A Quick Recap Of The Xbox One Policy Reversal
What Microsoft stated to the world:
"We listened to your passionate feedback about the Xbox One, and we care about what you think. Our vision of a connected home entertainment experience was simply too ahead of its time. Since we value you so very much, we decided that you don't have to check in online every 24 hours. Also, we're letting you trade games again! Aren't we nice?"
Overheard within Microsoft's offices moments before the above statement was issued:
"AHHH SHIT! EVERYTHING IS ON FIRE! EVERY TIME WE TRY TO PUT IT OUT THE FLAMES BURN HOTTER!
We're barely selling any pre-orders! The Ouya is doing better than us, and no one on the planet likes the Ouya. Have you looked at the Amazon charts? The Sega Saturn is hot on our heels.
Jimmy Fallon told his audience about the used game restrictions? Great. Now it's not just the nerds who read websites about video games that know, it's real people too! We can't ignore or bully this many customers. It would be great if we could, be we ran the math. It's just not possible unless our lab goes into production with that experimental Customer Enthusiasm Nerve Gas.
Remember all the stuff that we passed off as absolutely vital to the system's functionality? Disable it. Yeah, in the software. It's easy. Don't worry, we lied about not being able to do that."
Game Industry Word Of The Month: Exclusion
If you're a fan of elbowing people out of this growing medium through acts of selfishness, grossness, and gleeful aggression, this has been an awesome month.
Gabe from Penny Arcade made some transphobic remarks, apologized, then laid into the issue even harder, proving his original apology was an absolutely meaningless attempt to get people off his case. This - along with several other issues - prompted The Fullbright Company to pull out of this year's PAX, explaining their decision in an eloquent post.
Microsoft's strategy for the Xbox One willingly wrote off most of the countries on Earth (some of which contained studios that are currently developing games for the console), all customers without access to broadband, and anyone that cared about being able to trade or rent physical discs. Reality and math forced Microsoft to rework their plan and reluctantly allow the poors in, but the intent was there.
At this year's E3 there were some awful sexist incidents which I can barely wrap my head around. I don't know how women put up with this stuff, or how the offending guys managed to live this long without suffocating in their fedoras. You can read about some of the incidents here. Of course, the comments section for that article has been blessed by the presence of cool dudes griping about precious space on their internet being wasted on what they perceive to be "link-bait feminazi whining". Here's something for budding men's rights activists to consider: If stories about discrimination and sexism keep popping up, it might be related to how often people other than yourself are facing these actual issues. Or maybe everyone's uptight, and you're magically the only person who sees things the way they really are.
After Doug TenNapel took to Kickstarter with his new project Armikrog, Bob Mackey penned an article about the relationship between consumers and artists that publicly state troubling viewpoints, such as TenNapel's many homophobic comments. This led to more outbursts from the Earthworm Jim creator, who is more than happy to call for the suppression of others' rights, but feels that public criticism of his public statements is unfair.
So here's the thing. These stories are ugly. When they come at such a rapid clip, it can feel like our fun hobby has been buried under a mountain of bigots and shitheads. In a weird way, though, things are getting better. These stories are reported on and discussed more than they would have been just a few years ago. Prominent figures in development and the press aren't afraid to speak up. There's enough of a push back against narrow-mindedness to have an actual impact from time to time.
Basically what I'm trying to say is that if we don't channel this positivity into a new rendition of "We Are The World" featuring internet gaming celebrities, all will be lost. I'm thinking that Jeff Gerstmann is a natural fit for the Huey Lewis parts.
The Last Of Us
The Citizen Kane of getting people to make goofy proclamations about the Citizen Kane of games. 9/10
TOTAL WRECK - crazy-eyed hound is covered in cobwebs, has a vespiary on back, graffiti on side and savage thirst for boat fuel. Frankly, I'm in over my head. He's in room 115 at Motel 6, yours free. 555-2851
Yes, it's the perfect form for surviving a car crash. But it's also the perfect form for so much more, like surviving the trauma of reading any news headline in 2016.
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