To say that Peter Molyneux has a tendency to make statements that are a little out there would be an understatement of epic proportions. The man thinks big, dreams big, and lives on hype. But for all of that, I can’t help but like him, and I don’t think there are very many people who would disagree with his latest statement. In a talk with Games Industry International, Molyneux stated that he believed Microsoft‘s E3 showing of the Xbox One was “very unprofessionally done:”
“I just think it was very unprofessionally done. There was one message from one Phil [Spencer] and then another message from another Phil [Harrison], and they seemed to be kind of shooting from the hip. Always online is simple for me. As a consumer, just show me why I should be always online and I’ll be happy with it. At the moment, it just means game sale authentication. I don’t want that. But if there’s some way you can give a huge benefit for the consumer, and make the message super clear, it would be accepted.”
While I’m not sure that even a crystal clear message would assuage all those who are upset by Microsoft’s decision to require a daily reauthentication, I do agree that Microsoft should have focused clearly on the benefits that the system could offer. Right now, they’re throwing all their weight behind the cloud, but the PS4 will also have cloud functionality, and that console, according to Sony, doesn’t need to go online ever, leaving the feature optional to the user.
So why is the cloud experience optional for one, but not the other? Microsoft’s answers have been vague and frustrating, citing “persistent gaming worlds” as one of the biggest reasons. But I doubt every game released on the Xbox One is going to have the kind of environment that constantly needs to communicate with a server, so why couldn’t the authentication system be specific to the games that need it? Molyneux definitely hit the nail on the head with this one: that message needs to be made clear. Microsoft seem more interested in telling us that we’ll eventually see the value of the console, but aren’t showing us why that is the case. That’s a strategy I just don’t agree with.