Opinion: Responsible Consumerism

I overheard some people talking about the XBOX One last night, and I couldn’t help but get irritated.

Clueless Gamer #1: “Did you pre-order an XBOX One yet?”

CG # 2: “Yeah, but I only put $25 down on it.”

CG #1: “Yeah, me too–I’m definitely picking one up.”

At this point, someone who was a little more clued in joined in the group’s conversation . . .

 

Not Clueless Gamer: “Haven’t you guys heard about the always-online crap, and all the DRM?  Did you know that the Kinect always stays on, watching you for signals to turn on the XBOX?  That’s kinda creepy.”

CG #1: “Well, I don’t sell my games, so the DRM stuff doesn’t really affect me, and I’m always going to have an internet connection too, so what do I care if it has to be connected?”

CG #2″ “I know what you mean, none of that stuff will bother me either.”

NCG: “Yeah, but it’s messed up.”

Now, I don’t have the wording down verbatim, but you get the idea.  Consumers are totally cool with large corporations like Microsoft and Apple taking away our ownership of the things we purchase little by little.  You want access to base system functionality and the ability to remove unwanted software?  Tough luck.  You want to actually own your games, free to trade or sell them when you please?  No, sir.

It’s ridiculous.  It’d be like me telling you that you can’t sell an old set of golf clubs because it violates the terms you agreed to when you purchased them.  Or, having your car take a DNA sample every time you start it so that you can’t let your friend drive it or sell it without paying a fee.

Obviously those are extreme examples, but if we’re getting rid of a consumer’s ability to actually own media that they purchase (like books and movies), what’s to stop other consumer products from starting the same practices?  Why would we be up in arms if people were doing this with cars, or frying pans, or TVs, but we don’t care if they mess with our media??

Vote with your wallets.  For the past two console generations, I’ve stuck with Microsoft because I like their systems better, along with the game exclusives (another practice that should stop).  Now, however, Sony looks to be the first choice for the next generation.  For once, they seem to have the consumer in mind rather than their bottom line–sort of like MS and the original XBOX.

Microsoft has been pretty idiotic in responding to the complaints too, which isn’t helping their case.  We should only give our money to companies that care about us as consumers.  They need to earn our loyalty, and we need to be smart enough not to blindly follow them because we’re used to doing it.

Let me (and others) know what you think

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