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Microsoft are in danger of becoming the asshole friend that no one really likes

Microsoft and Xbox need to reign in their PR spin before they become the asshole friend that no on really likes… Every friend group has one. It’s that asshole friend who nobody really likes but still gets to hang around […]

Microsoft and Xbox need to reign in their PR spin before they become the asshole friend that no on really likes…

Every friend group has one. It’s that asshole friend who nobody really likes but still gets to hang around with you because everyone is too polite to tell them to jump off a cliff. They lie to try to impress you, they do dumb things that inconvenience everyone and they criticise others to make themselves look better. If you don’t think your friend group has one of these, you’re probably the asshole friend.
An Example – My own personal asshole friend recently went to holiday in Italy where he “found a dead body while scuba diving”, where he “fell over in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican city and was helped to his feet by the Pope” and “Met Jennifer Lawrence”. None of us believe that any of this actually happened. In the past, he’s gone on a beer-run and returned with £50 worth of alcohol-free beer “because it was cheap”, much to the dismay of the thirsty party guests and invited himself along on dates because he was bored. You get the picture.

In the gaming world, Microsoft are quickly becoming that asshole friend. Over the past month, Phil Spencer and the Xbox brand have started to tell lies to try to impress us and have criticised the competition while acting like a concerned friend and to some degree, it has worked – But I feel like I need to say something before we’re stuck with another “WOAH 6K gaming!/XBOX1S HAS 4K GAMING!” disaster. And before you chalk this up to the rantings of a PlayStation fanboy, allow me to remind you that I’m sold on the Xbox One X. For a non-Xbox-One-Owner, it’s a perfect jumping on point. You’d be hard pressed to replicate the capabilities of the X for the same price with a PC and its power dwarfs that of the PS4. Microsoft have branched out with their exclusives too, breaking the “just shooters and racers” mold with the likes of Cuphead, Sea of Thieves and Super Lucky’s Tale. I’m also under no illusion that Sony have been innocent in recent months and, trust me, as soon as I get the time, I’ll take aim at them and rake them over the coals too. BUT – Just for today – let’s focus on Microsoft’s recent fumbles.

Let’s start with E3. Proudly standing on stage, Phil Spencer proclaimed that they be showing “42 titles on its E3 stage including 22 with console exclusivity”. Except, that’s not entirely true is it Phil? Of the 42 games on display, only a handful are actually “exclusive” to Xbox consoles – not that you could tell the difference though. Launch exclusives, Resolution exclusives, World Exclusives, Xbox/Win 10 Exclusives, Exclusive Exclusives – The word was thrown around so often during Microsoft’s E3 2017 presentation that it lost all semblance of meaning. After the dust of E3 2017 started to settle, it became quite clear that a large percentage of that “22 games with console exclusivity” would be coming to other consoles at some point too, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds among them. I half expected Phil Spencer to start telling me about his recently holiday to Italy…
Perhaps Microsoft should be excused from using the world “Exclusive” so ambiguously – every console manufacturer has been guilty of it in the past – but at E3 2017, they were the only group to do so. Both Nintendo and Sony used Exclusive and meant Exclusive.

And then there’s the whole Minecraft cross-play debacle. In case you missed it, Microsoft have announced that Minecraft will now cross-play between all versions from the Nintendo Switch to the Xbox 360 to mobile devices – except for the PS4. Why is this? Well, “Sony refused” because (and I’m quoting Sony’s Jim Ryan here);

“We’ve got to be mindful of our responsibility to our install base. Minecraft – the demographic playing that, you know as well as I do, it’s all ages but it’s also very young. We have a contract with the people who go online with us, that we look after them and they are within the PlayStation curated universe. Exposing what in many cases are children to external influences we have no ability to manage or look after, it’s something we have to think about very carefully”

The thing is, Sony are absolutely right to say no to cross-play in the form that Microsoft have offered it. Why? Aside from it doing Micrsoft a favour by removing the “My friends play here, so I’ll play here” aspect, it’s because it’ll require you to log-in to Xbox Live. Even if you’re on the Nintendo Switch or PS4, you’ll still need to sign into the Xbox online system. This isn’t as simple as having both networks talk to one another – It’s a logistical nightmare for Sony. Imagine, hypothetically, that Xbox Live has an outage while people are playing Minecraft via crossplay on PS4. Where do you think people will complain too when they can’t get online? Microsoft or Sony? I’d bet it’d be the latter. And what if a tablet player using Xbox Live player tries to groom a child on PS4 player via Minecraft? Where does the report need to go to? How does that player get banned? Who deals with the police? There’d need to be a months of discussions to iron out the details of what goes where, what data can be shared etc. and why even open that Pandora’s box when Sony have been adequately policing the game? At least as separate entities, Sony are responsible for their own security and the safety of their players.

Of course, Phil Spencer then went on the defensive by saying; “The fact that somebody would make an assertion that somehow we’re not keeping Minecraft players safe, I found, not only from a Microsoft perspective, but from a game industry perspective…. I don’t know why that has to become the dialogue” and “We would never put Minecraft in a place where we felt like we weren’t keeping our players safe“.

This obviously called a shit storm online with much of the gaming press casting shade on PlayStation’s reluctance to sign-up. On the other hand, Sony are right to be apprehensive. As well as a few recent high-profile Paedophilia cases involving Minecraft and Xbox Live, Sony and Microsoft have a different standard of moderation. Remember when both Microsoft and Bethesda’s Todd Howard said there would be “no nude mods for the Xbox One version of Fallout 4”? It took 2 weeks for Nude mods to arrive in Xbox One’s Fallout 4. Just 2 weeks. Have these been removed? No, they’re still there. Sony shouldn’t just accept Microsoft’s level of moderation (much like their more restrictive stance on Fallout 4 mods) and shouldn’t accept Microsoft’s offer of cross-play in its current form. That’s like your asshole friend saying “Hey! Let’s share a bank account – but it’s my name on the account and I get to control what goes in and out of it” and not letting you have a say in it and then the press saying “Excuse me? Why haven’t you started sharing a bank account with your asshole friend yet?”.

The thing is, Microsoft and Xbox don’t need to be acting like the asshole friend. They don’t need to be going out and saying they “look at [PS4] Pro as more of a competitor to [Xbox One] S than I do to Xbox One X,” which, let’s be honest, is a fallacy. They don’t need to be going out to lie about the number of actual exclusives they have in the works to try to impress us. They don’t need to bash their competitors “adaptive 4K” using Checkerboard rendering – when that’s exactly the same system used by some Xbox One X games being touted as “True 4K”. They don’t need to be suggesting that Sony’s reluctance behind not wanting cross-play is unwarranted – because it is, at least in its current form. Perhaps the past few years have taken their toll on Phil and the Xbox team. Perhaps they feel like they need to act like this because they’ve been on the defensive for so long. But there’s a way to press your offensive and acting like a tool isn’t the right way…

They’re gearing up to release the most powerful games console ever devised and instead of talking a lot of shit, they should be showing the world why they should part with $500 for it. They should be going out and giving genuine reasons why their “ForKays” is better than other “ForKays” or why their games are worth paying a $500. Instead, they’re constantly bogged down by telling little white lies to confuse us, getting caught up in shit slinging matches, criticising others to make themselves look better and putting so much PR spin on things that it might as well be a Merry-Go-Round. Microsoft are in real danger of becoming the gaming equivalent of asshole friend that no likes unless they start to turn words into actions because fewer people are buying into it each time.

Sean Davies

Ungrateful little yuppie larvae. 30-something father to 5. Once ate 32 slices of pizza at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

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  • June 27, 2017 at 10:31

    This has got to be the most over exaggerated article ive seen in recent months… This sounds like it was written by the entitled whiny kid of the friend group.

    Any corporation is suppose to hyped up a consumer facing product. Also it wasnt Sony saying no to Minecraft shared world, it was the “safety” comments that bugged Spencer. He only works for one of the most elite software companies on Earth.

    Microsoft has become more consumer friendly than any of the 3 console makers, and yet you look at something so petty to point out, and make a mountain out of it.

    • June 27, 2017 at 17:13

      LOL and N4G has made it one of its top articles. As long as it bashes Microsoft it will be accepted on its garbage website. Hey fanboys.. plz get F*cked

  • June 27, 2017 at 11:04

    This article makes little sense. Xbox Live is not the issue. If you’re playing The Division, you have to sign up to Ubisoft’s portal. Similar to many EA games.

    The problem is, Sony is the publisher for Minecraft on PS4. Remember this happened before MS bought Minecraft. If Sony joins cross play, it won’t make money from Minecraft sales. This is a new version of Minecraft based on the Bedrock engine, and it is published by Microsoft.

    Sony not wanting to join also means PS4 won’t get the new graphic update and 4K support. Sony stands to lose in the long run because players will buy the versions with better support on other platforms.

    • June 27, 2017 at 20:15

      It is when MS will us those artifical number to start boasting how many xbox live members they have. It has nothing to do with safety or anything else it has everything to do with having to have a xbox live account. Here is a question Ive seen no one ask. If I do decide to do cross play for minecraft (dont know why anyone would the game is shit) is my xbox live account free or am I paying for gold?

  • June 27, 2017 at 14:39

    You are an idiot sir

  • June 27, 2017 at 14:51

    This article is the ranting of some asshole friend that nobody likes.

    He continues to rant on how butt hurt his feelings about Sony PlayStation.

    As an owner of all current gen consoles, and PC, I can clearly see fanboys of either side are the worst gamers of all.

    Just like the author of this article, pure Sony fanboy ranting and raving about BS.

    I guarantee, 100%, no doubt, if the PS4 Pro had higher specs than the XB1X Sony would praise the PS4 to the high heavens about how powerful it is.

    If PS4 Pro was better than XB1X, Sony would gladly market that, 100%. And you would love it.

    If the PS4 Pro could handle 4K like the XB1X, than Sony and the PS4 Pro would flaunt the 4K over Microsoft just like Sony did for 1080p vs 900p.

    Heck, Sony execs even made a video clip mocking how to trade PS4 games on disc.

    For anyone to rant like this author did, clearly shows how butthurt he truly is.

    As a PSN+ member for over 8 years, I can say if Sony went Crossplay on Xbox Live it would only be helping Sony’s online play. PSN can really suck ass sometimes, and everyone loves to forget how in 2007 PSN had over 45 million customers credit card and personal information STOLEN.

    If Microsoft ever, ever, ever had 45 million customers credit card and personal information stolen, the Internet would freak out and never forget.

    And don’t forget the PSN Outage of 2011 lasting 23 days.

  • June 27, 2017 at 16:43

    The hate is real, this guy like every other media out there are the ones creating the console war hate in the first place, everything now is Microsoft fault but it was Sony and there ignorant fans who started this bullshit in the first place, unfortunately this is going to continue for the foreseeable future until one day the PlayStation Dildo finally fall off, oh and when they decide being pussies and have Cross Play!

  • June 27, 2017 at 17:11

    how is this an article that N4G would post? Filled with fanboy crap and you can tell that an infant wrote this article.. Everything Microsoft said is the actual truth. but where is his article about when Sony said that PS4 Pro was true 4K when it ISNT! You entire webpage is filled with Cheap fanboy rhetoric and shouldnt be publicized with any website. THE FACT THAT N4G ALLOWED ITS ASSHOLE FANBASE TO CHOOSE THIS AS A TOPIC JUST SHOWS HOW ITS THE WORST SITE FOR GAMING NEWS THERE IS!

  • June 27, 2017 at 18:56
    Bobby Dole

    This article makes perfect sense. Its like when Sony wanted cross-play when Microsoft was dominating with 360, at the time Microsoft had no reason to accept it, but people have short memories these days. If you want to play your games with your friends on a console buy the same console.

  • June 27, 2017 at 20:58
    Concerned Gamer

    “In danger of”? They alread are that friend in my opinion. Their legion of blind fanboys helped ruin them.

  • June 27, 2017 at 20:58

    Wonderful article. I couldn’t agree more. Do t know why you want an X1 when game Developers are obviously not going to spend the extra time & money to push 4K on such a small player base. PS4 Pro has been out for a year & only 20% of the the PS4s out there are Pro. Way to small to spend money on.

  • June 28, 2017 at 01:23
    john fredil

    I 110% agree with this article , Xbox is just an asshole , its so annoying to use , creates too much inconvenience for simple things , it creates problems that should not exist in the first place

  • June 28, 2017 at 02:40
    Gunstar Hero

    The whole Xbox ecosystem: Microsoft, Phil Spencer, the PR Department lead by Aaron Greenberg, and its fanbase lead by Crap Gamer, Red Dragon, Zaire720 etc. is one huge messy pile of absolute conflicting crap that brought nothing but doom shotgun on their feet disaster.
    They all brought it upon themselves.

  • June 28, 2017 at 05:42

    Please explain why Sony aren’t allowing cross-play in Rocket League? It would not require an Xbox Live login, so the whole reasoning of this article crashes down in that case.

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