The Xbox One Would've Hurt Soldiers And Sick Kids

Robert Rath

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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? :D

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"
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.

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.
 

Amir Kondori

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Chances are the Xbox One will still be disallowed at most military facilities as the Kinect camera and microphone present too much of a risk. Mark my words, once commanders and higher ups realize what is built in they will disallow the Xbox in any restricted areas.
 

james.sponge

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Amir Kondori said:
Chances are the Xbox One will still be disallowed at most military facilities as the Kinect camera and microphone present too much of a risk. Mark my words, once commanders and higher ups realize what is built in they will disallow the Xbox in any restricted areas.
But on the other hand it will be easier to spy on people and track any signs of disbelief in Murica's Army resolve.

Sorry, sorry but the premise of the article just seems ridiculous to me. Our soldiers won't get video games, me sad :(

I can sympathize with sick kids though, games can provide some distraction from your condition and that's a positive thing, so I support that notion.
 

Shuu

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I think we're going through a transition, and the xbox one had some features that I could see going places, even if I wouldn't have used them. But the good just didn't outway the bad for me.
 

Wargamer

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A lot of people talk about the Xbox 180 being some kind of "calculated risk", and here's how I see it.

When a guy takes a revolver, loads a single bullet and spins the chamber before placing the weapon against his head and pulling the trigger, the general thought process going through his proto-brain is this; if an empty chamber comes up I will look seriously bad-ass and everyone will know how cool and awesome I am. If it's a bullet... it's still kind of a cool death, right? Better go out with a bang than a whimper!

Alas, what our Russian Roulette gamer doesn't realise is that everyone else follows this train of thought: if the empty comes up, he's a fucking idiot. If it's a bullet, he's a fucking idiot who had the decency to die and spare us any more of his stupidity.

This is how we must view Microsoft from now on; the mentally handicapped moron who was quite happy to shoot themselves in the face for reasons no sane individual can ever comprehend. They deserve our scorn and revulsion, or at pest our pity, but never again our trust.
 

MeChaNiZ3D

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Am I the only person who doesn't particularly care that the military and hospitalised people couldn't use an Xbox One? Get a different console, or a PC. You're not idiots. Why is it such a travesty that part of the population was prohibited from playing the Xbox One when there are alternatives available?
 

ThatDarnCoyote

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ritchards said:
"They forgot the Marine at Camp Leatherneck, putting in a round of Call of Duty: Ghosts before he hits the rack.

They forgot a hospitalized little girl, whose only bright moment in a day of blood draws and chemotherapy might be a few minutes with Fantasia: Music Evolved."

Am I the only one who thought that those games could easily be the other way around? ;)
No. No, you weren't. :)
 

I.Muir

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Or you know they could just get a ps4 instead
It almost sounds like there was only the xbox to choose from
 

jklinders

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My outlook here is forgive but do not forget.

There always could be a firmware update post launch that could put back in all the DRM that they say right now they will not. There is precedent for this in the industry. As much as this article may seem out of date before publishing the details of what these restrictions would have done needs to be known. Anyone who wants to drop money for this thing should know that things can and have changed post launch. PS 3 launched with the ability to install an OS on it. That was rolled back in a mandatory firmware patch. It's happened before and could well happen again, especially from the minds of those who have shown as much contempt for the consumer as we have seen this month.
 

Falseprophet

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MeChaNiZ3D said:
Am I the only person who doesn't particularly care that the military and hospitalised people couldn't use an Xbox One? Get a different console, or a PC. You're not idiots. Why is it such a travesty that part of the population was prohibited from playing the Xbox One when there are alternatives available?
I felt Rob effectively made the point that these are two populations that a) both use gaming as therapy or escape from the challenging situations they find themselves in, and b) are both exploited by game industry marketing, which borrows their positive public image as a counter-argument to all the mass-media "murder simulators" pearl-clutching, as noted here:

Robert Rath said:
After all, the same game company that trades off the military's reputation in so many of its blockbuster franchises just announced a console that's incompatible with military life. This bitter irony was especially apparent at the Xbox One's launch event, where Microsoft unveiled Call of Duty: Ghosts - a game that couldn't be played by the very people it celebrates.
Robert Rath said:
The console's online requirements would've made it difficult to accommodate in medical facilities. That could've had major ramifications for children's hospitals that benefit from Child's Play, the game industry's chosen charity.
While the concerns of the customers as a whole have made for some great commentary from the gaming media, Rob's article is one of the few that addresses the irony of excluding these two groups specifically.
 

JSF01

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Imp Emissary said:
I don't think it's just greed. I think MS was freaking the [email protected]#K out about the video games industry changing, and this was their way of adapting(you can still say they did a bad job at that though, yes).

Have ya seem MovieBob's newest Game Overthinker Overbites episode? It's his reaction to E3(he had to make some last minute changes, because so did Microsoft).

He came up with this neat theory that Microsoft basically made the X-box one as a system that could ride out an imploding games industry market. Basically, the Xbone was MS's end of the world bunker.

If it's true, it kind of makes some sense out of their crazy actions. But it's just a theory, so who knows what they were really thinking.
Just watched that episode and I agree though I would use a different metaphor.

Think of the consoles as ships whose job is to deliver Passengers (customers) to a fun time. Between the economy still being down and the rise of other forms of gaming Microsoft is seeing a very large storm brewing and is figuring the seas are going to be getting very rough. With rough seas less people want to travel over water so they need to try to attract a larger portion of the remaining potential passengers that would still be willing to make the trip by ship. Now developers are the crew, they keep the ship running and the more crew members the better the ship will run. The DRM features and attempting to kill used game sales is Microsoft's way of trying to lure as many crew members as possible to work exclusively for the Xbox One ship. The bigger the crew that Microsoft can put together the better the ship becomes and runs compared to its competitors. Hopefully attracting more of the passengers that are willing to ride making up for the overall smaller passenger base they are expecting there to be.

Microsoft had been figuring that while the costumers may complain a bit about the feature incentives built into the Xbox One for developers. Microsoft thought it would be like 99% of the time when customers complain about something considered "anti consumer" when it comes to games before it is released, but when it is finally, there is no noticeable affect on sales. Up to this point Microsoft had been telling themselves it's just a few loud mouths that are just blowing hot air, and most people do not care about the DRM stuff.

And then the preorder sales figures were released and Xbox one was being crushed, and they realized that the complaints were a lot more than just hot air. They then crunched some numbers and concluded that unless the Xbox one was at least close to PS4 sales initially the incentives for developers was not enough to gain exclusives alone. In fact if PS 4 was ahead by enough it would be more likely to attract some exclusive deals, which just leads to a death spiral for Xbox One; Or going back to my metaphor, some passengers decide to jump ship leading crew members to follow suite, and causing more passengers to, until the ship end up sinking because there is not enough people to keep it afloat.
 

Phishfood

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Hoplon said:
The cloud is not what they want you to think it is, It is not the solution for creating bigger worlds, or better AI or any of that stuff. Can you imagine having to wait online lag times for enemies to respond? it's bad enough on small maps with 20 people on it.

These companies keep trying this shit, it always burns them because reality does not match up with the vision of what ever twatshine is selling them on the idea.
lets see, we'll pretend the coords of an enemy can be 0-255 in both axis. That's two bytes. Then add in another two bytes for ID of 100,000 potential enemies. 4 bytes * 100,000 enemies * 1/sec. 400kB/s just for a very rough position. I haven't even counted the 3rd dimention.

I'm telling you right now. no, my internet can't handle that.

On top of all this we have animation status, ammo counts, health counts, orientation and probably plenty more I'm forgetting about.

Let's move on to the "cloud" that will process this. 100,000 AI agents. Dwarf Fortress struggles with a few hundred units. I highly doubt this will ever become a reality in any meaningful way whatsoever.
 

Duncan Belfast

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The Xbox One wouldn't have been viable for use by military personel or kids in hospitals, and saying that it would have hurt them is a rather gross over-reaction. So the title is misleading at best and incredibly manipulative at worst.

Other than that, good article. It's kind of mind-boggling to think that I make more delivering pizza than someone just two years younger than me who goes out and risks his life for his country.