Microsoft has shot itself in the foot so many times over the past few weeks that we imagine it's running perilously short on toes right now, but one of the biggest PR disasters it has experienced has to be the Xbox One's policy regarding game ownership. When you buy a game for the forthcoming console, you're effectively purchasing the licence to play it — which can be retracted at any point, rendering the actual disc useless.
Nintendo clearly isn't going to adopt the same tactics any time soon. Speaking to Eurogamer, Shigeru Miyamoto has made it clear that the company believes consumers should have ownership of the software they purchase, and be able to revisit it in years to come:
What's really important is viewing Nintendo almost like a toy company where we're making these things for people to play with. As a consumer you want to be able to keep those things for a long time and have those things from your youth that you can go back to and experience again.
I really want to retain that product nature of the games that we create so that people can do that and have that experience. To me that's something that's very important about entertainment itself. So from the approach of continuing to create things that are entertaining for people, that's an important direction for me that I want to maintain.
While it's encouraging to hear such sensible comments, Miyamoto's words do rather fly in the face of Nintendo's current stance on digital game ownership. Purchases on both 3DS and Wii U are tied to the hardware, meaning that if you lose or break your console, you run the risk of losing access to the games you've purchased. Hopefully Miyamoto's comments suggest that Nintendo is closer than ever to rectifying this oversight by creating an account-based system, as is currently used by Sony, Microsoft, Apple and Google.
Even so, as gaming moves towards dropping physical games, can it ever be said that you truly own what you pay for, even with an account-based purchase system? We've already seen games withdrawn from the Wii Virtual Console, which effectively means that you can't download them again.
What are your thoughts on the whole Microsoft game ownership situation, and Miyamoto's reaction to it? Share your feelings by posting a comment below.