Xbox One-Eighty | Cliffy B. Should Calm Down

Not less than an hour after the news broke that the Xbox One‘s wildly unpopular DRM policies would be completely reversed, Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski let it be known that the gaming industry is doomed. DOOMED, I say.

He immediately took to Twitter, saying publishers would close, more PC games would happen (as if that’s a bad thing), and generally being kind of a baby about the whole thing.

Dude Huge” needs to chill out.

Let’s dissect his argument: he says without publishers getting a second cut on products they’ve already been paid for – which to me sounds more like a greed issue, but who cares about something pesky like “consumer rights” or “first sale doctrine” or anything like that? – they’ll be forced to shut down and/or go with micro transactions to make up for their losses.

Yeah, because those things don’t already exist in digital-only landscapes, like mobile games and Steam. Oh, wait, they do.

Fine, fine, but hey, if we were to go to a digital-only landscape, then surely, SURELY, game makers will be able to charge less for their products, right? You mean like Square Enix charging $30 for an iOS game? Or EA still charging full price despite not having to worry about a physical product and the cost associated with it?

You may be thinking about Steam right now, and how efficient that model is. True, Steam is awesome, but let’s not get muddled here; we’re talking about console games, where piracy is more difficult due to the proprietary hardware used. We’re also talking about physical media here; nobody should expect to be able to share or trade digital content.

What really gets me is this quote:

“I want developers who worked their asses off to see money on every copy of their game that is sold instead of Gamestop. F#$@ me, right?”

Actually, yes. As I said before, the developers ARE paid for every copy of their game that is sold. That copy isn’t being duplicated; it now belongs to the consumer, who can do whatever they want with it. It’s so messed up (in my opinion) that people think it’s OK to be paid twice, three times even, for a single item. No, it’s not yours anymore. The initial sale was made, it belongs to the buyer now. Digital content is different – every transaction is for a unique copy of the game, while physical media purchases are for – get this – just that particular copy of the product. You were paid for it. You are not owed any more than that.

Cliff is presuming that consumers would continue to pay full price for AAA titles if we were given no choice. He’s wrong… most people will still wait for a sale, much like they do on Steam. In that case, the developers STILL aren’t getting the full profits from the sale, so who is this policy helping?

Microsoft’s reversal – whether it’s due to public outcry, Sony outpacing them on pre-orders, or Jimmy Fallon talking about the old policies on nationwide TV – should be seen as a win, not a loss. I’ll let Destructoid‘s Jim Sterling wrap us up:

“Frankly, any industry that suffers due to the reversal of ONE console’s DRM policies is an industry that deserves to suffer.”

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