When the Xbox One was first announced, it drew ridiculous amount of online vitriol, thanks to what people perceived was always-on DRM. Microsoft says it knew the always-online aspect of the Xbox one would be controversial – but was surprised at the negativity.
“If I had to go back and wish that I could rewind time and redo one thing, that would be the one thing,” Microsoft’s Albert Penello told Rev3Games, speaking of the console’s original, very flawed messaging
“I think with time, people have understood what we were trying to do, and in fact I’m sure you’ve seen it with the fans. They were saying, ‘God, I wish some of this stuff would come back,'” referencing the family sharing features.
“People got in their minds that what we were trying to do was evil or anti-customer when, in fact, we were looking at what Steam does, we were looking at what iOS is going, we were looking where the customers were going and saying ‘I think we can actually give you a better all-digital experience.”
“So was I surprised that people had a reaction to it? No. I mean, we knew it was going to be a controversial decision. Was I surprised how negative the reaction was going to be? Yes,” said Penello.
“We were surprised at how vocal it was, we were surprised at the reaction and the assumptions that people had about what we were trying to do. So we did the famous ‘180’.”
Penello quite probably rightly asserts that an all-digital future is going to happen – but Microsoft, it seems, thought it would happen a lot sooner.
“Nobody debates there’s going to be a world, whether it’s this gen, or next-gen, that discs are going to go away, it’s gone away in just about every medium,” he said.
“I think if anything we thought it was going to happen sooner than the customer. We took a hard stance on it.
Microsoft’s already said it plans on re-introducing that sort of thing “when the time is right.” For the most part, Microsoft’s turned the whole thing around, and has managed to get people back on its side; a good thing, because there’s no fun in a one horse race.