INTERVIEW: Gametraders explains why Xbox One's policies will hurt retail

Leigh Harris
INTERVIEW: Gametraders explains why Xbox One's policies will hurt retail

Following its poll which pointed to a PS4 landslide by a factor of ten, MCV spoke to Gametraders Marketing Manager Rob Jenkins.

How much impact do you think the adverse reaction to Microsoft's drm and always-on policies will have at a retail level?

At the moment there's a lot of favour for the PS4 and we're hearing in stores from customers that they are really upset and angry with Microsoft. Xbox fans are jumping ship and stating they will be pre ordering or buying the Sony system.  

It's not healthy for the retail market and not healthy for gaming to have a system that was a favourite with gamers being seen in such a negative light. A strong market with the big three giving gamers choice is what the gaming industry needs.

Retail is doing it tough and the last thing anyone wants is a one horse race.

The "always on" policy is going to affect people when their broadband goes down. It means they've got a pretty useless black box sitting under the TV should their internet not work for a period of time.  Fans are not happy and we hope Microsoft will be listening and change this policy.

Does yesterday's poll indicate, in your opinion, a shock factor, a more permanent shift, or something else entirely?

I think gamers really like next gen systems. They're the first to buy when they hit the shelves. So Microsoft and Sony both need to win those fans over.

From what we're seeing online in comments, social media and the games press is a very negative response to what Microsoft are doing to gamers.

Xbox fans are saying they'll shift to the PS4. It's almost like Coke and New Coke. You don't mess with what worked and you don't mess with gamers. They have long memories and they tend to be loyal.

Mess with that loyalty by imposing rules on how they can play games they've paid for and the response is loud and direct.

Gametraders has been overt in stating its use of grey imports. How would Microsoft's measures impact retailers such as yourselves who rely on imported stock?

If a console is region locked it means no gamer can import games or play them.

Look at what's happening in music and television. Fans are either buying from overseas because they don't like being told what they can watch or listen to and when.

Consider Game of Thrones, the season finale just broke records for being downloaded illegally. Surely this sends a message to all media that we need to give people what they want. Access that is timely and affordable.

We need to stop treating consumers like naughty school kids, devising ways to stop them getting what they want. People will pay for media, iTunes has proven that. So why restrict the potential for sales?

Other than reversing its stance entirely, can you suggest a few moves by Microsoft which you think would amount to an adequate compromise?

We'd love to see Microsoft work through these restrictions so that gamers can have the same freedoms they've had for years since consoles began.

They need to understand that their core market has always been gamers. Their core market doesn't like what they've said and so they need to either make changes by being up front and saying "hey we're listening and we've made significant changes" or working with retailers both large and small so that gamers can get access to new games and pre owned games easily.

The danger in only dealing with large retailers is lack of competition, which means eventually someone holds the big stick...

Microsoft are taking chances on trying to sell a gaming system to gamers who hate what they've done.... talk about a tough crowd.

Thank you for your time.



Tags: Retail , interview , piracy , Xbox One , drm , Gametraders , indie retailer , Rob Jenkins

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