Gaming Weekly is a new weekly Crave Online column that will be deconstructing the biggest topic of the week. This week, Paul Tamburro discusses how, due to Microsoft's DRM u-turn and its newly positive stance on indie gaming, he is excited for the Xbox One.
So often gaming journalism is bogged down in negativity. Throughout my career as a games journalist, I have contributed to this negativity more times than I'd care to admit, and considering that the act of playing a video game is such a joyful, cathartic thing, it's a wonder how I so frequently find myself becoming angered and frustrated by the decisions made by those who afford me the opportunity to do so.
I do not know how to create a video game. Very few game journalists do. My job sometimes feels like walking into an art exhibition and commenting on how the artist's brush strokes are too large, despite barely knowing how to even hold a paintbrush myself. However, as a game journalist, my job is to offer a more concise, well-informed opinion on current events in the industry, in order for the reader to then gain a more rounded view of said events, free of bias and untruths. When Microsoft first revealed the Xbox One, I quite rightly lambasted them for the anti-consumer direction they were taking the console in. Of course, I was not alone in doing this, and such was the strength of the negative feedback that Microsoft performed an almighty u-turn and abolished the majority of the decisions they had made that had raised the ire of gamers.
This was proof that we, the lowly consumer, could make an impact upon the decisions made by a company as powerful as Microsoft, but while this was obviously a very huge step in the right direction for the company, for many it was too little to late – the bond of trust had already been broken, no matter how many times Microsoft professed that they had changed. However, now it's been revealed that Microsoft will allow indie developers to self-publish on the Xbox One, and that all consoles will function as dev kits. Suddenly, I find myself in the position of being excited for and speaking positively about the Xbox One, and more than happy to hand my money over to a company that I was vilifying a month ago.
I am aware that Microsoft hasn't changed the Xbox One's policies out of the kindness of its own heart. I am aware that, if the public outcry wasn't as huge as it was, they'd still be enforcing the same strict regulations regarding used games, and making us sign into Xbox Live even to play games that didn't have any online features. I am also aware that, despite gamers' protests to the contrary, Sony isn't some kind of white knight in all of this. While the PlayStation 4 isn't using DRM, the company isn't opposed to using anti-consumer measures to increase its profits, as proven by the recent announcement thatits upcoming FMP-X1 Ultra HD Media Player will require an internet connection under the guise of "beating piracy". Sony aren't against DRM, and it's safe to assume that its exclusion from the PlayStation 4 wasn't due to some sense of morality, but rather due to them wanting to beat the Xbox One.
I can understand the reasoning of those who do not purchase an Xbox One because of its previous policies, and I envy its righteousness. However, to me, gaming is NOT about the consoles – it's about the games. We have spoken out against what Microsoft were trying to do with the Xbox One, and they have backed down. For me, that is enough to warrant not excluding myself from a large portion of the great games that will inevitably be released in the next-gen.