The Microsoft Customer

As gamers we have always believed that we are the customer to whom the game creators and the hardware manufacturers cater to in order to make their bottom line. It's a logical conclusion based on the ancient relationship between producer and consumer - literally the basis of the entertainment trade for the entirety of human civilisation.  

This isn't necessarily the case in recent years, and the Xbox One is a testament to this. 

You, the gamer, the consumer of home entertainment, music, videos, streaming vlogs and internet radio, are not the source of Microsoft's income. Recent 'revelations' of the Xbox One licensing schema make this apparent. The Xbox One is not being sold to you, it is being sold to the major publishers. Consider the following:

  • No independent publishing on the Live marketplace. Indie developers must seek a publisher partner.
  • Your licences are being validated via online authentication - by Microsoft's own admission the physical media is a convenience only. 
  • Microsoft have sought patents that ensure only paying customers can experience licensed content (Kinect can in practice ensure that only a predetermined number of people are viewing your TV, and block content based on that number).
  • Resale of games now provides Microsoft and the publishers with an cut of the resale profits via authorised licence resale. 

This is simply not a device that facilitates the needs of the user. Instead it panders to the tight-fisted, piracy-paranoid media companies; providing them with a list of assurances that they are receiving all the payment they feel entitled to. Microsoft believes (and likely has negotiated contracts to the effect) that it is the publishers that will feather their nests and it is therefore the publisher's responsibility to sell you their games, movies and music.

In reality, Microsoft has only found a technical method to enforce the contracts that already exist when you buy a game or a movie. You don't have to like this distrustful, penny-pinching attitude, but if you buy an Xbox One you will have to live with it. Microsoft are simply providing an assurance of enforcement to their primary customer.

Not you. 

Xbox One(eighty)

Keynote 2013