Microsoft’s Xbone 180 brought out the true colors of many gamers. Many people who were once against Microsoft’s VCR were all too willing to leap back to its side once Microsoft made their concessions. This past week, during a drunken night out, I had the chance to discuss the Xbone with a friend of mine who is a different breed of gamer than the audience of this site. This friend is a huge fan of World of Warcraft but he also loves Halo and Gears of War, so there is a bit Brogamerness that I have to deal with. This Brogamer-side came out in full force when I brought up how terrible the Xbone was shaping up to be. While he was completely wrong with his assessment that the Xbone is the console of the future, his argument was a nice insight into the mind of somebody who is Xbone crazy.
The first part of our argument began with the exclusive titles that would be released for each console. As a gigantic Halo fan, the mere fact that it will be released for the Xbone is a huge selling point for my friend and other Xboners alike. Knowing that my friend enjoys genres outside of shooters, I was a bit bewildered that the PS4’s line up did not interest him in the slightest. Even when faced with the reality that Sony will carry more (and better) exclusive titles, Microsoft has trained their Xbots to think that the only exclusive that matters is the next Halo title. In the end, the argument about exclusives once again boils down to a fight with a two-year-old who only knows the word “Halo”.
Feeling like I was up against a brick wall in my argument over exclusives, I steered the conversation towards Microsoft’s initial policies for the console. Once again, I was struck by my friend’s intense love for his Xbox. Just like many other Xbox fanboys, my friend was quite angry about the change, most notably, the loss of the Family Sharing feature. Much of this anger came from a misunderstanding of how the feature would work, and seeing that it was insanely complicated, that is understandable. As was the case with many other Xboners, my friend was under the impression that the Family Sharing would be a nice and easy answer to sharing digital copies of games among friends. After correcting his misunderstanding of the convoluted Family Sharing, the discussion turned towards the other Xbone features, and I was treated to a first-hand experience of how jaded Microsoft has turned their fans.
Like many Xboners, my friend was all too willing to relinquish many of his freedoms in an effort to be a part of the “future of gaming”. The thought of being able to access every Xbone game he purchased from any Xbone console greatly appealed to him as he often plays on consoles other than his own. The fact that this feature came at the price of heavy DRM and region restrictions was not a huge factor because Microsoft has their fans believing that it was the price of progress. The last point that I was hit with was the belief that these policies would eventually lead to cheaper games once used games were gone and more digital content had taken over.
Through podcast discussions and excellent posts from Julian, the usefulness of all of these features has been proven to not be worth the cost in freedom, however, Microsoft can not be faulted for knowing its audience. Xbots are willing to give up many things that gamers take for granted, all in the name of being part of Microsoft’s vision of the future of games. Xbots feel the same need to defend the Xbone as people who defend Tim Schafer as though he is a deity of gaming. The 360 forced them to defend the Xbox Live Gold subscription cost as a means of rationalizing paying for something that everybody else received for free. Microsoft has, at least temporarily, saved the Xboners from their blind devotion and constant attempts at giving rationale to policies that others are not impeded by.
Arguing with a fanboy of any type is not recommended for those that lack patience. While it can be an enjoyable experience for a while, the fun quickly wears out as the fanboy ignorance grows. As interesting as my friend’s Xbone craze is, it began to get annoying as my logical attacks were met with anything but logic. Eventually, I relented on my argument in the attempt to remain sane. While I did eventually win points for the number of exclusive games on the PS4, I failed to convince my friend on any of the other issues (I did not even mention how terrible the OS looked in action), mainly because I gave up and decided to let him waste his money figuring it out himself. While I had little success in converting my friend, what kind of encounters with the dregs of society have you had?
Also, for the pair of people who look forward to my articles on Thursdays, I am sad to announce that this will be my last article for the month of July. I will be on vacation next week, traveling to the capital of Mexico. As long as I do not end up shot or in a Mexican jail, I will be back with my next article on the first day of August.