What Microsoft's DRM, always online policy nix switch proved? [Opinion]

By Ural Garrett , Updated Jun 23, 2013 08:12 PM EDT
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It seemed like Sony had the next-gen battle won after an amazing E3 showing by doing something Microsoft didn't do with the Xbox One; listen to everything gamers (and non-gamers alike) wanted. 

Then Microsoft had the much cliched "Change of Heart." On Wednesday, the Xbox One maker decided to nix its always online requirement while keeping a more traditional way of handling used and traded games. 

In response, Microsoft's next-gen console currently holds the top spot for Amazon's video game category while being completely sold out at GameStop. 

So what does this mean? A lot from the looks of things.

Consumers Opinions Matter

Part of Sony's E3 press briefing simply promising gamers everything Microsoft didn't. The aftermath was astounding to say the least. In am instant, Sony had already won the next-gen console war before it officially began. This is because Sony paid attention not only to its own failures in the current-gen race with the Playstation 3 but by also watching Microsoft's success. Microsoft's arrogance from to place within this generation's console race became its downfall until it made the obvious changes. 

Pissing off the military is the last thing any company wants to do

Microsoft had to know that they were limiting itself marketwise with its always connected policy that technically would only serve 21 countries. In retrospect, gamers weren't as concerned about an always online policy as they were with trade-ins or used games. The always online hurt one small but extremely important group of people, the United States Military. Anyone with a friend or family member deployed oversees knows how shoddy communication can be for just technical and security reasons. Alienating the military made Microsoft look unpatriotic. 

Throwing gamers under the bus for huge publishers can potentially backfire

The always online and restricted DRM was Microsoft's way of getting exclusives to its next-gen console and for the most part it worked. Crytek is making Ryse: Son of Rome and EA's Respawn Entertainment shooter TitanFall both look to be exclusives when released but are they strong enough to make a case for Microsoft's decisions? Far from it and because of that, Microsoft took a huge gamble that just failed on so many levels. Ryse: Son of Rome was totally forgotten past its visual splendor while TitanFall just couldn't garner as much interest as Activision's Destiny project with Bungie. 

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