the tactile gamer, used games, and the future

as gamers, we are tactile creatures. after all, we chisel away hours of time in front of the tv with a controller in our hand, outrunning and detonating baddies, among other things.

in addition to this tactility in the way of gaming, we are mostly hands-on when it comes to purchasing games. sure, there are those out there who are completely on the digital bandwagon and perhaps download more games than they physically purchase. for now, i think that group represents the minority.

when gamers started gaming as we know it today, they were in the arcade, they were feeding quarters into the machine, while jerking the joystick about in a crazed manner trying to get their captured galaga ship beamed back down to them. gaming has evolved, and will continue to do so, that i do not dispute.

when consoles hit the market, you bought the system, you bought the cartridge. after playing for hours or months on end, perhaps you sold back that cartridge and moved on to the next big game. or perhaps, you never parted with those games and you amassed a collection that you were proud of, that your friends ogled in awe, and that your parents lamented for taking up so much space and money. in either scenario, they are both situations that in the future, will likely be moved away from.

key things to take away from that: “in the future” and “likely”

the problems with microsoft moving away from traditional disc-based gaming and the restrictions they are implementing are many and varied. let’s just discuss a few.

digital based gaming/movies/music/books/etc is most likely going to be the only way it is done in the future. the quasi-distant future. right now, technology is developing at a pace that is unparalleled in human history; for every 10 years that pass now, we are technologically advancing the equivalent of 25 years. which is why i say, “quasi-distant future”. there is no dismissing that more and more things are becoming “digital”, however, this doesn’t mean that all things go digital tomorrow. (or this holiday season).

a MAJOR setback to microsoft’s decision with xbox one is the fact that they are making consumers get on board with digital gaming when perhaps they either do not want to, or are not ready to do so.

the marketplace has confirmed that what a majority of consumers want is choice and the freedom to choose. ever walk into the toothpaste aisle at the grocery store? case in point. we went from having a product base (toothpaste) that had a few choices back in the day, to something that now represents an entire aisle at the grocery store. same with shampoo, laundry detergent, orange juice, you name it. this is a broad comparison, but relative to the fact that no one wants to be told they have to buy a certain type of product.

this being said, a number of the comments i have been coming across in the recent days are precisely that, “i don’t want to be told how to buy or what to buy, so i am going with something less restrictive [ps4]”.

microsoft is trying to force the future on their consumers now, when, it is simply not the right environment or time to do so.

we are still in a generation of gamers that “grew up on mario”, that still have their original NES or their N64 or whatever console it may be, and can still play it any time they like.

any defender of the xbox one, i am hearing say that it doesn’t matter whether the games are digital or not, they are on the HDD, and you can play them whenever you like generations later when xbox one is no longer relevant.

i cannot wrap my feeble head around this argument. sure, it is on the HDD on a system this is DESIGNED to REQUIRE authentication and 24-hour check in on a microsoft server dedicated to xbox one. sure, they have 300,000 servers right now, but, are all xbox one servers going to be up and running for all of eternity? when the next gen or next-next gen come out, don’t you think they are going to have to be scaling back on how many servers they keep up and running for an antiquated console?

if someone can clarify this for me, please, PLEASE do.

and before we start the argument of MS still selling discs for xbox one, physically, in the store – from my understanding – those are not traditional “pressed disc” games, they are merely a vessel that houses a code to be ripped to the HDD to store your game.

microsoft may think they are on the cutting edge here and are building a console for the “future” of gaming, but, we aren’t quite there yet. if someone handed me the keys to a DeLorean that operated on plutonium and flew, that’d be pretty sweet, but, i am not sure i would jump right in and fly it without a little research.

MS has faced a lot of backlash about the used game policies they will be implementing on the xbox one. MS execs have gone as far as saying that they know the gaming community is very vocal, but they certainly have a customer-based that is “not as educated” who will buy the console without engaging in internet/gaming forums. how’s that for a punch in the face xbox consumers? (oh. wait. that demographic probably isn’t reading this.) i honestly think that was the most offensive of the ridiculous things that have come out of don mattrick’s and phil spencer’s mouths, among other current and former MS execs. (adam orth, much?)

they (MS) must have known they were going to be met with some resistance/uprising from the gaming community. if not, then perhaps they shouldn’t be running a multi-billion dollar corporation. perhaps they should have come better prepared to answer questions and highlight the benefits available, instead of saying people without connectivity can just get an xbox 360. they should have had a system in place to show that they will have a forum where you can buy/trade/sell digital copies, and that should have been advertising that as much as possible. instead, they have been fumbling more than helen keller at first and goal. (R.I.P., HK).

are you ready to be thrown into the future headlong, without a say so? if so, then take the bait. if you only know music as itunes and movies as netflix and don’t own a single CD or DVD, then this probably is just the console for you. digital libraries abound! but that being said, you probably haven’t been a consumer in the marketplace for very long.

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