Microsoft Was Surprised By Xbox One Outcry

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Microsoft Was Surprised By Xbox One Outcry

xbox one image

Microsoft's Albert Penello says the company wasn't expecting the reaction and "assumptions" that came out of the Xbox One reveal.

Just in case you've been living under a rock on another planet in a galaxy far, far away for the past few months, you may recall that Microsoft ran into some trouble following the reveal of the Xbox One. While many were looking forward to the beginning of the next console generation, the new gaming machine nonetheless triggered an outcry thanks to some of its attached restrictions. These would include always-online features that would require the console to check in with Microsoft once a day before players could access their games. The company would eventually reverse its most controversial policies. That said, even now the company's surprised by how gamers reacted.

"We were surprised at how vocal it was, and we were surprised at the reaction and assumptions that people had about what we were trying to do," said Albert Penello, Microsoft's director of product planning. According to Penello, the console's policies were, in part, an attempt to adapt to what other successful entities in the game industry have done in recent years. "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.'"

Of course, the Xbox One isn't all digital, which was arguably part of the problem. There were more than a few who took issue with the idea of buying a physical game and then not being able to play it until the console received permission online. In the end, Penello believes it may have boiled down to a simple misunderstanding. "I think the problem was that people got in their minds that what we were trying to do was somehow evil or anti-customer." Considering the somewhat dismissive way Microsoft responded to consumer concerns, that might not be a poor assumption to make.

Source: Rev3Games via Gamasutra

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So let me get this straight. They listed out all the ways they were going to fuck over the customer while any benefits were poorly explained at best, if they got mentioned at all, and it's a surprise that there's customer backlash?

Who the hell is running things at Microsoft? A lobotomized chimpanzee?

This just goes to show how far they had/still have their heads up their asses.

You wan't to be like Steam? THEN COPY STEAM. Don't try to make an evil clone and tell us it's the same thing.

I think the moral of the story here is "Assumptions are a sure-fire way to get your ass torn off".

Or it could be "Assumptions resulted in Don Mattick leaving Microsoft for Zynga".

Dont know which is better...

...your surprise is unsurprising, you seem to be a fucking gargantuan beast that can't tell its arse from its elbow anymore.

The rumours of 'always online' were around a while before the console was reviled so it's not like the initial reaction from people was hard for Microsoft to find.

"I think the problem was that people got in their minds that what we were trying to do was somehow evil or anti-customer."

When you debuted the console, you had a perfect opportunity to explain to everyone why what you were trying to do was good and pro-consumer. Instead, you chose to tell people:

- "This is good for you, trust us."

- "Don't like it? Deal with it. Or stick wth the 360."

How can Microsoft possibly be surprised by the negative reaction to this?

Are they trying to ascend to some super saiyan level of stupid?

Exactly how out of touch is Microsoft with the rest of the world? No seriously, I'm starting to be concerned that they may be from another planet.

Racecarlock:
Are they trying to ascend to some super saiyan level of stupid?

They have already achieved super saiyan and are now in the time chamber trying to see how they can ascend further.

Jesus, you dumb bastards. Stop defending your stupid anti-consumer positions after you've retreated from them.

Yes it was anti-customer, no it was nothing like Steam. Steam games run just fine offline, and I take advantage of that quite often.

There was nothing consumer friendly at all, and no benefit to anyone but you and your advertisers, about having the console drop dead if it doesn't phone home every 24 hours.

StewShearer:
"I think the problem was that people got in their minds that what we were trying to do was somehow evil or anti-customer."

Pretty much sums it up. What they wanted to give us was actually [mostly] pretty neat, but what they told us we were getting sounded like shit. It did sound evil, but that's because you basically told us that it was evil. There may be fault on both parties, but most of it was a failure of PR and marketing.

There was plenty of outcry just based on the rumors. Microsoft can't claim to have not heard it.

oldtaku:
Jesus, you dumb bastards. Stop defending your stupid anti-consumer positions after you've retreated from them.

Except that's not what they're doing. They're not defending their previous anti-consumer position. Now they're trying to deny that they were ever anti-consumer and that everyone just misunderstood them.

At worst, more hollow suit corporate spin. At best, dysfunctional complete detachment from the customers you presume to serve.

Of course he says they were surprised. What else is he going to say, that they knew that customers were going to hate the policies and did it anyway, assuming we'd be too apathetic to call them out? And the whole 'We wanted to be like Steam and IOS' falls flat on its face. I can still play my games on both of those platforms if I lose my internet connection for more than a day. You looked at, and used, all the controls that are built into IOS and Steam while seemingly offering none of the return value.

Someone in that company was WELL aware of it, I bet anything I own. Accepting that the developers were gormless fucks, too wrapped up in their own euphoria of making a new type of way to game (aka making a PC, but not) and simply overlooking all the ways the system could be abused to line the people who knew about all the negatives, pockets. SOMEONE KNEW. And did nothing, they simply all shirked responsibility and were deafened by cha-ching noises.

No one stopped and went 'hold on' isn't this kinda risky? Or, 'guys, don't you think maybe this will be tough for consumers to swallow looking at the options they have now. I bet anything, because Microsoft stinks high of that attitude right now, NO ONE sees to be calling out bullshit where they see it and using some friggin common sense.

Heck are you hiring Microsoft? I'll send you my CV right here;

'HAS COMMON SENSE, KNOWN TO USE IT OCCASIONALLY.'

Ralphfromdk:
This just goes to show how far they had/still have their heads up their asses.

You wan't to be like Steam? THEN COPY STEAM. Don't try to make an evil clone and tell us it's the same thing.

The worst part is, they did try to copy Steam.

The problem isn't that they're wanting to go digital - the problem is the required internet connection and daily check-ins.

Its all the "You have to use it like this" stuff that people don't like.
You have to be online.
You have to use Kinnect.
And so on.

No one wants to be told what they can and can't do with a product they purchased.

This just proves how out of touch and how far up their own butts the people at Microsoft are. That and how much they underestimated the consumer. I would wager that they were banking on the majority being apathetic to all their anti consumerism to a point where they could get away with royally screwing over a lot of people.

This is what happens when the people in charge don't actually use the product they make.

Again with the Steam comparisons... Even if it were all-digital, there is one major, fundamental difference that they have missed:

Steam has a little feature called "Offline mode" that works forever, even if you never connect your device to the internet again. If you have a connection, Steam will check to make sure the game isn't being played on multiple devices at once, but it never requires a connection outside of a one-time activation.

Why is this important? Here's a few examples:

  1. Youth organizations, community centers, church youth groups, etc. - Many of these are in separate rooms or buildings from their parent organization, and frequently without any sort of internet access, even if the main office or whatever has it.
  2. Children's bedrooms - Many parents have no problem with their kid having a TV and games in their room, but deliberately do not grant them internet access. One-time online activation is enough of a pain on its own, but to require it every 24 hours makes such a thing entirely unfeasible.
  3. Unreliable internet - This is a huge problem for college dorms, but even a problem for many people with their own homes and standard ISPs. If there's more than 24 hours of downtime, a daily activation requirement would make the system unusable. Not everyone has the option of simply switching ISPs in this case either, depending on the reason for the downtime and the local competition.

But that aside, attempting to copy Steam is a mistake anyway. The whole point of a game console is that it isn't a PC (even if the hardware inside essentially is). What works for one doesn't necessarily work for the other, and if they bridge the gap too much, people will reject the console on the basis that they already have a PC. Make a console a unique product, something that complements a PC with its differences, and people will be more likely to accept it.

P.S. Thanks

P.P.S. PC sales and Windows 8 sales are already not in the best place right now. Do you really want to try and cannibalize your own sales more than you have to, MS?

Sounds like Microsoft had some mistaken assumptions of their own. iOS users use iPads, Steam users are PC gamers, maybe this slipped your attention MS, but I'd hazard a guess that most console gamers have little to no interest in either of those things.

Perhaps if you had aimed your product at the millions strong established console gaming fan base instead of everyone but them, things would have gone better.

Hehehaha
Oh really there Microsoft?
You didn't expect consumer's to assume the worst from you when there were damaging rumors even before the Xbox 180 revival?
That maybe, just maybe, people didn't like to be screwed over by a machine they've paid for?
The arrogance or is it ignorance? (or both?) is staggering and you are doing nothing to make me warm up to you.

I have no problems going all digital! steam proved to me its better then having my shelves clogged up by games. However, I DO have problems with microsoft doing it with their track record on shit hardware and overpriced microsoft points to dollars conversion and screwing me over just because I'm canadian.

Whats that? they reversed the microsoft points to real dollars? You think I'll just FORGIVE them for their hardware failures and ripping me off for years?! no, I would kick a microsoft rep in the balls if I could. They care *nothing* about their consumers. I *despise* them.

Can you honestly blame them? No really, the amount of shit they got away with this generation with the 360 it's no wonder the Xbox division had so much hubris.

The RROD debacle alone would have fucking killed almost any other brand, so the fact they got away with it as well as charging for Xbox Live and gating everything behind it they probably thought they could do no wrong in gamers' eyes.

MS really are clueless. Why did they release this comment that will just dig up all the negative flaws about the XB1 and how MS dealt with it. They really need a new publicity person.

I love Microsoft. Every time they open their mouths nowadays comedy gemstones fall out. I almost don't want them to come to their senses.

Every time MS open its corporate mouth about Xbox One I get to laugh, that's not a bad thing now is it?

I've said my piece more than once about MS, here and elsewhere, so I'm not gonna repeat myself. I wish they would just shut up and refuse commenting as long as they're not ready to release. Keeping quiet can't be worse than spewing nonsense, now can it?

Agayek:

Who the hell is running things at Microsoft? A lobotomized chimpanzee?

image
You know, you are not very off for that description of Steve Ballmer at all really. XD

OT: The fact that they are "surprised" about all the reaction of this console shows just how desperately out of touch Microsoft is with the rest of the world. Really a lot of people in the industry makes you feel that way, but MS took it too a whole new level. I honestly was thinking that some of those "decisions" were just to see what they could get away with, but then again I've lost all hope at Microsoft making any rational sense or making decisions that aren't fully retarded. Recent case, buying the rest of Nokia when their shares in the Smartphone market are pretty much nonexistent at this point.

If they even were close to some form of steam like drm then they'd have been fine, but 24 hour checks, 'game sharing' that is controlled by publishers allowing full sharing or short demos, it's just not a good idea. The fact games are 60 or maybe now 70 dollars doesn't help, the reason steam is successful is bountiful and huge sales with DRM that doesn't get in your way when trying to enjoy.
Steam isn't perfect, but it's so far the best example of DRM done right.

Agayek:
So let me get this straight. They listed out all the ways they were going to fuck over the customer while any benefits were poorly explained at best, if they got mentioned at all, and it's a surprise that there's customer backlash?

Who the hell is running things at Microsoft? A lobotomized chimpanzee?

Keep in mind that Xbox is one of the few products Microsoft has made that has ever had to compete with anything else on a level playing field. This means that no one in marketing and public relations really knows what they are doing. A lobotomized Chimp could have seen this backlash coming though, and that just goes to show how insular and arrogant MS is as a company.

gigastar:
Or it could be "Assumptions resulted in Don Mattick leaving Microsoft for Zynga".

Actually, I ascribe to the theory that Mattrick was planning to leave MS for awhile before the reveal. These types of transitions do not happen overnight, they take months. This also explains why Mattrick messed up MS' messaging so badly, he knew he was leaving and did not care at all.

WeepingAngels:
There was plenty of outcry just based on the rumors. Microsoft can't claim to have not heard it.

See the first paragraph. MS is so insular and arrogant that they are simply deaf at this point.

That being said, they did reverse their decisions, and Ms. Larson Green is now head of Xbox. She headed Windows 7 -likely the best product MS has ever made- and she seems to have a much steadier hand than Mattrick, so maybe she can turn things around, if the MS corporate culture will let her.

Nope. Nopenopenopenopenopenope. Nope.

If you want to copy Steam, then F*ING COPY STEAM!, don't make a bastardized and blatantly anti-consumer version of it. Heck, even Origin got it (mostly) right.

Hmmm...to me this sounds very much like they're planning to attempt something similar in the future.

The only reason there was outcry and 'assumptions' was because Microsoft didn't give us enough information. They've spent the last few months clarifying things that they overlooked in their press releases and making sense of the mess they made, and it all sounds perfectly reasonable now. If they'd just given us the information they're giving us now, back then, there wouldn't be so much of a problem.

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