Listening to your customers–what a concept!

Reacting To:  Microsoft reverses Xbox One online check and used games policies following backlash

Thank you, Microsoft, for actually listening to your customers.  After so many of them complained about your draconian online policy, they finally saw the light and realized they need to rethink their decision.  Microsoft could have easily kept their arrogance, telling their customers to just deal with the decision.  They didn’t make it in a vacuum – there were definitely new features and benefits this policy would introduce (like their family-sharing feature, full hard drive installations of the games), but the price was too much for many (including soldiers stationed in areas without pervasive internet).

Some companies – like Apple – can get away with the “just deal with it” attitude, but not Microsoft, not when Sony is looking to eat your lunch with a console going in a different direction.  I’m glad they were smart enough to realize this before it’s too late.

Now if only someone at the NFL would take a lesson in this and reconsider their stupid bag policy.  Come on NFL, Microsoft demonstrated that no company is beyond reproach, just come to your senses and follow suit.  There difference here, unfortunately is that the NFL doesn’t feel the pressure of competitors.  They can be as arrogant as they want. Just remember NFL, the MLB had the same level of arrogance about their sport, and gave up their superiority in the process.

I’m not buying an Xbox One

The Verge (which is now my favorite tech news site) has some excellent write-ups for all of the video came console news that happened yesterday between the Playstation 4 and the X-box One:

Xbox at E3 2013: everything you need to know

Sony PlayStation 4 at E3 2013: everything you need to know


I love my Xbox 360, so much so that I actually justified having two of them at the same time – largely due to the Media Center functionality. I’ve gone to great lengths to digitize our movie collection and offering them through the Media Center Extender My Movies plug-in.  I (begrudgingly) pay for an Xbox Live account to unlock features like Netflix, ESPN and my Xfinity content – content for which I feel I’m paying double for one thing.  I’m not a huge gamer, but over the 7 years I’ve owned an Xbox I’ve accumulated nearly 2 dozen games (1/3 of them being that year’s version of Madden). In all the hours the Xbox is on, I’m only playing games less than 25% of the time.

Given my love for streaming media through my Xbox, I was eagerly anticipating the reveal of the next-gen console. After digesting the reveal from a few weeks ago, combined with the data we learned in yesterday’s E3 announcements, I find myself more drawn to the PS4 rather than the Xbox One, boiling down to a few, key reasons:

          • Xbox One is going to require internet connectivity to authenticate the games.  I know we live in a connected world, but the Xbox is a device that I use for relaxation/recreation.  That doesn’t help when I want to take it up to the mountain cabin where 1x internet is spotty at best, or when I want to take my Xbox when I travel to blow off steam in the hotels. Internet is pervasive,  but unless the Xbox can navigate one of those quirky hotel WiFi interfaces, you’re hosed.  I realize Microsoft wants to appease the game manufactures (especially since they get a cut from game licensing), but this has been done at the expense of their customers.
          • XBox 360 games won’t be able to be played on the Xbox One.  Given that I have nearly 2 dozen games, I’m going to have to leave/put another box below the TV. In an era where I’m looking to consolidate devices, this is the last thing I want.
          • Xbox One wants to give you the full TV experience, but the best it can do is supplement your cable box, not replace it. So again it’s not helping me consolidate the number of boxes under my TV, and to make matters worse it’s going to use the crappy IR Blaster hack to navigate the cable box. The Blaster experience is barely tolerable on the Slingbox, but is absolutely unacceptable when I’m sitting in the same room.
          • They’re charging you $500!

          Over the years I’ve detested Playstation 3 for various reasons, but yesterday they made a very compelling case to reconsider them. They have a response for pretty much every problem I have with the Xbox for $100 cheaper. Even if the PS4 doesn’t deliver the streaming experience I want (and there’s no indication it doesn’t), I could get a Roku and PS4 and still save money. Given that Xbox is already saying “screw your old games” with the One, I might as well go out and get the cheaper next-gen box.

          So thanks for the memories, Microsoft. It’s been fun – but I think you’re learning the hard way that in the effort of being everything to everyone, you’re everything to no one.