Xbox One Backlash Was "Unfair," Molyneux Says

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Xbox One Backlash Was "Unfair," Molyneux Says

Peter Molyneux

Peter Molyneux says the backlash against the Xbox One was "unfair," as Microsoft was simply trying to execute a bold long-term vision for a future in which everyone is always online.

Microsoft's handling of the Xbox One is fated to go down as one of the most poor-executed product launches in history. The best thing you can say about it is that at least nobody died. But having reversed course on many of the design choices that drove gamers nuts, the company is now facing smaller-scale (and more easily ignored) criticism from people who say it should have stayed the course; and while Molyneux, he of Fable and Curiosity fame, doesn't go quite that far, he does say that a lot of people "didn't really think" before they reacted to the plan.

"I know Microsoft, I know they were only doing things because they thought they were long-reaching and long-thinking," he told TechRadar. "But the world we live in now is that we have to realize, especially if you're a big corporation, if you make one step wrong, the world will leap on you, and unfairly, very unfairly, they will judge you."

Molyneux said Microsoft failed to properly explain to gamers the benefits of being online and interacting with other people, but also declared that the time is coming when being online won't be a matter of choice. "Whether as consumers we like it or not, just like every form of technology interaction, there's an inevitability of online," he said. "We know that online is so much a part of our existence now that we're going to be in a world very soon where we have to be online all the time."

He makes a valid point - Microsoft did a horrid job of selling its vision during E3 - but he also overlooks a few rather important practical facts about the console as it was originally designed. The concept of game "ownership" is evolving but a lot of folks still like to cling to the idea that they do actually own their games and may play them as they wish rather than at the pleasure of a great, overseeing corporation; and as much as I love the idea of sharing my experiences with millions of gamers around the world, infrastructure unevenness makes such a system almost inevitably exclusionary. Maybe Microsoft could have sold its plan with the right spin, but broadly labeling the backlash as "unfair" seems rather unfair in itself.

Source: TechRadar

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Its not unfair to call them on their corporatism mentality, Microsoft attempted to sell its ability to take ownership away from gamers who buy a product and own it, and then claim its the way of the future.... Yeah right people saw right through their bullshit, and they they cry foul? I guess they forgot consumers make them who they are not the other way around, but i guess we needed to remind them of that and they did not like it.

He's probably right that one day the entire world will be always online. But how about we wait until such a time that everywhere has an internet connection and the internet never drops out on us? At this time we can't always be online and so Microsoft making something that is always online is still unsustainable.

Im sorry but as usual you are too optimistic,it is a huge corporation with a very stupid idea to most of the every day user.

the ironic thing about the backlash is that it will save the xbox one from being a complete disaster. with the always on cconections,the country limits, etc the consumer base was going to be half of what it was for the x box

Guy who only has games on microsoft consoles defends microsoft
No one is suprised and world keeps on going.

At the moment we don't live in a world where microsoft's plan would work. Things are still very patchy and unstable, so while the idea of always online might be the future, it's not the present.

When we get to the point where we can have fast, reliable internet all over the world ... from the tippy top of the tallest mountain to the bottom of the deepest trench (okay, that's a slight exaggeration), then we can have always online.

Microsoft are trying to put trees on mars and everybody is saying "can we start off trying to reliably get there first?"

Oh yes, oh wise Molyneux tell us the consumer how we're wrong and you're right.
Tell us why Microsoft should get away with spearheading the movement to tell me what I can and cannot do with my property.
Tell us why Microsoft should get away with attempting something mildly Orwellian.
Tell us again why you should get away with lying about the feature of every fable game to one degree or another.
Tell us why you think we should listen to you at all.
Tell us why you're so full of yourself.

Molyneux you sound charismatic but I just don't care what you have to say anymore.

Why does an always online world necessitate always online consoles and games?
Are we going to end up with always online toasters?

I understand Molyneux's point. Microsoft spent all that time and effort appeasing many, fractious developers and gaining them as allies. And in the end, it was irrelevant because it all came down to a one-on-one boss fight with the Internet.

So, yeah. Unfair. Just like the ending to Fable III.

Another person who made a lot of money with Microsoft failing to realize there's more to this than 'we should have explained more'.

Explained like, how did you want to get more third-party games in a growing international market when you're only launching where it's safer?
How am I personally going to set up your little sensor when my TV takes up all of its stand and it's cramped where I have it anyway?
Why should I care that you're shoving stuff I don't want down my throat?
Speaking of which, you making any progress with alternate business models and indies?.. wait Sony's still pulling ahead

And more importantly, why should I spend $100 more for a technically inferior product that I get less functionality from?

While I can understand him when he says Microsoft were aiming for an all online audience, it was doing it at the corporation's benefit, not that of the consumer. Some of the ideas Microsoft had for the Xbone would have been rather good if they actually benefited the people who bought the product. But since it was so greedy I actually see the backlash as completely fair game.

Can the varying communities in this industry overreact and recklessly jump into conclusions regarding controversial matters? Certainly. But I'd rather have it be this way than the majority of people being unquestioning and boundlessly faithful to the "authorities".

Concept-wise, I'd love to be connected to high quality communication and entertainment on a global scale. But the infrastructure simply isn't there yet, and probably won't be for decades. Microsoft's plan was too large, too soon (and not with the consumer's rights in mind). Most importantly, they did not provide any choice on the matter. In short, if there ever was a time to question a company's motives, this was certainly it.

Corporations, just like any person or group of people, need to be called out and held responsible for their actions and policies. As well as being skeptically interrogated at all times, at every opportunity. This isn't meant to be out of malice of any kind. It is simply a fail safe so that the consumers are the ones ultimately in control, not the monopoly-hungering organizations with the majority of finances.

The internet has given the crowd a voice on a volume unprecedented.

Peter Molyneux says the backlash against the Xbox One was "unfair," as Microsoft was simply trying to execute a bold long-term vision for a future in which everyone is always online.

Yes, and you're intimately familiar with bold visions that are full of shit, aren't you Peter?

mxfox408:
Its not unfair to call them on their corporatism mentality, Microsoft attempted to sell its ability to take ownership away from gamers who buy a product and own it, and then claim its the way of the future.... Yeah right people saw right through their bullshit, and they they cry foul? I guess the forgot consumers make them who they are not the other way around, but i guess we needed to remind them of that and they did not like it.

I can actually sort of picture them saying that. "It's unfair that you want to own your games and be able to use them in today's environment!"

04whim:
He's probably right that one day the entire world will be always online. But how about we wait until such a time that everywhere has an internet connection and the internet never drops out on us? At this time we can't always be online and so Microsoft making something that is always online is still unsustainable.

And even then, will other products go out because we're not connected? I don't lose my phone's other uses if I lose WiFi or 3G (yes, I still have 3G) services. If I have one or the other my phone has a lot of functionality but even if I don't...Well, I still have a lot of functionality. If my net goes out, my PC, which is always connected, can still do most of what I use it for. Including games (excluding online multiplayer and the like). While I know people who use Google Docs as their primary word processor, I actually make money off my scrawlings occasionally and can't afford to lose time on a deadline just because my net is down. My music is still accessible, my videos are still accessible, and otherwise I'm still able to have a functional product.

That's the thing: this "this is the future!" thing is an artificial need. We are already pretty connected. We will be more so. But we will never actually have the need to be this constantly connected, to have this level of hand-holding. It's bullshit trying to sell us on corporate nannying under the guise of "teh fewchur!"

They were caught trying to change the way rights worked, possibly forever. They got caught and rightfully chastised because believe it or not, this isn't a bold vision of the future so much as a bunch of empty promises with little-to-no benefit for the end user. It's a future where we need to ask permission to use our own acquisitions, and maybe we're too late to actually stop that from happening. Microsoft, like many companies, sees the future and wants to control it.

mxfox408:
Its not unfair to call them on their corporatism mentality, Microsoft attempted to sell its ability to take ownership away from gamers who buy a product and own it, and then claim its the way of the future.... Yeah right people saw right through their bullshit, and they they cry foul? I guess they forgot consumers make them who they are not the other way around, but i guess we needed to remind them of that and they did not like it.

You don't really own games (or indeed most any software) now - at least in the US which, it should be noted, is the biggest market for Xbox. As for it being the way of the future, all signs point to that being true. The people who put up the money for games and take enormous financial risk want to eliminate secondary markets that cut them out of the loop. Software, in general, has long been moving to a service model rather than being considered a product. Digital Distribution is advancing in market share at a staggering rate - a trend you can see across all media.

The fundamental fact is simply that Microsoft made precisely one miscalculation: they never adequately explained why we'd want such a thing. Nervously pointing to the "cloud" as justification for being always online only works if you can better explain what the hell you mean by "cloud". Sure, that explanation eventually came along but that was a month late, from a third party, and long after the story of the Xbox One had been written in the eyes of people who by and large jumped on a moment of zeitgeist rather than actually considering the reality of the moment and the product being offered rationally.

I'm not heaping blame on consumers for this one though: the failure was clearly one of messaging on Microsoft's part. They needed to make a case and they appeared to simply assume it was self explanatory. Forgetting, perhaps, that the word "cloud" is a term that tells you nothing of any note save that it involves some kind of computer resources being used to some end remotely via the internet - and most people don't even know that much.

if there's anyone who's got experience with BACKLASH, it's Peter!
He's the king of promising everything, delivering very little and what he does bring is, often times, rage inducing.

He's the perfect person to support the XboxONE ;)

No Peter. No it wasn't. Your bias and scruples are blinding you to the amount of corporate asshats who would abuse this 'glorious step forward of technology'. You might not Peter, but they would.

The backlash was justified. UTTERLY justified, or Microsoft would have gone on with it anyway, and millions of blind and zoned out parents would have invited that spyware infested (to which I believe it still is frankly) piece of junk into their homes for little timmys xmas.

You took away consumer rights with introducing so many authoritarian policies and we saw through the paper thin wall of excuses.

You tried to sell it to us like it was a glorified media center, not a games console and you paid for it from the 'gaming' community.

Also the Kinect still adds nothing to gaming, is still annoying, and is still making it cost 100 dollars more. Shuddup.

Do not make excuses for Microsoft Peter, I know where you live! (About 20mins from me)

The backlash was entirely fair. The consumer isn't at fault for misunderstanding, Microsoft is at fault for not explaining properly. Microsoft failed, they paid the consequences.

The man who incessantly makes lofty promises of a bold new future in gaming sees Microsoft as a company making lofty promises of a bold new future in gaming.

And true to form, he misses the nearly inevitable next step: Not living up to promises and leaving the people who spent money on said promises feeling screwed.

Andy Chalk:

...Microsoft was simply trying to execute a bold long-term vision for a future...

Hitler was trying to execute a bold long-term vision for Germany, but that does not mean that the vision was good, or that the person was going about the vision in the right way.

The main issue is that when Microsoft says to me "I'm taking away your ownership of a product and laying 80% of the ground-work for a monopoly... and it's for your own good." I run the other way really fast.

Andy Chalk:

Molyneux said Microsoft failed to properly explain to gamers the benefits of being online

The issue is also that an always online console that licenses games has massive benefits for a corporation with few benefits to the consumer. When you purchase something and say "I just got screwed." You don't usually become a repeat customer. Valve showed the benefit through ease of purchase and sales, while Microsoft championed the death of used games.

All I got from Peter here is; "In the future we must all simply bow down to always-online, and Microsoft was just helping us to achieve servitude."

I guess that clears things up then.

It wasn't unfair at all. Microsoft was trying to change the world in a way that nobody wanted it to be changed. People spoke out about why the changes were bad. End of story.

Being online and being socially connected to others I don't think was the problem. The problem was specifically the implementation of this vision that Microsoft had. The vision seemed more to the sole benefit of the corporations while corralling the gaming into specific channels of behavior. Further more, it was the forcing of this vision upon the consumer and the nature of the games themselves. There was the implication that all experiences must be online, however, as we know or have seen, this does not work properly for all experiences. Given also the tenuous nature of the online experience (as far as I know, always-online is not a reliably maintained state, even under the best of circumstances), there is a possibility that the gamer could be deprived of a paid-for service/product whose nature is such that such depravation is not an inherent necessity but an artifice of imposing this ideal. Only certain types of games, for example, MMOs and team-play FPSs, have an inherent nature such that the always-online state is a reasonable requirement of the gameplay and experience. But, for many other games, notably single player games, attaching an always-online requirement is grotesquely inappropriate. Even if the game itself does not require always-online, the very fact the platform on which the game is played is rendered inoperative due to lack of connectivity transfers an always-online requirement to the game, because the game simply can not be played unless the equipment to do so is functioning. It's just bad design and implementation.

Long story short, I could see where Microsoft may have been trying to do, but they did it wrong.

EDIT: change of phrasing for clarity.

Let's put it bluntly Peter. You're being a shill.

Always on only work in certain parts of the world and pardon my pessimism but I doubt there will ever be a time when that becomes feasible on a global scale... see the whole reason net neutrality is becoming a 'thing' is because providers now that they have saturated the market want to try to wring more out of it...h sure you've signed up for our high speed internet but your in our low priority tier so your data gets processed faster, but we can upgrade you to our gold tier for an extra $10 a month for your subscription. Oh what's that you what the data coming to you to be in the same tier no incoming and out going tiers are independent.

They're already trying this crap in some areas of the world so don't laugh. No, a game that must always be online is a step backwards to the old server-client architecture of the early days of computers where all you had infront of you was a dumb terminal.

That is the future companies like M$, Adobe and others have wet sticky dreams about, where they control all your software, all your data, all your stuff and your access will depend on whether you've paid their monthly subscription fee.

I like Molyneux. For all his faults he seems genuinely passionate about the games he creates, and he does attempt to innovate and move the genres of his games forward, even if sometimes it doesn't pan out. That said, he's completely off the mark in this instance.

"I know Microsoft, I know they were only doing things because they thought they were long-reaching and long-thinking," he told TechRadar. "But the world we live in now is that we have to realize, especially if you're a big corporation, if you make one step wrong, the world will leap on you, and unfairly, very unfairly, they will judge you."

It wasn't just the always Online that we were judging.

1. It was the absolute lack of confirmation of any of the rumours about always online until way, way, way after a time that would have been sensible to confirm them.

2. It was that then the executives that did provide information were so darn vague about what they were saying that it just raised further questions when we tried to work out what the heck they just said,

3. Or else they contradicted what another executive had also said on the issue

4. Or else they insulted the gamer base and were downright rude about our personal preferences for not being always online or wanting backwards compatibility.

5. It was the launch that epitomized everything gamers were fearing about the new console generation: Focus on extra crap like Social media, other entertainment, adverts, motion controls and bloody Call of Duty.

5. Add to this the news of things like Polish developers CD Projekt finding out on the news that Microsoft would not be launching their console in Poland, so it would be impossible for them to use the console to develop for (and this right after they came out in a press release defending Microsoft's ideas)

6. Let's not forget the later press releases about Kinect being always on, gathering data about how many people are in the room so it can refuse to play films etc. until you pay to 'upgrade your license' mining your personal belongings and conversations for brand name and logo keywords to focus advertising on.

7. And then they announced that the dashboard was designed "with advertising in mind"! not "gamers" not even "developers". No. the dashboards primary role is not to provide the best UI for the customer, it's to provide the advertisers with the best control over what the customer sees. Lovely.

These are just a few of the reasons the Xbox One backlash was so bad. It was not unfair.

Microsoft isn't a immature teenager spouting crap on Facebook, it isn't a small company, it's one of the largest gaming companies out there. It should have known to not pull this crap on us. It should have knownto communicate properly the pros of the system. It's executives should have known not to insult their userbase. This was all Microsoft's fault.

Don't blame the internet for your frosty reception, don't blame gamers or entitlement. Blame your PR department that made the biggest series of corporate blunders in launching a new product since 'New Coke'.

The problem, Peter, is not being online and interacting with other people. The problem is being FORCED to be online and interacting with other people. There's also the issue that Microsoft can't be counted on to keep up their end of the always online bargain. I don't particularly relish the idea of not being able to play my games because Microsoft is having server issues.

If life was fair, I'd be on a tropical island drinking coronas and hanging out with super models. Sadly this isn't a fair world.

I think gamers would have reacted differently had Microsoft released information ahead of time, like when they announced that they were developing a console back in 2012. Now they have to suffer the consequences.

not initially, no. Microsoft had that coming. but I'd be stupid not to recognize that they learned and actually acted upon the negative reaction (which was a nice surprise)

I think we've just seen the sort of customer backlash to being forced to be online, any future where we are always online will have to overcome that first, and I really don't see that happening soon.
Now a world where everyone is very frequently online and making much use of all the advantages being online brings but having the ability to go offline at will or continue using their devices to at least some extent when either servers or their own internet fails is a very real possibility. In many ways we are already there.

Well if the Prophet of unrealized expectations and failure to communicate what features will be in something says it is so, he must have a point, right?

:/

No, Microsoft pretty much had it coming. They gambled that treating the customers like scum would be something that they could get away with, and had to backtrack quickly. They deserved every second of scorn and should not be lauded for backtracking, since they would have gotten away with it were it not for the uproar.

I don't know about the US or other countries but here in New Zealand we are definitely not ready for a 'always online future.'

Thanks to Telecom dragging its heels and refusing to end its monopoly (in the end the govt had to introduce a law ordering it to break up), the city I live in and around fourth biggest in the country is still having streets torn open for fibre installation.

I imagine rural areas will be worse off.

[qupte]Whether as consumers we like it or not, just like every form of technology interaction, there's an inevitability of online. We know that online is so much a part of our existence now that we're going to be in a world very soon where we have to be online all the time. [/quote]

I disagree Mr Mol... uh... thing. Not everyone wants to be constantly connected. I, for example, will not buy a piece of technology if it requires an internet connection to function.

So that's another dev with a mouth too big for his own good, trying to tell the paying customer that they're wrong for speaking out against something they didn't want. Stroll on.

Edit: Godwin's Law reached 20 posts in! This topic is over.

Its too bad that Microsoft's vision of the future was straight out of a George Orwell book.

Bold and interesting? maybe. The backlash wasn't as much aimed at the console itself as it was on the way MS handled the situation. It's not the always-on requirement that buried them; it was their 'deal with it' attitude. It's was how after they told us 'don't like what we're doing? then suck it' they expected us to do just that. It was Don Mattrick addressing a legitimate concern consumers raised with 'we've got you covered with our 7-year-old system'.

No Peter, we didn't overreact. We didn't attack microsoft without thinking first. We were provoked by their arrogance and their treatment of us, the customers.

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