Microsoft recently revealed how it will handle used games on the Xbox One, and gamers aren’t too happy about it. The move gives Sony a chance to step in and take the lead for the next generation.
While gamers aren’t happy about the DRM policies of the Xbox One, Sony is happy to provide them with an alternative with the PlayStation 4. Sony already showed off just how powerful its new console is back in February, but now it has a chance to make the console better than the Xbox One in the eyes of gamers.
One of the big complaints against Microsoft with the Xbox One is its used games policy. Specifically, the company will leave the decision up to developers to decide if they’ll let gamers buy or sell their games used. There is a potential that gamers can’t sell back some of their games.
Microsoft also put a restriction on lending games. Gamers can only lend games to friends who were on the Xbox Live friends list for at least 30 days, and the can only lend games once no matter how long they have the game. They’ll have to wait to lend games, however, as the “feature” isn’t part of the console at release.
The solution for Sony is simple: very little or no DRM in the PlayStation 4. Sony can win the hearts and minds of gamers by keeping the same policies it has on the PlayStation 3 now. Gamers like to buy and sell used games and borrow games from friends. If Sony can enable that without making them jump through hoops, they’ll have one up on Microsoft.
The Xbox One doesn’t require a constant Internet connection, but it does require a connection at least once every 24 hours. Microsoft’s console will ping Microsoft’s servers once a day to make validate the gamer’s profile and games. The trouble, however, is that not everyone has such a reliable connection at the moment.
There are still gamers living in rural areas who are lucky to have anything more than a dial-up connection. Video games are also popular with soldiers overseas who are often in locations with limited Internet access. Right now it seems those gamers simply can’t play game on the Xbox One.
Sony can easily alleviate those concerns by not requiring an Internet connection. Many of the console’s features like streaming games, automatic game downloads and cloud gaming won’t work without a connection. However, Sony can make everyone happy by ensuring that disc-based PlayStation 4 games will work without that connection, even if some other features don’t work.
A big fear that many have of the Xbox One is the console’s Kinect sensor. By default the sensor is always watching and listening the user in case they want to issue a voice command. There is an option to turn the Kinect off or pause it, but that doesn’t mean gamers still aren’t concerned. Gamers have to plug the Kinect into the console to play games, or the Xbox One simply won’t work
With recent revelations regarding PRISM there are potentially even more privacy issues with the Kinect sensor. Microsoft, along with all other companies named in the program deny their involvement, but for some the issue is hard to ignore.
Sony’s comeback is simple: turn off the included PlayStation Eye when the PlayStation 4 is off or in a low-power state. The better solution is to let gamers unplug the camera and not use it if they don’t want to. The PlayStation Eye so far doesn’t have all of the features of the Kinect, and that may work in Sony’s favor in the eyes of some gamers.