Anyone who has any view on the gaming world, then that person might have heard about the Xbox One and also heard the scary announcements that were made by Don Mattrick. Views that had to be altered only 2 days after the E3, the most important event in the Gaming industry. Do not think it is a small geeky thing. The E3 is massive. The gaming industry has grown in 15 years from ‘sizeable’ into a multi-billion dollar industry, so those who are there are there for plenty of reasons. The E3 is next to Comic-Con seen as the place to be to bump into Hollywood stars. Funny part is that they get to revere the geeky guys who come up with games like Mario, Metal Gear Solid as well as leagues of sport stars when they announce the EA sport line.
In this environment the Xbox One was launched, and the following revolt by gamers all over the planet gave Microsoft the scare of their lives. As a result Microsoft did a 180 degree on their policy, giving their new console the nickname Xbox 180. That was not the end. Even though things are announced to be back to what they were, their market share is not. It is not unlikely that Microsoft is now at risk of losing 30% of their market share and most of that to Sony. That, in a multi-billion dollar industry is a lot, it could be the biggest drop in market share a main player has ever experienced by its own plans.
So the following news I saw today that Don Mattrick is leaving Microsoft for Zynga (the people behind Farmville), as I read it, I saw many messages drop by. Some making fun of Don, some leaving a ‘happy you leaving’ message to Don. Gamers can be so emotional!
The reality is that this is far from over. Do you think that this is over? Do you think one man like Don Mattrick actually sets the trend to a market THIS BIG and you think he is alone? No, he took one for ‘the team’, and it likely comes with one hell of a golden parachute. You see, the picture that seems to be intentionally missed is that data gathering is big business. I am not talking about what the NSA might be doing. This is about market research, customer metrics and product predictions. Gathering certain key factors makes all the difference. That is the multi-billion dollar industry that Gamers are not interested in, but one that Microsoft is adding and as such the Xbox One is not a gaming console, but a Home entertainment system. It will be offering TV, Movies and games. All that info will help them finding the holes in what we desire and cashing in on it. Information that is worth millions! Now this data would be grabbed on a scale of many million consumers and on a global scale. The value that it would represent is beyond what you can imagine.
So, I was not the first to state it, and I will not be the last. It is important that you realise that these claims do not come from some conspiracy theorist wannabee, but from Journalists working in some of the most renowned newspapers in the world.
So Don ‘you have to go on-line daily’ Mattrick is not alone in this game. To start this all with the Xbox one would have been only the start in achieving gathering on a much larger scale. That is how I see it, and that is also why interactivity with other devices was so important. The more interaction there is, the more complete the picture becomes. Smartglass is only one part of interaction, the fact that they are letting you interact with your home system with iPhone and iPad means that they would be getting even more of your available data.
Do not think I am just making this up. The privacy issues, as reported initially, were reported by IT experts in privacy in Germany and several other nations too, amongst them Peter Schaar who is in charge of Data protection and freedom of information in Germany. In the German magazine ‘der Spiegel’ he mentioned the dangers on privacy that the Xbox One could be. http://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/games/ueberwachung-datenschuetzer-peter-schaar-kritisiert-microsofts-xbox-one-a-901893.html
Do not think that you are suddenly getting downloaded. No, that would be illegal! This will be a smooth transition over the next 2-3 years. By interacting you will get many cool little extra’s you normally would never have. Like movies behind the screens on your iPad (as they showed on CNet). Soon it will interact getting your mobile to Skype directly to TV, to switch information through your pictures and events. Before you know it, you will move all data to the cloud for ‘free’ backup services; you will only need to agree with the terms of service. That is when it will happen. A new form of business and it is enterprising on a new level. Where business sits in the centre of the web and we are all like a fly, just going into their web. We do this because of the benefits we are offered, like an exponential multimedia interacting form of Facebook. We by ourselves have no value, but their return comes a million fold as we all accept their terms and conditions as we are offered free extras.
Why is this situation so dangerous?
You see, initially we think that there is no difference, but consider that these numbers are all used to find the points of profit. Where we are subjected to what 98% likes. By that reckoning cult series that grew over time will now get cut suddenly or after a few seasons, as the results are not up to marketing standards. Consider that series like Firefly, Pushing Daisies, Veronica Mars, Jericho, Dollhouse, Heroes. These series got all cancelled on ratings. In the new set-up they could get cancelled in half the time. An interesting part is that the writers of Veronica Mars set up a kick-start event, and the funds for a third season were achieved in 10 hours and will launch early next year. So one in several series gets another shot after the ratings. What series will you lose because 98% prefers sports or Glee? You see artistic creativity is not about numbers. Remember, that because of fans the original Star Trek series got another season, now that series and what came after is now the biggest milk cow in the history of Paramount. There is no way that this could have been predicted.
We will miss out on series after series, limiting views and artistic growth, because it does not confirm to what people expected initially. It is not initially an issue for most, but these events will add up and we diminish ourselves accordingly. It is a danger I do not want to see, because those who will be given the power to decide will always act on greed. We have decades of evidence in that regard.