How Microsoft Could Have Handled the Xbox One Ideas Better

This new “180” by Microsoft still hasn’t saved them. There is a new petition that has fans asking Microsoft to bring these ideas back, even though people hated the DRM policies. So it seems Microsoft is in hot water no matter how they spin their new console. However, couldn’t it have all been prevented if they just handled things differently?

Thinking about the Xbox One and everything it had to offer, one can realize that there were some rather good ideas. The idea of sharing games was great, the idea of a better community was great, and the idea of creating a digital library was great. However, always needing to be online, never owning a physical title and several other issues overshadowed any of the good qualities of the console. So how do we bring these ideas back without bringing back the backlash?

Offer Retail and Digital

Seems like common sense doesn’t it? Offer both. Almost every other industry has done this, but the game industry seems to be afraid of it. Either things need to be physical, or they need to be digital. With gaming there is no in between, and it makes me wonder why the hell that is.

Why is it that every single game on Xbox One had to be digital? In what way would buying a game at GameStop, going home to “activate” it, and then never needing the disc make sense? Why not just make us buy game cards (codes) instead? Sure it helps by making it so we don’t need to download the entire game, but that is only one of the many issues people have with digital. Plus being the game industry, we’d probably still need to download some massive day one patch anyways.

Why is it that Microsoft threw a fit about having to reverse their policies? You know when you were little and your sibling (or friend) would do something absolutely stupid no matter what you said, and then the parents would walk in and you both get in trouble? That same concept is at play here. Were there people that actually like the ideas? Yeah, but they no longer get to keep those ideas because those of us that hated the ideas. Why?  Why not let them still have them? The digital stores still exist and I see no reason why digital copies cannot still have the family sharing plans and other features.

There are people that do want these features; after all it is what made the console “new” and not an Xbox 360 with better visuals. So why not offer the option instead of force feeding it to us? The overall reasoning to the DRM features was that it would benefit us. We would be so happy with these new benefits that we wouldn’t mind giving up some common rights. So were they afraid we were not going to buy into it? If they were to offer both option (retail and the beneficial Digital version) and no one bought the digital version, what would they lose?

We as customers wouldn’t lose anything. We already lose the right to resell a game when we buy digital, and we get stuck with it. If we do a little work we could technically share it with someone, but that is too much of a hassle, and its “against the rules.” So why not elevate the digital world with these new benefits and see how they work? See if it could draw people in from the retail world, and if successful start bridging the game. Don’t just jump across and expect everyone to follow.

If Microsoft were to go back and look into how to offer these features in a better way, I’d be highly interested in it. In fact they seem to be doing so, and if you ask me some of the DRM measures will make a return when their install base is a bit stronger. They said it was a failed attempt to explain the benefits, but in my opinion they don’t need to explain. Just show us. No one hated the benefits, they just hated that no matter what they were stuck with one digital option. So take the digital side of things, and show us.

No matter what, people will always want retail

It doesn’t matter how great the digital experience is or how you offer it, people want retail releases. Every single other industry has embraced the digital environment, and most of them rely on it. Yet you still see CD’s on shelves while ITunes booms. You still see Blu-ray booming in the wake of digital streaming. You still see digital codes inside physical comic books. Why? Because this audience exists, and until they get old and a new generation takes over, they will want the retail release. I don’t see why the game industry is so arrogant in the transition to digital. Why not offer digital downloads of games with physical purchases? Make the transition a little easier for everyone. People openly don’t like change, and randomly ignoring fans and jumping 100 percent digital is not the answer.

Still some catching up to do with Steam

Steam is a common excuse for the Xbox One supporters. “But but but, Steam does it!” Do we need to bring up PC game sales? Consoles are an entirely different audience for one, and two Steam is an absolutely fantastic service. Am I saying Xbox Live or PSN suck? No, but when do you ever see full retail games that just released on sale for 10 dollars on either one? Hardly ever or once in a blue moon. Yet Steam users almost never buy games at full price and have a much larger selection of games thanks to indie makers. There is a reason why people use Steam and trust it, and I don’t think consoles are at that point just yet.

Let’s Improve Digital First

I think the best thing we can do is make digital games this awesome service that people openly switch to on their own. Microsoft is a massive company, and just like Google they can help improve internet connections by demanding our lame ISP’s to get better or doing it themselves. Let’s find ways to bridge digital and retail games, bring back those great ideas, and make digital a better service.

Microsoft is constantly changing Xbox One every week, so it is possible. No matter what, I’m sure Microsoft will find a way to bring at least some of the ideas back at some point. I just hope its not all or nothing again.