It was only a matter of time. Microsoft has announced their next system, the “Xbox One”. The name itself leaves something to be desired. Nintendo is already having difficulty convincing people that the “Wii U” is a new console that they should want to buy and not just a Wii system add on (or whatever it is people are thinking). The Xbox One sounds like even more of a step in the wrong direction.
But that’s not what the real problem with the announcement was. In fact, for the gaming subculture that vents itself through Twitter and news outlets like Kotaku and Joystiq, the problems were things that we already knew about, used game blocking and forced connectivity being chief among them.
I really do understand the attempt to thwart the used game market around which companies like GameStop have built entire empires. Money payed for used games does not make it back to developers. If they’re not getting paid, then how are they supposed to keep making games? It still hurts consumers though, who suddenly lose the power to use their purchases however they want, such as simply bringing a new game to their friend’s house to play.
The lack of backwards compatibility is disappointing to be sure, and the connectivity requirements will cause a problem for some people. These issues matter to the core subculture of gamers to which we belong, but I am not so sure the world at large actually cares about these things. Microsoft is trying to play a larger game that started with the previous generation of devices that brought casual gaming and all purpose media devices to the masses. These things are not meant for us.
The real question is as to whether this world (read: People in the United States) will want to spend several hundred dollars on a very high tech remote control that also plays Halo. The decision of gamers will be made based on the games they want to play, so Microsoft has no real need to cater to us.