My Twitter mentions are an apocalyptic wasteland this morning thanks to one Major Nelson and the wrath of hundreds of angry console users. Here's what happened.
On Wednesday, Xbox head Phil Spencer gave a talk about how Microsoft wants to bring the PC and Xbox platforms closer together. This included some references to the company's latest attempts to bring Xbox Live to PC—something Spencer swears isn't Games for Windows Live 2.0, but which PC users are understandably skeptical of.
PC users like myself. This is what I tweeted:
Xbox Live coming to Windows 10 sounds so gross. Do I need to pay for it? What is this?— Hayden Dingman (@haydencd) March 4, 2015
And then I moved on. I didn't think anything of it until I pulled open my mentions later that day and saw this reply from Microsoft's Larry Hyrb, commonly known as Major Nelson:
@haydencd Not charging. Xbox Live Gold will not be required for online multiplayer gaming using our service on Windows 10 PCs and Phones— Larry Hryb (@majornelson) March 5, 2015
That's "great news" for PC users! And by great news I mean it's the only course of action available to Microsoft—with the PC as an open platform, there's no way the Windows Store could possibly compete with Steam, Origin, GOG, or a plethora of other stores if it started gating multiplayer behind a paywall.
What I didn't count on was anger in the opposite direction, a.k.a. from console users who now feel like they're being stabbed in the back. Paying for Xbox Live Gold has always been a thorny subject, but over the course of ten years it seems like the volume of complaints has subsided. People got used to it, entertainment apps were recently moved out from behind the wall, and Sony started charging for PlayStation Plus, bringing the two systems into parity.
But then some console users found Hyrb's tweet and started spreading it. That's when things got out of control:
You heard it here first: Steam isn't as good as Xbox Live, and that's why it's been free all this time.
I don't know what'll happen. Microsoft charging for Gold has been ridiculous for a while now—basically since its incarnation—but I doubt a bunch of angry Twitter users are going to change that policy. You never know, though...