Did Microsoft just pull a brilliant double cross with the Xbox One?
Ok, so this is my "conspiracy theory", but I was talking to a friend at a high profile video game company (tecmo koei), and he kind of agrees with me. So please, put on your tin foil hats, and listen to my rantings for a while.
Ok, so we all know that Microsoft used to have an extremely "developer friendly" policy with the Xbox (strong anti piracy measures, no used game sales, etc.) We can always argue about whether DRM actually works, but truth is, the video game industry loves it. And as we all know, what actually works matters less than what people believe will work.
Now today, Microsoft suddenly did a 180 degree turn around, VERY late into the development process to an extremely game friendly policy (yes used games, no DRM, etc). They even removed the region locking that they had on the original Xbox.
Now behind closed doors, many video game companies are up in arms about this abrupt change. After all, they were hoping that Microsoft would lead the way into crushing Gamestop, and to move towards the Steam/Origin model. Again, whether no used sales = more profit is debatable, the industry believes it to be true.
Now Microsoft's consumer wing is one of the single most arrogant divisions in the world. They NEVER, EVER listen to feedback. Not with Plays4Sure, Zune, Xbox, Kin or Windows Phone. Also, does anyone truly believe that Microsoft changed one of the most fundamental ways their new Xbox works on a whim, because of some bad feedback?
It would take months to modify the code! Plus they would need to modify the API and development system, and the developer documentation, and create new development devices. This is not something that is decided within a day or two.
I DO NOT believe that Microsoft changed the way their console works because of "feedback". No, it is actually a brilliant, and sinister plot behind the scenes.
Microsoft has traditionally had weak developer support for the Xbox. Many major publishers like Konami never bothered to support the Xbox/Xbox 360 as a "first class" citizen, the most the Xbox ever got was a few lazy ports.
What I think really happened is, they told the developers one thing, but was secretly designing for another. The publishers were "strung along", thinking that Microsoft would kill used games, and make their "dreams come true", but Microsoft didn't do that, Microsoft made the publishers believe that.
Games take years and millions to develop. The video game companies believe that Microsoft will "support them", and thus decided to develop for the Xbox One. But than, Microsoft is now using the opportunity for the media outcry to "stab them in the back".
The stuff in development for the Xbox for the launch and for its first 1 or 2 will still be in development. Many companies decided to develop for the Xbox exclusively, as they hoped the no used game policy will help them win against Gamestop. yet its not like they will throw out years of work and millions of dollars in investment just because of a whim. Their Xbox One titles are still in development.
So lots of publishers are now releasing their stuff for the Xbox One, its launch lineup looks to be much better than the 360. And this is all achieved because of their betrayal of the publishers.
But will this effect the Xbox One's future? Nope. After all, strong launch lineup + strong first year lineup = good sales. Good sales = profit. Publishers love profit, and if the Xbox One gets a good install base, developers will still develop for it, despite the double cross.
Another major issue to consider is Microsoft as a video game publisher. They might have screwed over the publishers, but if sales on the Xbox are good, they might be able to get independent studios not affiliated with a publisher already to publish their games with Microsoft.
So if a publisher decides to "hold a grudge", Microsoft will simply publish titles that it previously published my themselves.
Man, Microsoft is evil !