Sony Has Forced Microsoft’s Hand

Some interesting news has arisen that will surely heat up the next generation console race. In an interview with Eurogamer, Sony’s head of worldwide studios Shuhei Yoshida gave gamers a reason to rejoice. Mr. Yoshida has effectively killed the rumors surrounding Sony’s next gen console, stating that the PlayStation 4 will not require a constant internet connection, and more importantly will the capability to play used games.

These were two key questions that I had on my mind while I watched the conference yesterday. While Sony might not have addressed it during the presentation like I had hoped, the rumors have at least been laid to rest. Nevertheless, this is a huge announcement for Sony, as they try and edge out Microsoft in the next generation console race.

So what does this mean for Microsoft?

Given the rumors that the next Xbox would require a constant internet connection and would come with anti used game technology, Sony was expected to implement similar features into their machine. By ridding itself of those rumors, Sony has left Microsoft in a very awkward position. For now, Microsoft has yet to make any announcements about their next gen console, but is still expected to continue with its original plans that have been leaked for some time now.

Both a constant internet connection and anti used game technology are terrible features that will surely alienate a number of potential customers. A constant internet connection means that gamers are at the mercy of Microsoft’s servers. In other words if Microsoft kicks you of its servers then your expensive machine becomes a useless hunk of metal that only takes up space. Furthermore, it means that anyone who lacks a consistent internet connection can’t purchase an Xbox because it simply will not work.

The topic of used games is a very touchy one for me. While I may not purchase many used games I am completely behind the used game market. Games are a product and once they enter the hands of consumers then publishers and developers lack the right to tell a customer what they can do with their purchased product. If I want to sell my used game, lend it out, or use it as  Frisbee then I have every right to do so. If Microsoft honestly believes that gamers will take restrictions on used games in stride, then they are severely mistaken. Gamers want the ability to play used games, and GameStop has data proving that. Microsoft needs to look at the data and realize what Sony has already understood.

Ultimately, Microsoft needs to understand that Sony’s announcement has pretty much prohibited them from releasing their next gen console with these types of restrictive features. They have yet to make a move, so there is still plenty of time for Microsoft to change the next gen Xbox design and please customers. However, if Microsoft does decide to follow through with their original rumored plans, then they might as well pull out of the race now, because anyone with half a brain will see that the PlayStation 4 will be a better machine that is much more consumer friendly.