[Update: Sony confirms PS4 will not use mandatory used game fees]
I like to point the finger at video game journalists often. They're usually a lazy, misinformed, pro-corporate bunch who don't take the actual concerns of the community to heart. I have no love for video game journalism. However, I have been nothing but floored and substantially placed in awe at how well many gaming sites out there have handled the Xbox One situation. Microsoft is a little less enthused about the results, though.
The main purpose of gaming media is to inform, educate and entertain their audience. Factual information, cited sources and policy clarification was something just about every top site out there sought once the Xbox One conference ended and they had a chance to talk directly with Microsoft's executives and public relation representatives. What came out of those talks were confirmations of fears gamers had ever since the roadmap for the next-gen Xbox presented gamers with the harsh reality of an always-on system with a potential block on the traditional method of buying, selling and trading pre-owned games.
Well, Giant Bomb managed to catch an updated media address from Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb, who has been appointed as the one and only source now for policy related information on the Xbox One. According to Hryb...
“The ability to trade in and resell games is important to gamers and to Xbox. Xbox One is designed to support the trade in and resale of games. Reports about our policies for trade in and resale are inaccurate and incomplete. We will disclose more information in the near future.”
That is all.
Despite pointing a finger at gaming media for inaccurate and incomplete information, Hryb never bothered to provide accurate or complete information about the issues everyone keeps asking about. So how about those used game fees, Hryb? How about that 24 hour check-in Hryb? How about that always-listening, always-watching Kinect 2.0, Hryb? Any complete or accurate information to share? No?
So Microsoft is saying that what was said by their own vice president of business, Phil Harrison, was inaccurate? He explicitly told Kotaku and Wired...
You can take your game around to your friend’s house just as you would today — that’s assuming you have a physical disc — and what we’re doing with the new Live technology is that… with the disc, it’s just a repository for “the bits”. You can put that disc into his drive, you can play the game while you’re there, and then you go home and take that disc with you. But actually, “the bits” are still on his drive. If your friend decides that he really likes to play that game, then he can go buy it instantly, and it doesn’t need to download again. It’s already there. Once he’s paid for it, it’s immediately there.”
There is nothing to misconstrue. For example, if you lend your friend a game that you play via your Live Account, you leave the disc with your friend to play, but once you get home to play on your own Xbox One and the mandatory 24 hour check-in kicks into gear, your friend can no longer play the game until they either purchase the license or login with your credentials.
Gamespot took things a step further to find out from retailers exactly how much the total license could cost, and they received figures that approximated around $52 to purchase a used game license, based on the talks retailers have had with Microsoft.
Additionally, Polygon asked Microsoft's own lead hardware program manager...yes, the actual lead hardware program manager for the Xbox One about the Kinect and it's always-listen functionality and here is what John Link had to say...
"You know, it's always available to the system, so ... you can count, as an application developer or a game developer, [that] everyone's going to have a Kinect. You always have that stream available… [Kinect will] "be just listening enough to know that, 'Hey, I heard something interesting. Somebody's probably trying to wake me up.' It sends it to the console for confirmation, and then it can really power up to that high-power state."
This isn't press misconstruing crap, this is Microsoft's own employees telling the entire gaming community about these features. Gaming media have been giving Microsoft the benefit of the doubt ever since the original Edge report leaked.
The backtracking and PR-spin posts since the Xbox One reveal have become blatantly obvious now and it appears that Microsoft wasn't ready for gamers to speak up and fight back. In fact, Angry Joe and his followers have gathered quite the pitchfork and torch crew informing any and everyone about the Xbox One's policies that strip you of your rights as a consumer!
If Microsoft doesn't like the bad press, instead of blaming gaming journalists for actually doing their job for once (and they really do deserve a hand in this case) they should just be honest. If they're really planning on going through with these anti-consumer measures they should just say so. At least I'll know right off the bat which console I won't be buying.