Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ozzie Rants: The Downward Spiral of Microsoft

Let me preface this by saying I spent most of the current console generation owning only an X-box 360. However when I got a PS3 in 2011 I quickly realized that the grass was infact greener on the other side. Don't get me wrong I have my issues with some of Sony's business decisions and Sony fanboys but they're not the focus of this particular rant.

In all honesty I'm not even remotely surprised by the information that spread out following the X-Box one reveal because Microsoft has been making stupid anti-consumer decisions for some time now and they're just on a downward spiral of "Let's see what we can get away with".

Microsoft has for a very long time now been making a killing on charging you for "services" that every single one of their competitors offers for free. Contrary to the thing Microsoft fans like to spout about how you get what you pay for, X-Box Live is in fact barely better then PSN. The only thing X-Box Live really has over PSN is party chat and as wonderful as party chat is, it is not worth paying a subscription fee for.

The fact is the online in games aren't really better on X-Box Live because how well the online work really comes down to the netcode of the game developer, something that is completely unaffected by how much money you're shoving in Microsoft's pockets. I used to think that X-Box Live hosted the servers for all the games but that's clearly untrue considering how many games have connection issues while others don't.

Microsoft also chooses to require a gold subscription to access Netflix, Netflix a service that has it's own separate fee and can be access without an additional charge on literally every other Netflix compatible device on the Market. 3DS, Wii, Wii U, PS3, generic Blu Ray players, Smart TVs, the list goes on and on. That's why I found it absolutely hilarious months ago when they announced that for the weekend silver users could access Netflix for free. Oh thank you for allowing me to do the thing that fucking every single other company already does... for one weekend.

This isn't even including how they boasted adding apps for things like facebook and twitter as excuses for why they were raising the price of X-Box Live Gold. Things you can do on PC for free are why they had to raise the price.

Microsoft doesn't even try to add value for their subscriptions. PSN has a subscription option but it's not needed to access the systems features. It grants you access to some pretty good deals (more numerous and usually better then X-Box Live's deal of the week) and free games. You lose access to the free games if your subscription drops but free games are still a lot more valuable to me then party chat.

Remember when the dashboard wasn't a shitty clusterfuck?

Microsoft has also just all around devalued their current system over the past few years. They've made the dashboard less functional and annoying. Complete with taking longer to load up and a weird bit of lag associated with the guide button that wasn't there before. Not to mention it now looks like something that is meant to be navigated with a mouse or touch screen rather then a controller. I'm sure this was done for the sake of Kinect navigation but I don't have a Kinect and never will. Meanwhile the PS3's equivalent of the dashboard has stayed with the same controller friendly navigation that it's had since launch. You don't need to reinvent the wheel every fucking year.
Oh and let's not forget adding advertisements to a paid service as well as making it feel like the games are buried in a clusterfuck of stuff that no one cares about.

And before anyone suggests that the loading issues are due to my system being old. No, it's not. The games all run perfectly fine. It's only the dashboard and guide button that give me trouble (in fact an ad on the dashboard has frozen my system before). Considering the dashboard is the system's operating system, that's scary. How the fuck does your system run it's operating system worse then the games? Could you imagine if your PC ran Star Wars: The Old Republic better then it runs Windows? That would be insane!

In addition to all these things, Microsoft started the gen paying companies to make JRPGs and some other niche Japanese games for the system. Giving them some decent exclusives but they've all but abandoned that causing all those games to flood back to the Playstation making all of us who bought the system for those games feeling like we were tricked into buying it. Unless you care about Halo or Gears of War they have literally nothing over Sony lately. This isn't particularly relevant to my overall rant but it helps as an additional example as to why I personally was already losing any desire to continue supporting Microsoft.

So why is this newest turn of events a surprise to anyone? Whenever always online, lack of backwards compatibility, or anti-used game measures were brought up people would always say to me "They're never do that. They would have to be stupid to do that. It would crash the console market". Well you apparently didn't understand how much Microsoft loves pushing anti-consumer nonsense. Since you could have easily used the same "They couldn't do something that stupid" response to the concepts of charging for features that are free everywhere else, putting ads on a paid service,  and making your system's operating system less efficient.

I can understand to an extent not including backwards compatibility for the X-Box One due to technical reasons. But anyone defending the always online and anti-used game fees need to wake the fuck up, you're defending something that is purely negative. These are not "features". There are no pros only cons, these are solely for the benefit of developers wanting to ensure you aren't buying used games. Even if they don't effect you, they do not benefit you in any way. Stop fucking defending them.

As for the Television features and Sports (Hurray for wasting $400 million on the NFL that could have been used on game tech). It's a further move on Microsofts bid to control literally every bit of technology in the world. Not satisfied with having a monopoly on PC operating systems they are going after everything. Consoles, Cellphones, MP3 players (LOL Zune), etc. I won't be surprised if in a few years from now we start seeing ads for Windows 9 Cars with Kinect functionality.

The future of car wrecks. Brought to you by some idiot fucking with a kinect and youtube while driving.
This technology grasp they're aiming for wouldn't be much of a problem if they didn't seem determined to unify them all and have them all be the bloody same. The X-Box 360 dashboard should not look like a cellphone. Nor should windows. Stop trying to ruin the individuality of every peice of technology.

As it stands I was already uninterested in the X-Box One prior to the announcement because I saw what Microsoft was doing with the X-Box 360 and I just plain did not trust them with the future of gaming. They have in fact confirmed my decision beyond a shadow of a doubt. I actually wasn't really interested in getting a PS4 either though, but after the X-Box One announcement, I'm almost tempted to get one just out of spite now.

This isn't even covering their decision to still require indie devs to have a publisher to put up digital games even though, once again, literally no one else does so.

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