With Microsoft’s recent announcement of the Kinect-less Xbox One, it was met with pretty positive praise. Once pegged as an essential piece of the overall hardware, it’s now taking a backseat role in the Xbox One experience.
Which got my brain to doing brain things.
When something that is met with split opinions is being forced on the consumer, does that ultimately harm the ultimate goal and potential of the product in question?
Let’s look at three platforms that have, so far, had less than stellar positive news. Even WITH the recent Xbox One news, I’m going to include it into the mix since Kinect itself was dragging it down on various fronts.
No one likes something forced upon them with no option to do without it.
Xbox One Kinect
Wii U Game Pad
PlayStation Vita Memory Cards
All three aspects of the mentioned platforms have been met with criticism from fans, adopters and potential customers. At the end of the day, all of these forced aspects have fallen on money and price: Wii U and Xbox One are/were overpriced due to “required” hardware aspects. PlayStation Vita is overpriced due to proprietary memory card costs. Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are all guilty in harming the images of all mention hardware due to forcing plastic that many would like having a say or option in.
Xbox One Kinect
Kinect on the Xbox 360 was a wild success, so why wouldn’t Microsoft bank on it again? Kinect was fairly new, so making it co-pilot to the Xbox One experience was a win-win, right? But wait, that added cost set the Xbox One $100 more expensive than the PS4, they could still stress on the benefits to justify it, right? Integrate it into hardware menus, that way the user is FORCED to use it, regardless on if they want to. Recording your awesome moments in a game? Yep, force that coveted feature with Kinect. One way or another, you would be forced to like it, or miss out on recording your moments.
Combine that with Kinect eating system RAM that most games don’t even use, causing them to under perform compared to other versions on other platforms, enhancing your experience for sure.
Wii U GamePad
The Wii U GamePad was smart in theory, and has been used a handful of times in clever ways, but hasn’t been the game changing success that the Wii Remote was in 2006. Granted if you’re within a 25 – 30 foot range (if you’re lucky that your walls and rooms don’t make it shorter), you can play your titles without using your TV, a feature MAYBE handy in Japan, where one TV homes are common, but it never proved as being a viable selling point in the West. Beyond that, the TV-to-GamePad gameplay in which you have to use both screens doesn’t transition that well, and in some games is downright distracting since, unlike the DS or 3DS, the screens are never close enough to one another to work with your eyes.
It’s like the feeling you get when taking notes in class and get behind the instructor or trying to paint alongside Bob Ross. Up-down, up-down, up –down, up-down. After a while, it gets old, and makes one bust out the Pro Controller for the never old traditional way to play. Added with the fact that it’s forced in order to login to your system, access the eShop or change system settings, all of which could be done on your TV screen, it makes you dislike the OS setup after some time.
PlayStation Vita Memory Cards
With the PSP, MemoryStick Pro DUO was the default memory of choice. Still a somewhat viable format for Sony products, it never caused as much of a fuss that the Vita’s alternative has, which is Vita proprietary and… Vita-only. Overpriced and forced on any would be Vita owner, it’s been the one crucial aspect that has held the handheld back from the sales it could achieve. Go to any board or forum, 9/10 people will mention the memory cards as the reason why they don’t want the handheld.
Even while Sony themselves have embraced SD, Micro SD, etc. in their cameras and devices since 2011 (even sell them under the Sony name) the Vita, unfortunately, wasn’t part of that movement. A fix you would have expected with the recently released Vita-2000 model, why Sony missed that chance to include at least on board 16 GB memory or dual slots to support both it and Micro SD is something we may not see until the 3000 model. It would be a simple fix to jump the system into being what it should have been from the start.
If I were Sony, and to keep up with giving the consumer what they want, something they have successfully done with the PS4, with the Vita 3000 featuring Micro SD support AND have built in memory (16, 32 or even 64 GB) something every other device and it’s maker can manage to do, a borderline industry standard in today’s tech world.
In many ways, the said companies really have no one but themselves to blame in holding their products back. Fans can only do so much purchasing wise, but it’s also those same fans and consumer who can hold your product back if you make decisions that include forced hardware or accessories that the consumer has no say in wanting (or not wanting) when it comes to how their money is spent.
The golden rule of business: Take care of your customers and they will take care of you.