I tend to think of myself as rather rational since I have nothing invested in the matter. I’m a PC gamer, my previous console was a PS2 that I last played maybe 5 years ago, and my previous console will probably be a PS3 so I can play The Last of Us.
So hopefully it doesn’t seem like I’m biased towards one side, but I have been arguing the same reasons again and again since the Xbox One reveal, after the initial “wtf did they just present” moment.
The Xbox One isn’t such a bad thing. I’m not going to get a console at launch regardless, but I don’t see where all the drama is coming from.
The Internet is broken
I’ve started to come to the realization over the last half year that the Internet is inherently broken - that is, the anonymity provided by the Internet is breaking and re-shaping social realities in ways that are absurd if you think about, but becoming more real.
Rather than promoting intelligent, rational discussion, you can have a huge, vocal, growing minority of the population scream out their heart’s intent immediately - Twitter, Facebook, chatrooms, forum boards - without any obligation behind their thoughts. After that initial outburst, there are usually three outcomes - the person disappears anonymously and gives it no thought again, or the person’s is positively or negatively reinforced by the voice of the majority.
The problem here is due to the power of the Internet. On the Internet, you can always be right - your name is anonymous and your opinion is throwable; even if you’re wrong you can simply justify it as, I was only playing devil’s advocate, or that my opinion on the Internet is not how I feel in real life. And similarly, by promoting anonymity, the Internet also for the most part eliminates that need for acceptance. Rather than accepting your opinion is invalid (or at the very least, misguided), you can simply find a way to attack the naysayer, or simply disappear and ignore the interaction, because it’s not “who you are” anyways.
And this problem has exacerbated to the point where a sizable portion of the population who hangs around large social areas, say Reddit, can hold onto opinions that don’t make sense long after the opinion should have been re-evaluated, fueled by the positive feedback the person gets from others that feel the same way.
So here’s where the Xbox One reveal comes in.
1. The name.
First off, I’m not really a fan of insulting something if I want to criticize it. It’s unprofessional and most of all contributes nothing to anything. So the initial outbursts of “Xbone” were pretty distracting. It could’ve honestly turned to become a great name - if Microsoft did well people might’ve said they had “Xboners” or something silly of that nature. Well, Microsoft didn’t do well and people criticized the name immediately. They still do.
But for some reason it’s completely over the heads of those people to actually think of what the name means in the grand scheme of things. Their initial impressions are - what a stupid company. I have to agree there’s a certain lack of foresight into naming your 3rd console the One, but upon thinking about it a bit more, the only logical explanation for a restarting number scheme is to promote the idea that this isn’t simply just the next revision of the Xbox, it’s a whole new device. A multi-billion dollar company is not dumb enough to not have any reasoning behind changing the name of one of their most important brands.
2. The now-revoked always-on 24-hour Internet check.
The Xbox One initially came out with the requirement that in order to play the games, you would have to be online at least once every 24 hours. And again, initial outbursts weren’t largely negative, complaining about … what exactly? The need to be online?
As a PC gamer, I’m pretty much used to how my computer is essentially a brick without the Internet - most games I’ll ever play require an Internet check considering they’re online multiplayer. Maybe it’s just a quality of being an only computer guy, but I don’t see anything inherently wrong with being online. In reality, when you’re in the situation to play games, you’re going to have access to the Internet. No one in any major city in Canada or USA has any reason to complain, because this isn’t year 2000 and every family who can afford an Xbox in the first place will definitely have an Internet connection, plus a computer. And the same goes for many parts of the westernized Asian countries, alongside a good portion of the EU. The reality is, for the last 5 years, and for the forseeable future, the Internet is going to be as essential as the power grid.
In the last 2 years I have experienced about 1 day in total of non-self-caused Internet downtime. That’s simply how it’s going to look like, and there’s no point in believing that won’t get any better unless you’re seriously disillusioned.
3. The now-revoked used game restrictions.
The Xbox One removed the ability to just give your used game disc to your friend to play. Instead, it had a feature where you could give a game away 1-time to a friend on your friend’s list for more than 30 days, and share a game with up to 10 members of your “family”. Initial outbursts were fueled by Sony making a reactionary how to share video, and as a PC gamer, something that makes no sense.
I have never shared a PC game with anyone. Whenever I buy a game, I buy a license to play that game, regardless of the game being singleplayer or multiplayer. Once I use that license, no one else can use it, and no one else can activate the game unless they have another license. What does sharing my games mean to me? Nothing. I don’t think I’ve done it once.
I suppose console gamers enjoy their privileged position of being excluded from owning licenses rather than physical copies of the game, but that’s how the PC market has always been. What was interesting was being able to share games with friends, and the idea of destroying the used game market. At the moment, Gamestop buys used games from gamers for ridiculously low prices and resells them in their stores. The issue? Because there’s no restriction to the used games (i.e. licensing), a game can be sold infinitely many times without the developer getting any profit - Gamestop is the middle man with all the money.
There are many more examples, but for many people, none of this ever goes through their head, or they don’t even attempt to process it. It’s just background noise to their grumbling.
Of course, Microsoft is completely to blame here for completely failing to actually demonstrate and promote and most importantly appeal to the majority of people. People are inherently stupid, and need a great degree of babysitting that Microsoft completely mishandled, and they deserve the blame in that department.
However, when talking about the Xbox One and looking at all the Internet noise it created, it’s not really that astounding anymore how stubborn people on the Internet can be, and how the Internet is shaping our patterns of thought. It’s disheartening to see people completely destroy a company that seriously looked like it was producing a nice product, just for failed marketing.
As I’m growing, I’m aiming to identify these similar weaknesses in me to see when I’m holding on to an idea that makes no sense - whether it had made sense at one point or not doesn’t matter. I would not like to one day do the same thing because of my own ignorance.
Edit: Added a response.
“The fault of Microsoft is that they off on a bad foot”… lol, that is a pretty sad excuse and defense of Microsoft. I just love how the defense of Microsoft by people now seems to put the blame on the consumer base. Perhaps it is a distortion of reality or something but it is getting to be pretty sad.
The reason why they had a bad start was because they did an atrocious job of giving us information, they did an atrocious job of explaining that information, and they did an atrocious job of screwing over thousands of it tens-of-thousands of people with their new policy. This is not about people merely complaining, Microsoft was doing horribly when it comes to preorders in comparison to Sony. Like I have said before and will say now, this is entirely and wholeheartedly Microsoft’s fault, period.
Well the point is when given ambiguous information, inquire more about it instead of making the worst-case assumptions which a large number of very vocal people then, which then exacerbated the ambiguity beyond repair, prompting Microsoft to remove the features that could have also held some promise. I’m not justifying the behavior of Microsoft’s failure to market the product since that was actually fucking bad, but again with understanding people it’s more wait for things to settle down and clear, instead of jumping right to “Microsoft is screwing us in the ass.”
Everything that Microsoft has done with the Xbox One has been justified, as I’ve been commenting on since the beginning of the reveal. There isn’t really anything that doesn’t have some possible logical reasoning behind it. Perhaps you’re just not a fan of Kinect. Then okay, but there are potential use cases for it, as there is for SmartGlass, and used games restrictions. It’s just that a huge number of people just didn’t want to listen to it at the beginning, and in the last week or so, the actual “more-informed” opinions aren’t being drowned out over and over again by the swarms of console gamers.
My biggest issue is that actually as consumers we act so entitled as to in some cases actually believe we know much better what to do than a multi-billion dollar company. For the most part, most of us all follow market trends. It is companies that try to predict and promote newer market trends in order to capitalize on that. I’m not advocating blind change, but when it’s pretty clear that a lot of companies have this integration/motion development in mind, it’s annoying to see people so resistant to the newer ideas. Not only that, it’s also frustrating that as a consumer, when you don’t like a product it ends up being a huge bashing party instead of accepting its flaws and moving on. Take a look at a lot of “Razer” haters and you see a similar pattern. When you’re criticizing a product, you look at the mutual benefits and deficits of both and compare them based on that, but the vast majority of consumer attitudes towards the Xbox One since the reveal was not of criticism, but of ridicule, because as gamers we felt so entitled as to personally attack a product for not being exactly like we wanted it to be, instead of accepting it and moving on. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at this, but I’m only just realizing how deep this kind of behavior goes in many different areas and it’s actually really frustrating, especially when there are some things about the product that you like, and other people drown out your thoughts in ridicule and contempt. Yes, it’s a big product released by a big name and you would like them to get on a good vibe with consumers, but at the end of the day the amount of pure hatred for Microsoft is a bit baffling and frustrating to me (and Microsoft very likely).
This is the reasoning behind why “consumers are stupid”, if that makes sense. People justifying their pure hatred and contempt by saying, “they deserve it”. It’s just… really?