Time To Shine
Amidst all the chaos at E3 2013, at least one thing was certain – Sony had won the show. While Microsoft started the expo with a lot of pessimism, they sure did put up a good fight at least, focusing solely on the games and especially the exclusives – something that will be vital to their survival in the next-gen race. Though unfortunately Microsoft did have one feature that near enough negated everything they showed, which consisted of a restrictive pre-owned game system and a need for an online connection every twenty four hours –many felt it a step too far, though they did show a new Halo and who wouldn’t be caught weighing up the options after that?
Shortly after Microsoft laid down its cover fire, Sony were up next to provide excitement to the day by laying down the dynamite. As E3 2013 was my first E3, to attend the prestigious Playstation Press Conference was one of the best moments of my gaming life, because as excitement filled the air, you could tell something special was going to happen – after all, an E3 with a next-gen hardware reveal is a rare occurrence. While all the attendee’s began to fill Los Angeles memorial stadium, we were introduced to a handful of people playing PS4 titles on the stage , with the likes of Killzone: Shadow Fall and Infamous: Second Son showcasing never before seen gameplay. Sony it seemed, were ready to come full circle with PS4 and I for one was excited.
What resulted was one of the strongest showings Sony had ever put on, as they built the trust between themselves and their consumers. Next to that they also heavily celebrated the Indie community, by allowing each developer to self publish their titles; not only will it be easier for unique Indie games to come to PS4, but it will be quicker too. This was a conference that was executed with so much flare and excitement, that it didn’t matter when Sony slipped in the bomb that online multiplayer will be a paid subscription now, they had earned the trust of their fans – which was a hell of a lot more than Microsoft were doing.
The relationship between a company and its consumers is a special one, with the focus being on the purchaser and what is right for them. When the original Playstation 3 was announced it seemed like the total opposite, and it took years for Sony to regain their ground in the console market and really hone their energy, as well as quality, of the Playstation brand. Sony, in my opinion, maintained momentum through out the conference and closed with a spectacular finish. As soon as CEO of Sony America, Jack Tretton, took to the stage and revealed its opposite approach to the Xbox One, the crowd went berserk. There really has never been a better time to be a Playstation fan, as instead of focusing on an all-in-one entertainment device, Sony decided to focus more on what matters – the games. That meant no daily online check-in, no pre-owned title restrictions and nothing but complete freedom of choice.
Nonetheless, while Microsoft tried to persuade its fan base that an always-connected future was best, even suggesting that consumers without internet buy an Xbox 360, their original fan base started knocking on Sony’s door, and Sony were more than happy to open it. It almost seemed like the beginning of the end for Xbox One, I mean what were the company going to do? Make gaming history and do a complete U-turn on their online policies? Well, as it turns out that’s exactly what they were going to do.
After a sever backlash from the public and a harsh reception from the press, Microsoft announced, barely two weeks after E3, that it was indeed reverting its stance on the Xbox One’s online restrictions. Through their news wire on Xbox.com Microsoft officially announced the move, confirming that Xbox One will operate exactly as Xbox 360 did, posing no online restrictions, no daily online check-in, no region lock and most importantly freedom for how YOU, the player, want to play. You can catch the full statement on their website via this LINK.
So what does this mean for Microsoft? Well, it means that they just made video game history, and it also means that they have a long road back to gaining the trust of their loyal fans. Though I am a particularly big fan of Playstation I am, after all, still an avid gamer – and though I hope Sony can keep up their momentum here on out, I am happy to see Microsoft listening to their fans and doing the right thing. What would a console war be like without the opposition? So while everyone regroups to think about Xbox once more, why don’t we all take a moment to think about that special saying – the customer is always right.
Given the short time it took Microsoft to change its ways, do you think the made the right choice giving in to public demand? Hit the comments below and let us know!