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Revisiting Ben Kuchera's "Xbox One Backlash Doesn't Matter"

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Cactuar

Member
Nov 30, 2018
2,637
I love how we live in a future where the course of history was literally altered because of this very backlash, and yet you still manage to type "it doesn't matter."

Yes, I agree. Had we lived in a completely alternate universe where what actually happened was entirely different, then yes, perhaps it would have not mattered.
I have no idea what this means in relation to my statement.
 

Perfect Chaos

Member
Oct 25, 2017
480
Charlottesville, VA, USA
Wow. Really? Is this really why you havent bought one? I means 6 years is a long time to hold a grudge for something that was abandoned like less than a year after release.....
MS's relatively tone deaf messaging during that period certainly drove me to the PS4, and I'm someone who was, until that point, mostly content to ignore whatever Sony was doing and stick with Xbox. At this point it's not really a grudge, it's just that I see no reason to own an Xbox. I have no software library there, and am content with my Pro, PC, and Switch.

Even though MS abandoned these ideas, they still had a certain bravado in rolling it all out (a bravado echoed by their defenders, and some media folks like Kuchera), and the backtracking was just that - backtracking. There wasn't a clarity in vision, it was "Oh shit, they hate it. I guess we aren't doing that."
 

Border

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,640
Didnt this guy lose a bet to somone on the old forum?

And never paid?
My recollection is hazy, but he said something to the extent of "I'll give you $10 if you can find a time I ever mentioned 'secret sauce' [in reference to some rumored special hardware feature on the Xbox One]"

Naturally somebody looked up his post history, and he had once used the term in a sarcastic or facetious manner. Gies declared that it did not count because he was not using the term with the sincere belief that there was as-yet unrevealed "secret sauce" on the Xbox One. So he was literally wrong but figuratively right. And of course he refused to pay up.

EDIT: Found a related image:

 

Owzers

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,235
the no used games talk alongside halo/gears franchise fatigue and what happened to the franchise I did like, Fables, made me skip Xbox One entirely. They don’t have the first party games I want to play, but game pass is very appealing.
 

Rei no Otaku

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
1,254
Cranston RI
A lot of the media was on the same thought train. I remember a number of Bombcasts where they were all saying how it was no big deal and Sony would also be forbidding used games.
 

Calles

Member
Nov 1, 2017
5,275
Wasn't Gies the guy who only got a job because he was a room mate of some 1UP guys in the past? Or am I mistaking him for someone else.
 

BoxingIsCool

Member
May 15, 2019
2,260
I take comfort in the fact that Microsoft isn’t going to have the expectation of beating Sony. They know they can’t. Their pillar franchises are withering away. As much as I love halo, I think it’s time to sunset the franchise after Infinite. Not eternally, but for several years. Gears 5 didn’t set the world on fire. I just have franchise fatigue. I want something new. Keep in mind, I absolutely love Xbox. I’ve been a part of the Xbox one subreddit since it was announced when I was in undergrad. Adore it. I’ll buy every Xbox day one. it means that much to me. But the brand has to change. I want stories that touch me. Not bombastic setpieces. It’s telling that the best game from an Xbox/pc exclusive (until released on switch) is Ori. People want something different.

anyways, my point. I don’t think they’re in competition with Sony anymore. They just want to add accessibility. That’s been their game plan since backwards compatibility. Just to make sure more people could play more games. Their messaging has been excellent recently. I can’t find fault in it and I don’t think others can either. They’re heavily investing in PC. And they can make these investments because Game Pass is the centerpiece. It’s exciting to me. BleedingEdge is a game that SHOULD NOT exist. No way MS would ever invest in that in their old days. But Game Pass shows there’s a place for it. I’m hopingone of these risks catches fire
 

Xx 720

Member
Nov 3, 2017
2,514
While MS seems to of learned from their mistakes, I actually think they and Sony are going to struggle launching vs Switch, it’s going to me much harder for them post launch epically if Nintendo keeps updating/revising the hardware yet still able to undercut them price wise.
 

Apharmd

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,472
Kuchera is a clown. Consistently wrong and yet so confident in his hot takes. I don't know how he keeps getting jobs. That he's game editor at Ars still speaks to the shocking decline of that website in the last two decades.

Now that I got that out of the way, the backlash to Microsoft's DRM was so extreme that anyone could see it was doomed to failure. And never forget, the gaming media was largely complicit with Microsoft in attempting to sell us a bill of goods. Kuchera, and Kyle Orland at Ars Technica, and Polygon, and other game journalists/outfits carrying water for MS/EA/etc. to help kill used gaming largely soured me totally on game journalism for good (although that started after Gamestop fired Jeff Gerstmann tbh). The publishers and console manufacturers hold all of the cards, so game journalists have to play nice or they have no access. Car industry journalism is largely the same way. Shit, American political journalism is largely the same way, at least at the bigger media companies and newspapers.

The announcement by Microsoft of the DRM did significant and perhaps permanent damage to the Xbox brand worldwide, and was the defining moment of the console generation. Sony would go on to have the 2nd-highest selling console of all time after rejecting online requirements and physical game DRM, and the Xbox One became an also-ran, last-place console even after Microsoft very publicly reversed their DRM stance. Even Nintendo, after the failed Wii U, has passed them up with the success of the Switch.

I did end up with an Xbox One (actually 3 different models) and I enjoy the system, the controller, the services. Microsoft provided a better product after they had to go back to the drawing board.
 

upinsmoke

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,546
I've never clicked on a polygon article since. They'll be lots of these in the run up to next gen console release. Kinda like that thing only a month or two back where someone was slating Sony for keeping people in the dark about PS5 and that in turn meant it was doomed or some shit
 

Decarb

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,016
I remember most of the media was on the same page about the backlash, hand waving it away and even making fun of #PS4noDRM campaign. Gies was just two steps ahead on shitty takes.
 

Tendo

Member
Oct 26, 2017
340
Wasn't Gies the guy who only got a job because he was a room mate of some 1UP guys in the past? Or am I mistaking him for someone else.
You're right. Anthony and Matt started a podcast right after closing (rebelfm) and invited him on since he was living with Anthony.
 
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Crayon

Member
Oct 26, 2017
10,693
Kuchera, Gies, Orland... many of us probably fought with these guys on forums years before they were making a living at it.
 

collige

Member
Oct 31, 2017
5,588
How much has changed, honestly?

You could draw a lot of parallels to the general media reaction to things like the Epic Game Store. Epic's transgressions aren't as egregious as Microsoft's, but there's certainly a "who cares about the consumer or the indies" attitude that colors such a huge percentage of words that people ever bothered printing about it.

--------------------------------------------------

This is still my favorite post from OldGAF btw (by faceless007):

...

So forgive me if I find myself not caring one bit when the industry complains that it's just so hard to sell six million copies of Gears of Medal of Battle of Uncharted Angry Dudes VII in the first week and that's why they need to take away used sales for the entire platform. No, the problem isn't at this end."
That is some fucking ether right there. People complain about GaaS a lot now, but as a whole I gotta say the industry is way better than it used to be. Last gen was such just such a huge clusterfuck.
 

DarkConfidant

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,423
Detroit, MI
I mean the PS4 and Xbox One are the last home consoles, as that hobby died off in 2013 to Facebook and mobile gaming.

/s

I thought the take was bad then, and I think it's even funnier now.

I sort of lost interests in games around that time, stopped playing, stopped trying to get into the industry, changed career paths, and aside from the time around that E3, stopped paying attention to gaming news and media until early 2015 when I impulse bought a PS4 bundle which remained in its box for months.

Despite my pessimism about game design space/creativity running out and consoles dying to more casual lucrative forms of gaming, I didnt believe Sony would imitate that after the backlash and have always looked at the take of "well if Company B isnt imitating Company A then they just havent announced that they are doing so yet" as lazy speculation.

Im glad we got the generation we did, and even Nintendo has bounced back.
 

Border

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,640
The icing on the cake was that Gies was always pretty consistently snotty and condescending to people that disagreed with him. Kuchera was an opportunistic contrarian but never really made it personal.
 

nded

Member
Nov 14, 2017
4,842
Isn't this the guy that tried to destroy Erik Kain's career for linking to an unreleased ROM, taking it down and apologizing for it?
 

jett

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
20,237
Kuchera and Gies were absolute jokes. Not sure what's their current state, but I don't think I care to find out.
 

jroc74

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,436
Admittedly I bought into the idea that Sony would do something similar with the PS4 in terms of a used game lockout, but I knew immediately Kuchera was full of shit and his article was nothing more than pitiful corporate ass-kissing.
It's amazing that some ppl to this day still think Sony was going to do the whole DRM, always online thing too.

I always say this: the effects of the orig policies were still felt after the 180 by MS. So either Sony were better at software, OS's, firmware than MS...

Sony's version was going to be slapped together by duct tape....

Or Sony never implemented it. And was never going to. Maybe years down the line, but not at launch. Probably not this gen.
 

KS93

Member
Oct 26, 2017
736
I don't think the change in how Microsoft approaches Xbox came just because of this backlash.

I think the entire culture change at the company when Satya Nadella took over in 2014 was a much bigger influence (and it has paid dividends for the company as a whole).
 

jroc74

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,436
I'll be honest and say it mattered more than I thought it would. I figured Microsoft was just the first to make a step that was inevitable and people would just kind of accept it. But it became obvious how much it mattered when they did a complete 180 on it.
What 2013 till now shows us is MS just tried to push too much too soon IMO.

Too heavy handed.

This gen played out like some, many of us suggested...leave the always online, DRM to the devs, publishers of individual games.

Digital sales skyrocketed. I remember the meme about me and my 9 friends are all digital, so digital has to be higher.

It wasn't at the time, but god damn did it surge since then.
 

chromatic9

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,261
Yes it was a huge blow for Xbox but they've turned it around and might claw some share back with game pass. People love a bargain.
 

LavaBadger

Member
Nov 14, 2017
1,832
Change it to "Xbox One Backlash Shouldn't Matter" and you could write a decent article that was way ahead of the curve considering how things went the last several years even after Microsoft walked back a lot of stuff.

Between things like Game Pass and how digital has all but overtaken retail spending on games (Xbox One SAD selling boatloads at Black Friday this year) it's funny to look back at the stuff they were talking about like sharing digital game licenses and reselling digital games before all that stuff got cancelled.
I don't think you can make that argument. Had MS been able to move forward with their planned approach, would Game Pass look like it looks today? I think there's every reason to believe MS's underdog status this gen forced them to rethink their approach to their digital offerings, and this is what resulted in a totally different business model than what they were pitching at the start of the gen.

While some staunchly stood against digital ownership purely from a "you should always own your games" stance (And therefore still should stand against Game Pass as the way forward for MS), the bigger sticking point for me, and I imagine most consumers was, "What are you giving me in return for taking away my ownership rights?" The answer at launch, was nothing. (Post that, some allusions were made to game sharing eventually, but none of it official and codified prior to the whole thing being tossed out.) MS seemed to believe they could take control of this aspect of gaming, and no one would fuss, but that wasn't the case. Game Pass on the other hand doesn't make any claims about ownership, and is very clearly a completely different business proposition.

I don't think you can ignore how things went early gen when it comes to where MS is now. It very much mattered. Maybe Game Pass was the plan all along, but it's such a drastically different approach now such that it feels a lot more like a reaction to their original plans rather than a logical extension of them.
 
Oct 29, 2017
2,359
Sounds like political BS trying to attack the other side while defending your own. As opposed to owning up to the errors and mistakes instead of brushing them away like they don’t matter. Sad.
 

Dekuman

Member
Oct 27, 2017
8,697
Ben always struck me as a bit of a man child based on his reactions to criticsm. I never took his XOne backlash article as serious opinion. I think he was also behind the awful Mario Kart pie chart and opinion piece during the nadir of Wii U sales
 

AntiMacro

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,597
Alberta
All the stuff games had added to combat the used game market - live service games, evolving games, battlepasses, etc... - is stuff people just LOVE, so that's a rousing success.
 

Terra

Member
May 15, 2019
189
You can Argue with Gamepass and the upcoming rise of streaming services, we are going to end up at that stage anyways, just Microsoft went with the Carrot: "Oh look how much more convient for you this is (ohbtw you can't resell and don't own any of it)" instead of the stick "You cant resell this stuff and it isn't yours, for your own good."
 

Rats

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,124
The lead-up to this console generation was a fascinating time to follow the industry. For whatever reason, so many in the games media felt the need to carry water for Microsoft's vision and it resulted in some historically bad takes. This may be the worst one of all.
 

Splader

Member
Feb 12, 2018
1,896
He’s not alone, they burned all bridges for me unfortunately. What they tried to pull was insane. Once all the people that were there during the one reveal leave I’ll give them a second chance. Phil Spencer, Major Nelson, Greenberg. Mike Ybarra and Penelo have left.
I'm sure they're all very anxious for you to give them such mercy.
 

Pryme

Member
Aug 23, 2018
2,518
He’s not alone, they burned all bridges for me unfortunately. What they tried to pull was insane. Once all the people that were there during the one reveal leave I’ll give them a second chance. Phil Spencer, Major Nelson, Greenberg. Mike Ybarra and Penelo have left.
Might want to compile an exhaustive list, then. This can’t be all of them. Don’t leave out the janitors, too.
 

Pryme

Member
Aug 23, 2018
2,518
Kuchera wrote an article months later, alleging that the Kinect was likely spying on users for US or UK intelligence.

Yeah.
 

Xiofire

Member
Oct 27, 2017
884
The bad reception to the Xbox One saw the removal of Don Mattrick and the rise of Spencer, which has brought some great changes to the Xbox brand.

Excellent hardware in the form of the Xbox One X, great services like Xbox Game Pass and Live Ultimate, and now solid studio acquisition to bolster their first party line up going forward.

Microsoft are back in prime position for next gen, and to say that the clusterfuck of an announce/launch had nothing to do with it is overtly obtuse.

As an aside, I still like to ponder what Sony's original plans for price and game ownership were before Xbox took the backlash though. I have some off-hand comments from industry friends who seemed adament that Sony were originally going to do the exact same DRM before the public meltdown to Microsofts announcement.

Sony's final slide at the end of their E3 presentation with the price was clearly edited and added at the last second, as it lacked the same styling of the rest of the keynote. I wonder how different things would have been if Sony had launched at the same price as the One, along with the same DRM restrictions. Would it have just been accepted as the new norm if both had adopted the same systems?
 

c0de

Member
Oct 28, 2017
4,397
Kuchera wrote an article months later, alleging that the Kinect was likely spying on users for US or UK intelligence.

Yeah.
I remember this was big in Germany. While the PS camera was ignored :D Nowadays, this is just how it goes right? Alexa, Cortana, Siri and discovering that real people actually listened to what they recorded. Crazy times.
 

Windrunner

Straight Outta Nowhere
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
4,353
This topic seems to exist exclusively to mock a journalist who failed to call something correctly almost 7 years ago. This is unlikely to generate any constructive discussion, as proven thus far.
 
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