Saturday, June 22, 2013

Disgruntled Monkey’s Rant Log: Xbox One and the Ark of the Customer

Rant by Disgruntled Monkey

(The following is a rant and shouldn't be perceived as the truth. The writer of this rant lives in a world of unicorns and Cthulhu like monstrosities.)

So with Microsoft doing an about face and getting rid of their DRM restrictions, gamers have begun celebrations akin to the Ewoks cheering at the death of the Empire. But can we really call this a victory? I don’t think so and it’s not because I think anything was lost thanks to this change in policy. While people should be happy at the change in policy, this is really only a battle won, the war honestly continues.

Yes I just called Gamers, Ewoks. Come at me bro.

Do you trust Microsoft to not try this DRM gambit again?

Do you really think Sony is the saviour of gamers?

We are dealing with businesses and it surprises me that many people forget this. They are out to get our money and while they can go about things with a sense of decency it’s up to us to be forever vigilant. Customer rights are only there if we insist upon them. If we roll onto our backs and give in, then it’s a quick one, two, three and the companies become the World Champions of our collective asses.

Forums, comments and social media are an interesting learning experience. You can already see people thinking everything is now fine and that they can go about buying Halo 5. Now I’m wouldn’t want to begrudge someone from buying a product that they are perfectly happy with. Hell let’s step into the alternative universe where Microsoft were Mr No DRM and Sony was the evil empire. If Sony was to back down, I would be happy cause then I could buy inFamous: Second Son without guilt.

But this isn't about boycotting, it’s about blindly supporting brands as if they were your friends. They aren’t and they never will be. Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Valve they are all wolves who’ve learnt to stand up right and wear suits. They may seem civilized but they are just waiting for that chance to strike. Thankfully it’s money they are after and not your blood or flesh.

No matter the company, they've all studied diagrams to fool you into loving them.

Maybe it’s my marketing background that helps me disassociate myself from brands but I just don’t understand the relationship some people have with their brands. Sure I like the stuff I buy but I would never say that the brands define me. Hell working in a comic store for a year I saw some of the worst that fanboy and fangirls had to offer and I don’t want to ever become like that.

Instead of crowing about the victory the customer has had, we should take a moment and realise the power that we actually possess. We can put pressure on companies to do the right thing, but we can’t just stop when one thing goes our way. With the Xbox One a patch will be put out on day one to get rid of the DRM stuff, if a patch is all that it takes to get rid of then a patch is all that is needed to put back in. Plus if a company is intent on making this the future, then you can bet it’s going to come back.

In a way it was very smart for Microsoft to do this now. By making the announcement before launch than technically the DRM policies become an idea not yet trialled instead of an idea that is failed. This gives them more than enough wiggle room to come back with the same ideas. It could even begin with just one game.

Just read the following fantasy statement I made up.

“Oh Halo 6 is going to be powered by the Cloud cause it’s that big a game, of course one of the side effects is that to play it you need to always be online. We at Microsoft apologise for this, but we are sure you’ll love what the game has to offer.”

Doesn’t this sound like something that can happen?

Yet having said this it’s important not to go the other way. Microsoft my play ball, Sony might have learnt its lessons from PS3, we may never encounter something like this again. But we must always be vigil.

It doesn't matter who you support. They both want your money.
Never become complacent.

Always ask questions.

And don’t trust companies to always do the right thing by you.

This is Disgruntled Monkey carrying more than a pinch of salt and signing off for now.

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