Microsoft fumbled the messaging, and its reversal on policy is the company taking a timeout to regroup on the sidelines. Many commentators were quick to begrudge the company for excising the few positive points of the original policy: the ability to share games with up to 10 family members; the freedom to maintain a game library in the cloud; and the ability to trade digital games, an option unavailable in any other digital marketplace.
The same goes for Sony, whose consumer camaraderie is merely the positioning of public opinion. If Polygon ran a blind items section, you'd have seen a post about a certain first-party executive overheard on the day of his console announcement making sweeping changes to business strategy.
A good article that provides a lot of insight into the situation. Two things jump out at me:
- Microsoft changed their policy for both disk and downloaded games. Why not treat them differently and give traditional users what they want from physical media while allowing digital sharing and trading for downloads? It seems they could have found a middle ground here.
- Apparently the decisions regarding DRM policy came down to the wire. This is believable in retrospect when considering how confused and unrefined Microsoft's communications were. Then the reversal, also a quick decision. With over 7 years to plan for the One, I would have thought this stuff was sent in stone a long time ago. All Sony had to do at E3 was not change and thing and they walked away looking like the good guys. I wonder what would have happened if Sony's E3 press conference was first...