Finally something we can all agree to hate again.
Polygon and others have been reporting on the concerns of German federal commissioner on data protection, Peter Schaar, who wants to make sure that people’s privacy is guaranteed if they buy the Xbox One.
“The Xbox [One] registered all sorts of personal information about me,” Schaar said (via Bing Translator). “Reaction rates, my learning or emotional states. You are then processed on a remote server and possibly even to third parties. Whether it be deleted ever, the person concerned cannot influence.”
This is the kind of stuff the average user doesn’t care about, but it’s up to smart people to get angry about. Microsoft may very well sell your personal data to third parties, or try experiments to see how the Xbox user community reacts to certain promotions, ads, etc. They can tell when you’re smiling or not, how much you talk, and your heartbeat, for god’s sake. Privacy has become a low priority for today’s (stupid) teenage social media populace, but if you’ve been paying attention you may have noticed Microsoft has adopted a policy of begging forgiveness (when legally obligated) rather than asking permission when it comes to law. Don’t be surprised if they “accidentally” violate privacy and see how far they can go. (They’ve already been caught spying on people’s Skype conversations — just so you know.)
An onslaught of healthy, justified anger has been produced by the fact that the Xbox One will be practically useless without an internet connection. Sony really does seem to be the good guys here, although I wonder whether publishers will allow their games to be DRM free on the PS4; even if Sony itself does not require the system to verify games online, that doesn’t mean publishers won’t.
Welp! There goes any lingering curiosity I had.
And amen to that. The creator of Braid and The Witness thinks Microsoft is lying about their “300,000 servers” for gaming, saying that it must be virtual servers, not actual hardware servers that cost lots of money to maintain. He says it’s most likely just “Windows Azure” server system — meaning it’s not devoted to gaming at all. Actual Xbox One users would only have a small slice of that pie.
“Gamers will want, and learn to love, the good parts of consoles being more connected to our digital lives than was possible with the machines launched eight years ago,”
Jim Sterling did a good job calling Riccittello out on his bullshit, so I suggest you read the piece. He tries to blindly assure gamers that everything will be fine. Take it on faith! Yeah, because that’s never turned out wrong before.
Tim Schafer, Marcus Persson, Terry Cavanagh, Phil Fish, and more express their indignation. But hey, who really wants to experience the next Minecraft, Monkey Island, FEZ, or (insert any currently interesting game title here).
So it’s been a great week.
You know the truth is, I never vote unless it’s to spite somebody I hate, and right now I hate Microsoft and the big publishers. For this reason alone I suspect I’ll buy a PS4, and Valve’s upcoming console. (Well, that and the fact that they will be worth my money.)
Coming up soon I’ll be putting up a piece called “3 Idiotic Ideas Surrounding the Next Generation”, which is a piece I wrote before finding out that the literate world was smart enough to call Xbox One’s bullshit. So look forward to that, because despite all the complaining going on, there’s some stuff you hadn’t considered before.