E3 2014: Microsoft on Original Xbox One Policies -- "It Was the Right Vision"

Yusuf Mehdi adds, "I think a digital future for games is the way to go."

In a new interview with the Telegraph, Microsoft's Yusuf Mehdi explains that he believes Microsoft's original plan for the Xbox One--which included a number of since-reversed policies for digital games--was the "right vision." The problem, Mehdi said, was that Microsoft didn't communicate clearly enough with fans about what was the best road to take for the platform.

"If we had more dialogue with our fans, we would have heard more loud and clear that this was important, and we would have delivered that future." -- Yusuf Mehdi

"I think it was the right vision," Mehdi said. "I think a digital future for games is the way to go. I think where we missed was that we didn't give customers the choice if they wanted to sell or pass on their disc. If we had more dialogue with our fans, we would have heard more loud and clear that this was important, and we would have delivered that future. If we had done that, maybe we would have gotten to a better place. Who knows, maybe fans would have said no, let's skip the disc and give me those features."

Microsoft's original vision for the Xbox One included a 24-hour online check-in requirement, limitations on how you could resell games, and a Family Sharing plan that was going to allow you to share digital games with up to 10 people. Microsoft reversed these controversial policies just a month after announcing them in the first place.

The company also made a dramatic platform decision just last month, announcing that the Kinect camera would no longer be bundled with all Xbox One consoles. You can now buy a $399 Xbox One that does not come with the Kinect, though you'll be able to buy a camera by itself later on this year.

"There were certainly some developers that make dedicated Kinect games that would like it to stay in, but in the broad masses, we arrived at the conclusion that if Xbox was more accessible, that will bring more people to the system which over time brings a better platform for developers," Mehdi said. "Ultimately what developers care about is reaching the broadest audience with their games. The hope is that people will come and use the system and they'll be encouraged to buy a Kinect."

Also in the interview, Mehdi said Microsoft competitor Sony has done an admirable job launching the PlayStation 4. "Hats off to Sony.They've done a really great job with their launch," Mehdi said. "What is good for them and for us is good for the industry and is good for gamers. It means the console generation is vibrant, more developers will come and write more games, and we all get to play more excitement entertainment."

See more coverage of E3 2014 →

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

167 comments
raziel2kain
raziel2kain

i've just become a little positive towards m$, but this stupid term, the RIGHT VISION, kills it. 

dear m$, i think you would never learn how to truly respect gamers, please go to hell!

Asharel
Asharel

Right because they clearly had the consumers in mind when they brain farted those policies...

mattress805
mattress805

Maybe for smaller games but 60$ 55 gig games?! Ha ha that never gonna happen. Not as long as people can trade in games for new ones

oflow
oflow

This wouldnt be an issue if the US actually upgraded its internet infrastructure so everyone had 1GB internet.  The tech is here now.  We wasted $3 trillion on wars and got nothing to show for it...thats a lot of bridges and trunk lines.

IndremaLover
IndremaLover

Of course all-digital will happen some day, just as physical consoles will be replace by streaming games.  But change scares people, and many of us will have to be dragged into this future while kicking and screaming.    

kane6911
kane6911

i think they should have stuck with the policy. all digital is a good way to go. hey i do not buy cd or games on disk. i just download them. they run better and faster

miscellaneousx
miscellaneousx

i'm so happy they stuck with disk drives and cds. i don't wanna get with the times at all and i hope they find a way for me to watch my old vhs tapes on the xb1.

jako998
jako998

I would of been Fine with going all Digital. only IF  they make the games 40 dollars or less..

mlp071
mlp071

In the open market , yes, but in ecosystem controlled by MS (or Sony) no...without steam PC digital would be terrible with overpriced downloads (see Origin/Uplay)


I have no desire to rely on MS to be consumer friendly, since they never were, sorry

ohara1974
ohara1974

the whole reason this thing is incredibly weak is the expensive kinect cheap memory.....this has been an over hyped (kinect) underpowered (GPU/DDR3) overpriced ($500) failure since day 1......

now its just an underpowered overpriced failure....

for the life of me cant figure out what MS was thinking with the kinect crap......

MS thinking; lets make a weak machine so we can add a kinect to every console even though there are no games and developers wont waste time and effort on it.......another employee chimes in; ya to make that happen we'll take away from what makes games look great! we'll give them a real cheap and crappy GPU with slow as molasses DDR3 memory.....

3rd MS employee; the gamers will love it!!!! or they can DEAL WITH IT!!!!!

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

Some of the original policies were really good, but there were a lot of issues with them too. Microsoft could have made those policies work and still given gamers the flexibility they needed, but they decided to do the 180 thing instead; likely due to having to implement the 180 changes in time for launch.

My guess is that Microsoft is working towards that original vision. They've simply took a step back to make sure the traditional options are supported too. You know, the approach they should have takeninthefirst place.

I can imagine that in 2015 Micrsoft might announce an Xbox One SKU that ditches the disc drive and further lowers the price of the console. At the same time they will reintroduce some of the original policies that have been better thought out.

minecraftgreek
minecraftgreek

I think he isn't wrong, but he is wrong that some of those things couldn't co-exist now with disc copies being freely tradeable, they can have 2 ecosystems.


Either way, they should do themselves a favor and keep digital slightly lower than retail price-wise, and after a certain amount of sales drop off then start lowering digital prices to compete directly with used games.

Foppe
Foppe

All digital is the future, just look at the PC market.

homey_d_clown
homey_d_clown

Really?!

After making countles 180's on your policies for this one console.

After gettting your ass handed to you by your biggest competidor within 6 months (who are losing Billions a year).

After removing Kinect, which most gamers told you they did not want to begin with.

Microsoft still believes that the original policies introduced for the XB0ne are correct?

Denial is not just a river in Egypt!

crushbrain
crushbrain

Digital will only be the future if the price matches the value. Digital = cheap. It isn't real, it can't be traded, it will not endure with time, and it re-arranges the economy so that there are no middle men. So long as digital still equates to anything over $10 it is a losing proposition.

mr_nee
mr_nee

Old habbits don't die easily. You can count on return of "always on" and "resell through xbox app store only" policies. If not in future FW updates, then in xbox two.

Flyin3lvl
Flyin3lvl

just out of curiosity the whole xbox snap tv feature, keep seeing it demonstrated in there new ad, small box on the top right corner, is it really worth the console doing that? do you play games and still hear the game or does the game sound gets cut and you have the tv instead?

I still don't see the point of having a console that has tv piped into it when to switch over and the thing we all done for how many years is hit a button on the remote yeah there e3 was about games because that's what peeps moaned about no games blah blah , which In it self was a cop out no kinect mentioned no services the STUFF they pushed onto the cunsomer that was ment to set it aside from ps4 pushed aside, peeps that payed out in the first place should have got news on why there xbox is different otherwise the age old sub par ps4 jokes start again

they didn't stand on the original polices which is wired how many times it come ups months to a year later and the features they expected you to pay out for is slowly geting less mentioned so what is the x1 really an entertainment center or a games console, they fought for this system and now it's just a console again, why not just make it a console in the first place or at least explain new features why it's the all round "one"

teller76567
teller76567

Okay look here's the thing...knowing that the servers for the 360 will be shut down in a year or two i'm not buying any games digitally or DLC for multiplayer...never did unless it was free....i wanted resident evil code veronica x and resident evil 4 for the 360 but they made it a digital game only in the U.S.A.


Sucks ass so i went out of my way to buy a copy from japan and imported it so i could play it and own a physical copy. So what does that say to your digital only idea? I'm glad things got reversed but it left a bad taste of i can't trust you i'm glad that if i choose to buy an xbox one i don't have to get a kenect with it and knowing that i can play halo 2 the way it was makes me happy. I like having my games as physical media i like to hold it i like the box art. Sad they are doing away with the instructions booklet but hey a company has to save penny's some how...cheep A## holes is what it's coming down to...


#Take it and shove it.

Ovirew
Ovirew

I don't really like the future Microsoft is striving for, but I would still like to support them because I like the games they are making right now.  It doesn't mean that I want to buy a Kinect, or have more online requirements.  I appreciate that they reversed their policies though.

Spartan_418
Spartan_418

Remember to argue the double standard:

It's always bad when Microsoft does it, but it's totally fine when Valve does it 

wallacom
wallacom

Digital only - Fine, but give more than 500GB. 

Vodoo
Vodoo

This guy is another Reggie Fils Aime... You can't listen to anything he says because he's ALWAYS full of it. He neglected to mention that gamers were screaming loud & clear that they didn't want those restrictions placed on them and Microsoft chose to ignore it. Gamers were telling you on a daily basis what they thought, but you decided that you (Microsoft) knew what we wanted more than we did.

That was problem # 1. Problem # 2 is that you can't have a console that is dependent on broadband to function. It's not a pc; people bring their console with them when they travel to remote locations where there might not be an internet connection.

Microsoft made big steps towards rectifying the situation. The biggest being that they fired previous Xbox boss Don Mattrick. I believe it was his decision to push Kinect, along with all these unpopular restrictions, on gamers in the first place. The next guy they need to get rid of is this guy, Yusuf Mehdi. He's nothing but poison to the entire Xbox brand.

Then they put an actual GAMER in charge of running Xbox, Phil Spencer.

Since Spencer came to be in charge, the XB1 has slowly started shifting into the console we wanted it to be. The XB1 is a completely different animal now then when it was launched back in November. Hopefully things continue to progress like they have been.

toadfan64
toadfan64

Digital only is when I stop playing games.

cirugo
cirugo

digital only is fine.  as long as it resides on my machine and I can play it with my internet off I choose.

raziel2kain
raziel2kain

@Asharel 

just because of this i called them microFART, since last year x1 announcement.

iammcgruber
iammcgruber

@Hvac0120 I agree. I think a disc-less model would do well. I admit that when I first heard this "digital only" new xbox I wasn't quite on-board. I like looking at a huge game library of hard copy discs on my bookshelf, since I never resell my games. HOWEVER, lately I've been digitally downloading all my games and I love it. No more getting up to change games, no more scratched discs, no more taking up a bunch of space on a shelf. The policy that I think they should have never done though, was the 24 hour check in. If they can go digitally only without a 24 hour online check in mandatory thing, then I'm in. And the way they PR'd that to the public was awful "If you don't have a good stable internet connection, don't buy our new console" When you're trying to push a 500$ system, telling people not to buy it, that's just dumb.

minecraftgreek
minecraftgreek

@Foppe They do need to start lowering prices eventually and permanently like steam does once sales drop off or goals are met.  Digital should be a bit less than retail anyway just as an incentive for one, but for lack of packaging.

meatz666
meatz666

@Foppe The problem was, they wanted to go all digital selling games for $60. If they announced that new releases would cost $30, the story would probably be different.

I only started enjoying digital games on PC because games (actually the license to play a game) is priced right.

cherublvl99
cherublvl99

@homey_d_clown - Classic pony that don't read the article and just comes here to say sh*t. Mehdi was saying that the Digital Games is the future (which is right), and this was their objective, that's why the "always connected" statement showed up, but Mehdi said that the only problem was that they didn't give options, you had to stay always connected, and this was bad for consumers, options is great for us, Phil Spancer is here to give options, "You just play w/ controller? Kinectless bundle" for an example.


And other thing, MS is getting his ass handed to the competitors? Damn man, 30% difference between them and Sony is kicking MS ass? Really? 

MigGui
MigGui

@crushbrain that is complete nonsense. digital obviously need to be cheaper, since it really axes the middle men, but it sure can be traded, and it sure is as real as a tv show or a movie you watch on tv or the cinema. what about not enduring with time, I still have all my steam games, but not the cd/dvd games that I lost, lent and never got back, or scratched. a "fair price" would be selling them to costumers for the same price they sell physical copies to whoever is the first "middle man", and that most likely would be around $40. which is already a hefty price cut from the base $60.

mr_nee
mr_nee

@Flyin3lvl I'd hate it if my team mates would watch TV while we play competititve multiplayer

Vodoo
Vodoo

You can have the volume louder for whichever picture you like. You can be playing a game while your favorite show or sports game is on in the snapped picture and have the snapped volume take priority over the game.

The tv & Kinect weren't pushed aside, they're already out and functioning. They wanna show future stuff.

MigGui
MigGui

@teller76567 it's pretty obvious that, if you can still play with a dvd, you can still play with a downloaded game. it's not in the servers, it's inside your hard drive.

Vodoo
Vodoo

They're not shutting down the 360's servers anytime soon, as far as playing digital games goes. Maybe the multiplayer of games people no longer play, but not games you purchased. They'll probably incorporate something like PS Now eventually.

I have something like 150 XBLA games. I can't believe you passed up some of the best games on the 360 because they were digital-only. Your loss.

Darth_Starwind
Darth_Starwind

@Ovirew Is this Microsoft's vision or this Yusuf Mehdi's vision? I'm think it just this guy's. All the other big wigs with this same idea last year are gone from the company now. I believe that at least for the moment Microsoft is heading away from those ideas. For example, the Kinect-less new Xbox's being released and the fact the word Kinect was not mentioned one time during Microsoft's E3 press conference on Monday. On that note, the press conference was all about games this year; no hardware or special deals with TV, movie, or music companies were discussed at all. 

I'm not going to say Microsoft has righted the ship yet but if they keep on this track it could happen. What would make me jump for joy at this point would be a total overhaul of the Xbox One dashboard. That thing is so god awful, ugh...

gamefreak215jd
gamefreak215jd

@Spartan_418 Its just console fanboys who are just moaning all day about it.But really what makes consoles special is easy accessibility.No fuss,no muss just plug n' play.

JELIFISH19
JELIFISH19

@iammcgruber @Hvac0120 The check-in wasn't even that bad. It's only once every 24 hours and then you're fine. But think about what comes along with it. You get things like family sharing which gives friends access to your library and you can take your gamertag to other peoples' houses and have access to your library. People were complaining about not being able to let friends borrow games but you didn't have to with their digital model. And now we're praising Farcry 4 for letting you invite people who don't even own the game to play with you. Well that's what family share was for except it was for your whole library. The only thing you couldn't do was sell a games and that was dependent on the publisher.


I'm with them on the internet connection though. Most games are made with online components as integral parts of the whole experience. I thought they were offering something way ahead of their time for consoles but late for everything else. Digital media is preferred over physical media for most people except console gamers.

meatz666
meatz666

@minecraftgreek @Foppe I agree, it's the retailer "lobbyist" that keep the prices of digital up. You have 4-year-old games on PSN for $60. It's just absurd.

homey_d_clown
homey_d_clown

@cherublvl99 @homey_d_clown 

Listen here Microsoft Knob Gobbler,

I read the article and what I wrote was my opinion. But I wasn't ignoring the fact of what has occured in the last 6-8 months.

Don't mistake me for one of you fanboys, I'm a gamer and currently own all next gen consoles and therefore my opinion is from a consumer and not fanboyism.

And another thing, Yes MS got that ass whipped and hasn't released any sales numbers since 2013 that's why they had to remove the Kinect or what do you think MS wanted to do this?

7 million sold to custtomers is not 30% of 5 million sold to retail. Math don't lie but fanboys do!

Flyin3lvl
Flyin3lvl

i personally would be distracted, I couldn't concentrate on both, each to there own but the ad just shows a gimmick more then anything, like sonys touchpad works fine in tomb raider, killzone shadowfallasleep and infomus but not used in watchdogs

Flyin3lvl
Flyin3lvl

fair enough, I did kinda think they should have shown a lil something something for the kinect to show this is why it was bundled but for the best of both if your not interested then there is the one without and personally I couldn't play a game and have the tv on as i would get distracted

teller76567
teller76567

@Vodoo Not my loss it would be yours because once the servers go down and your game file gets corrupt it's gone forever. Remember the halo 2 dlc...it was gone for ever unless you bought the bonus dlc disc that was sold. So if you remember way back then what happened to the original xbox live service. They dropped it like it was hot.


No one ever learns from the past from what happens with dlc same goes for the digital game industry as well...So no it's not my loss at all i saved money, 


An i said i a year or so when it happens we will see what will still be around and if you miss out on a title updates...you will have a broken game with in it's self.

MigGui
MigGui

@Darth_Starwind @Ovirew they steered away from it because it's "the future", not "the present". you can't sell the future, you have to wait for it to become present. they rushed things, and consumers weren't as ready as they thought, but they were only aiming to do what steam does pretty well.

phenom096
phenom096

Yup just hooked up my seagate 3tb. Plenty of room

phenom096
phenom096

Since buying both consoles I find myself playing the xbox one more than I do the ps4 at about a 3:1 ratio. The reason is simple, the ps4 has no good exclusives and it doesn't offer anything new besides shiny graphics and graphics doesn't make a game great (I'm talking bout you infamous) because you can polish a turd but at the end of the day it's still a turd. I just prefer the xbox one controller, interface, xbox live, and the kinect over what Sony has right now.