For those of you unaware, today Microsoft announced that it will be pulling its always online requirements and disc-based DRM for the Xbox One, which is sprouting the #Xbox180 hashtag all over the internet. This is no doubt good news, but doesn't prove anything to me about the value of the Xbox. For once, Microsoft is fumbling and tripping over their words, and their attempts at damage control feel anything but genuine.
Microsoft's reputation is already damaged. The negative feedback to their DRM policy has snowballed ever since it was rumored last year, only to come to a peak at Sony's E3 press conference this year. I have a feeling that Microsoft's "appreciation" for our feedback has nothing to do with the customer, but all to do with backing themselves out of the hole they put themselves in. They finally realized how bad their console looked in comparison to the PS4, and it was nothing but bad business. Gamestops are selling out of Xbox One preorders solely because they aren't taking in many, while there are loads of PS4's available for preorder still. When Gamestop is hesitant to stock your console, you've got a problem.
Microsoft does not feel like a company that is in it to please consumers, but instead make money off of them. It's going to be hard for them to gain the trust of gamers again, and I don't think it'll be any time soon. The way they've gone about their press conferences and PR is to tell us that they're doing us a favor, that they're setting the standard for the new age of gaming. Their conversation with us has been entirely one-sided, and that's what's hurting them most. They act like they are doing us a favor by selling us their product, when in fact it's doing nothing but grabbing for as much money as possible.
Xbox Live has already proven this by cluttering their dashboard with ads, even on a paid service. They've done this by refusing to lower the price on their games on demand service, even while retail prices drop. They've oversold themselves to the point where visiting Xbox.com or Bing feels like a huge Microsoft ad, not a service.
There's no conversation between us and Microsoft. There's a series of business decisions. I know the Xbox One will definitely sell, but I'm curious to see how hard of a hit Microsoft will take for this. Will the only way for them to learn be through losing money? Only time will tell.