Grizzly Gaming

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Xbox One – New, slightly less bad info

But don’t be mistaken, it’s still looking pretty bad.

Allegedly, the Xbox One will perform “regular online checks” to verify the authenticity and ownership of a particular disc. It was originally thought that Microsoft was trying to cut out third party retailers, like GameStop, who buy and sell used video game discs. Apparently, this isn’t the case. But only apparently.

The Xbox One – from the info released so far – will still rely on physical copies of games being purchased. Once you buy a game, a brand new game for the sake of this example, you need to install that game on your One. Once installed, you no longer need the disc to play said game.

Now if you were to sell said new game to GameStop, there is some system in place – that Microsoft hasn’t detailed – to revoke your access to said game (because remember, you don’t need the disc to play once it’s installed), possibly going so far as to delete it from your console themselves, as well as returning it to Free Agent status.

This is weird, though, because it essentially means that Microsoft (and maybe even retailers) are keeping track of what you buy and play and deciding whether or not you’re “allowed” to play a game that you have in your possession – whether you bought it new, used or borrowed it.

And though it’s not detailed in the article above, I’ve read that this whole convoluted system of buying physical media for a one-time install that still restricts how you can use what you’ve paid for with your own money is actually a way for MS and developers to get a slice of the used game market. Apparently (allegedly) used-game retailers will have to pay a fee to MS for every used game sold, because hey, look at that, it just so happens that Microsoft is putting a system in place to basically track every single copy of every game sold. So this means that used games for Xbox One will probably be more expensive, negating the entire reason to buy used.

So while it might not be an extra “fee” to play used games, MS is still very intent on getting a cut of the used game market, and this seems to be their strategy. It also brings me back to a point from my original Xbox One article – you won’t be able to share Xbox One games. Once a game is installed, it’s locked to your account/console/whatever. I borrow and lend games with my friends all the time. In high school, I can remember a time when I bought a game and a friend bought a game specifically so we could trade after we were done with them. But I’m almost positive this is an instance that doesn’t even register as an issue to Microsoft. Because why design your console and games for multiple people to use at once when you can make so much more money by forcing everyone to get their own.

Or, in the case of the Xbox One, lose a whole bunch of money from fans who don’t want to be spied on all the time. And no, I wasn’t talking about how the Kinect in constantly watching you. But now that you mention it…

In an article on (via the German language news site, apparently Germany’s federal commissioner for data protection and the freedom of information, Peter Schaar, has expressed concern over the Xbox One Kinect peripheral (which I guess isn’t technically a peripheral, since it will be packaged as standard with the One), calling it a “monitoring device.”

Even though my initial reactions from my Xbox One reveal article sounded pretty alarmist when it came to the Kinect’s functionality, it seems I wasn’t the only one to see the Kinect as the beginning of some Orwellian plot. In a quote translated by Google Translate from Joystiq, Schaar states, “Under the heading, 'game device,' Microsoft pushes a monitoring device in the market.  The Xbox continuously records all sorts of personal information about me: reaction rates, my learning or emotional states. These are then processed on an external server, and possibly even passed on to third parties. Whether they will ever deleted, the person can not influence.”

I’ll admit, outside of selling any gather information to some third party advertising company or whatever, Microsoft probably doesn’t have any (or many) sinister designs for the Xbox One. We’re most likely overreacting to the fact that the Kinect will always be on and processing information. But that doesn’t change the fact that some people (a lot of people, apparently) don’t like the idea that the Xbox One and Kinect even could be monitoring you at any given moment.

But regardless of what Microsoft is doing with any data gathered from the Kinect (or if it even does gather and store data on users), the fact that I’m buying a video camera to put in my personal space that is ALWAYS ON is just…unsettling. I never asked for something like that and I definitely don’t want something like that.

And short of Microsoft having the most amazing E3 lineup of games ever and also, somehow, totally assuaging all my anxieties about the Xbox One, I’m keeping my eyes on the Playstation 4.



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An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

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