Entries in Micrisoft (1)

Thursday
Jun202013

E3 Aftermath

I’ve been waiting for Microsoft to change their tune ever since the Xbox One conference back in May. I was shocked when they came out at E3 Day 1 with the same hard-line policy in regards to their digital management and region locking. It figures that it wasn’t until I started to write my first E3 summary did they decide their stance and do a complete 180. It seems Microsoft had reached panic status due to poor public reception and reports after E3 of the PS4 leading the Xbox One in console pre-orders by a ratio of 4:1.

For those of you who missed it, the changes are as follows according to Giantbomb’s Patrick Klepek who broke the original story:

- No more always online requirement

- The console no longer has to check in every 24 hours

- All game discs will work on Xbox One as they do on Xbox 360

- An Internet connection is only required when initially setting up the console

- All downloaded games will function the same when online or offline

- No additional restrictions on trading games or loaning discs

- Region locks have been dropped

The biggest points are the 24 hour online check-ins that eliminated people with poor or no internet ability to even use an Xbox One. The second is the region locking restrictions have also been dropped.

These two changes have the biggest effect on Microsoft’s potential global market presence as the original launch market only included 21 countries. Notable exceptions include Portugal, Poland, most of the Mediterranean states, and almost all of the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

In essence Microsoft had originally planned on forfeiting markets in those countries to focus almost entirely on North America and Western Europe, which only make up about 50-60% of the global console market. This also highlighted peculiar situations such as Witcher 3 developer CD Projekt Red who is based in Poland, and would not have been able to play their game on the Xbox One at launch, even if they went so far as to import that system from another country.

The removal of the 24 hour online check-in was another hindrance to developing market share because there are still many places even where a strong internet connection may not be readily available, especially in developing countries and even in locations in the United States.

While their revised policies make previous claims that their original DRM scheme was unalterable very contradictory, this has really leveled the playing field for this holiday season’s console wars. This shifts the focus of E3 back to the actual games.

All three companies had a large focus on exclusive games, with Nintendo actually coming out ahead due to a very strong first party lineup. Nintendo desperately needs to take advantage any possible weakness from Sony or Microsoft after weak sales of the Wii U during its first year on the market. Below is a list of all the games announced at E3 and its corresponding system.

Rumors have cited a November 21st launch date for the PS4 and with no official date for either system there is still quite awhile until the new console launches. I’m still waiting for some kind of Sony counterpunch, especially after the recent PS3 update that caused system crashes for a small amount of owners. While Sony still seems to have a slightly more convincing combination of product and message, it’s still an open field as we get closer to a new generation in gaming.