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The Myth of Microsoft Trying to “Screw” Gamers

By Brody Arnold in Original Pieces

Xbox ONE Xbox 360 Xbox Original

Okay, I get it. You hated Microsoft’s policies, that is completely understandable. Almost EVERYONE hated the policies. There was such a rage built up on the internet, and people showed that. All day. Every day. People were rioting in the street, burning upside down crosses on Microsoft’s doorstep, and selling the soul of their unborn son to show how much they hated Microsoft.

Okay, clearly, this is all an exaggeration, but one thing was clear: people were NOT happy with Microsoft.

Here’s the thing though, none of them KNEW why they were mad. When asked why, most would answer with,” They are trying to screw the consumer.” Which to I would reply,” How?”

Let’s stop and look at why Microsoft we implementing these policies. Before we do, let’s make something very clear. There is NO big corporation in the world that makes a decision unless they think it will make them more money. Not a single one. Not even perfect ol’ Sony. I know, amazing right? Sony wants to make money. Who would of thunk it? Do you know why Sony decided to not implement the same polices? Money. Sony saw how much people were hating on Microsoft and thought,” Hmm, we could probably sell more consoles than them if we don’t implement policies that people obviously hate.” Therefore making more MONEY. That is the single driving force in every business around the world.

Now, back to Microsoft. Why were they implementing these policies? To screw the consumer, right? No, there has never been a more wrong assumption. Microsoft has a history of dragging people kicking and screaming into the future. Remember the decision to make Xbox Live broadband only? People hated it. But in the end, they saw it was necessary. I will be the first to admit, Microsoft was trying this a generation or so too early. The infrastructure just isn’t there. Hell, even the internet I have right now is only a 2 mbps connection. It’s just all that’s available in my area. Once faster speeds and better connections are available in more areas, most likely in about 10-15 years, then what Microsoft was trying to do will be completely plausible.

But Microsoft wasn’t doing this to screw the consumer, they were doing it to help the developer. Crazy right? Microsoft wanting to help someone? Albeit Microsoft most likely got money from developers for such policies, but like I said, no decision is made without money in mind. In 2012 ALONE, more than 20 developers were closed down. That’s people losing their jobs, having to look for new work. People that have families and bills to pay, just like everyone else. I don’t understand where people came up with the idea that every game developer makes hundreds of thousand of dollars a year. That just isn’t true. And most people would rather buy a used copy than to support the developers.

Listen to this scenario. Let’s pretend Borderlands 2 just came out last week. $60 for a new copy, as is the norm. Someone buys it. Takes it home. Beats it in two to three days, and trades it back into Gamestop. Gamestop then puts that used copy back of the shelf for $55. Someone else comes into the store looking to buy borderlands. They see that the used copy is $5 dollars less. And considering that most people, unlike me, do not care about buying games new, they decide to buy the used copy.

Now lets analyze what just happened. Copy A) was $60, new. Copy B) was $55, used. Whenever so many new copies are bought, Gamestop orders more from the publisher. So buying a new copy puts some money in the developers pocket. Whenever a used copy is bought, NONE of that goes to the developer. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. So just because the consumer wanted to save $5 they bought a used copy. $5 they wouldn’t have even noticed they spent. So the consumer saved five dollars, Gamestop made a $55 profit, and the developer got absolutely none of that.

So who’s being selfish here? Microsoft or the consumer? I can’t tell you what to think, but you obviously know what I think.

Dozens of developers close every year. Developers that work much harder than most of the people reading this. They spend years on a single title. Why? Obviously to make money, first of all. But also because they love what they do. They know how passionate people are about gaming, and they want to provide new and exciting experiences for us gamers. And I for one, LOVE them for that.

The bad thing is, there were some really cool features Microsoft had planned. The Family Share feature would have been great. And not having to get up to swap disc is a dream of mine.

Don’t give me this, “It’s already too late, they already lost my trust.” Are you serious? They were going to implement a policy, listened to the consumers and changed it. Now you’re probably saying,” They only changed it because they weren’t getting enough pre-orders.” Exactly. How do consumers speak? With their wallets. Not with their voice. If people were complaining about the policies but still bought it, Microsoft wouldn’t have listened. No company would have. But the people spoke with their wallets and Microsoft listened. Also, they changed the policies just barely a month after they announced the console. That’s pretty fast.

And before you rejoice too much about Microsoft reversing it’s polices, remember this: Gaming consoles WILL have DRM eventually. Not this gen, but probably next gen. And even if not then, they for sure will the gen after that. It’s inevitable. That’s just something gamers are going to have to accept. I love having physical copies, and I always choose them over digital if at all possible. But even I have already accepted they probably won’t exist after the next 10 years.

And if that means more developers get to keep their jobs, I’m all in.

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