Xbox One looks all the sweeter after Microsoft eats humble pie
20th Jun 2013 | 07:53
Small concession will mean a great deal to fans
Microsoft's decision to listen to the criticism and change its Xbox One is hugely sensible, and should begin to draw a line under a launch that even the staunchest fans would describe as difficult.
In truth, given that it's software, Microsoft's U-Turn on 24 hour check-ins and game sharing is relatively low-cost decision to make, and ultimately in a few years time you should not be surprised to see these features rolled out once more (probably with less fanfare and fewer complaints).
I wrote after the E3 conference that the price difference, rather than the contentious things that Microsoft have now changed, will be the greater factor, but as the dust settles this change of heart sends an important message; that it is listening to its fans.
As a clearly intelligent person, I have no doubt that Don Mattrick will be kicking himself for Microsoft's early combative stance on the controversy, but even more so for his dreadful comment about the Xbox 360 being the console for people who have poor connections.
The turnaround is the perfect salve for the wounds that this caused. Microsoft's decision to eat humble pie and soften its stance will be taken as an acknowledgement that the company got things wrong, but the real issue was not realising earlier just how the issue was likely to flare up.
The writing should have been on the wall when the furore over always-on reached a peak just because of rumours. The company actually apologised for comments made on Twitter prior to the launch by Adam Orth (who sadly felt he had to tender his resignation for his honesty) but it didn't seem to learn any lessons from the incident.
Someone should have decided right then that an issue that boils down to DRM would be used as a stick to beat them with by rivals like Sony and a huge bone of contention for its loyal fanbase of gamers who would be left reeling from a launch event that focused more on media than games.
Whether it's actually that big a deal to the mass-market audience that Microsoft is trying to win should not have been the discussion. It was clearly a very big deal to the vocal gaming community and that should have been clear.
I'm sure there will be a feeling of relief at Xbox HQ that this decision has been taken. It was probably a bitter pill to swallow - but it was a necessary one.
The price differential plus Microsoft's seeming arrogance about issues that were important to its fans left commentators suggesting that Sony had come out of E3 with its PlayStation flag flying high merely by bringing out a more traditional console.
But now it looks like pride before a fall, and Microsoft have been brave enough to admit the error, I'm sure a lot of people who felt themselves drawn towards Sony will be re-evaluating which console they are going to buy later this year. I know I am.