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Apparently, everyone at Microsoft can go die in a fucking fire, because watermarking/constant-online requirements are a thing, despite their efforts to persuade us otherwise. Don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining, Microsoft — at least have the balls to come clean about being a bunch of fucktacos.

"The Xbox One can play games off-line" turned out to be a smokescreen: yes, it can, but developers can also choose to make use of Microsoft's Cloud Computing and install their OWN always-online requirements — effectively, Xbox has installed always-online capability while being able to keep their own hands clean. So if developers want to fuck us, they're perfectly allowed to. Corporate Vice President Marc Whitten "hopes that they do." In other news, I hope Marc Whitten contracts Ebola and dies in the most painful way possible.

As for "watermarking," it's another yes-and-no-but-really-yes proposition: since all games must be installed to the hard drive (another stupid fucking choice on Microsoft's part, though I'm ignoring it because I'm too goddamned angry about everything else right now), the games will be individually-licensed. Their sop to the used games market is that other people can play the games, but only after "paying a fee." What constitutes this fee, though? Are we talking full-price? Because if so, you just murdered the used game market and any chance I had of buying your console, EVER, Microsoft. Even if you didn't, you've still effectively made games a hobby of only the wealthy. Good luck with your fucking profit margins on that.

I've owned a 360 for years. I have 85,000 achievement points. I am very, very into this shit — and I will absolutely not buy any console from any company that considers these two things viable business practices. I am beyond livid at this; this is genuinely angrier than I think I've been at anything in a long, long time — not even the Tea Party has made me this angry. The games industry has shot itself in the foot and then told us we're to blame and that we have to clean up its fucking mess.

Piracy, such as it exists, is, as Valve's Gabe Newell put it, a service issue — make a better system, and people won't pirate content. This is the strategy that worked so brilliantly for both iTunes and Steam; since the inception of each, piracy in both the music and video game industries has plummeted dramatically. And yet the big developers refuse to learn from this, and keep placing the onus on solving piracy on regular consumers. Fuck them with the business end of a rake.

The "used games kill our business model" argument is bullshit — for all Microsoft and Sony claim to hate Gamestop, they LOVE Gamestop for all the pre-orders they bring in. It's garbage anyway; developers don't fail because of piracy, they fail when they make horrible business decisions and go way over-budget trying to do stupid shit like re-create Call of Duty (as if one franchise wasn't enough). Look at Dark Souls and X-Com: Enemy Unknown — those games were tremendously profitable because a) they were great games, and b) they didn't go ridiculously over-budget pursuing the bestest of all graphical upgrades, and instead focused on great gameplay (which doesn't require a huge amount of expensive CGI to execute).

Maybe this is a good thing, because maybe a complete systemic collapse of the video game industry needed to happen. If PS4 follows Microsoft's lead on this (and in most regards, it appears that they might do so), they're going to crash and burn just as hard as Microsoft is about to — and a sizable portion of their core demographics are going to abandon them (including myself). What I'd love to see happen is Gamestop, Best Buy, and all of the other primary providers refuse to carry anything associated with these systems until they get rid of their propensity to utterly fuck the consumer. Unfortunately, there's absolutely no chance of that happening — so instead we'll have to sit back and watch the industry that props up my favorite hobby collapse in flames. Hopefully something better will be reborn from its ashes.

I don't even have the words for how I feel right now. The only cogent thought I have is that the games industry can fuck right off.

Edit: Probably this isn't directly-related (as the article points out), but it still made me laugh really hard because oh MAN do I wish it was directly-related.


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