Microsoft Surprised By “How Negative” World Reaction Was To Xbox One DRM
Microsoft’s director of product planning Albert Penello has come out in a recent interview to say that while the firm expected controversy over its original plan for its next generation console, it was surprised by “how negative” the reaction to the Xbox One DRM really was.
“If I had to go back and wish that I could rewind time and redo one thing, that would be the one thing,” he told Rev3Games, while also admitting flaws in Microsoft’s messaging.
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“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’,” he said, most likely referencing the whole Family Sharing plan that was axed, but can still work with digital content.
“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’.”
But Penello insists that an all-digital future is definitely on the horizon.
“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.
“I hope that in some point in the future some of those cool features – some of the Family Sharing, the household sharing stuff, the games are always with you – we want to bring that stuff back.”
I’ve got to be honest here and say that I think at times Microsoft are a little delusional about the whole Xbox One DRM and such. Even if you’re a major fan you’ve got to admit their heads were in weird places over all this. I mean firstly, it wasn’t just the DRM fans were upset about.
I spoke at length about how their terrible communication and unnecessary restrictions were a large part of the negative reactions, and the company itself did next to nothing to try and remove any consumer fears or fix their stance.
I’m also sure that a digital future is imminent, but it’s easy to stand there and say “oh the future is digital” without considering the journey it takes to actually move there. I have been reminded a lot over this year of how Steam used to be hated back in its day, and now it’s loved by consumers, including myself, for offerings like its Steam sales and convenience.
The point is, you don’t just wake up one day and say “it’s digital time!” You actually have to move there gradually.