The lights are on
Following today's big announcement that Microsoft has changed its mind on used game restrictions and online check-ins to refresh licenses, we spoke with Xbox chief product officer Marc Whitten. We discussed pricing, changes to digital titles, and how Microsoft is positioned following E3 last week.
We started off by clarifying a comment made in an earlier interview with Kotaku. According to that story, the Xbox One needs an always online patch to enable offline play. This isn't entirely accurate, Whitten explained.
"There's always been a plan to have a day one update for Xbox One," Whitten told us "It's just the difference between the hardware schedules and the software schedules. We're just being clear that it still exists." In other words, you'll need to connect the Xbox One once in order to get it up and running.
One of the biggest negative changes in the DRM and online connection shift is that users will no longer be able to share their digitally-purchased games with nine family members. Whitten explained that the original plan was to apply policies to games regardless of purchase mechanism, hence the sweeping change.
We spoke with Microsoft about the mood after the Sony press conference at E3. Whitten told us that despite Sony's clear jabs at Microsoft and the $100 price difference the team "had a really great day." Whitten continued, "I knew we were going to get a ton of feedback. What we heard is that people love our games, but there were a couple of areas where they want more choice."
When we asked about the two remaining differentials, price and the mandatory use of Kinect, Whitten was clear: "[$499] is our price for Xbox One."
"We believe in the value that we're delivering, not just for day one, but for the system to grow and evolve," Whitten explained. "To us, things like Kinect are part of that. It's a toolset for game creators that has never existed before. Users are just going to have a better experience."
As for pre-orders following a week of feedback that was often inhospitable, Whitten told us simply, "We're excited." We asked if the same sentiment was shared by publishing partners.
Whitten chuckled. "I've been on the phone all day and haven't had a chance to see how it's landing online yet," he said.
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meh - its still a hundred more and without all the extra's stuff sucking up power Sony still has more under the hood to play with.
And how do you not share downloaded games? I'm guessing that means cant log into someone else's machine and play the games you've downloaded.
I feel glad that I wrote several calm and professional messages to their Facebook and on their website survey, as I feel I helped this happen-- and in a positive way. If they want to implement further family style plans, not having always online connectivity has nothing to do with it. It's all about having the foundation and using it. Can users transfer their digital licences? They don't need to be online all the time for that, and being able to identify other users as family through a semi-permanent system can happen without always online too. Likely they are slapping their consumers on the wrists to teach them, "that's what happens when you make big companies DO."
But really, all this means for me is that I can play the next REAL Fable Game and the next Halo game without having to jump through internet hoops. I don't have this all the time!
Probably will go MGS5 via PS4 ;)
Good job on trying to get him to reply in something other than PR-speak, but considering that Microsoft has claimed that its product isn't bad, just their "marketing" of it, I am surprised that they (once more) give vague non-replies to direction questions.........
Im sure microsoft knew that if most gamers wouldnt play ball with the new policies they had a back up plan to just turn them off all along.Thank god the latter worked out for gamer's.I for one love the voice features of the kinect and don't mind paying the extra 100 for that feature alone it is really useful on the current kinect and i can't wait to use it with the new kinect.
Still not sure what to say about Xbox One.
I think this is good, but they still should stick to their guns. They should show the advantages of being always online but also have an offline mode. I still hope we will see another pricing model, like subsidized. I still am in Microsoft's camp and trust them.
I like to have a Kinect already so that's good. Also it's really good that Microsoft decided to go with this change. Restrictions and online daily check-ins is terrible idea even though most GameStop already sold out the Xbox One before the news. I just hope to pre-order soon.
yeah the xbox
This Whitten kind of looks like Kotick, except without the ridiculous hair.