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Microsoft responds to Sony jab on policy reversals

Microsoft responds to Sony jab on policy reversals

Wed 21 Aug 2013 7:25pm GMT / 3:25pm EDT / 12:25pm PDT
PeopleHardware

Phil Spencer says changes to Xbox One show the strength of Microsoft's "two-way conversation" with customer base

Sony Computer Entertainment's Andrew House wrapped up the company's Gamescom presentation yesterday by delivering two things: the release date of the PlayStation 4 and a pointed takedown of Microsoft's reversals on the Xbox One.

"While others have shifted their message and changed their story, we were consistent in maintaining a message that is fair and in tune with consumer desires," House said.

Speaking with Eurogamer today, Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer responded to the jab, reframing as a strength the same thing House painted as a weakness, calling it a "two-way conversation we have with our customers."

"Certain people have tried to turn that into something that's a bad thing about what we're trying to do, and I just disagree," Spencer said, adding, "That two-way conversation with gamers has to be core to who we are as a platform. And if we don't have the capability of listening and reacting to what people are saying about our platform, then we're being too disconnected from customers who make investments in our platform and the games we build."

Spencer added that Xbox One is intended to be an ongoing service as much as a fixed piece of hardware, so changes should be expected. However, he did say there were some core parts of Microsoft's plan for the console that won't be changed.

"Now, we have a vision, and we've stayed on that vision around the digital ecosystem we want to put on Xbox Live," Spencer said. "It remains a core philosophy. We heard people valued some of the existing generation's disc-based DRM, so we said we're going to add that to the digital ecosystem we're building. It meant some delays in some of the stuff around digital so we could fit in the time to get physical done at launch, but our vision remains the same."

7 Comments

Steve Goldman
Journalist.

82 92 1.1
Corporate pr spin

Posted:8 months ago

#1

Paul Shirley
Programmers

166 132 0.8
Popular Comment
This is no more a 2way conversation than the ongoing Win8 train wreck shows Microsoft listening to customers.

On Win8 they still think they're in control enough to make utterly pointless cosmetic changes then shout to the heavens about bending to satisfy the users. All while continuing to bludgeon opposition into submission.

On XBone they have real competition and almost no leverage to apply. After a catastrophic and typically arrogant launch, they're firmly on the receiving end of a 1way conversation, jumping to pander to public opinion because nothing else will work.

But one thing remains consistent, Microsoft always have a full 2way conversation with and respect their customers. 110% delusional as usual.

Posted:8 months ago

#2

James Prendergast
Research Chemist

730 410 0.6
"Now, we have a vision, and we've stayed on that vision around the digital ecosystem we want to put on Xbox Live," Spencer said. "It remains a core philosophy. We heard people valued some of the existing generation's disc-based DRM, so we said we're going to add that to the digital ecosystem we're building. It meant some delays in some of the stuff around digital so we could fit in the time to get physical done at launch, but our vision remains the same."

This is why I don't fully trust/accept their U-turns (not that I don't think they'll honour them) - they came too late in the game before release. Like I said in another article: You don't just switch course on a multi-year strategy in the middle of the night and expect it to be up and working the next day.

Still, this gives some hope to people who wanted that digital game sharing plan that it might be implemented some time down the road.

TBH, I agree with both Sony's snipe and Microsoft's defence. Sony has been consistent and pretty clear on what the consumer is buying into whilst MS's messaging and features have been a vague mess. This might indicate that Sony have a better idea about what the average consumer wants from a console.
On the other hand, MS have been (as I saw it put in another article comment) pandering to every whim the audience has for the XBO whereas I'm pretty sure Sony is and will be more dead-set in their course. However, saying that, it's not as if MS were really listening until a critical mass of bad press and word of mouth was reached... which puts them firmly equal with Sony.

Both are good and valid points.

Posted:8 months ago

#3

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,205 817 0.7
Seeing Microsofts track record, just because they reversed there policies it doesnt mean they cant reverse them again. All they have to do is get enough XBO's in peoples homes and reverse everything to what they originally wanted. The hardware is fully equiped to do so. Right now this is just a desperate move to shift consoles. Who knows what they are capable of later on. I dont trust Microsoft, simple as that. the only game Im interested in is Titanfall and yet its not enough to make me get an XBO. Killer Instinct I had high hopes for, but the recent announcement of only 8 fighters and they are gonna be sold seperatly just killed it for me. That franchise is dead on arrival to me. And then we have HALO, but 2 games are not enough for me, so I seriously think Im skipping Microsofts offerings this generation. They tried to pull a fast one. Its not something I appreciate.

Posted:8 months ago

#4

Spencer Franklin
Concept Artist

90 120 1.3
"That two-way conversation with gamers has to be core to who we are as a platform. And if we don't have the capability of listening and reacting to what people are saying about our platform, then we're being too disconnected from customers who make investments in our platform and the games we build."

So...where was all this two-way conversation and customer importance when they were building up this "vision"? Seem to me they were disconnected from the start, and tried to bully their way regardless, until it blew up in their faces. I'm skipping them over this time around...maybe next year, or some point further down the road, when I can begin to believe they have some honesty about them. PR spin is in heavy rotation right now.

Posted:8 months ago

#5

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,120 889 0.8
All I'll say is keep it professional.

Posted:8 months ago

#6

Richard Pygott
Level Designer

39 13 0.3
The arrogrance of Microsoft in the last 6months has been shocking,

Those immortal words Sony spoke before the launch of the PS3

"people who really want one, will work extra hours to buy one" seem so long ago now...

Posted:8 months ago

#7

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