One afternoon, my Colombian friend from high school put me on a journey that would last some ten plus years. We booked it to his house afterschool. With his mother fixing up the house, we were left with ample time before dinner. He had just gotten an Xbox and was anxious to show off some incredible games. There were a few options on the table but he was hyping FIFA, so we started with that. Needless to say, the Colombian schooled me in ways which reinforce the nation’s ruthless stereotype. With soccer competition devoid of any meaningful rivalry, he most generously offered up a cooperative experience found within a futuristic shooter, Halo. Within five minutes, I was hooked. A few months later, shortly before Halo 2’s release, I traded in my PS2 & purchased an Xbox.
Halo 2 was fantastic. The multiplayer support extended 3 years after the game’s release with downloadable content made readily available for the masses, free of charge. In fact, to continue playing the multiplayer, it was required that you download said content. This model made the community whole in the way one feels when looking at a cake prior to it being sliced and doled out. Halo 3 dropped the requirement to download content. The company reasoned they would no longer offer new content free of charge. This optional content model has continued fragmenting the community in all ensuing releases.
I’ve slowly watched the series many have grown to love disrobed, prodded, bled, quartered, and now hung. For years, I’d hoped that the incumbent studio in charge of the franchise would get it together. These hopes were in vain however. The studio’s greedy executives, namely Bonnie Ross and Frank O’Connor, have done every unfriendly thing a large corporation would do to maximize profits. Furthermore, rather than just raising prices, they have pursued detrimental courses of action which detract from the positive experience once associated with the series. For this camel, the last straw has been their fundamentally flawed, publicly misrepresented, and fraudulently advertised release, the Master Chief Collection.
By this point, you’re likely wondering, “Besides Halo, what else does the current Xbox have over the current PlayStation? The Xbox controller is universally praised as best-in-class, and rightly so. Xbox Live has a more robust server offering. There are also some additional applications such as ESPN, Comedy Central, and HBO GO. But… the PlayStation contains better hardware and offers more and higher quality free games every month. Additionally, applications such as Netflix launch twice as quickly. The system software also feels fluid and operates more smoothly than the Xbox OS. Did I mention more free games?
In summation, the Halo series’ inability to change leadership coupled with Xbox Live’s anemic Games for Gold program forced my hand. Do I miss my Xbox? Sometimes. Will Halo 5 be great? Maybe. But I refuse to wait on a company whose track record shows a singular trend of increasingly greedy policies. If Microsoft were to remove the cancerous elements at 343, namely Bonnie Ross and Frank O’Connor, I’d strongly consider returning to Xbox One. This scenario is doubtful, given that Bonnie Ross was recently promoted to a VP position in August 2014. As the Colombian idiom goes, colgó los guayos, or ‘hang the shoes’. The footwear is no longer needed.