrown out the window, as they were trying to save sales. Now, the policies for both consoles are practically identical, with miniscule differences. Was this a good decision for Microsoft? Most gamers thought so…but I’m not “most gamers”.

I wish Microsoft had stuck to their guns. In all honesty, their policies weren’t too bad when you actually delve into them. The main problem was that nobody knew what the policies were. The ‘Always On’ only required you to be online once in 24 hours, but for some reason this was a ‘horrendous’ idea. Most of their other policies which were frowned upon weren’t too shabby either, but then again, everyone’s afraid of change. Getting rid of the Kinect, for me was the last straw. The notion that the Kinect would ‘spy’ on you was ridiculous. If someone wants to see me rage at a video game, be my guest, but it won’t be a pretty sight. Now, the Kinect is an unnecessary accessory, which for some reason, will still be shipped with the console. All Microsoft has to do next is; remove the Kinect from the bundle and reduce the price, then what would you get? That’s right, the PlayStation 4.

So now, we’re stuck with two up-and-coming consoles that have identical policies and will function in a similar manner. Both consoles even resemble each other, so the main differences now are the exclusive games and and game content. Both companies have bought these exclusive game content deals to persuade their consumers to buy their console. It may be pathetic, but it works. I wouldn’t mind a free copy of FIFA 14 if I pre-order an Xbox One.

Next, it seems as if Microsoft and Sony will be handing out free cookies and lollipops, trying to entice gamers to buy their respective consoles. Don’t get me wrong, competition is great. Without it, prices would be high, there wouldn’t be many options, and in general, it would be an awful environment for consumers. However, when competition forces a company to change its position(s) on their own product to fall in line with consumer wishes, especially when it comes to stifling innovation and regressing forward-thinking concepts, policies, and ideas; I think that’s going a little too far. Sadly, we’ll never see what the real Xbox One would’ve been like; and instead we’ll see the PlayStation One.

Want to see what the SpawnCast think of the on-going console war between Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo and their respective consoles? Check it out below.