Microsoft’s Muddled Messaging Shown Off On Television

The battle over our rights to play used games took centre stage last night during Jimmy Fallon’s Video Game Week, a post-E3 celebration of all things ludic. Fallon had brought up Mark Cerny, lead designer of the PlayStation 4, to talk about Sony’s next gaming console. And inevitably the conversation turned to DRM.

“And oh, the big story that veryone’s talking about is this system is the only one where you can still play used games,” Fallon said.

“We support used games,” Cerny responded. “We don’t require an internet connection.”

But wait. What Fallon said isn’t true. The Xbox One can block used games, but that will be on a publisher-by-publisher basis. Yet the message sent to an audience of millions last night — punctuated by thunderous applause — was that one of this fall’s next-gen consoles will play used games, and the other won’t.

This has been a theme over the past few weeks, since the messy Xbox One reveal in Redmond last month, which was capped off by a trickle of mixed messages from Microsoft executives and Twitter support bots. Then, the Thursday before E3, Microsoft dumped a whole lot of equally confusing policy rhetoric in our laps, which essentially drowned out anything cool it wanted us to see at the show last week.

Meanwhile, Sony’s message has been crystal clear: the PS4 will do things just like the PS3 did. End of story.

Summed up in bite-sized form for a national audience — on, say, a show like Late Night With Jimmy Fallon — this cavalcade turns into “PS4 can play used games; Xbox One can’t.” Even if it’s not true. Because Microsoft has totally lost control of their messaging, and they just can’t seem to get it back.


  • “And oh, the big story that veryone’s talking about is this system is the only one where you can still play used games,” Fallon said.

    Ah yes, damn Nintendo and their anti-consumer bias!

  • And Nintendo is all like “hey…. Hey guys…. Over here, yeah, you know we have a new console too right? And.. And.. We, we still support used games…. Guys?”

    • Poor little Nintendo. They think that just because they have a new console it’s part of the next generation…

  • Also, the PS4 is 10 times more powerful than the PS3, but the XBone is only 3 times more powerful than the 360 – according to the Jimmy Fallon segments.

    MS just keep screwing up their message.

  • But wait. What Fallon said isn’t true.

    Possibly. It depends if you interpret “…only one where you can still play used games” as meaning ‘is capable of’ or ‘will definitely be able to’. Jimmy’s comment might be overly simplistic, but I don’t think it’s outright untrue.

    Plus, anyone who relies on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon as their sole source of gaming industry news, might not have the opposable thumbs and/or levels of sobriety required to operate a controller anyway 🙂

    • Regardless of Interpretation, Nintendo still supports used games, so his statement is outrightly false.

      • But if you watch the full intro (which this clip doesn’t show), Jimmy prefaced the discussion specifically talking about new consoles at this year’s E3. The only other “new” console besides the X1 and the PS4 at (well, across the street from) this year’s E3 is the OUYA. Unless it supports used games, the PS4 is (was at the time) the sole occupant of the category of “new consoles at E3 that play used games”.

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