- Oct 8, 2010
I know, right? I got scooped by PR. But that's the thing, they didn't think of this. Or rather, they did and just decided that DRM was more important, and they only changed their minds when there was an enormous backlash. There's no way they've been developing this thing for years without anyone pointing out all the circumstances when it wouldn't work, and Microsoft is well aware of console use in both the military and hospitals because it regularly makes donations to both those causes.NihilCredo said:Hah! Did you do a ctrl-F for "will" to replace it with "would've", Robert? Or did the Escapist editors have to do it?
I don't blame you of course, you couldn't foresee this development, and kudos on not just hashing out a quick random article in less than a day like a procrastinating student.
But it doesn't make it any less funny to read such a borderline melodramatic appeal to the heartstrings "think of the little sick children! Think of the heroes dying for your freedom!" being abruptly bracketed by "...I mean, you already have, but if you hadn't"
But yeah, I agree the tone is a little strange after-the-fact. I'd rather have that weird tone than online check-ins and region lock though!
Actually the article was much different before. I put about 4 hours of revisions into it overnight to get it in its current shape - rewriting is difficult and time-consuming. Mostly I completely scrapped and rewrote the last section, which originally had a range of solutions MS could use to fix the problem, though the path they chose was far more radical (and positive) than I predicted. I proposed they split the difference by creating low-cost activation cards that could be sold at military post exchanges and commissaries that would disable the region lock and online check-in, and they could simply send the same thing directly to hospitals as Child's Play Donations. That way, they could keep their system requirements - which I believed were too built into the console to undo wholesale, but I'm glad that turned out to be a PR fib - while making the system available to the groups they'd alienated.
At an even earlier point, there was also a long section about how the 21 country limit is absolutely going to kill the console in Asia and cause a lot of frustration, but I decided to cut it all out and save it for a future article. Of course, now that's been walked back, so that article will probably never come out! Frankly that region lock was a bigger problem than most people realized. For example, a lot of American and European professionals these days will live overseas, especially in Asia, for months or even years. Tech workers and engineers are particularly prone to spending a year or two either serving as the company representative at an overseas manufacturing center or setting up/training a satellite office. Those people wouldn't have been able to take their consoles with them because the region wasn't supported and they couldn't play games bought locally. There's also some countries that were inexplicably left off the list, like Portugal. Under the old plan if you lived in every country around Portugal you could own an Xbox One, but in Portugal it wouldn't work. Really, it just didn't take into account the globalized nature of many people today who cross borders on a regular basis.
And that's not even getting into the fact that you'd have to wait a year longer to buy the thing in Asia, partially because the Kinect has to get reconfigured to accomodate the smaller living spaces in Hong Kong and Japan and because TV is so different in Asia that MS has to forge all-new media partnerships in order to have it be a viable competition for a cable box. They have different content standards, different types of contracts, different distribution rights and different content partners. (Example: Even if you're a subscriber you can't access Netflix and Hulu from an Asian IP because the contracts studios and channels have signed don't include overseas distribution.)
Basically, Microsoft made a machine that can do a lot of cool, amazing stuff, but there are a lot of moving parts and it wasn't very flexible. Even beyond the now-reversed policies, it's still going to be difficult to sell in a global market because you need to find new content partners before moving into each region, rather than adding them later as apps like last-gen machines.