Despite the nickname of “Xbox 180” following the removal of many aspects initially planned for inclusion, Microsoft’s “long term vision” has remained the same. In a discussion with gameindustry.biz, Vice President Phil Harrison has stated that despite a turbulent three months, the company still remains focused upon a future with connected gaming.
Responding to comments about the console taking flash for a focus on “digital future, digital delivery, digital retail, sharing of content and online connectivity” and connection via DRM, Harrison stated the following:
“Our long term vision hasn't changed at all. We haven't diluted our long term vision, which is all of the benefits of a connected ecosystem and what that means for all of the stakeholders - us, developer, publisher and crucially, the player. None of that has changed. What we recognised was when you put a disc slot in the front of a machine certain expectations come with that disc slot. We had to adapt some of our policies and it was best that we did those before we launched, which we've done. All of that can be handled in the vacuum of the pre-launch activity. And it allows the players to have a choice. They can consume the content through the medium they like the best and fits with their particular situation. I don't think there's a negative to that.”
Harrison further said that that he did not think the reaction from audiences was underestimated by Microsoft, and cited pre-ordering customers who had only discussed the games Xbox had on offer, not the DRM issues or “digital this or digital that.”
The chief problem with the statement is that it addresses only a handful of the problems customers were stated to have with the release. The opposition to DRM relates to the lack of internet reliability in many places and lack of any offline mode, even given that the machine only needs to check in once every several days.
Furthermore, the question remains if Microsoft’s servers would be able to handle DRM policies. While hardly a completely accurate comparison due to involving always-on DRM, the recent Sim City debacle was a result of EA servers being unable to handle so many people constantly accessing while playing the game. Microsoft itself seems unable to understand this, with now former President Don Mattrick infamously stating that “Fortunately we have a product for people who aren’t able to get some form of connectivity, it’s called the Xbox 360.”
It remains to be seen if Microsoft can still sell their plan for constant connection to customers, but it’s clearly on the end for Xbox One total connectivity.
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