The Pipe Bomb #8: Microsoft

Microsoft is a company known to consumers for defective products, lacking innovative concepts, and amongst other things, consumer distrust. While not talking about the TV concept and hardware of the XBox One, I simply call out Microsoft and the XBox brand for what it truly is.

While I had a good experience with Microsoft while I had the XBox 360, I simply couldn’t overlook Microsoft’s misdeeds any longer. Now while I’ll be accused of being a Sony fanboy, I would call out Sony for their misdeeds as well if they weren’t trusted by most consumers besides the XBox fanboys who defend their brand to the death.

I. XBox Live Games With Gold 

On paper, this seems like an interesting concept, 2 free games per month for XBox Live gold members, right? The execution of said plan felt fishy from the start as every month since it started, I saw lackluster content being offered, besides Assassin’s Creed II and Dead Rising 2 which are the only two “free” games I picked up when I had XBL Gold. The others offered were just bland XBL Arcade games I had no interest in whatsoever and really tainted a great concept.

Now why do I put free in parentheses? It’s not really free. Paying $60 a year, while it’s only a once-a-year fee just feels like a ripoff, even though some will argue that you’re getting more with XBox Live as compare to PSN. While you may be getting more, quantity doesn’t always beat quality. Almost every app or feature included with XBox Live was locked behind a pay wall, including Netflix which was $8 a month for streaming on top of the $60 a year for gold, and you needed gold to use most of the services, if not all of them. That “S” in Microsoft might as well be a dollar sign because that’s all they want.

Why should I, or anyone, have to pay $60 a year, on top of subscription fees for services like Netflix? Because Microsoft as I’ve stated is greedy.

II. Lack Of Exclusives 

If there’s one thing that PlayStation has over the Xbox brand, it’s their exclusives. The PS3 dominated with many exclusive titles like InFamous, Heavy Rain, and Beyond Two Souls. The 360 really only had Halo and Gears of War as their two major exclusives. Now I will admit from people across the Internet that the multi-platform games ran better on the 360 than PS3, even if I couldn’t notice it, but this generation, things have switched for obvious reasons.

This generation, the lack of exclusives just keep piling in for Microsoft. I mean, Ryse: Son of Rome, seriously? If I wanted, I can get a good look at a T-bone by sticking my head up a bull’s ass but I’d rather take the butcher’s word for it (Tommy Boy reference).In other words, if I wanted to see a Roman experience or something similar, I’d go watch “300.” Look at Forza 5. It should really be called “Micropayment 5.” This game is filled with microtransactions. 

III. XBox Live Enforcement 

While this may be the most debatable or either the most obvious, XBox Live’s terms and conditions reads like a dictionary…boring. Only a law graduate could dissect the conspicuous terms of use of XBox Live. I mean if we buy the system, shouldn’t we be able to do what we choose, even if it’s to an extent?

While I was never hit with the ban hammer when I had a 360, I would constantly watch videos of people being banned left and right because of their outrageous terms of use. Hell, I even saw someone get banned because they made their avatar white, even though you can legally do that through the avatar editor, and I’m talking powdered sugar white, yet Microsoft told the guy in question it wasn’t possible.

The only way to determine why you were banned is to go through the forums on XBox’s website. I swear, any time I heard this from a YouTube video, I thought to myself that XBox Live’s enforcement team were nothing but social trolls hiding behind their confusing terms of use, leaving little to no grey area at all.

Now with the XBox One, they’ve implemented a reputation system that claims it can detect false reports, but we’ve seen no proof of it doing so yet. The system works on three levels, green, yellow, and red. Obviously, green is good and red is bad, while yellow means “needs work.” With a system like this you’d think it’s flawless right? I’d give it a “needs work” rating only because we haven’t really seen anyone get banned, unless you use Skype. That’s right, if you use profanity while in Skype, Microsoft holds the right to ban you for use of profanity. What…the..hell? They claim they want to keep the online environment safe for everyone, yet anyone over 10 and under 17 plays ‘M’ rated games and when it comes to online multiplayer, you’ll hear more f-bombs dropped than I can count.

Microsoft is basically taking our First Amendment rights from us and I for one just cannot stand for it, even if I do own a PS4, I won’t sit idly by as gamers have their rights taken from them just because Microsoft can do so.

Microsoft, while some people can respect you for trying to innovate in the gaming market, you’re simply going backwards in my opinion while enforcing Gestapo-like policies that would make Hitler even go “WTF?” Your “Games With Gold” promotion may seem like you’re giving back to the consumer, but you’re giving us stuff we can find for less than $10. Stop being greedy bullies and give gamers more control of what they do with their systems.