Experienced Points: Save the XBox!

 By Shamus Jul 9, 2013 85 comments

My column this week is some earnest advice for the beleaguered folks heading up the Xbox One project. I know that it probably won’t be read by the Intended Parties, and even if it was it’s probably too late to make any changes. But it’s still worth saying. If I was working on the Xbox One I’d be terrified of launching the console without making substantive changes to how it operates and how the public perceives it.

This morning I came across an article on Ars Technica outlining Microsoft’s plans to integrate advertising with the Kinect. This is exactly the sort of thing they should not be messing around with at this stage. Consumers will be deeply offended if their $500 entertainment system presumes to suck away little bits of the entertainment time with stupid little advertisements.

Even from a purely Machiavellian standpoint, it makes no sense to have this feature at launch. Advertising money is a nice little bonus for a company trying to get a bit more of a return on their investment, but it’s nothing compared to the money to be made selling actual games and Xbox Live Gold subscriptions. This isn’t the kind of thing you want people to be thinking about when they’re at the store and trying to decide between the $500 Xbone and the $400 PS4. Microsoft should be hiding this card away. If they’re lucky enough to survive launch and sell some consoles, then maybe they can think about squeezing their customer base for pennies.

I don’t have a lot of hope that Microsoft can turn it around, but I think we’re much better off if the big consoles are all healthy and slugging it out for our affections.


202020205There are now 85 comments. Almost a hundred!


  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Many companies still have no idea how ads can be used to their advantage.If you tell the users:”Hey,we have this idea to let other companies litter our games with ads,but theyll be paying part of the cost,so youll get your game for $30 instead of $60″,theyll gladly eat it up,and youll end up taking money from both parties.Heck,even a modest $10 off will sucker in plenty of people.

    • The Rocketeer says:

      That could easily be viable in a market that wasn’t a price-fixed oligopoly.

      Actually I think the politically correct term is “frenemies.”

      • Steve C says:

        Even though it’s an oligopoly, the industry has still set the price too high from an economics standpoint. Reducing it to $30 (with or without ads) is what’s necessary. The price is where the industry is screwing themselves over. They’ve let their costs go rampant and even their oligopoly status cannot save them.

        iTunes became THE major market shareholder by setting prices at $1. The music industry fought it tooth and nail and still made more money by agreeing to it. It’s not the same but the fact remains that if you are too greedy you get less.

        • Humanoid says:

          The situation involving the ongoing lawsuit between Apple (and ebook publishers) and the DoJ demonstrates that the agency model, where the publisher sets a price and the distributor takes a cut, is bad for consumers, at least in terms of pricing.

          The short of it is that previously, under a wholesale model, distributors like Amazon would buy and on-sell ebooks in the manner that traditional goods are sold: negotiating low wholesale prices and then selling at minimal, nil, or even negative margins. Apple came in and ‘convinced’ the publishers to terminate that arrangement and instead allowed them to set the final price, with Jobs’ mob taking the usual 30% cut of whatever that price may be. Unsurprisingly, it was the consumer that ended up padding Apple’s coffers as prices rose.

          Digital games and music are and have been sold under the agency model for a good while, and so as gamers we’re rather used to the fix.

          * For what it’s worth, I’m not saying Amazon are angels in the affair, with some of what they’ve been doing clearly looking like a case of obvious predatory pricing.

        • Lachlan the Mad says:

          Americans aren’t allowed to complain about their $60 games when we Australians regularly have to eat $100/game.

  2. Kevin Wagner says:

    I really have no idea what Microsoft is doing here, its almost as if they don’t want anyone to buy their console.

    • MrGuy says:

      Here’s what they’re thinking. They’re thinking the next gen console with the best lineup of games will win. By which they primarily mean the platform with the most AAA exclusives, and for titles coming to multiple platforms getting those first. They think for the mass market nothing else really matters. If they’re the platform with the games, players will buy it, and they’ll put up with the other nonsense as the “cost of doing business” to get access to the best lineup of titles.

      They may well be correct in that.

      And so their goal was to create the most publisher-friendly platform in town. Come to the Xbox One! We promise to kill those annoying second-hand sales. We promise to make sure no one pirates your game ever. We’ll make sure everyone who plays the game pays – no more “friends” free-loading on other people’s purchased titles. “Stick with the XBox, and you’ll make more revenue back on every dollar you put into the game.”

      Microsoft was thinking they can be the platform of choice for publishers if they gave the publishers the most “things publishers want.” And bringing publishers brings consumers.

      It’s too early to call that belief incorrect. The way they’ve messaged this has been nothing short of a PR disaster, but PR disasters don’t always mean flops. Microsoft has great relationships with a lot of publishers with great, popular IP. The Xbox 360 had a better lineup than the PS3 hands down for most of the last console generation, and if that trend continues (or trends more in MS’ favor), they can easily still win this thing.

  3. Shivoa says:

    It seems Microsoft are on the charm offensive in the UK (where the Xbox One will launch with a sticker price this Christmas ever so slightly higher than the PlayStation 3 had at launch thanks to changing exchange rates which do not reflect changes in income to pay for the prices of luxury goods) with their conversion of MS Points to local currencies.

    Everyone with (eg)800 points in their balance is having it converted to £6.80 in local currency (which is the price of points when you buy them, seems fair) and at the same time Microsoft are changing the pricing of all titles on XBLA/GoD to reflect a new structure so a game that used to cost 800 points now costs £8.99. You may have noticed that the person with 800 points in their balance just found that after the conversion to local currency happened that they no longer have enough money to buy an ’800 point’ game at the new price points.

    As I said, “charm” offensive. Welcome to Europe, looking to be a Japan style picture of Sony console love for the next generation (360 sales, especially software, are stronger than the PS3 in the UK and have been all generation but this is sort of the MS outpost in a somewhat Sony favouring continent).

    • rofltehcat says:

      From the picture I’m getting, the PS4 is massively more popular basically everywhere that isn’t USA. And even there I’m not really sure.
      The whole design of that… thing: It is obviously designed for American middle class people living who are living close enough to major cities to have great internet and who have enough money to spend on entertainment, XBox live subscriptions, cable subscriptions and AAA game titles.

      It really is like they didn’t even try thinking out of the box. And those people should be able to pay lots of people to do that for them!

      • Tizzy says:

        The irony: a significant part of the US does NOT have access to great internet service.

        • Aldowyn says:

          More than most of Europe, I would think. I’ve heard a lot about how the U.S internet infrastructure is absolute rubbish compared to europe and japan/korea.

          • Also, note:
            http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=19206&cpage=1#comment-340779

            Europe and Japan have a much higher population density than the US. By good reason ALL of the US infrastructure should be (on average) significantly inferior.

          • hborrgg says:

            Maybe Microsoft could start trying to court the Finnish market.

          • The Rocketeer says:

            I think it’s due to the size of the countries, and the population density; the network in America is just so large, and some areas so remote are sparsely peopled that irregularities would arise in service even if the industry was much better run than it is.

            I will say, I have lived in South Korea close to a year now and I don’t think I’ve had a single Internet outage. They do gouge the base for all it’s worth, though.

          • Torsten says:

            Depends on what you look at. The number of high speed internet connections is higher in US than in Europe, and mobile internet network is more covering.

            The thing with Europe is that European Union – while having about 500 million citizen – does not actually form a single market, rather it is fragmented into smaller national markets, the largest being Germany with about 80 million people. Work on creating the single European market is under way but until then the US has the biggest and fastest telecommunications market.

      • The Rocketeer says:

        No one is paid to think outside the box. Divest yourself of this notion.

        At best, people are paid to make the box incrementally larger.

    • Eric says:

      I’m surprised that isn’t illegal. Though, because you’re basically trading your money for arbitrary invisible points, I guess there’s no real “exchange” going on, them giving you money back is basically a gift. Still criminal, if not legally then in intent. It’s effectively stealing money from their users.

      • Humanoid says:

        Well gift cards are no different, except their points just happen to be expressed in the same units that real currency is – which is a purely cosmetic thing.

        • Mephane says:

          I don’t think so. A gift card is more like someone paying all your next bills at that company in advance, until a specific amount of money has been paid thus. They con’t suddenly claim that your already-paid-for-in-advance 20 bucks are suddenly not 20 bucks anymore.

          • Humanoid says:

            I can’t read the linked thread from here, so I’m trying to determine what’s happening based on the comment alone, but I interpret the issue here is essentially that they’ve raised the prices of the products and nothing else – the points conversion is a red herring. A hypothetical customer has purchased 6.80GBP worth of ‘credits’ which at some point in time are labelled ’800MSP’ instead, and are now reverting to ’6.80GBP’. Nothing gained nothing lost there.

            Now they’ve just happened to raise the price of some of their stuff by 19 pence at the same time. It’s a little sleight of hand regarding the timing of the change, but traditional retailers do that all the time, and worse, such as changing the price of some item while also changing the quantity contained per package to obscure the change.

            I’ve probably spent far more words than I needed to there – brevity isn’t my strong suit – but when I say it’s no different to gift cards, it’s true insofar as retailers who issue them don’t lock their product prices to the moment in time that you buy the card either, something that you could buy with a gift card this year might cost too much to be covered by the same gift card next year.

            (And gift cards not-infrequently have an expiry date too. I don’t think this is the case with MS points/credit?)

            • Shivoa says:

              Yep, that’s about right. They will be converting the points at the exchange rate at which they’ve been selling points for and then at the same time as the conversion they are also adding up to 33% to the sticker price of games on the store (not 19 pence but £2.19 on top of the £6.80 of an 800 point game to make £8.99 as the new price). And there is nothing anyone can do because it is their currency and as you point out, some virtual currencies even expire after a year (the promotional MS points you get for your birthday and taking their surveys expire, the ones you buy on cards do not seem to). As long as you don’t allow people to extract real money out of the system again then there isn’t a lot of legal regulation (and doesn’t Paypal use some slight of hand to be an intermediary with balance rather than actually having to deal with being a bank and the regulations that would entail? I think there are layers of constraints you can pay lawyers to try and get you as unstuck as possible from).

              The issue is not a ‘can they do this?’ one but asking should they be doing this to their 2nd largest market (at least from the partial and outdated figures I’ve seen the UK is quite firmly number 2 only to the USA for 360 hardware and software sales). As to the original article, if I wanted to get a good start for the Xbox One I would not be using slight of hand to make sure anyone with a credit balance on my current digital store was suddenly unable to pay for the things they could previous pay for while I was doing a currency conversion stage to get ready for the next generation store. The technicality of a universal price increase at the same time as a totally fair conversion of credits still feels a lot like balances are being converted at one rate and goods are being converted at a different rate. That’s a good way to advertise with comparable figures that Steam, GOG, etc are better value (Steam had to go through conversion pain years ago, but without balances, when it moved from $ to £ in the UK and allows publishers to set regional prices – GOG.com show again that they get global sales by having global pricing) and make people think about how Sony haven’t screwed them over recently and are launching a console much closer to expected prices, not one that is more expensive than the PS3 launched at.

              In case you’re blacklist blocked from that earlier link, here’s another one: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-07-10-new-real-money-xbox-dash-raises-game-prices

            • Shivoa says:

              Yep, that’s about right. They will be converting the points at the exchange rate at which they’ve been selling points for and then at the same time as the conversion they are also adding up to 33% to the sticker price of games on the store (not 19 pence but £2.19 on top of the £6.80 of an 800 point game to make £8.99 as the new price). And there is nothing anyone can do because it is their currency and as you point out, some virtual currencies even expire after a year (the promotional MS points you get for your birthday and taking their surveys expire, the ones you buy on cards do not seem to). As long as you don’t allow people to extract real money out of the system again then there isn’t a lot of legal regulation (and doesn’t Paypal use some slight of hand to be an intermediary with balance rather than actually having to deal with being a bank and the regulations that would entail? I think there are layers of constraints you can pay lawyers to try and get you as unstuck as possible from).

              The issue is not a ‘can they do this?’ one but asking should they be doing this to their 2nd largest market (at least from the partial and outdated figures I’ve seen the UK is quite firmly number 2 only to the USA for 360 hardware and software sales). As to the original article, if I wanted to get a good start for the Xbox One I would not be using slight of hand to make sure anyone with a credit balance on my current digital store was suddenly unable to pay for the things they could previous pay for while I was doing a currency conversion stage to get ready for the next generation store. The technicality of a universal price increase at the same time as a totally fair conversion of credits still feels a lot like balances are being converted at one rate and goods are being converted at a different rate. That’s a good way to advertise with comparable figures that Steam, GOG, etc are better value (Steam had to go through conversion pain years ago, but without balances, when it moved from $ to £ in the UK and allows publishers to set regional prices – GOG.com show again that they get global sales by having global pricing) and make people think about how Sony haven’t screwed them over recently and are launching a console much closer to expected prices, not one that is more expensive than the PS3 launched at.

              In case you’re blacklist blocked from that earlier link, here’s another one: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-07-10-new-real-money-xbox-dash-raises-game-prices

            • anaphysik says:

              “Now they’ve just happened to raise the price of some of their stuff by 19 pence at the same time.”

              He said £8.99, not £6.99…

              • Humanoid says:

                Hmm, that’s interesting. Technically the principle is the same but it’s a huge hike – enough to make me wonder if they’re double-dipping on VAT almost. Is VAT charged on the transaction where you buy the credits?

                • Shivoa says:

                  The issue is not about taxation but exchange rates and currency inertia. In the 2005-2008 period there were two dollars to every pound but since the autumn of 2008 that exchange rate has been $1.60 to £1 (and right now it is closer to $1.50 and has been as low as $1.40). But Microsoft has not been tracking the exchange rate changes and changing the price they charge for their virtual currency to keep it in line with the US (we also pay ~£35 for new games over here, roughly speaking we always have, but if you take off the 20% VAT and convert at today’s rate then that means we actually pay closer to $40 than $60 for new games). They’ve been selling these points to the UK for good priced as if there were two dollar to the pound and now they want to fix that by realigning the prices to be closer to their correctly converted and taxed equivalents. But they don’t want to deal with the credits they sold into the system as the lower price. So they convert at the lower price and then like up the store prices by as much as 33% all on the same day.

                  £350 isn’t cheap for the PS4 but it isn’t as bad as the PS3 launch at £425, which was at the time the taxed equivalent of almost $700, and launching the Xbox One for £430 reminds people of that PS3 price tag. It’s all the fault of the exchange rate, but as you can see from the PS3 being $100 too expensive (after accounting for sales tax) then the UK was being given a really bad deal when the exchange rate was different and so there was slack in the prices offered back then to deal with the weaker currency today.

  4. RTBones says:

    From everything I’ve read, I am more convinced than ever that Kinect has very little to do with gaming. Targeted advertising is the only reason you would have to have this thing connected if you can turn features off. Microsoft have said you can pause or turn off features during or for games. You can even turn off the microphone. They have said nothing, however, about the camera and when you watch Netflix, Hulu, BBC IPlayer, or whatever. You’ll note – there is no power LED on the front of the camera. That is a DELIBERATE design, not an omission. Microsoft doesn’t want you to know when the camera is on, so that its heart rate/smile/biometric sensors can work while you are watching TV or a movie. Microsoft wants you to assume (incorrectly) that when you turn off Kinect for gaming, you turn it off completely. I would be willing to bet a beverage that a)you WILL be able to turn the camera off when watching TV or whatever, b)that setting will be buried and a pain in the ass to get to, and c) very few people will recognize that the camera is still on when they thought they turned it off.

    Sorry, Microsoft, as long as your spy camera has to be connected to your console – you will not see my dollars spent on it.

    • rofltehcat says:

      I think they won’t limit it to ads but will also for massive market research. They will watch VERY closely what part of a series/movie/game provides the best results for heart rate/eye movement/posture and will also register if people (and how many people) are maybe even talking (may be bored, may talk about how awesome something is, shout out in frustration), jumping up, leaving for a sandvich, potty break…

      While in theory this is a very interesting subject, I fear that this may go too far. They should do stuff like that in test screenings and research/test labs instead of people’s living rooms.
      Of course the locations are very different and people may be reacting differently when they know they’re being recorded. But still, people pay for the console, subscription, movie/game… if you do something like that at least lower the prices!

    • Well, you can always put a piece of opaque tape over it, but that doesn’t really soften the sting.
      If you really want an XBone though, I’ll be happy to install a manual override switch and LED for you!

      • Syal says:

        The best possible thing you can do to block the Xbox camera is put a Sony product in front of it.

      • Hitchmeister says:

        I hope I’m overly cynical, but people keep saying that an always on Kinect camera isn’t that big of deal, just turn it to the wall or cover the lens or something. I can just too easily image such action resulting in an error message, “The Kinect camera is obstructed. Unit cannot operate properly until this is resolved.”

        • ima420r says:

          I read somewhere that it needs to be facing you so it can recognize you otherwise it won’t work. Of course with all that’s been said about the xbone I have a hard time telling facts from rumors.

          • Asimech says:

            I’ve heard the same rumours, but it’s bad enough without that. Not only does the “Kinect is always on” hike up the price of Xbone itself, but if it breaks you’ll have to buy a new one. It’s a liability until it becomes fully optional.

      • Zak McKracken says:

        The tape thing wiuld be okay if it wasn’t for the microphone..
        The only thing that’ll work reliably is to disconnect the thing (that is at least the microphone)

    • Mephane says:

      I wholeheartedly agree. Power LEDs are like, the default for everything, not including it simply cannot be an oversight. The new kinect is meant to do nothing less than turn your TV into a telescreen.

  5. Zoe M says:

    Even if they do all this, XBox is dead to me. I won’t even buy Microsoft branded gamepads.

    Why? Well, in their headlong rush to make me buy new hardware, they stopped supporting my EXISTING platform. Also, THEY KILLED ENSEMBLE STUDIOS! (You ba…)

    MS are dead to me.

    So I guess a point of my own: if you have more than one platform in use, support BOTH. Otherwise you make a lot of people very angry.

  6. The Rocketeer says:

    Not that it bothers me in the slightest when someone makes a single error of diction over several hundred words, but sooner or later someone is going to see that you meant

    they’re at the store”

    mid-way through the third paragraph, and it is going to make they’re pedantic little heart skip a beat.

  7. Eric says:

    Corporations move slowly. They’re huge, there’s long chain of command, every decision has to be approved 1,000 times over before it goes through, and most importantly, nobody wants to be liable for anything that goes wrong.

    Therefore I highly doubt Microsoft will incorporate anything that you suggest in this article – as good as your suggestions are.

    You can point to the whole DRM reversal but truth be told, their extremely quick turn-around to me suggests that their backup plan was already ready and waiting, based on what Sony would do and the public’s reaction to their announcement. There’s no way they could change their minds so quickly. They had to have known people wouldn’t like it, and went ahead with their announcement knowing it full well.

    The big problem with Microsoft is that nothing about them is human. Nothing about this new Xbox is really made with the end user experience in mind. They have zero respect for the people they are dealing with. To them they’re just customers, just numbers; you’re one out of millions. They do not care about things like privacy, or that your buying their product is a conscious choice to grant them a place in your living room, which comes with the expectation that it will not be abused.

    Instead Microsoft’s goal is to abuse you as much as possible without you throwing them out completely, all the while having you pay them for the pleasure.

    What a messed up world.

    • microwaviblerabbit says:

      Microsoft does not seem to have an actual long-term plan. They created the Xbox division at huge cost to challenge Sony and Nintendo for the console market. Having secured a decent market share, they are unsure how to proceed.

      The only thing that would make sense is if the Xbone is mass-market testing for a complete home PC. It has been Microsoft’s goal for at least a decade to create a single platform that merged home PC’s and entertainment systems. They tried this from the PC end with the Media Center editions of Windows, and by oversimplifying the interface with Windows 8. The Xbone would be an attempt from the other direction, to use the ease of console hardware and setup to tackle the problem.

      The sad truth is that console owners are their least important customers. Operating systems are used by large companies, governments, and other organizations who have power. The same is true for data centers and other services.

      Plus, console owners are an ongoing source of revenue, as they buy games and services. For most games, Microsoft gets a cut for little input. So consoles have low risk, low worries about customer satisfaction, and high potential profits. Eric is right, they have no respect for the end user, they same way a person has no respect for an ant.

      I think they may have shot themselves in the foot though, with the kinect camera. I know many old people who are technologically illiterate, who know nothing about video games. But they all know about identity theft. Almost all the women I know have taped over, covered up, or otherwise blinded the built in webcams on their computers. Once, and it will, footage shows up online from an always on kinect that horrifically violates someone’s privacy Microsoft will have a disaster.

  8. Darren says:

    I didn’t even bother to read the article about advertising. The headline and first image were enough to repulse me and prove your point.

    Off-topic, but do you have any thoughts about companies that have learned their lessons regarding business practices? After trying out the latest Civ V expansion, I couldn’t help but think about how Firaxis started out with a lot of nickel-and-dime DLC for that title and how they seem to have completely abandoned the idea. Even XCOM only had that one (poorly received) mission pack followed by a free update and mostly dead silence (though with a little tease for a sequel or expansion).

    I’m just saying that it’s all well and good to offer sensible, well-reasoned advice, but it’s even better when you can point to someone else and say, “See!?”

  9. Weimer says:

    Your article there sounds like trying to get a drunk stop beating his wife. Then I’m very amused because how apt that allegory is.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      It gets less amusing when said wife refuses to leave that husband no matter what,even if much better men are swooning over her,and everyone has to pay for her medical bills.

      Id rather we convince people to dump microsoft than to convince them to get their act together.

  10. kdansky says:

    I like the idea of the name change. Just call it XBox 4, same number as the PS4, and if you count the XBone, technically correct. It also doesn’t seem so weird when 4 comes after 360, as the three-sixty has a three right at the start. They will never do that. XBone is going to stay, even if it is the second most retarded name they could have come up with (after “XBox”).

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I remember when people were saying how nintendo should rename their console,because no one would ever want something with such a silly name.And then wii kicked everyones asses.

  11. Daimbert says:

    Without backwards compatibility, I can’t think of any reason to buy one of the new consoles (unless they make a new Persona game for one of them, of course.). I bought the PS2 for the DVD player. I bought the PS3 for the Blu-Ray player, and finally have enough of a library that I actually play games on it and am not playing on the PS2 all the time. What’s the PS4 or XBOne going to have to get me to buy them? At least if the PS4 was backwards compatible if they came up with a really good game — like, say, another Fatal Frame — I’d rather buy that than another PS3 to play my older games.

    Also, am I the only one who thinks this console generation was a bit short? It seems that they just got a good enough library of games to be worth buying and now they’re pitching the next best thing.

    • Peter H. Coffin says:

      This one was longer, actually… counting from release to the point that the next one hit the shelves, PSX had about five years (1995 to 2000), PS2 had sixish (2000 to 2006), and PS3 is already at seven years, and may hit eight if the PS4 doesn’t actually hit the streets until November.

    • Humanoid says:

      Technologically there’s not really anything viable to cling onto as a selling point. I mean there’s 4k TV, but that’s still embryonic, and we still haven’t even got 1080p gaming right, let alone quadrupling the pixel count again.

      Anandtech demonstrated that you’d need FOUR GTX Titans to run Metro 2033 at 60fps for example, and that setup would fail to hit 60fps on Sleeping Dogs. That’s $4000 worth of graphics, and probably that amount again for the display. So yeah, this generation is kind of arriving at a time where there are no passing coat-tails to hang on to. From an observer’s perspective I guess it’s interesting in that we’ll get to see them sink or swim on their own merits.

  12. Zak McKracken says:

    Hi Shamus,
    I’ve posted this before, but I’d really like for you to listen to this and somehow relate what these people are saying to what you say in the column:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/audio/2013/jul/04/tech-weekly-ps4-v-xbox-one
    The interesting bits are somewhere in the middle:
    - One of the guys is an indie developer and says things are indeed much easier for them on the XBone
    - The announcement was in fact a PR desaster, but not because the features were bad but simply because they were communicated badly. Thus, all gamers actually loose out because Microsoft made a U-turn
    Especially that last thing is extremely hard to understand for me, but these people aren’t MS employees, so … does anyone understand this perspective?

    • Veylon says:

      I’ve seen these kinds of comments before. The best I can figure is that they’ve put so much effort – and possibly burned so many bridges – in loyally justifying these features that they can’t backtrack without feeling like fools.

      I don’t really understand why non-employees feel that they need to be loyal to Microsoft, but I’ve seen a lot of it anyway.

  13. arron says:

    Intel have exactly the same plans.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/intels-cable-box-will-have-a-camera-that-tracks-you-as-you-watch-tv-2013-2

    No gaming application – this is purely audience recognition for marketing purposes only. This isn’t a feature to aid the user. This is a feature to enable the sort of advertising and “per seat” DRM they are going to implement on the XBone. Watch everyone else follow suit if this proves popular. I’m hoping it will be a real consumer turnoff and it bombs..badly.

  14. Retsam says:

    My first thought for “integrating advertisements with the Kinect” was a whole new level in targeted advertising. Like “Hey, you look like you could lose some weight, try this diet pill!” or “Come shop at ____ to stop looking like your mother still picks out your clothes!”

  15. Hal says:

    Three minor tidbits:

    1) I love the continued digs at GFWL.

    2) My PS2 died after ~5 years of steady use. The controller ports became bugged somehow and seemed to think anything you plugged into them was stuck in the “down arrow” position. Oddly, a replacement PS2 is too expensive for how much I’d use it. (Although it looks like the prices have dropped since I last looked at them.)

    3) There are already advertisements on the 360; I have to wonder what the limits of consumer patience are on this sort of thing. I know we tend to let this our entertainment blur together these days, since it’s all just sitting in front of a screen, but people go to great lengths to avoid advertisements.

  16. Dreadjaws says:

    I’ve never been a fan of Microsoft’s consoles, mostly due to the lack of interest in their exclusives, but if I were, I still wouldn’t be getting one, even after their 180. No, specially after their 180.

    Their policy-reversal showed they were liars (“These *features* can’t be taken away, they’re part of the hardware!”) and that they didn’t do it because they care about the consumer, they did it because they realized if they didn’t do it they’d plummet and crash into the ground they launched themselves to without a parachute.

    The evidence of this is that, as you’ve clearly put it, Shamus, they’re still doing very stupid things with their console. They’re depending too much on their launch games, and at least one of them is a SEGA CD game. I don’t see things going very well for them.

  17. Factoid says:

    I think you might be underestimating the cost of a rebrand for the XBone at this point. It’s most certainly not cost-free. yes it’s MUCH cheaper to do it now than it will be in a few months when there are in-store signs, TV commercials, etc… but they’ve invested a lot in that brand already. I have no doubt that the cost of changing it could be measured in MILLIONS of dollars.

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