Today is day 2 of E3 2013 and I have now had time to digest all of the new information delivered by Sony and Microsoft. My opinion though is still much the same as it was last night, Sony is the clear winner. Now before I jump into this I would like to just take a moment to say that everything I am about to post is just my opinions/feelings on what i have seen so far. In no way is this ment to enrage anyone with differing opinions because when it comes down to it, the choice you make between Sony and Microsoft in this upcoming console war is entirely up to you and should be based on the features that you like better. I decided to post this as a blog simply to not take up room in the forums with a long post that maybe a lot of people dont want to read. Also I just love talking about this stuff so this blog entry is more for my personal enjoyment than anything else.
With that out of the way, on to the meat of this. I have absolutly no clue what Microsoft is doing. How they could misjudge their core audience so badly leaves me befuddled and confused. When you think about it, what decisions have they made that leave you truely excited? Sure, the tv abilities, Kinect, and sports stuff will excite some. But what about everyting else? What about the checking in online every 24 hours just to play your game? What about the blocking of used games? What about just their smug attitude about it all? Their attitude right now about games is basically that when you buy a game, you dont own it. All you are doing is purchasing the right to play it. And since you do not own it you are not allowed to do what you want with it unless the publisher says its ok. Well I'm sorry Microsoft, but it does not work like that. If i buy anything else...lets say a fold out chair. Am i not free to take that chair to the park if i want to sit in it? Am i not free to loan it to someone if they are having a dinner party and need extra seating? Last time i checked i was free to do that. So, why is a video game any different?
Look, I get where Microsoft is coming from. The used game market does cut into profits that the devs would make otherwise. But not to be a jerk about it, that really is'nt my, or any other consumers, problem. The easy thing for them to do is to put that on the consumers though, instead of attacking the problem that really exists. That problem, as i see it, is the fact that the devs do not get a cut from gamestops used sales. Now my guess would be it would be damn near impossible for anyone to get gamestop to hand over x % to the devs for that resale. So, why not try to cut them out in other ways? Like, stop this $60 flat rate for games and make the price more of a sliding scale based on content? How about lowering the price after x amount of days so its not always so much cheaper just go get a used copy? Maybe offer it as a digital download for cheaper than it would be for a physical copy. Would this stop used games, no, it wouldnt. But maybe you recoup more money than you would have otherwise. This would also help make it look like you were trying to keep good faith and help out the gamers, rather than screw them over and price gouge them over their loved hobby.
But Microsoft does not seem to understand this, and they are acting like they are so big that they can do whatever they want with blatant disregard for how a consumer thinks or feels. It really isnt a bad move for them to try to expand to a more universal media format. I just think that it could be handled better. Right now they come across like they forgot who got their console department where it is today. Its not the soccer mom, or grandma that did it, it was the GAMERS. The gamers are the ones that get hyped up for a new console and stand in line for hours to try to get their hands on one right at launch. But instead of treating us like they cared and appreciate us, I feel like now they are just treating us as a neccessary evil. Its got this feel of "HEY WE DO ALL THIS COOL MEDIA STUFF!!! And oh yeah...here are some games but we are taking away some of your rights with owning them. Oh and we are gonna charge you more for it too". I dont know about you but that makes me unhappy just based on principle alone. And this brings me to Sonys' end of things.
Yesterday I was having a conversation at work with another passionate gamer. This happened after watching the Microsoft E3 conferance earlier in the afternoon. My statement to him was that "Sony has the opportunity to drop a nuke on Microsoft with their conferance tonight. Microsoft did nothing to come right out and say exactly to what extent the DRM would be handled or to clear up some confusion about the used/resale of games. If Sony can come out and say how they are handling those things as well as come in at a lower price point, they will win E3 without even having to show games" After work I came home and caught the last hour of the Sony conferance only to find out Sony did exactly what i said they should do to completely win people over. $100 cheaper, no used games restriction, no need to check in online to verify your copy. Not only did they come right out and say this, but they did it in a way that was a direct shot launched over the bow to Microsoft. It had the feel of a winning verse of a rap battle, where all you need to do is just drop the mic and walk off the stage. But of course it wasnt just that, but it felt like they knew that gamers are their base and that gamers were the most important to them. Instead of a media first games second feel, its games first media second. By doing that Sony is basically saying "you can have all these cool games, and we will bring you the media stuff as well. But there is no need to take away rights and charge you more to achieve this". And this for me means game set an match Sony. I can can have all these things in a console, and not have to worry about sacrificing my rights as a consumer to do so.
In conclusion i would like to just say during every new console phase, i try to remain company agnostic. I do my best to remove the "fanboy" from the equation and judge the new product seperate from versions past. I have had nintendo products thru gamecube, i have owned psone, and ps2. and i have owned the original xbox and the 360. For this next gen of consoles, I really wanted to like the xone. There are some franchises on there that i have really enjoyed over the years. But i just have a hard time feeling good about aligning with Microsoft again at this time. Their policies and intentional ignorance to how gamers think, as well as, attitude toward consumer rights really bothers me. So to have Sony come out and basically do the direct opposite of what Microsoft is doing, is a breath of fresh air for me and enough to bring me back to the Sony side of things.
Again, this is not meant to anger anyone with a differing opinion. Our differing opinions is what makes us all individuals. However, I do welcome any intelligent debates that may arise from this, as long as it is kept peaceful. Thanks for reading for anyone that decided to take time out and do so!