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Following up on an article we recently did about information control and the dictatorship of marketing perception levied by corporations, here is an article that perfectly exemplifies that point to degrees that words cannot simply contain within the confinements of a single post. However, I think the evidence is worth a thousand words... not that I'm going to use a thousand words to talk about the situation, though.
DualShockers has been trucking along to become a legitimate force in the video game information and journalism circles. They're trucking hard guys, so give them a slight hand, they deserve that much. Their latest effort sees a collection of Tweets they've gathered from Twitter by the Xbox One console owner who has been banned by Microsoft for legally accessing his console before the street date (yeah, real legwork there).
According to the temporarily banned Xbox One owner, going by the handle of Moonlight Swami, he revealed the following about his situation after talking with Major Nelson about his predicament...
Alright, I talked to @majornelson and all is being resolved. He has invited me to the launch event. Details on it are classified. I won’t be tweeting much about the xbox one until I get cleared to do so, but all is resolved thanks to @majornelson.
I'm sorry – well, actually, no I'm not sorry. Realistically, I know a lot of fanboys from one camp will say “Microsoft did the right thing” but that's only because this turned into a media circus and Microsoft needed to rectify this fast enough to avoid this turning into a horrible brand-damaging PR event. It's equivalent to the reasons why they decided to reverse the DRM measures after they witnessed the piss-poor pre-order sales.
Now for anyone thinking “So what were they supposed to do?” let me just say that first of all: they shouldn't have had DRM in the first place and then people wouldn't have to worry about a 500MB day-one patch so their $500 console isn't just a big, black brick, and gamers certainly wouldn't have to worry about getting banned for trying to use the console for more than a seesaw counterweight.
Given that we can't change the past and the DRM is what it is (or rather, was what it was before the day-one patch) there's no reason why they would need to actively ban people from accessing the console early. Target was the one who messed up, yet legitimate customers are being punished in their stead. Microsoft could have played it easy, sort of the way Sony is doing it... but I guess that would be asking for too much in terms of being pro-consumer, eh?
It's equivalent to getting a Blu-Ray player or new TV before the official street date because a retailer sent it out early and the manufacturer remotely bans your device after you hook it up. Has that ever happened in any other consumer market? The device getting banned after legally being purchased? It sounds unreasonably absurd just writing out such an anti-consumer scenario.
Anyway, even if Microsoft did decide to ban people for early access they could have avoided all the bad press by not copyright striking the unboxing video; they could have avoided the bad press by simply saying they would unban consoles ASAP, and they could have avoided bad press by just letting the situation die away.
Putting a gag order on a legitimate customer and preventing them from spreading further information about a device they legally own is beyond ridiculous. Of course, though, this poor guy was going to accept the gag order because Microsoft invited him to a launch party, buttered him up with the Doritocratic Premier Package and probably even offered to introduce the kid to the Dorito Pope, along with a photo opportunity.
It's sad times indeed.
Having customers gagged from giving out information on a product they own is the worst kind of information Nazism.