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Microsoft's Marc Whitten Talks Xbox One's Big Policy Changes

Xbox's chief product officer explains why the company is reversing course just days after E3.

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In a surprise move, Microsoft today ditched many of the new policies for how Xbox One treats used games, always-on connectivity, and the role of physical discs.

You can read about that here. It's big news, and places Xbox One much closer to PlayStation 4 on a policy level.

After announcing the changes, Microsoft put me in touch with Xbox chief product officer Marc Whitten, and we had a whopping five minutes to talk with one another. We ended up talking for almost eight!

Here's our full conversation.

Giant Bomb: You guys spent last week talking a lot about the policies that were already in place. Clearly, these were things you had thought about for months, if not years, and were building for it. And just several days after E3, to reverse a lot of these big, bold choices about the machine...why does this come just days after E3 closed?

Marc Whitten: This was our first opportunity, frankly, if you look over the last month, from the Xbox One unveil to E3, to actually lay out what our program is, and to talk about it. We’ve been working on it for a very long time, and this is our first time to start getting feedback. By the end of E3, we’ve given a view across our entire program of how the system works, [from] the amazing line-up of games and how those games take unique advantage of Xbox One and the cloud and what they can do. We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback. It was the time where we heard from everybody and what they loved about our games, what they loved about our vision--but they also wanted more choice. They wanted the flexibility to use your console offline, and they wanted the flexibility to be able to use physical discs the way they've always used them. Frankly, we just listened. We wanted to take that feedback and make changes.

Giant Bomb: You characterize this as responding to feedback from customers, and this being your first chance to respond. But couldn't you have anticipated some of this backlash in the first place? Why do you think consumers were so upset and so vocal about the original policies put in place for the machine?

Whitten: We believe a lot in this digital future, and we think most people will be using Xbox One connected, and they're going to be taking advantage of the cloud with games like Titanfall or with Forza and how it uses drivatars. And, frankly, just to stream content online with video or to play multiplayer. So much of what we believe in that vision, frankly, I do think that people have responded in a really, really deep and rich way--that they love that vision, they love the experience. They love what they saw about how the NFL experience could be changed, for instance. But we clearly heard that there were times that they needed the box to work in an offline state, whether they just wanted to use it offline or were going on vacation or they were in a low connectivity area, and, frankly, that they loved the familiarity of physical discs and really wanted it. So, we just responded to that.

Giant Bomb: Right after this news broke, GameStop's stock went up 6%. Do you think that's related?

Whitten: [pause] [laughs] Uh, I don't know. I'm not a good person to ask about stock market prices.

Giant Bomb: Along with this, a lot of these were related to policy changes in regard to DRM and an always-on connection. Has there been any discussion about addressing any of the privacy concerns in terms of the Kinect, and that being on all the time and also being a requirement for turning on the box?

Whitten: We're really focused on how Kinect can change the experience, and the importance of having Kinect be a deep part of the architecture, so that game creators [and] experience creators can always take advantage of it. As a user, you can rely on it always being able to work. That said, we're also focused on making sure that you're in control, that you understand what Kinect's doing, and that you have great privacy controls around them. We've put some information there on how that's going to work on Xbox One. Of course, I'll also just say that you have the choice to have your console work offline. We're here to give you control over that experience.

Giant Bomb: The machine does require a connection at least once when a user purchases it. Why is that?

Whitten: It was always part of the plan for Xbox One. It's as simple as the difference between our manufacturing schedules and our software schedules. There was always going to be a day-one update when we launched it.

Giant Bomb: Regardless of these policy changes, you guys had built in that there was going to be a day-one update to the machine, even if when these policies were announced, everyone was honky dory?

Whitten: Oh, yeah. It's always been the plan.

Giant Bomb: You guys have mentioned that this essentially kills, at least for launch, some of the more progressive, interesting policies, such as the family sharing and lending policies. Are those killed permanently or are they things that can come back in future software updates for the operating system?

Whitten: Part of it's a mix because of the reality of how you're changing the experience. Let me give you an example. Before, one of the things that's exciting about a digital ecosystem, is if I go to any Xbox and I see all my games, they show up in my games library? Well, obviously, if you're gonna use physical discs, those games wouldn't show up because it's only showing the content that's in the cloud--that's in your online library. That wouldn't change. The difference is the choice you have of using physical discs or having purchased things online. That said, so much of how we built the program is really built on that digital infrastructure. You get a ton of the advantage of that at launch, and we're going to continue to invest in that. Examples are, obviously, things like day-and-date [digital purchases], and I can choose to buy either of them online or physical--it's my choice. Similarly, if I went to your house with my physical-based game, and we played and I left and took my disc with me, you could instantly purchase that game with no download because it's all built on that same functionality. You're going to see us continue to really invest in that. We believe a lot in that cloud powered future.

Giant Bomb: Does that mean, specifically, the family sharing and stuff like that is not off the table, or just something we're not talking about for launch?

Whitten: We're talking about where we are at launch, and we'll continue to invest and deliver interesting, cool, new scenarios. We'll see where we go.

Giant Bomb: Some of the games you mentioned--Titanfall is one, Foza is another--are games that are investing in the cloud infrastructure to enhance the gameplay experience. Obviously, third-parties have a little more leverage in terms of how they handle those policies, but Forza is a first-party game. What happens for the consumer that chooses to just be offline, and purchases a copy of Forza? Does that impact their singleplayer experience, or only start to cut them off from things that require the cloud, such as drivatar?

Whitten: It's really up to the game creators. Either in first-party or third-party, we don't have any specific policies around that. We want to give them access to a ton of capabilities in the cloud, we think most people will probably be playing connected to the live service and to our cloud servers. We think it can really change the experience in a whole bunch of ways, and, frankly, we hope we see game creators come up with amazing things that could only happen when you're connected to the cloud because they're using that power. If that's single player, multiplayer, whatever--that's their choice.

Giant Bomb: Last question, and I'll let you go. How do you think Sony feels today?

Whitten: [laughs] You know, I don't know. I focus on listening to our customers and our fans. I love the fact that they tell us what they love, and they tell us what they don't love. Frankly, that's what we've always been doing around here--to deliver what they love, and make changes when they don't like things. That's our focus.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
319 CommentsRefresh

Avatar image for jillsammich
Posted By JillSammich

I'm Frank Frankly, and this is the XBox One.

Avatar image for bonobobo
Posted By Bonobobo

"We want to give them access to a ton of capabilities in the cloud..."
That should be "We rent them cloud stuff, as soon as they want to stop paying us that function is non existing."
And he keeps on saying that they THINK the cloud could be really cool for the experience. Not the game but the experience. But what it is they say not except for the drivatar thing that is just a ghost like you have in every online race game. Wouldn't this be the graphical power of 10 Xbox One's in the cloud? Probably not. It's amazing how MS keeps continuing not being able to explain their entertainment device.

Avatar image for gtfan712
Posted By GTFan712

Anyone notice the abundant use of the word "frankly" in his responses?

Avatar image for extomar
Edited By EXTomar

Adding some sort of "KickStarter App" to the Game section of both of their dashboard would be intriguing. Seeing the "PS4" or "XBox One" sections of KickStarter along with being able to donate in platform (through the attached CC) could be an intriguing idea and a big way to promote indie development.

Avatar image for the_laughing_man
Posted By The_Laughing_Man

@extomar said:

Which is interesting but way to late. If XBox One is targeting for Nov 2013 then indie deves needed to see the tools and build system months ago instead this week.

The more this goes on, the more this feels like this is entire project was poorly managed and planned and executed.

What I would love to see is both Sony and MS get into the Kickstarter stuff. I would love to see some of the games on there that get funded come to the PSN and XBL.

Avatar image for extomar
Edited By EXTomar

Which is interesting but way to late. If XBox One is targeting for Nov 2013 then indie deves needed to see the tools and build system months ago instead this week.

The more this goes on, the more this feels like this is entire project was poorly managed and planned and executed.

Avatar image for the_laughing_man
Posted By The_Laughing_Man

Rumors are starting that MS will announce self publishing for indies as BUILD. If true it means This month has been filled with crazy video game twists. Just like a M. Night Shamaladingong movie.

Avatar image for bruhaha
Edited By bruhaha
Avatar image for darson
Edited By Darson

Frankly, Frank.

Avatar image for mycroft_ampersand
Posted By Mycroft_Ampersand

@dionysis said:

Microsoft isn't new to DRM and even though their approach was deeply flawed, it wasn't completely clueless. Periodic check-ins to renew digital content are pretty standard for DRM. I think Steam needs a check-in every 30 days or so which is also what Zune used. 24hrs is far to frequent for check-in, but I'm guessing the thinking there is that because so many games can be finished in 8-12 hours, 30 days wouldn't be acceptable protection to content owners. The biggest oversight in the whole thing is just not having a physical key (disc) fallback from digital rights expiration.

If the entire rest of the program they had was left in tact with the single assertion that "the disc will always play" then their whole fiasco could have been avoided. They would cover all existing use cases and then be able to message what new purely digital use cases would be made available when you have your console online. That would have flipped the entire message from "here's what we aren't allowing you to do" to "here's the new stuff we are enabling with our new ecosystem" and underscoring the potential value in digital sharing in their "family plan" and those related ideas. The whole pattern I'm seeing from Microsoft lately is good core engineering and fundamental features being absolutely ruined by poor management and some delusional product design.

Well said. Microsoft seemed to be taking cues from both itunes and Steam when designing the digital features of the XBox One but didn't seem to understand why those products were successful in the first place. I think that, had Microsoft allowed disc use as in this generation but focused on improving xboxlive and their digital marketplace, consumers would naturally have started drifting towards digital purchases. The better, easier (and sometimes, cheaper) that Microsoft's digital market is, the more people will convert from using physical retailers. Presuming that Microsoft could maintain this standard (as Steam has), they would eventually reach a point where it would be economically feasible to simply cut retailers out. As the transfer would be generated by consumers, all the people currently screaming at Microsoft would actually be praising them at that point.

I am assuming that this is the direction that Sony desires to move towards as well (fully in place as the gatekeepers of every piece of content on their devices, of course all the console manufacturers want that to occur) but they seem to have a much more realistic view of the current circumstances. If Apple has not been able to use itunes (and their ipods and iphones) to push music to an all digital landscape why did Microsoft think that they could do so with their console at this time? Especially when it would take a much greater change in the gaming market and infrastructure?

On a separate note, anyone complaining that Microsoft's policy changes have affected the quality of games that they can offer since they cannot guarantee that people are online and therefore cannot use the cloud to improve their games, needs to take another look at the initial announcement of those abilities by Microsoft. You could always turn your XBox One offline (you simply had to go back online within 24 hours) which means that they could never guarantee that people would be online to make use of that resource (assuming that it would work in the way that people are claiming anyway) and would therefore only be used in all likelihood by games which are always online anyway, like Titanfall. So, nothing has changed in that respect, except that those who want to use their system offline no longer have to check back in if they do not want to.

Avatar image for alistercat
Posted By AlisterCat

I really, REALLY hate this PR bullshit. I'm so glad I'm not you, Patrick. Having to hear this stuff come back to questions you asked. It's like they can't even hear what you asked.

Avatar image for dionysis
Edited By dionysis

Many security experts and media reports claim Windows contains a National Security Agency key. You can find these reports by searching for "NSA key Windows".

Did you read any of these claims? I just read a handful of them and I didn't see anything beyond tinfoil hat theories built around the idea that "Clipper" was somehow pushed into the Microsoft Crypto API.

"Clipper" was a heinous idea, but it was the NSA's heinous idea that impacted all manufacturers that did anything involving crypto from cell phones to operating systems. "Clipper" was rejected en masse and Microsoft was one of the big opponents to the Key-Escrow approach that the NSA was proposing with "Clipper".

The NSAKEY is a replaceable public key in the CAPI key store. All that it would do is indicate that an executable signed with the NSAKEY private key was indeed signed by that key and run it as a valid signed executable. According to the Wikipedia article, no Microsoft security component has ever shipped being signed with that key. The Wiki also proposed that the second key is likely a protection against accidental loss of the primary private key that would support "secret sharing" to protect against accidental loss of the primary private key. This is apparently a best practice approach to primary key protection that was potentially discovered in an NSA review of the CAPI API (according to the Wiki). Even the most tinfoil hat conspiracy would suggest the NSAKEY would be given to the NSA which could allow them to inject a signed DLL into a specific system (and even this is a tenous assertion). It would be no basis for broad based SIGINT or automatically scanning data from your system. The fact that the key can simply be replaced by an end user makes it a completely ineffectual backdoor if it ever was one to begin with (which is an already incredibly thin supposition).

Software settings are not a reliable way to disable the camera and microphone because all software has bugs and can be hacked.

Most cameras have a hardware wired "recording" indication that will light an LED or activate in someway whenever the device is capturing. As long as this is hard wired on the Kinect then no software "hack" or "bug" will allow it to capture data without you being aware of it. This is definitely something I hope they have built into the Kinect and would be a good question for a journalist to ask.

@ninja_nyc said:

I'm very happy Microsoft decided to get rid of the requirement for an internet check-in every 24 hours. What still concerns me is that Microsoft is apparently clueless enough to have ever thought this was a good idea.

Microsoft isn't new to DRM and even though their approach was deeply flawed, it wasn't completely clueless. Periodic check-ins to renew digital content are pretty standard for DRM. I think Steam needs a check-in every 30 days or so which is also what Zune used. 24hrs is far to frequent for check-in, but I'm guessing the thinking there is that because so many games can be finished in 8-12 hours, 30 days wouldn't be acceptable protection to content owners. The biggest oversight in the whole thing is just not having a physical key (disc) fallback from digital rights expiration.

If the entire rest of the program they had was left in tact with the single assertion that "the disc will always play" then their whole fiasco could have been avoided. They would cover all existing use cases and then be able to message what new purely digital use cases would be made available when you have your console online. That would have flipped the entire message from "here's what we aren't allowing you to do" to "here's the new stuff we are enabling with our new ecosystem" and underscoring the potential value in digital sharing in their "family plan" and those related ideas. The whole pattern I'm seeing from Microsoft lately is good core engineering and fundamental features being absolutely ruined by poor management and some delusional product design.

Avatar image for stefanthemongol
Posted By StefanTheMongol

Too little, too late. The damage was done. The system is still $100 more and comes with a camera only toddlers will enjoy.

Avatar image for darji
Posted By Darji

@pearson said:

@ei8htbit Very eloquently put, I couldn't of said it better myself and one of the more sensible comment's to this story. Like you, I'm fortunate enough to be able to own both consoles and will be able to enjoy what both companies have to offer. No matter how much MS dropped the ball by not coming out and directly saying what the benefits are to always being connected, we still need them around. If they and Nintendo were to get out of the video games space and Sony were still standing, we the consumer would lose.

Without MS and Ninty around, Sony needn't innovate and move gaming forward, set an ridiculously high price for the Playstation and the Publisher's and Dev's following suit by raising their prices because there are no checks and balances in place or competition from companies such as MS and Ninty. I don't think (I could be wrong) that Valve could make Steam a viable competitor to the Playstation brand because they'd have to keep prices high on their service as well. Whether you like or dislike MS or Ninty, we the consumer still need them around.

Nintendo is not even competing with the other 2 anymore and I doubt it would be worse or they would just try to innovate and make gaming better. Because they are still depending on customers and video games are nothing you really need for living and there is still the PC as well. Having MS out of the picture would not change anything. Except that maybe developers try to compete with the quality of games instead of using shitting control gimmicks to separate each other.

Avatar image for dg991
Posted By DG991

comments are stupid

Avatar image for pearson
Posted By Pearson

@ei8htbit Very eloquently put, I couldn't of said it better myself and one of the more sensible comment's to this story. Like you, I'm fortunate enough to be able to own both consoles and will be able to enjoy what both companies have to offer. No matter how much MS dropped the ball by not coming out and directly saying what the benefits are to always being connected, we still need them around. If they and Nintendo were to get out of the video games space and Sony were still standing, we the consumer would lose.

Without MS and Ninty around, Sony needn't innovate and move gaming forward, set an ridiculously high price for the Playstation and the Publisher's and Dev's following suit by raising their prices because there are no checks and balances in place or competition from companies such as MS and Ninty. I don't think (I could be wrong) that Valve could make Steam a viable competitor to the Playstation brand because they'd have to keep prices high on their service as well. Whether you like or dislike MS or Ninty, we the consumer still need them around.

Avatar image for ninja_nyc
Posted By ninja_nyc

Many security experts and media reports claim Windows contains a National Security Agency key. You can find these reports by searching for "NSA key Windows". I'm not a terrorist, pirate or any other kind of criminal. I just don't want Microsoft or the government to have an internet connected camera and microphone in my bedroom. Software settings are not a reliable way to disable the camera and microphone because all software has bugs and can be hacked. I'm very happy Microsoft decided to get rid of the requirement for an internet check-in every 24 hours. What still concerns me is that Microsoft is apparently clueless enough to have ever thought this was a good idea.

Avatar image for kadayi
Posted By kadayi

Judging from what he said I get the impression that they're not necessarily dismantling their approach (with things like the friends sharing etc), more making it optional for those who want to subscribe to it. They're just moving from necessity to choice.

Avatar image for alexglass
Posted By AlexGlass

You let them off the hook too easy GB when it comes to Digital Game Sharing. Both times they avoided even mentioning it the words.

At that point I would have three-peated and said:

"Digital Game Sharing....will you do it or not and why not? We want to know specifically about Digital Game Sharing. Not "cool features", not scenarios...Digital Game Sharing. Will our digital games be completely worthless after we play through them? 1 owner game with no second hand value? Why?"

Avatar image for lind_l_taylor
Posted By Lind_L_Taylor

@lind_l_taylor said:

They still need 360 backwards compatibility to get me on board. If they included it from the start it would have been a no-brainer.

.....It's a different architecture.

lawlz.

Avatar image for tatsh
Posted By Tatsh

aaaa

Avatar image for tatsh
Posted By Tatsh

aaaaa

Avatar image for microshock
Edited By Microshock

@lind_l_taylor said:

They still need 360 backwards compatibility to get me on board. If they included it from the start it would have been a no-brainer.

.....It's a different architecture.

Avatar image for manmadegod
Edited By ManMadeGod

Well, thanks Microsoft. But no thanks. You knew this backlash was coming when people were expressing their bad feelings over simple rumors. The fact that you won't acknowledge from Patrick's question about anticipating the backlash and admit you did wrong...means you are just throwing a spin out there to say you don't want to do this, you REALLY don't want to do this, but you've been shown you don't have a choice. I'm still not getting an Xbone.

This honestly gives me the image of Daffy Duck on his knees sobbing and crying and pulling at someones waistcoat, pleading and begging, "Don't leave me! Please! Don't leave me! I can change! See what I did! Look, look! It's okay! Please!"

There is the door Microsoft, I didn't get a 360, until about a year ago, because of what they did before with charging me to have access to my netflix. And only got it then because a FRIEND of mine was SELLING IT USED with his USED GAMES. The unmitigated gall it must have taken to stand up there and say, "Here is how it will be! We are the future!" And then actually think that is going to fly with the majority of consumers...you are idiots and as far out of touch with your customers you might as well be in that galaxy far far away, working for the empire. Because you sure don't know how people feel around here in this galaxy. And if you aren't doing something stupid like this...then I feel pretty strongly that you will be doing something else, or exactly this, in the future.

Now I just need Steam to hurry up and get their library running on linux and I won't need Microsoft for anything except a punchline.

Video games, it's serious business

Avatar image for shadeofred
Edited By ShadeOfRed

Well, thanks Microsoft. But no thanks. You knew this backlash was coming when people were expressing their bad feelings over simple rumors. The fact that you won't acknowledge from Patrick's question about anticipating the backlash and admit you did wrong...means you are just throwing a spin out there to say you don't want to do this, you REALLY don't want to do this, but you've been shown you don't have a choice. I'm still not getting an Xbone.

This honestly gives me the image of Daffy Duck on his knees sobbing and crying and pulling at someones waistcoat, pleading and begging, "Don't leave me! Please! Don't leave me! I can change! See what I did! Look, look! It's okay! Please!"

There is the door Microsoft, I didn't get a 360, until about a year ago, because of what they did before with charging me to have access to my netflix. And only got it then because a FRIEND of mine was SELLING IT USED with his USED GAMES. The unmitigated gall it must have taken to stand up there and say, "Here is how it will be! We are the future!" And then actually think that is going to fly with the majority of consumers...you are idiots and as far out of touch with your customers you might as well be in that galaxy far far away, working for the empire. Because you sure don't know how people feel around here in this galaxy. And if you aren't doing something stupid like this...then I feel pretty strongly that you will be doing something else, or exactly this, in the future.

Now I just need Steam to hurry up and get their library running on linux and I won't need Microsoft for anything except a punchline.

Avatar image for lind_l_taylor
Posted By Lind_L_Taylor

They still need 360 backwards compatibility to get me on board. If they included it from the start it would have been a no-brainer.

Avatar image for wolf3
Posted By Wolf3

@blackmoore: Yeah, I agree, I appreciate that he didn't just move on, he actually was trying to clarify real things.

Avatar image for accolade
Edited By Accolade

They reversed course because they got shown that their policies are out of touch with anything anyone actually wants. And they saw market share go way down.

Avatar image for bill_rizer
Posted By Bill_Rizer

http://i.minus.com/ib04oymE3m3fjV.gif

Avatar image for lizzard2
Posted By lizzard2

"We are the robots .do du di du, We are the robots , do du di du.

Avatar image for gunsaredrawn
Posted By GunsAreDrawn

When There was first speculation about the xbox beinng always online I thought it was never going to happen. It seems more of a better idea to wait for the next generation to come out before doing that.

I live in a relativly new housing scheme in Scotland and the max download speed I can get here is only 256kb/s, and if I can't get a decent connection here then how can Microsoft assume people are ready for this idea of theirs?. It's simply far too early for this kind of jump.

Avatar image for gildermershina
Posted By Gildermershina

@internetdetective said:

He wouldn't even acknowledge any backlash! He was just all "PEOPLE LOVE THE XBOX ONE SO MUCH AND NOW WE ARE JUST MAKING A SLIGHT TWEAK SO THEY WILL CONTINUE LOVING XBOX ONE BECAUSE OF THE LOVE AND OUTPOURING OF SUPPORT/LOVE ABOUT XBOX ONE. SPORTS"

The guy is a great PR robot for sure, totally sidestepped the question (and reality).

Not reality, your perception of reality.

The internet is like this. The internet thinks Prometheus is a terrible movie nobody liked. Prometheus has 74% on Rotten Tomatoes and 72% audience rating.

So what I'm saying is let's not make hasty assumptions about reality based on the internet vomiting its own stomach up.

Avatar image for ei8htbit
Posted By ei8htbit

@raidenmitsuru:

haha I hear where you're coming from. I think we can all agree perhaps most of the frustration in all of this is that anyone who actually does care about videogames simply wants "to play games on all these systems and have a good time" as you pointed out. The fundamental difference for most in this debate seems to be the relevance of physical media - it's been argued to death over the past weeks I know, I guess where I land is that I am amazed how people can justify drm restrictions for digital downloads while even if the exact same principals are applied to a copy of the exact same game that happens to exist on a physical disc is somehow suddenly treating them like a criminal or taking away their rights. I understand the literal reasoning behind that argument (this is something in my hands, don't tell me how to use it) but I don't believe it logically applies in the context of a videogame that requires you to download the content on that disc you're holding into the virtual memory of the system you are using in order to consume it in the first place in the same manner as any digital download.

At the very least I personally feel that it's blown way out of proportion to suggest that simply verifying your ownership each time you play the game is akin to treating you like a criminal - much in the same way I don't think verifying my identity with a passport anytime I fly anywhere equates to being treated like a criminal rather than me just strolling through and saying "just trust me, I'm me". It's certainly no more inconvenience than being required to put the physical disc in the drive to verify your ownership each time you want to play it - does that imply you are a criminal - because on paper the principal of that requirement is the EXACT SAME THING as an Internet check-in when you boot up the installed digital copy. In fact the downside is that outdated model of requiring the physical disc in your drive in no way compares to the huge potential benefits an online/cloud library authenticated system can offer. That disc has to go with you everywhere you go, strapped to your side like a court-mandated perimeter security bracelet. It's still DRM, just by another name, with less potential, and fewer conveniences. Neither option is without flaws or inconvenience, we just have a difference of opinion on the potential each model has for making things better for gamers.

My lack of patience has more to do with the fact that somehow MS managed to completely miss the effing point of describing any number of the potential benefits of the system and mob mentality smelled blood and somehow twisted the focus of the issue by painting everything with the "consumer rights/drm bad" brush without really considering the potential (which again was entirely Microsoft's fault for stumbling out of the gates). And yes, that mob mentality leads to word of mouth and momentum, fueled heavily by Sony who masterfully took advantage of their messaging in doing nothing but reaffirm the pack mentality of "stay the course, anything else is wrong for you" which completely lead to a huge imbalance in pre-order activity (if there is such a thing as metacritic for worldwide press sentiment I'm sure the X1 scored a red 25) and ultimately forced Microsoft's hand to do anything to turn the ship around. And now we're back to 2007 I guess, for the time being only instead of XBLA launching indie careers, PS+ is sustaining them.

I have to say I'm not too worried about all this, especially because I'm lucky enough to be able to justify the purchase of both consoles (I wonder if I can run my PS4 through the X1 HDMI pass-through and snap mode between Knack and Titanfall...) but also because I know these policies and systems have no choice but to evolve in the coming years.. maybe by the time Ninty finally gets around to re-imagining a kick-ass new HD F-Zero title -- hopefully if the drm technology in place by that time allows it, I'll gladly share it with you digitally and maybe we can reminisce at how quaint the Blu-Ray disc was back in 2013;)

Avatar image for raidenmitsuru
Edited By RaidenMitsuru

@ei8htbit: Where do I even start with this? Microsoft laid down the gauntlet. To think that they caved to the uproar of JUST internet people going wild is pretty naive, don't you think? I'm pretty sure they were looking at some hard numbers for pre-orders and the PR they did (or lack thereof) was a complete disaster. And I agree with you about the Vita memory cards, they are all guilty of doing fucked up things to the consumer. Just as Microsoft is for selling over priced 2.5 hard drives for the past 7 years.

I want to play games on all these systems and have a good time, I just want the right to choose what I do with the content that I buy from them in physical form and not be treated as a criminal. I love the Xbox brand and don't want to see it go away, but the past 2 and half years have been very strange for them, I feel they are drifting more and more away from what got them here in the first place.

And I'm not under any delusions that any one of these companies 'has my back'. Again I understand, I know this is a business and they can do whatever they want. But we all have the right to not partake in it if we chose not to. We all have options, lots of them in fact. And voicing our concerns is the only way things can change. Or in this case, with our wallets.

Also Shiggy has had my back in no way since him and his company have deprived me of a new F-Zero game for the past 10 years. :P

Avatar image for dwightdhoward
Edited By DwightDHoward

If you guys think this interview seems robotic, you should try to have a "repair chat" over xbox.com. I'm pretty sure it's a person you're chatting with when you want your xbox fixed, but they are so robotic and scipted in their responses that it seems more likely that those "persons", actually are robots. Microsoft and their PR bullcrap!

Avatar image for clockwork_saint
Edited By Clockwork_saint

Super helpful! Well done, Scoops!

Hey Marc, I don't love robots... do I hear sparks?

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Posted By Celegus

@buckybit said:

THIS is why I will miss Patrick.

You realize he's not dying or anything, right?

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Edited By deactivated-582d227526464

http://youtu.be/2ownZDWNIRs

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Posted By gungadin

Frankly speaking, saying frankly 7 times in an eight minute conversation is a bit irritating.

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Edited By VibratingDonkey

@vibratingdonkey said:

Flipflopping like this after that whole escapade comes across as disingenuous, but regardless, glad this happened. No longer 100% opposed to the idea of eventually getting an Xbox One.

I have a lot more faith in Sony though. They didn't need customers to shout directions and point where they needed to go as they were fumbling around for an eternity, pretending to hear us or trying to (badly) convince us they were going the right way. Sony knew in which direction they should be heading.

PS4 is a potential preorder, Xbox One is a potential purchase at some point.

Hope digital sharing gets worked out. I think everyone understands that there needs to be restrictions, but some ability to transfer licenses would really ease the transition. Microsoft was on the right track with that at least.

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=598291

Haha!

No they weren't.

I sort of feel like I've been lied to directly in the forehead. I knew the family sharing plan wasn't going to be as great as people wanted it to be, but the way Microsoft talked about it I thought it'd be something.

No Caption Provided

Could you imagine the shitstorm if Microsoft had gone through with this plan?

How are you supposed to trust in these people when they say things?

How do you post gifs here? I don't get it.

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Posted By MysteriousBob

@zaccheus said:

This is a good thing, but somehow it makes me respect Microsoft even less... I think that's irrational.

They've gone from evil pricks to cowardly evil pricks.

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Edited By HKZ

Great answers, usual BS marketing PR non-answers. No matter how many buckets they throw on the fire, that bridge has been burnt. Good luck to Microsoft, but even here they can't just come out and tell the truth. They changed because people don't want the bullshit they tried to force on everyone. Guess I'll be buying my first Playstation, and I don't even really want a console.

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Posted By buckybit

THIS is why I will miss Patrick.

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Posted By SolongWrex

@solongwrex said:

@vibratingdonkey: Problem for Sony is, this is probably the last few years they can expect to be able to rake in the conservative, always-offline physical media dollar in any significant amount, even though this announcement does offer them quite a bit more breathing room since there's no more uncertainty about the success of Microsoft's alternative model.

Sony may look like they're in a good position, but things can change fast. We're seeing Google Fiber being rolled out, and other providers are already responding with a better product, resulting in faster, cheaper Internet in the USA. As connection speeds and data caps become non-issues, downloading affordable games will suddenly be hugely attractive to a lot of people, and not all of them are going to want to play on Steam. Sony's choice is to ignore this and play it as safe as they possibly can, which leaves them wide open for a competitor to swoop in and dominate that space before we're even halfway through next gen. This could have been Microsoft, but they lost nerve. Nintendo could be in a position to capitalize if they cut their cycle short and come out with a revamped strategy, which I highly doubt. Apple's been rumored to be interested in gaming for a while now, and this could be the opening they're looking for.

In any case, we have two giant companies that are happy to stay their course for the foreseeable. Small, incremental changes to their digital services and pricing are likely to be enough to keep them on top if nothing major happens, but a total paradigm shift a few years from now could be devastating for both of them. Sony, to me, seems more vulnerable, simply because they're now in full customer-pleasing mode after their experience with PS3, and that could leave them unable to commit to big plays.

Considering both consoles are offering day 1 digital downloads, I'm not sure what your problem is here? How is it not "futuristic" if they allow what you want but give others the option for physical discs?

I don't know why forcing digital is so amazing while making it a standard alongside current distribution avenues is so prehistoric?

I guess I came across as having picked a side here. I mean I'd probably go all digital if the price was right, just as I have with the PC, but I've been known to lovingly caress a Steelbook or two from time to time as well. I have no horse in the race, I was simply ruminating on how this could end up hurting the big players.

There's definitely huge value in the digital marketplace, both for consumers and publishers, which I think remains relatively untapped on the console side. Additionally, it's pretty much inevitable that physical media will become less and less desirable to consumers as it has in pretty much every other form of entertainment. Again, could be that Sony and Microsoft are able to handle or even steer the transition. Maybe no one wants to step on their turf and they have an easier time of it. But the potential is there for a third company to do some damage with a superior service.

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Posted By manbot47

This would have been a great time for MS to let down its hair and be real with everybody. Instead they stuck to their stiff, rehearsed rhetoric. Like seeing someone fall out on the street only to get back up like nothing happened. It's ok MS, just dust yourself off and laugh it off.

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