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Plugged In

Despite Xbox One policy reversals, Microsoft critics remain

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The Xbox team has got to feel a little like a punching bag these days.

Even after an unprecedented policy reversal in which Microsoft shockingly changed its stance on used games and mandatory Internet connectivity on the Xbox One, the company is still facing criticism -- this time from gamers who argue that Microsoft should have stuck by its guns.

Gizmodo led the backlash, saying that a fear of change has resulted in a next generation that's really only marginally different than the one we're in now.

"This is the loss of some of the most future-facing features of the system, things that changed and challenged the traditional limitations of console gaming," wrote Kyle Wagner. "We are literally standing in stasis, refusing to move forward, at the behest of those who are loudest and not ready for the future."

[Related: Will new legislation mean warning label for Xbox One?]

Wagner is referring to features that have been tossed out alongside the controversial ‘always-on’ internet requirement. For instance, you won’t be able to effortlessly play any game in your collection at a friend's house anymore (you'll have to bring the game disc, since downloaded games can't be shared.) The 'family' of 10 people you can share your games with? That’s gone. The ability to resell digital games has been rescinded as well.

Outspoken game designer Cliff Bleszinski also lamented the Xbox One reversal, insisting that the current used game market -- one that cuts console game publishers and developers out of the equation -- will continue to be bad for business.

“More studios WILL close and you'll see more PC and mobile games,” he tweeted, later adding that features gamers currently complain about aren't going anywhere now.

"Brace yourselves. More tacked on multiplayer and DLC are coming."

But while some are mourning the loss of features, analysts praised Microsoft's move, as did beneficiaries of the newly liberated Xbox One rental and used game markets, like GameFly and GameStop.

And despite the vocal minority, many game sites have been congratulating themselves and the gamer public for speaking out and convincing Microsoft to change its mind. While forum outcry might have been a factor in the decision, it's much more likely that pre-orders for the system weren't trending at Microsoft's forecasts. Ultimately, the mission of the Xbox One is to make money and outperform the competition. That wasn’t shaping up.

Many of those self-congratulatory stories are now starting to focus on the price of the Xbox One, but don't expect Microsoft to back down on that.

Mark Whitten, chief product office for Xbox, says there are "no plans" to lower the retail cost of the console, despite Sony's less expensive option.

"We are really, really excited about the value we're going to deliver on day one," Whitten said.

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