Dear Microsoft

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Hi Microsoft,

Christo here. You might not know me – I’m just another gamer, and Xbox owner. You have plenty of my kind. More than 40-million of us on Xbox Live. Another 30-million on top of that are Xbox owners. While you don’t know me specifically, over the last few weeks – and definitely the last couple of hours – you would have become intimately acquainted with people like me.

Let’s not be shy now; you know why. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that thing you did, you know, with the Xbox One.

But let me set something straight, first. We’re not angry because we hate you. We’re angry because we love you. We’re angry because you’ve let us down. We’re angry because, if you don’t change the Xbox One policies and maybe the price, we’ll be stranded.

We’ll have to buy a PlayStation 4. Sony’s console is looking mighty appealing right about now, what with its upgradeable hard drive, lower price, lack of DRM, no silly used-game and internet access policies… Heck, the PS4 even has a superior graphics processing set-up. And it’s unnerving to consider. Not the idea of a PlayStation 4 – most of us have both consoles – but have you ever used a PlayStation controller? That thing is uncomfortable as heck. We’re angry because our wrists will hurt.

Here’s what I suggest, Microsoft. I know it’s going to be hard to renege on your promises with those publishers you’ve promised billions to. But it’ll be even harder to explain to them why they’re selling no Xbox One games at all, if you don’t listen to these suggestions.

1) Drop the gimmicks. The Xbox is supposed to play games first, and do other things second. I think I speak for every gamer outside the US when I say: we don’t care about TV integration. It’s something for the US market (there’s a world outside of North America) and all those value-added services are useless in the majority of countries that have Xbox Live. I’m literally paying for Xbox Live Gold every year to play games with friends, while my American peers pay the same amount and get far more for their money.

2) Restricting people to what they can do with their used games is bad. Sure, PC gamers have Steam, which doesn’t let them pass on their old, unplayed games – but Steam also has regular sales where we don’t pay full price for those games. If you sold me Halo 5 for $5 I wouldn’t give a shit about not being able to resell it.

3) Nobody wants to have their Xbox One connect to the internet for whatever reason, just because you said so. My hardware, my rules. Your service, your rules. If I want to play single-player games offline, let me do that. I’m not harming others and it’s already looking impossible to beat encryption, so don’t worry about piracy. When I play games on your service, I’ll abide by your rules.

4) More about the internet connections. There are people with no stable, permanent internet access. They have just resigned to buying themselves a PS4. You’ve shot yourself in the foot, already.

5) The price stings a little. Yes, okay, we get a Kinect thrown in. The existing Kinect costs $99, so it’s fair to say the new one is worth even more. But you’ve made it impossible – why?! – to use the console without the Kinect. There’s no $399 console that doesn’t work with Kinect. And very few games so far have even highlighted the need for a Kinect. We demand answers, dammit.

Of course, you don’t have to listen to me, or my 40-million compatriots. We’re not there, on the business front lines, fighting the battles that you’re fighting. So either come clean and tell us the truth, or wait and see what happens when our wallets do the voting.

Christo van Gemert

Christo van Gemert

Eleven years ago Christo started writing about technology for one of South Africa's (then) leading computer magazines. His first review? A Samsung LCD monitor. Hey, it was hot news, back then. Nowadays he gets more excited about photography, cars, game consoles, and faster internet connections. He's sort of an Apple fan, but will take any opportunity to remind you about his Windows-powered home theatre PC and desire to own a vanilla Android tablet.   Currently uses: Apple 13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display, Apple iPhone 5, Microsoft Laser Mouse 6000, Audiofly AF78 Earphones, Xbox 360, Nikon D50.

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