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Microsoft: "We believe the digital world is better"

By Matthew Handrahan

Microsoft: "We believe the digital world is better"

Thu 13 Jun 2013 8:10am GMT / 4:10am EDT / 1:10am PDT
RetailHardwareE3 2013

Xbox marketing boss Yusuf Mehdi claims that core backlash is "expected" during difficult transition

Microsoft's Yusuf Mehdi believes that the backlash against the Xbox One is an expected part of the transition into the digital world.

Speaking to Ars Technica, the chief marketing and strategy officer for Xbox indicated that Microsoft was prepared for negativity from the core audience. The Xbox One is a different kind of console to those before it, and the downside is that the benefits are not immediately apparent to long-standing gamers.

"We're trying to do something pretty big in terms of moving the industry forward for console gaming into the digital world," Mehdi said. "We believe the digital world is the future, and we believe digital is better.

"This is a big change. Consumers don't always love change, and there's a lot of education we have to provide to make sure that people understand."

"This is a big change. Consumers don't always love change, and there's a lot of education we have to provide to make sure that people understand"

As examples, Mehdi pointed to the ability to access an entire game library by logging in on a different console, or sharing a library with ten family members. These benefits will be present at launch, but the Xbox One will be malleable enough to evolve and change quickly.

"As you go into a digital world, what's happening is publishers are choosing to have different business models, and consumers are saying 'Hey, if I can't resell the title, provide me a different way to get value to get into your game.' And we think the market will be efficient in finding good models that work for consumers."

Ars Technica put it to Mehdi that those new models might include Netflix-style buffet services or digital game rentals. "Sure," Mehdi replied. "It could be a variety of ways."

Mehdi also addressed the Xbox One's restrictions around the resale of used games. Microsoft wasn't reacting to publisher pressure, he said,; rather, it was striking a balance between the interests of every part of the market, with the needs of the consumer, "first and foremost."

"Within that, we've tried to optimise, and I think we've found a great balance across all of those dimensions," he said. "But there are tradeoffs. We do want to support everyone in that system, beginning with the consumer. But we want publishers to get paid for the great IP they work on. We want retailers to be able to drive and sell our products and make a profit. So we are trying to balance across all those."

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Stephan Schwabe Multichannelmanagement, Telefonica

74 34 0.5
Popular Comment
Microsoft: "We believe the digital world is better for us."

Posted:3 years ago

What Microsoft believe and what consumers want are entirely entirely different.
The only gripe is about choice. Microsoft did not offer any choice for their next gen hardware. they just presumed - all our wonderful marketing, analysis will make a desirable product that people will want.
In the future, lights will activate when we walk into the room or when we make a simple gesture. But I still want to have the option of a OFF switch. IN Xbone - there isnt one

Posted:3 years ago


Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 943 0.7
I never seen a company so arrogant in my life. I thought apple was bad but microsoft takes the cake.

I cannot see how the ability to access an entire game library by logging in on a different console, or sharing a library with ten family members is a benefit.

To me its a restriction I never had.

When Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto Speaks, I feel Inspired.

When Nintendo's Satoru Iwata speaks, I feel a great deal of respect from him

At the SONY press conference I felt relieved...

But everytime people from Microsoft open there mouth I feel anger...

Does anybody feel the same way i do?

The relief I felt from SONY was mainly because of the anxiety and frustration i felt hearing microsoft. I felt Microsoft was messing with something dear to me. Then SONY came out swinging to save the day. The fact that SONY went ahead and made those announcements pretty much saved me from giving up on gaming and hanging up my controllers indefenitly. SONY saved my hobby. Because if the future of gaming is the way Microsoft wants it to be, that playing a game is worse than checking into an airport or obtaining a pass port then my thoughts are fuck this shit.

Edited 5 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 13th June 2013 11:38pm

Posted:3 years ago


Justin Shuard J - E translator

49 183 3.7
"As examples, Mehdi pointed to the ability to access an entire game library by logging in on a different console, or sharing a library with ten family members."

Don't really see why you couldn't get these "benefits" from the PS4 to be honest, or the Xbox 360 or PS3 for that matter...

Posted:3 years ago


Caleb Hale Journalist

175 284 1.6
Is Microsoft now trying to say people are fundamentally afraid of connecting their gaming console to the Internet? We're entering an era where some people are willing to look like pretentious jerks just to have the Internet floating in front of their eyes! No one is afraid of connectivity, and Microsoft is being intellectually dishonest with itself and others if officials are trying to play it that way.

In a nutshell, I think what people reject is the way in which Xbox One's connectivity is being used - as a method of ensuring Microsoft's maximum profit potential is protected. The regular check-ins are being viewed as customers being guilty until proven innocent of shenanigans every 24 hours. And if the machine can't provide that proof on schedule, the customer doesn't get to use it as a gaming console until it can.

Outside of that hurdle, anything else you may want to do with a game - share it, trade it or just sell it - has to be done under the watch of the Microsoft nanny state. In essence, the company has essentially asked people to pay $500 to invite an interloper into their homes and report all gaming activity back to home base, lest the user be punished.

I'm not sure what "balance" means to Microsoft, but it seems the large majority of the consumer base is satisfied with the way games are bought and sold today. If the status quo isn't profitable enough for the major players of the gaming industry, might I suggest they look to reinvest their money meaningfully into one of their favorite buzz words at the trade shows - content. Give the consumer a reason to want to buy more, not stick it to them more on what they already buy.

Then again, I'm not even sure we've had a straight-forward look at gaming industry sales, since we seem to want to discount the effect digital sales have had on the market. This drives us to the faulty notion, strangely enough, that mobile and tablet gaming - by which only digital sales are possible - is doing better than traditional console/PC gaming because, surprise, people don't feel the need to purchase physical copies of games derivative of Call of Duty.

Give me a more complete picture of game sales and put some more resources into creativity before you tell me there's a problem that requires me to buy a console that perpetually suspects I'm about to commit a crime.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Caleb Hale on 13th June 2013 2:25pm

Posted:3 years ago


Brian Smith Artist

203 103 0.5
They might do better if they didn't keep trying to spin these restrictions and policies as beneficial to the customer. Personally I don't have a problem with the always online aspect... but to cut off usage after 24hrs is a poor customer restriction not a feature. Maybe they should have had a fallback position where it just needed the disc inserted if it was beyond the 24hr period and a connection wasn't available.

Posted:3 years ago


Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,610 1,686 0.6
Holy mother of flapjacks. Will someone shut these people up and call a spin doctor already? All this both feet in the mouth backflipping and landing in the same spot isn't helping them with current 360 owners SOL on getting an Xbox One.

Posted:3 years ago


Brian Smith Artist

203 103 0.5
So when I go to a friends house I'll immediately have access to my library of games. I'll be able to download my 38gig COD 5 game on my buddies 5 meg connection. Guess I better take an overnight bag as well.

Posted:3 years ago


Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster

1,470 1,571 1.1
I also think the digital world is largely better, though it doesn't necessarily mean we should be forced to transition over to unnecessary features. The online policy, the use game verification and the always on Kinect as examples are not really necessary for improvement in digital gaming.

Posted:3 years ago


Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,610 1,686 0.6
I guess the company concept of "digital world" means we as consumers should feel bad about not giving them that fake money we wanted to spend on their ideabox, right?

And then there's this:

Yeeesh. My head is spinning and burning at the same time...

Posted:3 years ago


Marty Greenwell Software Developer

60 46 0.8
I have a massive problem with this. A massive massive problem.

Why does digital distribution have to be mutually exclusive to physical distribution?

Why do we have to choose? Taking a position that you have to be one or the other in either case then limits the market you can sell to. To me that seems exceedingly stupid.

But then I'm not a bean counter.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Marty Greenwell on 13th June 2013 9:25pm

Posted:3 years ago


Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,610 1,686 0.6
These are plans made by reading graphs and slide-ruling out stats and crunching numbers to death, then making more charts and graphs, not doing direct on the ground polling or simply asking gamers what would make THEM want to buy a new Xbox. It works REALLY well on a base level where a major percentage of users will without emotion, see any "benefits" of this new machine/service combo meal and drift along down the river along with the plans as expected.

On the other hand, it tells anyone else NOT able (through NO fault of their own) that they can't even get a lifeline other than "stick with what you have, but buy a newer model - we'll keep it alive... but not as long as you want us to... maybe..."

They need to stop counting beans and START counting human beings. Sure, NO ONE needs a game console... but I don't think turning off so many people all at once is going to generate any goodwill in the future even if some of those eventually gain the ability to rejoin Microsoft's "digital world" in the future...

Posted:3 years ago


Paul Jace Merchandiser

1,199 2,048 1.7
"But we want publishers to get paid for the great IP they work on."
Um, they do. You know, when the first person buys the game. Just like pretty much everything else in the US. But heres another thought: if NO publishers decide to take advantage of this new system doesn't that mean we'll be free to sell all our used games? Well, sell them to approved retailers or something like that.

Posted:3 years ago


Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

1,166 1,297 1.1
"This is a big change. Consumers don't always love change, and there's a lot of education we have to provide to make sure that people understand"

He spelled "Final users will play the way we tell them and will have to adapt to us, not the other way around" wrong, right?
You'll have to start by forcing me to buy your machine, (and considering the news in recent days I would not be surprised if you tried)

Posted:3 years ago


Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis

472 348 0.7
tbh I have been waiting for digital purchases on day one for Xbox and this is something I'll be using on my Xbox One. Just hoping they offer pre-orders in their system.

I have no real affinity with a circle of plastic on any format so the sooner digital is available the better.

Posted:3 years ago


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