Originally Posted by daleb
So the military thing, yeah, I've heard it. Are you affected by it?
This is America, where everyone walks around shirtless with the flag painted on their chests. This affects all of us patriotic folks a ton.
Edit: Ugh your beliefs are horrible...
This is America, where everyone tries to make a quick buck if they can get away with it. This drives all of us capitalistic folks a ton.
(I'm actually more of a socialist/communist/hippie/whatever than a capitalist, but your... impassioned response was asking for a set-up.)
I'm not a fan of Microsoft's recent policies, but it's pretty easy to understand why they did what they did. Since most of the people debating lately are from the US and keep referring to it for examples, I'll keep it local. However, a global analogue can be made.
It's a simple numbers game. Deployed members of the armed forces make up about 1% of the US population. Working a business model around 1% of the population doesn't make sense. But what about all the people living in rural areas with shoddy internet access? 90% of Texas maybe farmland, but what percentage of the population does it make up? Most of the US population is concentrated in cities and suburbs, where internet access is more readily available. Microsoft figured it could squeeze enough money from 90% of the market to more than make up for the 10% of the market it alienated. This is within the modus operandi of profit driven businesses, which to be honest, are the majority of businesses.
Region locking for console games is nothing new and has been the standard except for handhelds. It's for similar, if not the same, reasons that DVDs and Blu-Rays have region codes. Surprisingly, it seems to be more common to have region-free consoles now. Nintendo remains the sole offender with the 3DS and the Wii U. I can't find a strong reason for this trend since import gamers like myself, the obvious beneficiaries, are a very small minority. Perhaps it's an acknowledgement of the increasingly global economy where people don't necessarily buy local... even then, that's not a very strong reason.
The operational region lock would've been new. Consoles have generally not been released simultaneously around the world. People in the US haven't really been affected by it since they're usually the second country (after Japan), or more recently the first, to get a new console. The operational lock seems to be an even stronger version of the DVD/BR regional lockout since it doesn't even allow imports. It would've also given Microsoft a stronger grip on supply and demand (read: more money for them and companies who made games for their consoles).
Microsoft's original game plan was to rally Western publishers (they haven't had much luck attracting Japanese publishers) with the promises of more money due to increased market control. Publishers (and to a lesser extent, developers) feel robbed by used games because they're not making money off them. It's always about money. They got too greedy and ambitious and tried to rush things. Downloadable games (and sadly, DLC) have been more prominent. The question is will disc-based games eventually go away, and if so, how?
My personal theory for why Sony didn't follow suit is that the Japanese used game market (and Asia in general) is much stronger. Microsoft seems to have given up on getting a foothold in the East (it's not like they haven't tried; they were unsuccessful for a number of reasons), so it's less likely to care about such. It's in line with no Asian country being part of the initial Xbox One launch. Sony knows its own backyard better, has more stake in it, and didn't want to burn it down. The West reacting badly was just a nice bonus.
Consumer power has been gradually chipped away. Why? Because the content publishers generally hold more power than the content consumers. As such, they are in the position to work things in their favor, even at the expense of consumers. HDCP is a good example of such. The decline of local co-op is another good example (make people buy another console and another copy of the game just so two people in the same room can play together? Cha-ching!). There may be more consumers, but they're not a focused enough lot to rally against their purpose-driven adversaries. The E3 fallout was a pleasant exception, but that was more due to Microsoft making dumb moves.