Microsoft is in the middle of a marketing nightmare at the moment for the Xbox One, however its image took a further hit at E3 yesterday when Don Mattrick suggested that some consumers should buy an Xbox 360 if they don’t have a reliable Internet connection.
“Fortunately we have a product for people who aren’t able to get some form of connectivity,” he said bluntly in an interview with Geoff Keighley, a journalist for GameTrailers. “It’s called Xbox 360.”
Keighley was taken aback, perhaps not surprisingly, and responded with: “So stick with 360, that’s your message if you don’t like it?”
“Well if you have zero access to the Internet,” Mattrick continued, “that is an offline device.”
In the run-up to E3, there was a huge amount of speculation regarding how the Xbox One would handle pre-owned video games and digital rights management.
Microsoft cleared up some of this confusion with a series of articles posted on the Xbox website and shared through Major Nelson’s blog. It’s not quite as bad as some had feared, but still poses new and unforeseen restrictions on consumers.
The problem concerns the new cloud-based functionality of the Xbox One. Consumers can access their game library from any console because of this new feature. Likewise, game titles can be accessed from multiple Xbox Live accounts created in the same home.
Disc-based games can also be shared with a friend, but only once and provided they have been on the player’s friends list for at least 30 days. These restrictions are designed to stop online piracy; without them, it would be all too easy to share an Xbox Live account with a group of friends and save money by drawing from a single games library.
To ensure that the player’s collection is only being accessed from a single Xbox One console, and to keep track of lending, Microsoft is demanding that users check-in online at least once every 24 hours.
The decision has caused a huge backlash from players, however.
The caveat is that Microsoft has given itself a get-out clause if fan uproar reaches a uprecedented peak:
“As we move into this new generation of games and entertainment, from time to time, Microsoft may change its policies, terms, products and services to reflect modifications and improvements to our services, feedback from customers and our business partners or changes in our business priorities and business models or for other reasons.”
Until that happens though, consumers with an unstable or restricted Internet connection will continue to eye the Xbox One with suspicion. Microsoft’s answer? Just stick with an Xbox 360.