A 2009 film, My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done, chronicled a man (Michael Shannon) going through a downward spiral after witnessing a tragic accident that killed his friends. His wife was forced to watch his rapidly deteriorating psyche from the sidelines despite doing everything in her power to help him. The man reaches a breaking point and kills his mother as she exclaims, “my son, my son, what have ye done?” Now this is how I feel that after the fairly good E3 press conference from Microsoft yesterday up until the price tag showed up and Sony delivered the knockout punch that was heard around the world.
The Tragedy That Started it All:
Shortly after the Xbox 360 was released in November 2005, hackers had already started cracking the 360’s anti-piracy security that was built in. The next month, someone created a mod chip that broke those barriers and in just one month, the Xbox was cracked. Pirates rejoiced and laughed at Microsoft’s failure of keeping them at bay. It was a PR disaster as they had repeatedly stated that the system could not be cracked.
It was all downhill for Microsoft’s attempt at combating the pirates as they dropped banhammer, after banhammer, after more banhammers but each blow delivered did little to no effect to slow the massive plague that begun in December 2005. Microsoft was eventually sued over the mass bannings and most of the bannings led to innocent people losing access to their account such as this autistic child.
For many gamers, it was becoming more and more prevalent that piracy was becoming a huge problem for both the PC and the Xbox 360. Many had visioned what future anti-piracy measures would be created out of this. Valve’s little store, Steam, came up with a powerful anti-piracy measure called CEG which made the game you purchased unique to you and whenever someone copies it, it can not be played on another user’s account unless it was sold or given to that user. But what made that DRM successful was that Steam was more lax with the restrictions than most current DRM’s such as SimCity’s massive failure. DRM was becoming a key part of the gaming industry’s supposed future in a battle against the massive plague that was killing the gaming industry in a slow but devastating way.
The Downfall That Followed:
Pirates weren’t the only thorn in the industry’s side. The problem with used game sales is that it made piracy look like a hair in the soup as the former was a dead body in theirs. A majority of developers loathe used game sales as they do not see a single dime from it as this man explains it pretty well. The result of these used game sales, along with piracy, caused most game studios to close up shop for good. Granted most of these studios performed below par quality-wise but a good chunk of them closed because they became affected by the used game sales.
The industry decided to push back with map packs, micro transactions, online passes and other kinds of downloadable contents. These were met with furor as most DLC’s were already on disc that you had to pay extra to unlock them. In some ways, these moves were sensible to recover money that were lost in game sales such as the infamous online pass that you had to pay to use online if you bought the game used.
The rumors started to surface as the new Xbox required an “always on” internet connection to play games, a’la SimCity. To no surprise it was met with widespread rejection and backlash. Users took to twitter to show their displeasure and caused a major controversy when a MS employee responded. May 21, 2013 rolled and Microsoft officially unveiled the Xbox One and a bombshell was dropped a week later.
With Xbox One you can game offline for up to 24 hours on your primary console, or one hour if you are logged on to a separate console accessing your library. Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection, but you can still watch live TV and enjoy Blu-ray and DVD movies.
Anti-DRM for the Xbox One has started cropping up and forced Microsoft to respond. But the damage had already became far too great for a quick fix.
The Breaking Point is Found:
As Microsoft held their Xbox One E3 press event yesterday, they showed a litany of impressive games from Metal Gear Solid V, Dead Rising 3, Ryse, TitanFall, Forza Motorsport 5, Battlefield 4, Below, Project Spark, Quantum Break, Crimson Dragon and finally Halo. It seemed that Microsoft was winning back the support of gamers with each game reveal up until the end where Microsoft announced the pricing that finally broke the camel’s back, $499 for an Xbox One, Kinect and a controller. When games were shown, loud applause were heard throughout the event up until the price which the crowd groaned loudly as if a comedian told a terrible joke.
Vitriol shortly followed and many had already doomed the console to become the next Atari Jaguar. That theory was further likely to be true after Sony threw a haymaker that connected and finally delivered the knockout blow that became the final nail in the Xbox One’s coffin.
Going back to the film “My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done,” Shannon’s character reached a breaking point and killed his mother, the reason I chose to open up with that statement was because this is how Microsoft became. The gamers became the mother and Microsoft became Michael Shannon. Anyone that attempts to find anything positive about the Xbox One will find it difficult as it is as finding Jimmy Hoffa’s body, unless you run into a really blind Xbox fan.
My Personal Thoughts:
I’ve been an Xbox fan since I bought the first one on day one with Halo, NFL Fever 2002, and Test Drive Off Road. I was instantly hooked to the famous “Duke” controller which fit snugly into my giant hands. Halo Combat Evolved was a pure blast to play and became a huge fan of the franchise as Mechassault became my first Xbox Live game to take online as “Mr. Destructor.” Halo 2 rolled around in 2004 and hooked me even more, pulling me further from the Playstation 2 and the GameCube that I’ve owned. November 20, 2005, my first and only Xbox died, while playing Blitz: The League it’s last words were “you don’t know shit,” which froze and looped the same phrase over and over until I turned it off. It never turned back on.
When the Xbox 360 was announced, I immediately pre-ordered the console at Gamestop along with Perfect Dark Zero, Call of Duty 2 and Madden NFL 06. After being notified by Gamestop that I was not going to get my console on launch day, I lined up outside of my local Best Buy with the others that were waiting and waited and slept on the sidewalk for 12 hours in a 32 degree weather and finally got my hand on the Xbox 360. Madden 06 was utterly terrible but Call of Duty 2 had me blown away by the 360’s graphical prowess. I eventually got the Playstation 3 for Metal Gear Solid 4 but the 360, like the Xbox, had remained my main console. Halo 3 kept me glued and fueled my destructive gaming addiction. But as the 360 went on, the PS3 grew stronger and stronger with the introduction of the Playstation Plus that offered free games plus the sudden rise of Sony’s first party titles that so well done that we’ll continue to talk about in the next ten years. Though the 360 always held me over with the Forza and the Halo franchise, Sony was slowly winning me over until now.
Last night was the toughest decision I’ve ever made for a side to choose. I invested 12 years into Microsoft’s consoles, stuck by them, played the hell out of their games and watched thousands of hours worth of movies on it. I even got the massive failure of a media device the HD-DVD and a bunch of HD-DVD movies! After seeing all the games from Microsoft’s presser, I was so excited for Forza 5, Dead Rising 3, Quantum Break and Halo 5, all of which are exclusives. But the price, the DRM and the lack of clear focus doomed it for me. When Sony announced the price for the PS4 and the lack of DRM, I’ve decided to go with the PS4. It was a decision that was met with heavy regret because so much memories was created on Microsoft’s machines both good and bad. Good bye, Microsoft, we had a good run.