Microsoft Doesn't Feel Bad About Flip-Flopping On Xbox One Policies

Microsoft Doesn't Feel Bad About Flip-Flopping On Xbox One Policies

Mandatory Kinect. Unpopular game-sharing rules. An online connection requirement for starting games. The summer has seen Microsoft back away from all of those things as it prepares to deliver the Xbox One to a next-gen-hungry world. The company's gotten a lot of flack for their reversals on the strategies once attached to their upcoming console but a Microsoft exec says that they've got no regrets about the choices they made.

Talking to MCV, Xbox Europe VP Chris Lewis talked about the logic behind initial Xbox One policy and the thinking behind the switch-ups::

"… we remain true to our vision that we want to be wherever our consumers want us to be. We think that digital consumption patterns will change and grow over time. We think that the Cloud gives you a level of sophistication, depth and breadth that people can only dream of. And overtime more people will embrace that.

That said, we want to offer consumers choice, including physical discs and being able to do all the things that they want with those physical discs. We want to be available in any format that our consumers are looking for. We've always been very committed to consumer choice."

"As a business, the minute we don't listen to our customers attentively, and adapt and react in an appropriate way, then we would be in a dangerous place," Lewis observed, when asked whether Microsoft could have stuck to its guns. "I love the fact that we are reactive and agile in that way. We remain true to our vision - digitally and physically - and we are genuinely in an enviable position versus anyone else in being able to deliver that. I wouldn't trade places with anybody."

Lewis also said that, despite the fact that they're rolling out new hardware, folks shouldn't worry about a supply of Xbox 360 games drying up anytime soon. Check out the whole interview on MCV for how Lewis sees the upcoming showdown with PS4 and more.

[MCV, via NeoGAF]


    I want a Glossy white Xbox One, They'd look fking dope.

    If it was any other brand, they'd be praised for being responsive and attentive to the needs of their customer base.

    But it's Microsoft, so they're just a bunch of flip-flopping jerks who only care about money.

      Could you please tell on what company doesn't care about money ?

        They all do, which is half of my point. All companies care about money but for some reason only companies like Microsoft and EA and Activision are condemned for it.

          That's because they make the most and everyone is jealous

            Well, some companies at least try and make it look like they want you to benefit. While they are looking good now people aren't going to forget what they were planning soon. They went a little too corporate.

            If you want something you butter people up and ask them to buy from you, you don't tell them to deal with the problems, accept it or buy a 360 instead.

      I can't think of another brand that has been labelled 'responsive' for trying to reduce what consumers can do with their products, and then backtracking to what they should have been offering in the first place. I can think of lots of other companies getting torn a new one for doing exactly that (nestle immediately comes to mind).

        Your analogy is inaccurate and misleading.

        When other brands like, say, Sony introduce similar features, they introduce the benefits and keep quiet about the implied limitations. Microsoft were honest about the drawbacks that come with their vision for the future.

          That's BS. The truth is that most people thought the restrictions outweighed the vague, probably non-existent benefits. For sixth months people had been discussing the online-requirement rumours pretty negatively, but MS thought they could get away with it anyway.

          That said, Sony hasn't been congratulated for making PS+ a requirement for multiplayer in any outlet I've seen. Obviously they didn't dwell on it, but they straight up said it at E3, so its not a secret either. They certainly haven't been labeled responsive in that regard.

          To clarify a bit further, its actually basically irrelevant whether the outcry or presentation was successful or justified. The backflip wasn't responsive. A responsive company would have recognised that people were generally against it when the rumours started.

          Last edited 12/09/13 2:39 pm

            Yes, I can see how you'd think that a company the size of Microsoft would seriously turn around on vague internet commentary in response to rumours they were unwilling to confirm or deny.

            They couldn't possibly have believed that once they had the opportunity to explain their features people would have come around on them.

            Is this Thom guy retarded?!? They changed the policy like a month or so after announcing it?!!! where did this six month crap come from?!?!?

          You are making two separate points here.

          Your first comment is saying "If other brands did the SAME as MS did, they would be praised"
          Your second comment here is saying "Other brands marketed their products DIFFERENTLY, hence they are praised"

          You can make arguments for both points, but you shouldn't lump them together and make the conclusion that other brands are getting special treatment as compared to MS.

            I'm really not making separate points, I am pointing out that whenever Microsoft is involved people assume the worst case scenario.

            Just today, Valve announced library sharing for Steam, just like Microsoft was supposedly going to allow game-lending on the Xbone. People were lining up to tongue Steam's ballsack! Oh, but it requires a constant internet connection. That's ok, of course we have that! It's 2013! Oh, but you can't play a game from a friend's library while they're playing a game even if it's a different game. Well, still better than nothing! Because it's Valve and Steam. Not Microsoft and Xbox.

            Microsoft might have made the error of being too honest, which caused a massive backlash. So they gave the internet what they were asking for, which is, let's be honest, exactly what they already have just with shiner graphics. So that means they're flipflopping. Not responding to feedback. Not protecting their brand. Not considering the needs of the customers. Flip-flopping.

            Last edited 12/09/13 4:50 pm

              The problem with that logic is what I already posted in the Steam thread you're referring to.

              People expect the Steam library sharing system to require an internet connection but at the same time when not using that service I can play my games long as I want (more-or-less anyway).
              Microsoft used the excuse that because of services like that, an internet check-in was required to do anything, even just play a disc-based game.

              The new Sharing feature on steam is simply an added feature/benefit for current users, if you choose not to use it you won't be effected in any way. The Microsoft version restricted ALL users in order to get a benefit/feature they may not even use.

              Last edited 12/09/13 9:44 pm

              So looks like after delving deeper into all this talk, you're ultimately saying that MS made some bad marketing decisions.

              Take your example, you say that MS was "supposedly" going to allow game lending. You're only assuming that. I on the other hand read that it was not game-lending, but more like demo-sharing. But this is also an assumption. If consumers are getting mixed messages and interpretations, it does mean that MS didnt do a good job in communicating all this.

              bottom line, in this specific case, MS was not condemned for being MS, but they were condemned for frustratingly poor messaging, eventhough they had plenty of chances to rectify it.

      To clarify my point - a 'responsive' company is one that engages with costumers to implement requested features. The entire xbone outcry was about what was being taken away.

      I think they wouldn't have reversed their policies if Sony didn't release their console the same year.

    I think it's great they have a capacity to change their minds. What does worry me is that their vision was so out of touch to begin with.

      I think their vision was spot on and their marketing of the benefits of their vision was off.

      Yup.. I think this is really at the heart of the issue, that with all their market research and vision for the future, they got it so horribly wrong. It's wonderful that they've listened and that they are not so rigid and stubborn to change.. but it makes me personally unsure of their future decisions.

        This !

        really couldn't of said it better myself.

        Well you've got to consider that their market research could have been spot on and they just ignored it. Pre-XBOX Live Gold they knew it was going to be unpopular to charge additional fees for multiplayer but they powered through. Both Microsoft and Sony do it with backwards compatibility. Apple do it too.
        They all understand they're in a position to force policies and after a few months people tire themselves out complaining and get used to it. Consumers don't have any sort of union so we're an easy target. In this case Microsoft just hilariously over estimated gamers desire to play their console this generation.

        Granted that doesn't make me anymore confident in their future decisions. =P


      My other concern is that there's so little time between the backflips and launch. If you were that far off, you need to take proper time to reassess and rework things.

      However, the fact that they did change based on feedback shows a big cultural change from the MS of old (remember GFWL?).

      It really wasn't. At all.

      It was maybe just a year or so ahead of it's time. Given they probably originally wanted to launch in 2014, that doesn't surprise me.

      Personally, I was ready. I'm still pissed we're not getting the original Xbox One. Fingers crossed for all of ti to come back via updates.

        I agree (mostly). There were a couple of things I really wanted to see relaxed a little but overall I was excited. It was what I was hoping for and I do see this as a step backwards. However, Im hoping for an opt in for these features as a beta type program or something to actually test it out and gain public trust and acceptance??? Doubt that will happen, not in the next 12 months anyway.

          Is it just mildly ironic that steam come out with almost an exact copy of the xbone sharing concept, and there is a tangible lack of internet meltdown?? I for one would buy a lot more single player games if I knew I could share them around....

            Steam are a purely digital platform. If MS had done that stuff with digital distribution and left physical distribution as it was, nobody would have minded. What people were objecting to was their attempt to impose the restrictions of digital distribution onto physical distribution.

              My Orange Box Discs and Batman Arkyum Asylum DVD's would suggest otherwise...

              Except Steam is NOT a purely digital platform.

              Why did I install Steam 3 years ago? Because I bought a boxed copy of Civ5 and HAD to install Steam to play it. And that's not a unique case.

              Last edited 12/09/13 2:47 pm

              agree 100% with you, if you could use the disk in place of the internet check in it would have been heaps better

          This is what I don't get.

          I find it hard to believe Microsoft couldn't have a setting that allowed a switch between a "traditional" console and a "Modern" console.

          Anyone with Modern could live out the original vision, anyone with a traditional needed their disc in at all times. Even if a Modern lent to a traditional, at worst, you'd have 2 people playing at once, which the original family sharing was going to allow anyway.

            I'd have been happy with the online verification system when the disk wasn't in the drive. If my net went out my Console wouldn't become a brick.

            Why couldn't they make it both? Why did it have to be one or the other? This way we would get a benefit without a drawback. Since Microsoft changed from a registration checking system to a disk checking system I'm sure it could have done both.

            It's because you're confusing Microsoft with Bill Gates. Bill Gates is a philanthropist, Microsoft isn't. Microsoft are about money. Xbox Live you had to pay for, PSN you didn't. Think about that. Yes, PSN was inferior in terms of quality, but it was free. PC games are typically free to play multiplayer too. So your "worst case scenario" of two people playing at once... is their worst nightmare. All this talk of family sharing came about much much later, and was theorized. Online only is PURELY DRM. Compare this to online optional. DRM is about ENFORCING original and single copies. It's control. It's good from a business perspective, from a logical perspective... but not from a human rights perspective.

            And yes I'm getting a PS4. It doesn't mean I'm a Sony fanboy. Sony could VERY WELL have liked to implement DRM... but they simply weren't arrogant enough to think they could get away with it... or at least they considered it was better from a marketting perspective to just leave the successful concept as is. Microsoft stuck their neck out, and it got chopped. Microsoft also didn't just listen to consumers. They listened to the money. That line "we remain true to our vision that we want to be wherever our consumers want us to be"... is horsecrap... they only 180'd after the pre-order figures came back.

            For anyone reading this, I don't really care if you get an Xbone or PS4. I imagine they will both be great systems. But don't ignore the truth. Things happened in a certain order and a certain way... and if you think the original Xbone design was somehow more modern and it's the customers that weren't ready or something, no, that's wrong.

        Keep in mind we basically had to decipher their vision, all they were coming out with were the downsides, and then eventually they were like "oh, its for this sharing thing, maybe". If they had a vision, they weren't articulating it. Your perception of their good ideas were the result of journalists hammering them for information, not what Microsoft actually said.

          Man you nailed it. They totally stuffed the messaging. The idea was mostly a good one.

          That's the real problem.

          Steam came out and everyone is jizzing over the family sharing because they actually explained it properly.

          Sony made that troll video, Microsoft could have made a ten times better one. They could have made one showing "How you share now" and have some guy getting into his car, driving 100 miles to lend a game or borrow a game. Then showed "How you share with Xbox One" and shown some guy sitting on a couch, selecting a friend from his list and pressing "Share library".


    That's BS. They changed their policies after looking at the pre order stats then they try to play it off as listening to consumers.

      Well that *IS* listening to consumers. The consumers are saying "we hate hate your product and everything it stands for", and they're saying it with their wallets by not pre-ordering it. So MS listened to that and reacted accordingly.

        That's not really though. That's listening to the accountants.

          Isn't that how buisness works. If you can't find a market for your product you need to change your product to create the market.

          Salesman: Buy our new Poison Apples!
          Accountant: Nobody is buying Poison Apples, do something.
          Marketing: Seems nobody wants Poison Apples, we need to change something. Seems they don't like the combination and it's the poison part they hate, I got it Poison Free Apples.
          Salesman: Buy our new Apples guaranteed Poison Free.

          Of course now your hesitant of buying Apples from a company that used to sell them Poisoned.

          Last edited 13/09/13 5:02 am

    Man, I hate the whole notion of "flip-flopping". (This is a side-note, really.) It happens all the time in politics - someone comes out with a policy, and then they're forced to keep it the same even as it is proven to be wrong because otherwise they get accused of being a flip-flopper, as though sticking to a bad idea is somehow better than reconsidering the facts when they change.

      I don't mind them flip-flopping. What I can't stand is that they're refusing to admit they f***ed up the first time, trying to spin it and say that they're a "responsive" company that "listens to their consumers". Why can't they just say "we tried something, you guys didn't like that, so we're trying something else".

    If anyone has seen Team America, where the "heroes" destroy a city whilst trying to protect that city from terrorists (thereby doing more damage than the terrorists' would have done), and then the heroes proclaim they saved they city... well, that's Microsoft's supposed path to release, in a nutshell.

    Microsoft destroyed a lot of gamer goodwill and gaming credentials with their TV and Sports reveal, then made it worse with policies that took away certain rights which previous consoles always had, and then destroyed their image further with contradicting messages from the executives, and Don "buy a 360" Mattrick. And despite all of this, Microsoft are claiming that they are good guys.

    I think people are more annoyed that Microsoft are taking the high ground when people probably would be happier with a "we got it wrong, and we're working to make it right" approach to the messaging.

    Last edited 12/09/13 5:12 pm

    MS's did two things wrong.

    1. They failed at getting their message accross.

    2. Biggest of all they tried to please too many people. The one thing they should have just dealt with is that they should have not catered to the people who wanted to trade games. Without the need for trading games, no need for the 24hr check.

    After the Xbox One and the PS4 it will be all digital, so in less then a decades time everyone better start getting used to it. Because it is coming.

      In a decade we might be ready for it, so no dramas. However at present there isn't ubiquitous high-speed (and cheap) internet that could justify a total shift to digital distribution. I know for a fact that I could still drive to my local game store and buy a physical disc far quicker than it would take to download a massive game file.

    I wish the coalition would flip flop on their NBN and adopt labors idea.....and i would love them more for it!

    Can anyone explain to me what the revolutionary and innovative features the Xbox One had at reveal? I keep hearing that the 180 has meant that the XB1 has turned in to another generic console, but I can't see what they lost.

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