Microsoft says Xbox One's original vision is still the future of games

The future of video games is online and physical-media free, Microsoft Director of Product Planning Albert Penello believes. But Xbox One was a little too forward thinking for consumers' comfort.

"I think the problem was that people got in their minds that what we were trying to do was somehow evil or anti-customer," Penello told Rev3Games (via Gamasutra), "when in fact we were looking at what Steam does, we were looking at what iOS is doing, we were looking where the customers were going and saying 'I think we can actually give you a better all-digital experience.'"

Penello wasn't surprised some consumers were concerned, but he was surprised just how negative the reaction turned out to be.

You can check out the enlightening interview below--watch the whole thing if you have time, but Xbox One's always-online troubles become the topic of conversation at about 8:40.

Do you think Microsoft's next-gen aspirations were unfairly slighted, or are you glad it bowed to consumer demands?


  • shirox11 - September 13, 2013 11:45 p.m.

    all digital is not ready yet. i believe it is the future, but not yet. with inconsistent internet and crazy caps you alienate a large portion of gamers (pc gamers are used to this, but people who only use console are not.). finally one big thing is the 500 gb unchangeable hd. that is way to small to have so many downloads all the time. they even said that the ability to use external drives would not be available at launch. so well microsoft had some good ideas they were trying to implement them very poorly
  • Balaska - September 7, 2013 3:54 a.m.

    Digital media on PC works well because we have cheap and HUUUUUUUGE hard drives. I can buy a decent 2 terabyte drive for under £70. 500GB is not enough for a digital only future.
  • nai1210 - September 6, 2013 6:45 p.m.

    On consoles digital copies are more expensive than walking into a store and buying a physical copy this is the route microsoft would have taken,no way would they have would have copied steam with cheaper games,sales which give up to 80% off reductions and pre-purchase incentives,i never watched the video interview,don't have time for microsoft anymore,they revealed how much of a bunch of arogant prick's they are and the way they treated everyone as clueless simpletons.
  • winner2 - September 6, 2013 11:49 a.m.

    It's nice not caring and just being happy to play games, I don't have to write as much
  • Swedish_Chef - September 6, 2013 8:51 a.m.

    Right now I wouldn't be suprised if they have to travel around on a wheelchair at this point because Microsoft's PR has shot themselves in the feet so many times that they've probably been completely obliterated at this point.
  • ParagonT - September 6, 2013 6:33 a.m.

    Anyone who mentions Xbox One being "the future" is obviously branded. Heck, look at some Nintendo fans who shout "innovation" after every paragraph. Kids these days have no sense of media literacy and cannot decipher the true intentions of companies at a glance. Instead they wear their hearts on their sleeves and blindly listen and follow whatever their paid PR team has announced to them. Xbox One: Want digital games? How about both digital AND physical? They can both co-exist. Want family sharing? Ask Microsoft why they took it away. Want constant updates every day? Then why can there not be a setting for that? Everything else is pretty much the same. I still cannot understand some of these kids who won't see past their own ass. You know what? Heres a challenge for all of you that are still believers. Type or write down every good thing that is different from the new Xbox policies from the one months ago. Next proceed to write down all of the restrictions. Because obviously some of you need a physical or typed list to understand things clearly. Maybe a slight knock in the head as well. Any adult knows what was truly happening; Microsoft tried to pull a fast one, got caught, tried to lie about it, still wasn't believed, crawled back to their room, came back with a new outlook and policies that cost them more money and all of their development and planning, people accept it now, but so not to look like chumps now continue to say how awesome they were in the beginning. DONE.
  • Rub3z - September 5, 2013 11:54 p.m.

    Why didn't they just, y'know, keep this a secret from everybody? Did they have to yell about their glorious revolution of digital consumerism from the mountaintops? If, to them, it wasn't going to be such a big deal anyway, why make it such a big deal to the customers? Think about it. It could have been a smart diversionary tactic from the business and political side of their campaign, and they could have just said, "Here's the new Xbox One. Better than the 360 because of this, this, and this. Here's all the cool stuff you can do with it. Here's all the games that are coming out for it. Here's the price. See you at launch day, folks."
  • Eightboll812 - September 5, 2013 5:19 p.m.

    Microsoft is still trying to elusively spin this. What they were doing wasn't at all "forward thinking". They just want people to overlook the fact that they were FORCING you to CONVERT a disk based purchase YOU CHOSE to buy as a disk into a DIGITAL COPY. Now if I wanted a digital copy because I'm a forward looking gamer, I'd buy a damn digital copy. If I want a disk based copy for whatever reasons, I buy a disk based copy of some game. Converting a disk to digital removes any perceived advantages of a disk and imposes the restrictions of digital. Again, if I wanted the latter, I'd have bought the latter. They pretended they were giving you an "extra" copy hoping we would overlook that the disk was disabled in the process, and that's how they lied and covered up what was really happening. The lies created as much backlash as the policy itself because people aren't stupid. Now they keep trotting out the lie that this was all just forward thinking. No, not buying the bull$hit. The conversion only served the greed of MS and removed the purchasing choice I made in favor of the greed-fed purchasing choice MS wanted me to make. MS still hasn't learned that you let the users choose to move into the future and they INEVITABLY WILL make that choice en mass, if you simply let them. They are still thinking they have Windows-like dominance of markets and can simply dictate moving forward and we'll all march like minions because we have no alternative choice. It was only recently that digital music surpassed CD sales, but it did happen. It happens a little slower than everyone thinks but it happens. If Apple had refused to allow you to put in a CD and create MP3s to upload to your iPod, Apple wouldn't have been near as successful as they were. They let users choose the advantages of digital on their own timeline, and prospered. MS still hasn't figured this out and they have some smart people working there, so I'm not sure how it's possible to be so damn pig ignorant of consumer preferences and perception of being forced and restricted into doing things the "future way".
  • BladedFalcon - September 5, 2013 5:18 p.m.

    "when in fact we were looking at what Steam does, we were looking at what iOS is doing, we were looking where the customers were going and saying 'I think we can actually give you a better all-digital experience.'" This is such a crock of shit. The balls on this guy must be huge if he really thought that what MS was offering originally with the XBone was even remotely up to par with what Steam offers now. Yes, we ALL now that the future of games is digital media distribution, that in itself wasn't the problem, and no, it's not like people saying that this was just a PR problem, it was that Microsoft wanted to create a digital distribution system in which they would be completely free to set their own rules, and yes, be anti-Consumer if they wished. They would own the hardware, they would own the software, and they would own the distribution, what exactly was stopping them from doing whatever they wanted? Also, if anyone wants further proof of how Microsoft really was trying to screw everyone over, just look also at their stance regarding Indie games. It was Cristal clear that at first they wanted to bully and just do whatever they pleased with indies, set the fees, the rules, everything. And now they did a whole shift on that front because well, the fucking industry showed them they wouldn't get away with it. Lastly, services like steam took YEARS to prove themselves and earn the trust and loyalty of their customers. Did Microsoft seriously believe people would immediately trust them right from the get go... Specially considering how their track record with the consumer isn't exactly brilliant on almost every other front of their business?
  • Eightboll812 - September 5, 2013 7:32 p.m.

    Everyone needs to also remember that when MS first talked about this "conversion" of a disk to digital, and how the disk couldn't be used in another system without some fee or the publisher granting permission for the transfer to go through, they couldn't even explain the cost for this. Then it leaked that the cost was MSRP. Then MS said, "we won't block, but others can, and their fee is up to them." Then they said, it wouldn't be much, and authorized resellers would make this invisible to customers (and still couldn't explain how it would work not going through a Gamestop type company). So it went from them clearly intending to screw everyone but reluctant to admit it, to "we aren't going to screw you that bad, just use some vasoline and it will be alright..." to "ok, ok, don't worry, we'll be gentle...." to "F it, we'll let you cry babies have your disks, screw you for being backwards..." And here they are now trying to STILL say, they were right all along, it was just poorly communicated or we weren't ready for the future yet. It's always everyone else's fault. It's their customers fault for not being forward thinking. I abhor companies that cannot take responsibility clearly and concisely and have to still try to be right while admitting failure. Be men and just say you screwed up and you fixed it. Stop blaming customers for not being ready for your "future is now" garbage.
  • Eightboll812 - September 5, 2013 7:40 p.m.

    "Specially considering how their track record with the consumer isn't exactly brilliant on almost every other front of their business?" The quote of the new head of Xbone, the one with the Botox addiction, comes to mind where she said the goal of MS was to return maximum value to shareholders. I don't recall where customers = shareholders, but oh well... I can see where some gamers get confused about who MS is catering to, but its hard to keep your head in the sand when you have the new head not mentioning customers at all, and only talking about maximum returns to shareholders. The only dot not connected there is the dot tracing where all that maximum money comes from.....from customers. Surely even the dudebros can manage to connect that final dot there. Or maybe the American education system REALLY is that bad.
  • illway - September 5, 2013 4:21 p.m.

    They shouldn't even have to say this.
  • RayPaw - September 5, 2013 3:38 p.m.

    The mistake that MS made in bringing their original vision to light was to think they could take a tentative half-step into the future instead of a bold leap. If they announced Xbox One was going to be download-only (no physical media) and brand new AAA games were going to release for $30-$40 as a result, it would have been received very differently & would have created some real differentiation against the PS4. But MS feared the reaction of retailers, to whom they are still beholden so they kept physical discs thinking they could slowly wean players off of them. The problem was that gamers immediately perceived the physical discs of the Xbox One as being more restrictive than any other generation and lashed out against that perception.
  • JarkayColt - September 5, 2013 3 p.m.

    I still believe that Microsoft must have felt at least 75% certain that Sony were going to implement similar functionality into the PS4 before E3, otherwise they would have pulled their "180" before even taking the stage. Clearly two consoles with differing ideals like that could not have coexisted. The publishers may have preferred a console the blocks used games for example (i.e. they would have wanted to go to the One) but the consumers are always going to prefer the console that doesn't (i.e. they would have bought the PS4) so it would have made a kind of lose-lose situation. Since Sony wasn't following suit, MS HAD to give. I cannot see why would they would have gone through all that trouble if they thought Sony wouldn't have similar "DRM". I did wonder whether or not we will be remembering the original Xbox One as something that was "before its time". I'm fairly certain the NEXT Gen will be more online-oriented, mostly because you would hope the global internet infrastructure would be slightly better by then. I think people would have gotten used to the One's policies if it were becoming the standard (i.e. if Sony had gone there too.) Sony just basically succeeded in delaying the inevitable.
  • BladedFalcon - September 5, 2013 5:22 p.m.

    It's definitely just a delay, but at least this way, the consumer is dictating when and how this transition will be made. Like I've said before, Digital distribution IS indeed the future, but Microsoft wanted to get away with shaping the future however they liked it. And with stuff like this, you can't just go all in and expect people to immediately trust you. Again, services like steam now work ONLY because it took them years to hone themselves, and because yet had to listen to what the customer wanted, not to mention because they had constant competition and had to find ways to improve themselves. Micrososft wanted to sidestep all that, so they fully deserve every ounce of the outrage they received.
  • shawksta - September 5, 2013 6:57 p.m.

    I'm too lazy to write too much. What you two just said sums it up. Especially with the delay
  • Swedish_Chef - September 6, 2013 9:16 a.m.

    Yep, nailed it on the head. The reason Microsoft is so adamant about setting up these policies is in an attempt to control distribution of titles for the system, however their methods for doing so come at the cost of consumer rights. Steam has been around for nearly a decade now (it's actually only a few days until it's 10th birthday actually) and has gotten to the point it has now through Valve's slow careful implementation of itself into more and more titles (thereby tying people who buy these games and don't have Steam to the service), them making the service more attractive through adding lots of features to the service, constant updates/fixes/maintenance and most important of all Valve's understanding of what the community wants (well what it want's that isn't Half Life 3 anyway. :P).
  • BladedFalcon - September 6, 2013 10:08 a.m.

    Yeah, and unless I'm mistaken, people HATED Steam the first years it had been implemented it, didn't they? It was only until relatively recently, like 6-5 years ago when people actually started to genuinely like the service, methinks.
  • TokenGamesRadarFurry - September 5, 2013 2:33 p.m.

    Steam-style all-digital gaming is the future of gaming, like it or not (I lean heavily on the 'like' section of that statement), but if Microsoft was planning on pushing that vision forward, they may have benefited from hiring a few PR people that weren't salivating offense to chimps, of course.
  • watevermanimlost - September 5, 2013 2:41 p.m.

    They should have got rooster teeth to do it.... what with them being their highly influential Microsoft slaves and all.

Showing 1-20 of 21 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000