Microsoft may have changed some of its Xbox One policies regarding digital games, but that does not mean the company has lost faith in the prospect of a future for connected gaming.
"Our long-term vision hasn't changed at all," Microsoft corporate vice president Phil Harrison told GamesIndustry International. "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 did change is Microsoft's understanding of consumer expectations that come along with a system that features a disc drive, Harrison said.
"What we recognized 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," he said. "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."
One Xbox One feature that got the ax when Microsoft announced a dramatic policy reversal in June was the Family Sharing plan, which was going to allow players to share their games library with up to 10 family members on any Xbox One. Last week, Valve announced a similar plan for Steam.
Xbox director Albert Penello said earlier this month that though Microsoft is sticking with a disc-based model for the Xbox One launch, the company plans to support trading, loaning, and reselling of digital games down the road.
"I think we need to do that. That has to be part of the experience. Right now, we're focused on launch and we switched the program back to discs, because that's what customers wanted," Penello said at the time.
The Xbox One launches on November 22 for $500.