Xbox One: What we lost and what Microsoft failed to achieve

10 min read


By Llewellyn Crossley

So over the last few days we have seen numerous articles, rants and mudslinging between the camps of digital content and physical content in face of the new Xbox One policies. The majority of people are over the moon and then there are some that are exceptionally upset that these policies have been removed.

No one is particularly sad about the fact that you no longer need to check in online every 24hours. Everyone, even those in the digital camp, realized the very real possibility of being locked out of their system (for games anyway) if you lost your internet connectivity for whatever reason. If you are in SA this would most likely be due to cable theft which can take weeks to replace. Not to mention the general poor delivery of proper fixed line internet services and speeds.

The fact is the Xbox One was in a unique position to outshine all competition when consumer feedback started coming back. They already have the systems in place to make an amazing device. In fact, before the policy change it was a fantastic system. Yes, I said fantastic. It just had one big flaw that brought it to its knees… Zero choice. This is where Microsoft failed.

Now, let’s have a look at what we have lost and how Microsoft failed to capitalise on consumer wants and needs.

Discs and digital content

This is one of the biggest complaints I’ve heard. Many people are very upset that they can no longer purchase a physical disc in store, install it and then link it to their profile so that they can enjoy it wherever they go and on any device as long as they are logged in with their profile.

Let’s be honest, this feature was amazing and it is sad that it is gone. For those who could afford the data and speeds needed to be able to download their games to any device no matter where they are this feature was perfect. They got to have the best of both worlds. They could have a physical disc, yet never need to worry about losing it as the game can be downloaded from “the cloud”. It’s nothing ground-breaking as it has been done with the likes of Steam. But the convenience is what really makes it worthwhile and something that consoles are lacking.

Digital Game sales

Let’s not forget that unlike Steam and other digital distribution platforms, Microsoft were going to allow you to resell your digital games via the market. This single additional feature is what would have set them apart from the rest and it made Microsoft’s system even more desirable. There would be people who would be willing to use this system. Sure, having the system offline introduces a few problems surrounding this and makes it a bit tough, especially if you change your physical purchases to digital ones. But surely Microsoft could come up with a solution?


Family Sharing

Another great feature which has now been taken away. Now, just to recap, this feature would allow you to share your games with up to 10 family members (haha, family members… riiiiiight :P) who could then download the game to their device and try it out for themselves and if they liked it could buy it then and there from Live and link it to their accounts permanently.

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Now, I am sure there would have been some form of restrictions in place like only being able to play the game being shared when the primary holder isn’t playing it or whatever the case may be. The fact is this feature is no different to lending out your physical disc to a friend. The only difference being that up to 10 people could enjoy it instead of just one at a time. So this feature really would have helped developers get their name and games out to a wider audience and potentially achieving higher sales if more people can enjoy their games without initially having to commit with any form of fee.

Where Microsoft failed even after listening to the consumer

So, some cool features lost, but I mentioned that Microsoft failed to capitalise on their policy changes to really make themselves shine. How did they do this? Simple, they took away features that a lot of people still wanted (Whether that is a majority or not is beside the point and negligible.)

Microsoft could still have included these features. With the amount of complaining people did they failed to hear what the consumer was actually shouting and that was “Choice!

We didn’t shout that it must disappear. We didn’t shout that what they were attempting must not happen; we simply wanted to choose whether to use the functions available or to ignore them.

Linking a game to your profile can still be done. It’s done on PC with physical discs. You install the game, link it to Steam, Origin or whatever is out there and if you lose your disc you can simply download the game by logging in to your profile. Microsoft can implement an extra step in their installation process when installing your game to your HDD, a simple “Do you wish to go online and link your game to your profile?” If you click no then fine. You carry on offline and enjoy your game, but say yes and it will log in and link the game to your profile after authenticating the validity of the actual game disc. Simple as that. Once there on your online profile why would you need to authenticate your system every 24hours? There is no logical sense to that. So it’s completely possible to do this in a hybrid environment.


Family sharing is also still possible, if you choose to take this path then Microsoft can say, right, for this you need to authenticate once every 24hours so that we can be sure you haven’t sold the game off or that you are still allowing family member X or Y to play the game. People would understand this requirement to go online. It’s not forced for normal use but is forced if you want to share. This is for security reasons and to ensure no shenanigans and abuse of the system. If you do not authenticate once every 24hours then the sharing rights simply fall away, leaving you able to play the game you paid for but unfortunately those sharing the game must understand that they were only sharing a game and wasn’t theirs to start with. It’s a simple solution and doesn’t require the system to be permanently online for everyone across the world. Only those wanting to share need to be online with no penalties to the owner if he/she can’t authenticate in 24hours.

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Microsoft again didn’t listen and instead come across as a schoolyard bully whose mommy just shouted at him for not sharing his toys and instead of going ahead and sharing goes and destroys the toys so that no one can have them at all. I’m sure that Microsoft didn’t do it out of spite but it is what it seems like.

They had a unique opportunity to give a system that is capable of giving the best of both worlds. They could have provided a system that can have all the features they had while still allowing you to properly use the system offline if you simply don’
t have a proper connection.

For those of you angry at the general public for forcing Microsoft’s hands just stop and think a bit, had it been online only all those people complaining would be unable to purchase the device and the Xbox One would have failed. Microsoft needs to provide for those unable to be online. Microsoft has decided to pull the features even though they don’t need to. Be angry at Microsoft for being like this. Blame Microsoft for not being innovative enough to provide a system that can be online and offline with all the features available if you choose to use said features. Microsoft should have been innovative instead of trying to force their vision of the future on to people who couldn’t yet be part of that future due to whatever limitations they have.

Do what the people did to get MS to bring back those features. Petition them, write blogs, do videos. But don’t demand that they return the system to how it was. Get them to make it a hybrid system that brings the best of both worlds. Get them to allow you to use the features if you want those features. Make it clear that they are capable of doing what they wanted to do yet still allowing an offline system if need be. This is Microsoft, one of the largest software companies in the world. They have the knowledge and the resources to get this right.

They just need a little bit of logic from us normal folks.

This post was submitted by a member of our community, and does not reflect the opinions of or its staff.

Last Updated: June 25, 2013

  • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

    LC!!!!!!!! Winner winner chicken dinner!

    • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

      Haha thanx man 🙂 I think 0_o

      • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

        Being sincere here dude, you Rantasaurus you 🙂

  • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

    Sir Llewellus Crossilus the Rantus Maximus 😉

    • Kobus Nel

      BWAHAHAHA! Thumbs up! I like it 😀

  • OVG

    You have to be a piss poor salesmen not to give your consumer choice when your competitor is more than willing to steal your consumers under your feet.

    Stupid people running that show.

    Give me the cheaper console that plays the same games the same way I was sold on the 360.


    • Ultimo_Cleric N7

      Felt the same about the Kinect 2. But a few Xbox fanboys have informed that you can now switch off the Kinect 2 after the console is on.

      • OVG

        But you still have to spend an extra $99 on that MANDATORY swanky MENU interface.

        Give us choice then if the Kinect 2 does not need to be used, by giving us a core SKU.

        It is all lies, you can turn it off but it still has to be plugged in to make the Bone work. I bet the Audio is going direct to project PRISM. Say the word Terrorist and it will automatically turn on.

        The internet fucked my hobby up.

        • RinceTheWhiskyWithIce

          Hahaha! Just imagine the data capturing that will happen…

          • OVG

            I told you all 6 months ago when they announced the mandatory Kinect 2 that it is nothing more than a Trojan Horse.

            Why the fck would that have to be Mandatory?

            No SALE 6 months ago, no sale now. Never mind the Bullshit from the last 3 weeks.

        • John Ambitious

          Just put a really disturbing picture in front of it all the time, give the guys something to look at. I don’t trust that thing.
          In all seriousness though, I agree with that. Now you HAVE to get it. My choice was the Xbone (as my first console) until all this crap, now there’s no competition.

          • OVG

            What if your religion requires you to wear a Burka? How will big brother detect your profile before your NETFLIX video starts for the required amount of people in the room let alone age and sharing.

            They did say that SONY is not their competition but the pre-orders made them shit green phoo.

          • John Ambitious

            Oh, SONY isn’t their competition? According to them yes. The last time they made assumptions they ended up with quite a few furious consumers. I think they seriously need to start looking at their customers, because to the gamers SONY is pretty much their only competition.

  • Trevor Davies

    I think the biggest problem with the Ones launch was that it came across that MS was trying to dictate to people how they should use their own console for the benefit of MS, and if they refused to do what MS wanted then they weren’t welcome. The communication was shockingly bad.

    • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

      Indeed. It’s that ever present thing of choice. Consumers want choice.

      • Trevor Davies

        I just can’t get my head around how they got it so wrong, they’re not stupid after all.

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      Apparently, Balmer is re-structuring and shuffling a few heads after July 1st, because of the PR fiasco. However, rumour has it, Don “the Jacket” Mattrick might actually get more power. I wonder if Larry (Major Nelson) might become a casuality, even though the real culprit is really Jacket Mattrick.

      • OVG

        I am sure they can deal with it.

      • Trevor Davies

        Crap always flows downhill

      • FoxOneZA – X-Therminator

        The reshuffle was planned before E3 to streamline MS into a devices and software business. Top-level management will be facing the Lancer.

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          Given what’s happened, I would love to read the internal memos, or be a fly on the wall for some of the meetings leading up to the reshuffle.

    • Kobus Nel

      Yup, it’s really like they’re giving the consumers the finger, and if you don’t like it GTFO.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    I think Llew just hit the nail on the head. Well said sir! Well said!

    • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

      Thank you kindly 🙂

      • RinceTheWhiskyWithIce

        Nice article man! 🙂

  • HvR

    Let me play devils advocate here, the Xbone launch is 5 months away in product development terms that is bugger all especially with a system (you buying into a system not just a machine) as big as this.

    With the E3 fall out MS was back to wall with both feet shot to bits stuck in behind larynx. (This was completely their own fault because the writing was on the wall ever since the original reveal).

    They had no choice but the drop 24h check in and DRM and there is not nearly enough time to re implement those nice to have features into a hybrid mode.

    Keep the pressure on them if you are buying into the Xbone system and I’m sure they will add these features as Gold member perks a year down the line.

    • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

      Oh I am sure with time it will come. But from a business point of view surely they must have realized what they were doing and what consumer reaction would be?

      They said it was impossible to turn of the always on requirement but found a way, rather quickly. I honestly believe a bit of forward thinking would have saved them months of PR hell.

      • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

        code hack set variable to 0 from 1….first path set variable from 0 to 1

      • HvR

        I understand why they do not want to mess with authentication type features so close to launch date.

        You are effectively giving everyone a copy the game feature; bugger up the authentication and you are loosing millions of dollars of your own, publisher and developer’s money.

        They are choosing the safe route, this way they have no less features than Ps4 but the ability to add them a lot quicker than Sony.

        They are loosing out on a great opportunity, but that is their own fault due to their current bad PR and stupid decisions.

        • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

          Yeah unfortunately this is probably the best route they can currently take. They didn’t have to though if they designed it with choice in mind. But I do understand where you are coming from.

  • Captain Minion TallTwit

    Great article! 😀

  • PointMan
  • Argentil

    It’s since come to light that the Family Sharing plan had an hour limit attached. Microsoft would not allow 10 players to have unlimited access to a game for one purchase.

  • JHN

    Gotta say even before the DRM and all that was dropped i still wanted the one more than a PS4.
    But thats just because im an xbox fanboy.

    • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

      And that is perfectly fine and it’s sad that the people that really wanted the xboxone have to lose out on some awesome features (for now anyway. I am sure MS will make a plan).

      Just sucks that MS was unwilling to try and consider both types of gamers in this instance. The online and the offline.

      • JHN

        I agree completely with your article it should be optional, do you have awsum internet well then great the features are yours. But the whole MS attitude has been horrific since the beginning, dont want the DRM well then get a 360. It has defiantely damaged their already rocky image. I hope they pull it back though because i really do love the xbox way.

  • FoxOneZA – X-Therminator

    I’m just curious to know how long can the DRM battle be fought? It seems like it’s inevitable come next gen. We can moan about the high cost of internet and the lack of it but an authentication ping is just a few kilobytes.

    • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

      It may only be a few kilobytes but rather look at it like this:

      People want choice. Some people want to game with no internet and are not interested in multiplayer games. Whether they can afford it or not is irrelevant at this point. By excluding those you are cutting out a huge amount of potential sales. That’s not good business practice.

      The DRM thing is here to stay and it won’t be long before it’s the norm everywhere. But the fact is that if MS said you need to authenticate each disc online then that would be it with no more auths needed. But the thing is they decided that the system has to link every 24hours. Even if it is only a few kilobytes, it doesn’t go about the amount of data (although it still would have been a lot because MS needed a full 1.5mbps minimum. This leads me to believe it wasn’t planning on just sending a few kilobytes every 24hours) but it rather goes about what happens if you don’t have internet for any reason at all.

      A sinkhole takes out your exchange? A tornado tears through your local telephone wires? Cable theft? Etc; then you are without a gaming console for a long time because it can’t auth every 24hours now.

      They can still do the authentication of a game once off. Heck, stores can offer this facility in-store then as an added value. Just bring your unit with. It’s not an insurmountable problem.

      Forcing a request every 24 hours or locking you out? That problem is insurmountable for a lot of people.

      But as you said. Fighting the DRM thing is not going to prevent it all from eventually being a norm. But the more the public fights the less the impact will eventually be. So instead of needing a perma connection you need once for every game purchase (as is with PC now) or any other method.

      • FoxOneZA – X-Therminator

        The authentication ping was said to work on Edge hence the few kbs requirement. The 24hr thing was a bit too stringent and MS never discuss their DRM plans with stores and publishers in this whole mess.

        As an Android user, I did feel a bit lost without choice. Too much choice/freedom though will lead hackers to develop some sneaky method to “patch” the system.

        • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

          Yeah. It’s a bit of a balancing act. I just wonder why the said it needs 1.5mbps minimum if the auth is only a few kb. Lots of PR fail I guess

    • HvR

      Online authentication/DRM will have almost no effect on piracy.

      The steam authentication crack was available 2 months before the first game with steam authentication was launched, Small app running in the taskbar no more authentication.

  • I hear what is being said … but I think that to a certain extent, everyone is exaggerating “what we lost”. In fact, I’m not sure that we actually lost much at all. Just think about what we supposedly “lost”…

    “Discs and digital content” and “Digital Game sales” – On Xbox 360, the Xbox Live marketplace has always sold games on demand, not just arcade games. It a given, that Xbox Live will continue to do this with Xbox One. You can and will be able to purchase digital content and games from the Xbox One marketplace … and will then be able to play these without popping in a disc.

    True … one is not able to resell a “digitally” purchased game, and one will not be able to resell it on Xbox One … but a lot of people seem to miss the fact that the “supposed” support for used game sales that we “lost”, was a rather ambiguous support … with publishers being able to choose if they would allow it or not, and giving publishers the choice how much they would charge for the resale. Resale of physical media game would be very restricted with reselling only being able to be done at a limited number of “partner” stores of which very few (if any) would have been in South Africa. I’m convinced that we didn’t really “lose” anything here … because, instead of this ambiguous murky water of a support, what we now have is full support of the resale of used games … and any store.

    “Family Sharing” – I’m not sure that the family sharing feature is (or was) anything to write home about … and I would definitely not say this is a loss. As far as I am aware, with “Family Sharing”, all that one had was the ability to share a “demo” (45-minutes or something) of the game. That’s really not a feature to write home about. You can download demos of games from the marketplace, and will continue to be able to do so on Xbox One … so there’s nothing lost here.

    The important thing is to focus on what we have gained … first and foremost, we’ve now got the choice. Before Microsoft did the turnaround, Xbox One wasn’t coming to South Africa for the foreseeable future … and with the region-locking and other “features”, it would have been pretty much impossible to import … so we and a lot of other countries would have been left out in the cold. Instead, due to the turnaround, we will be able to get Xbox One a lot sooner … and because region-locking was dropping, we can import consoles and games. I can think of a lot of other benefits … things that we’ve gained due to this policy change.

    • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

      I agree with you fully. The point of my article was to point out that Microsoft failed to come to the table and blow everyone out of the water.

      Being able to link your games to your online profile if you bought a physical disc would have been awesome. It’s mind boggling why this feature isn’t on even current gen console systems. If you lose the disc you can’t re-download it. Why? They finally added this feature and now pulled it off because urm.. They can’t be perma online? I’m not sure I understand their reasoning.

      The features that were “lost” surely wasn’t groundbreaking but it did set them apart from the rest.

      We surely gained more in the end yes, but there are those out in the world who could have used all these features to their fullest.

      The real point? Microsoft could have included all those “added extras” if someone had a full permanent connection, thus justifying the higher price, while still allowing people who can’t be online the base abilities of playing games etc.

      But now they simply have a console that does what the other one does, just more expensive.

      But I do understand where you are coming from. People are complaining that so much was lost when in actual fact we didn’t lose, we just kinda have slightly less than what could have been and all because someone decided perma-online was the only way to achieve what they wanted.

      • Yes … in an ideal world, one could say that we have slightly less than what we could have had … but in reality, the situation is different. In reality, if Microsoft didn’t do the turn around, Xbox One would only be available in 21 countries … with other countries having to wait a year or more before it gets released by them … and with some countries never getting Xbox One. South Africa is a very small gaming market, which means it might never have landed on our shores.

        You might be correct in suggesting that some people (who are in those 21 countries and have permanent internet connections) could have had slightly more if Microsoft hadn’t changed their policy … but there is a fundamental flaw with running a system that is that dependent on connectivity…

        Regardless of how stable your internet infrastructure, there are going to be times when you are unable to connect to the Xbox One master server. For example, PSN is down tonight for maintenance. If PSN was on the 24h check in paradigm then … it might only be down for 6 and a half hours, but if you haven’t “checked in” since last night, and you decide to play this evening, then sorry for you, you’re locked out … and to make matters worse, you can’t even play a single player game. Now imagine you are unable to connect to the master server for longer periods of time. In 2011, PSN went down for 24 days … in 2008, Xbox Live was down for almost 2 weeks. Both these services regularly are taken down for maintenance, often for 24 hours or more. Regardless of how good or bad your internet connection is … if the service goes down for whatever reason, you cannot “check in”. The situation is even worse when that means that you cannot even play a single player game.

        • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

          I think you are missing my point. The chance microsoft missed was having a system that could function both offline and online without having to remove the features they did.
          I am not saying the system should have remained online. No no. That’s bad. But it could have been both what it is now and what it was in a hybrid system that would have worked for everyone

          • No … I didn’t miss your point … I was just pointing out that it all boils down to internet connectivity.

            DRM and “permanent” internet connection are inseparable, they’re 2 sides of the same coin … because if you allow running offline with an online DRM system, you lose complete control. For example, someone could install a game and link it to his account and play without the disc … then give the disc to a friend who runs the game offline only. In the end, it would be too easy to cheat the system if Xbox One supported both online and offline. Add to that the fact that having a hybrid system would increase the effective cost of maintaining the service.

            Anyway … like I stated previously, you can always purchase a game from the “games on demand” on the marketplace, and then you never need to use a disc, and you can download it as many times as you like. Sure, that means huge downloads, but if the service is locally hosted (which it probably will be thanks to dropping of region-locking and permanent internet connections), then that’s not an issue, because local-only bandwidth is cheap. So one can still easily achieve the disc-less, digital content that we have “lost”.

          • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

            I can’t disagree with you there. A hybrid system does become a little more complex to maintain. But there are ways and means around it.

            They could ask for a once off activation of each game you purchase and install. Regardless if you link it to your online profile or not. It’s not the best solution, but is better than nothing and at least stores you purchase your physical discs from can offer an in store activation option by allowing you to bring in your unit and activate the game on it. As I said, not ideal but still a better option than forcing a check every 24hours, which we all agree is pretty stupid to begin with.

            All I am saying is that Microsoft are big enough to be able to come up with a solution. What it may be I don’t know and I’m no expert.

            Having the system as it is now after the policy changes is by far the best option currently. I am not denying that. Given the choice I am sure the majority of people will chose the completely offline option.

            But yeah, I understand where you are coming from, especially from a technical point on how a hybrid system would be difficult to maintain.

  • Circuitflow

    typical always want ur bread buttered on both sides… YAWN~! just give me my damn XBOX one already..

    • Kobus Nel

      For the price ppl have to pay for it, I think they expect their bread to be buttered on both sides.

  • Kobus Nel

    Well done Llew!

    • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

      Thanx man 🙂

  • They failed everything although that little is coming back after the 180 stunt, 😉

  • oomjan

    lol that dude looks like a sad puppy so cute

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