I thought I’d write a quick opinion piece on the recent mauling of Microsoft’s Xbox One by Sony’s PlayStation 4 at E3.
Mainly, I think, because if you’ve followed me on Twitter the last couple of days, it may come across that I’m biased against Microsoft. It seemed a little lop-sided to me, especially from someone that actually has all three ‘current’ gen machines under the TV and also plays on iOS, Mac and PC.
I have to say, that my experience with Microsoft in general, as a developer, has been overwhelmingly positive, at least in my dealings with them for Windows 8. They’ve been receptive, friendly and helpful, and you’ll see some Windows 8 games soon! (promise!)
And may I just say that I don’t understand the seemingly negative reactions for Windows 8? I really like it. I have it on my Samsung slate thingy, and on a partition on my Mac. No problems with it at all really (especially when you discover the desktop!).
I was even hoping that I might be able to self-publish on Xbox thanks to the ties to Windows 8 development (alas this does not seem to be the case).
So I’d argue I’m not biased against Microsoft… just biased against stupidity
The Xbox One stuff turned out to be pretty damn scary. The restrictions (which I won’t go into here) seemed draconian in their nature, as opposed to the status quo. The status quo being, you can sell your games online, or trade them in, or lend them to a friend. Without restriction. Without the need to be online.
And for what? There seemed to be little, if any, benefit to consumers for all the upheaval that was planned.
The Xbox One plans seemed unintuitive to say the least, and a further sign of how the industry I love is becoming less likeable, to me at least (e.g. In-app purchases, adverts in games, games as a ‘service’ etc etc)
I’m sure there are plenty of people who don’t care, or just don’t feel these things are a problem or important. Indeed, it would hardly affect me as I buy all my games new (being a collector!).
But it’s the principle of the matter. Games should be games, nothing more. You pay for one you feel might be interesting. You lend it to a friend if you think they might like it. At the end of the day you own the disc the game came on, and should be able to do what you want with it.
There are digital stores that really aren’t comparable to what Microsoft is trying to do with Xbox One. I won’t go into those here.
So, going into the E3 conference, I had real fears that Sony would follow suite, and we’d see the start of something a bit more than just insidious spread across the whole industry.
But what Sony did was amazing.
In that they did nothing at all, yet because of Microsoft’s plans, turned out to be the hero of the hour!
Being $100 cheaper was the killing blow I think.
Then, from a developer point of view, there’s the option to self-publish on PS4. I may never take advantage of that, but hell, the door’s open if I want to go that way!
I think hubris is the enemy here. Success does not give you a pass to do completely stupid things. Yet all these companies (Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft) have gone crazy in the past after huge success.
I guess it must be hard to stay humble. But it’s something a company should strive for, in my opinion.
Every person that enjoys one of my games is a gift. A GIFT.
Big companies forget that. Then remember after a fall. Then forget after another success. And the cycle continues…
Steve Jobs is often quoted as saying ‘Stay hungry’.
I couldn’t agree with him more.