In a flurry of early morning happenings, someone was able to snag an Xbox One via a mistake on Target’s part and began feverishly Tweeting information from his experience. Soon, things fell apart. His unboxing video was pulled from YouTube for supposed copyright violation and after providing download sizes for certain games, his Xbox One console was banned remotely.
The situation has semi-resolved itself. Major Nelson promises the console will be unlocked on the official launch date and the situation will be fixed. User Moonlightswami will not be permabanned. Kotaku offers a rundown of the entire scenario, including the Tweets.
Regardless if the situation “fixes” itself, this never should have happened and reveals a gross miscalculation of power on the part of Microsoft. Some credit the ban as an automatic safety measure. While Moonlightswami was able to sign in and download a necessitated day one update ( required to even play Xbox One games), Microsoft’s back-end apparently flagged the system and shut it the console down.
Brian Crecente, tweeting with other games writers, made an irrefutable point: “Sure, but if it was an automated mistake it is telling that such an automated policy exists in the first place.”
Moonlightswami purchased his console. A retailer made a mistake. Moonlightswami is taking the brunt of the punishment. Searching for any EULA points regarding showing, let alone merely playing this console, turned up empty. Even if there was an agreement, there is no reason why this console should be shut down. It is a gross overreach of power, and it should strike fear in any potential user, not just of Microsoft either. Any digital rights holder is creating an equal platform.
While the inevitability of poor behavior does necessitate such a system for those who hack, cheat, or exploit consoles, this is a scenario which involves none of those. It is a legitimately purchased product, wherein the maker has decided to exhibit control. Imagine Microsoft’s flimsy all-digital, all-connected situation appearing in this framework, where your games could be taken from you at a moment’s notice when you do something the property holder does not like. In some sense, that is what happened here. Instead of punishing Target – who is the only one at fault – Microsoft bit at a legit consumer and created a scenario of ugly PR in the process.
Plus, the environment they have crafted has proven how enabled they are to enact swift policy changes with or without user consent. That is truly terrifying to anyone who appreciates a sense of media ownership.