Xbox One - It's Not About Us Anymore
I'd like to give you my two cents about the Xbox One reveal event and the subsequent interviews and gaming geek videos I've seen over the last few days. Nothing I saw during the conference surprised me even slightly. Further, nothing I saw or heard had any significant positive or negative effect on me. If I had to sum up my thoughts on the reveal in one word, I'd say, "Indifferent."
Before I expound on my opening salvo above, let me make clear that I'm not making excuses for Microsofts actions (or inactions). However, I do believe the general sense of disappointment - or anger in more severe cases - amongst core gamers is due to either not seeing Microsoft's writing on the wall or slightly overreacting to incomplete information. In more simple terms, I believe the disappointed and angry crowd could have done a much better job managing their expectations.
Microsoft has not been shy, subtle or secretive about their plans to use the next Xbox to own your living room and serve as a central hub to push all forms of entertainment to the broadest audience possible. With that in mind, I don't think the first 20 minutes of the conference should have come as a surprise to anyone watching--core gamer or otherwise. Microsoft's conference was clearly not about gamers. It was about wowing (or not pissing off) their shareholders and the people interested to see how Microsoft could evolve beyond just a video game platform. And frankly, we core gamers should not have have expected this conference to be anything more than what I just described. We should have seen it coming.
I don't mean to preach or imply that those of us who were not overly disappointed or angry are somehow better human beings than those of you were were pissed off. I totally understand how the reveal was a let down to those of us that don't care about skyping, tweeting or watching TV through our Xboxes. In that regard, I share your outlook. I could not care less about using my next gaming console to do anything but game. Heck, I don't even have cable television service, so the first 20 minutes of the event didn't even apply to me.
I also share your concerns surrounding the always-on, always-online and used games fee issues. But as the interview between Adam Sessler and Matt Booty very clearly pointed out, Microsoft doesn't know exactly what they are going to do in these areas. I'd advise everyone to just stay cool until Microsoft nails that down. If they do confirm that all the things we don't want will be reality, then feel free to freak the hell out.
While we're on the topic of used game fees, I'd like to share a slightly crazy theory I have. While I don't believe this will happen, I do believe that Microsoft has at least toyed with the idea. What if Microsoft is looking to break into the used-games market? Wouldn't it be bananas if they started their own game trade-in service using their website and brick-and-mortar Microsoft stores? They could charge a fee to use pre-owned games purchased at other retailers while providing redeemable codes to gamers who purchase used games at the Microsoft store that allow them to waive the used-game fee. I know that's a crazy long shot, but I'm interested to see how that pans out.
All-in-All, the reveal was exactly what I though it would be. I think Microsoft has made it very clear that Xbox and really the gaming community at large is not just about Core Gamers any more. I think we would do ourselves a great service to recognize this and make peace with the fact that we will now have to share our beloved past-time with soccer moms and gamers whose first experience with games was Angry Birds. The sooner we accept our new reality, the sooner we'll be able to better manage our expectations and avoid future frustration.