Atari founder Nolan Bushnell is of the opinion that Microsoft blew it with their confusing Xbox One reveal and subsequent u-turn, echoing the sentiments of pretty much everyone else we've spoken to over the last few weeks.
“They totally screwed it up," he told VG247. "When I heard some of the announcements and the analysis of it, I’m shaking my head and saying, ‘What in the hell were they thinking?’ Of course that wasn’t going to go down well.”
Of course, Microsoft have a precedent for this behaviour -- taking away ownership and instead renting services.
“They want to sell Office as a service,” Bushnell added. They want it all to be in the cloud, they want to rent you stuff, not sell you. And when you look at some of the things about systems and procedures, they really don’t like software as an object because it’s too easy to get it ripped off.”
As for his view on the pre-owned market, Bushnell answer reflected the same opinion many of us have held for a while: that pre-owned games allow consumers to feed more money back into the market.
“I actually think that trade-ins are good and they bring in more money,” he said, “now here’s the following thread: I believe that in a lot of ways, a $50 game is discontinuity. There are more people who can’t afford a $50 game than can. And so what has always been an ability to do is, if you can’t afford to get a new pair of jeans you go to thrift shop and buy a used pair of jeans, and the same thing goes with games.
“Some people are willing to be the person who is the first on their block to a game and pay full price. if you’re willing to wait a month or two you can get it for half price. What happens in that case is that the person who bought the first instance has a little bit of money so he can continue to buy new games at a higher rate than he would have otherwise.
“I think the industry gets more money if you look at the whole picture because I think that people will spent what they can afford, and if you make the hurdle too high for people who are not as well off, they just wont be able to buy the game at all.”
Of course, as we've argued, what it'll really take is for one of the major console players to take the digital market seriously, stop running scared from retailers of physical media, and start offering digital consumers value price points.