I don't normally rant about consumer electronics. I don't like cell phones. Computers are slow, and there's nothing genuinely new under the sun. However, I'm a gamer, and I've just been insulted. About a week ago, Microsoft told the world about its upcoming game console, the XBox ONE. They spoke extensively about all the new features, which were cool, but weren't enough to allay disdain at the "not-so-cool" features, features like it won't play used games.
For non-gamers, I'll let you know the secret to gaming in poor communities. It's called GameStop. It's a retail store dedicated to video games. It also functions as a pseudo-pawn shop. When you're tired of playing a video game, you can bring it to them and you'll get store credit towards another video game. The game you turn in is then sold again as a used game for a slightly lower price. So if you wonder why Pookie doesn't have a job, but he's knee-deep in video games, this is why.
What Microsoft is trying to do is stop this practice because, quite frankly, they hate GameStop. Oh, and poor people. They obviously hate poor people too. But this isn't the insult for me, the poor, Black gamer. No, it isn't. Even though the XBox ONE has a camera that's ALWAYS on and watching you, in a time where every American can rightly assume that Big Brother is watching them through their Twitter and Facebook accounts; this is not Microsoft's insult to me.
I can tell you how Microsoft tried to impress me with a Blu-Ray drive in their new machine, even though no one cares about Blu-Ray. If someone had the excess cash to care about extra sharp pictures on their DVDs, they would wisely buy a Blu-Ray player or an HD TV for this effect. They would not buy a new game system. The PS2 and PS3 game systems tried similar tactics, but the DVD drives in those systems were more of a bane than a boon.
I'll even push aside the fact that the new XBox ONE will not play old XBox 360 games, even though those games were published by the same company for a system that uses the exact same programming language. Thus if you buy an XBox ONE, you'll have to wait a couple months before you can play more than just one game. To put this in perspective, a gamer with no spouse or children can finish one video game in 2 days. I'm married with a kid, so it takes me longer, i.e., a week. It will be MONTHS before you can play more than ONE game on the XBox ONE.
None of these things alone can compare to the insult Microsoft has tossed in my direction. What is the insult, you say? At their press conference, they refused to mention the price of the system. They said that the price for the XBox ONE would be released at a later date. Excuse me, Microsoft? Do you think I'm stupid? I've been playing video games since 1982. It's 2013 right now. That's right. I've been into games for 31 YEARS, and I'm a young gamer. You think I, and gamers like myself, don't pay attention to market trends in the video game industry? Your system is going to cost $600. You know it. I know it. Stop playing games with grown men.
The average gamer is 35 and is married with kids. The PS3 was a paperweight with a Blu-Ray drive and wouldn't play old PS2 games. It cost $600 at launch. Why is Microsoft pretending that they're not about to make the same mistake? They're not going under $600 because they want to offset development costs. They're not going over $600 because they're not completely insane. Only ignorant children, who have not seen the rise and fall of Sega or the political firestorm set by Mortal Kombat, would sit idly by wondering how much Microsoft's new system is going to cost. So before they launch their system, (which should be in August or September) let me tell you what's going to happen if they don't want their stock price to fall
1. They're going to make the system play used games.
2. It WILL be backwards-compatible (play games from their older systems).
3. The camera on the system will turn off when I turn off the system.
These things will happen or the XBox ONE will join the ranks of TurboGraphX 16, Atari Jaguar, 3DO, Sega CD, and the Sega Saturn. If Microsoft doesn't remember these systems, that's fine. I've been playing games longer than they've been making them. I know a paperweight when I see one.
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