Why I Hate the Internet

Nick Wyatt
Latest posts by Nick Wyatt (see all)

“Why I hate the Internet” and/or “This is why we can’t have nice things”

I’m finding it hard to get excited about product launches these days and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT! Trudging through news websites all I see are negative comments full of aggressive and irrational moaning. People have been hard at work, locked away in secret caves, devising improvements to the current user experience which will entice you to buy the latest fad. But all people do is criticize the moment they hear a whisper of it. It’s like they’re so afraid of change, or so pig-headed, that they can do better than a company that’s been around for over 40 or more years. I remember a time when if you didn’t like a product you didn’t buy it. Now, people set up petitions, troll the comment forums, or even send death threats via social networks.

Not that long ago, Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One console. It came with a few policies that people really didn’t react well to. It was always online, always watching and blocked used physical media. You couldn’t escape the reactions if you tried. Microsoft eventually caved under the pressure and reversed its policies, but these didn’t come without caveats. Cloud computing, a massive feature of Xbox One which would boost its technical capabilities, was no longer possible. Family sharing was gone too, so if you registered a different Xbox One console to a family member they wouldn’t be able to download the games you’d bought.

Would it have been so bad if you got the console that Microsoft had planned from the start? I understand that needing an always on connection might have been problematic for a small percentage of people, but does it matter if Kinect is always waiting for you to say “Xbox On”? Why are you so paranoid that it might be sending a recording of you masturbating to the Prime Minister’s inbox? What’s the matter with no longer being able to buy used games? They’re often a rip off if the game is no longer in print anyway. Used digital content would have been tradable, a first in the industry, but that’s been set back however many years because people are still stuck on the buying games from eBay because apparently new video games aren’t worth the price developers and publishers are asking.

As for Apple haters… It’s the same every year and it’s no different with the 5C and 5S announcements last week. I could get so drunk playing Comment Bingo, downing a shot for every “no innovation”, “iOS sucks”, “Apple rip-off”, or the old faithfuls “the battery sucks” and “no external memory card slot”. There is nothing right now that my iPhone doesn’t do that I need it to. What exactly do people have in mind for their PHONE? iOS provides the most cohesive and consistent experience across product ranges that I’ve ever experienced. iTunes can be expensive, but all my music, films and apps are available to any of my devices when I want them and I know they will work. If I’m not going to be near a plug socket for a while I just won’t play Angry Birds all day.

There’s an online petition, EndRegionLocking, that gained some media exposure. It was aimed at Nintendo as the last of the hardware manufacturers to impose region locking on software, while others leave that up to the publishers. Back in the 8 and 16-bit days buying and playing import games was easy, but as the generations moved on it has become harder to circumvent the built-in restrictions. Today fewer titles are released in only one region as developers need to recoup their huge development costs. Unless a product is considered too niche you’re practically guaranteed a release eventually but a lot of you are just plain impatient! Exactly how much money do you have if you want to buy more games? I have a hard enough time playing all the games I buy every year, I certainly don’t need any more. There are more important things to moan at Nintendo about such as unified 3DS and Wii U eShop accounts or letting me transfer my accounts from one system to another without restriction.

The list of crazy reactions goes on with Nintendo announcing the 2DS. It’s a 3DS without the 3D and is clearly aimed at children or those who don’t already have a 3DS. But all people could say was “THIS ISN’T DESIGNED FOR ME” or “THE NEW DESIGN WON’T LET ME SOLVE A PUZZLE IN A SIX YEAR OLD GAME”. Sony recently unveiled a redesigned PS Vita that is obviously cheaper to manufacture, but people are angry that the screen is, arguably, inferior and clearly think Sony must continue designing a product that hardly makes them any money.

The companies you buy products from are in the business to make money first and foremost. It’s how they pay their employees and fund research and development. A healthy profit is not a bad thing as this will help them grow and in theory become more capable to innovate. Some think this is greedy, and maybe it can seem that way at times, but it ensures they’ll be around providing entertainment for many years to come.

It’s not as if they want to design a terrible product that no one will buy. What I am saying is that a company design things the way they do, not to infuriate their customers, but to allow them to maximise their profit so that they can continue designing bigger and better things. You’d be sad if they didn’t exist. Trying to badger them into setting policies that don’t fulfil their bottom line is putting them in danger. When they go under or decide to no longer make the product people love so dearly, I look forward to reading their insightful opinion on where, exactly, they went wrong.