Xbox co-creator discusses 1080p controversy, Xbox One DRM reversal

Ed Fries talks hot-button gaming issues as part of new Q&A.

As part of a new Q&A session on Yabbly, Xbox co-creator Ed Fries sounded off on two hot-button industry issues: the 1080p controversy and the Xbox One's dramatic policy reversal. Fries tackled the "resolution war" between Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4 first.

"I'm not an expert, but my understanding is that Microsoft reserved some of the power of Xbox One for the operating system but told developers they would be giving it back to them to use sometime soon," he said. "So far they haven't given it back so the games can't run at as high a resolution as they could if they had that extra power. At least that's what I've heard from talking to developers."

This lines up with what Microsoft Xbox director of development Boy Multerer said previously, explaining last month that he fully expects more Xbox One games to run in 1080p over time.

The fact that as of today, more high-profile games run in 1080p on PS4 compared to Xbox One, has drawn significant debate. Sony says better performance on PS4 over Xbox One is because Sony's console is "performing and packing the punch that developers want." Meanwhile, Microsoft previously contended that "these little things get way overblown" regarding the 1080p debate.

"I think the digital distribution/DRM thing could have been fine if they had just used Steam as their model" -- Fries

Fries also addressed Microsoft's surprise decision last summer to do away with its controversial 24-hour check-in system for the Xbox One and abandon some of its ambitious digital endeavors like its Family Sharing plan. Some gamers were wary about the DRM potential of this system, but Fries says Microsoft could have avoided the hullabaloo if it had positioned its platform as something similar to Steam.

"I think the digital distribution/DRM thing could have been fine if they had just used Steam as their model but they proposed something that wasn't like Steam and wasn't good for their customers," he said. "Then when people complained they completely got rid of it instead of fixing it to be what people want. Hopefully now that they have more time they will fix that mess."

Microsoft has suggested that it will bring back some of the Xbox One's digital features, like loaning and gifting, sometime in the future.

Finally, Fries addressed the rumors that Microsoft may sell off the Xbox division, saying executives at the Redmond tech giant would be silly to do this.

"I think it would be foolish for Microsoft to sell off Xbox," Fries said. "It's the biggest, most successful new brand they have created in the last 15 years. They should learn from the success of Xbox and create more things like it, not sell it off."

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Discussion

371 comments
dannydopamine8
dannydopamine8

Considering consoles have a lifespan of almost ten years.. I thought for sure that the new consoles made in 2014 would be set to run 1080p at 60fps MINIMUM. I think its just unacceptable. It's a shame that something as mundane as hardware is what holds one of the biggest industries in the word

youngzen69
youngzen69

Wait a minute, did I read this right? Xbox co creator Ed Fries one of the main people responsible for the development of Xbox One said that he is not a expert on hardware specs? uh! That's kind of an important expertise to have when your in the technology field.

playmynutz
playmynutz

Xbox One conserves their resources to excel in other areas besides HD quality

theKSMM
theKSMM

The only place that I see the "debate" over 1080p on consoles is here on GameSpot.  Nobody else seems to care nearly as much as you guys.

ArchoNils2
ArchoNils2

Poor devs need to optimize the OS because they need to giv every Flop an Bit on Ram they can to the devs ^^ The second part was just dumb. Ms could have never become something like Steam because they have no competition on their own system. Also a main problem was the combination of forcing Kinect AND being online while saying "yeah, we do record you and send this to us for analysis". Of course people got paranoid

UnrealPro
UnrealPro

I don't give a shit about 1080p anymore. I want to see Ultra 4K HD or even 5K now.

KBABZ
KBABZ

Man I wonder how many here even remember that the XBO had that DRM stuff in the first place?

Sh0vels
Sh0vels

I personally think this console generation will be very close,  when both of them start meeting their true potential and we begin to get games that are truly next gen and aren't previous gen ports. I think the competition between Sony and Microsoft is good and will hopefully make both of them create amazing games for both. Exclusive or not.

taker254isback
taker254isback

This system has a lot of potential, and I'm no xbox fan (Im a PC gamer myself). Remember that most game Devs are gonna code games viable to both platforms, meaning that most games that are on both systems are gonna pretty much perform the same. maybe the PS4 is gonna have a 10 to 15% advantage. Where we are gonna see the differences is in platform exclusives. But since platform exclusive will be only on their respective systems, we cant compare em' . 2, 3 years down the line when them 250,000+ servers MS has come into full swing and cloud computing gets refined, we're gonna see the XBONE be on par with the PS4. but by that time  the PC will be light years ahead....   :)

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

And no, Microsoft, you couldn't have gotten away with your DRMstravaganza by claiming it was just like Steam, because your console has all of the downsides of Steam and none of the upsides.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

So Microsoft's multicore OS clusterf*** isn't performing as well as Sony's cleaner implementation?  Wow, no one could see that coming.

billlabowski
billlabowski

I'm just getting ready for 4k gaming. 1080p was fine...2 years ago. 

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

I would love it if Microsoft had indeed created a next-gen console that wasn't powerful enough to deliver 1080p consistently, but even I can't imagine they'd be daft enough to let that happen.

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

"I'm not an expert, but my understanding is that Microsoft reserved some of the power of Xbox One for the operating system but told developers they would be giving it back to them to use sometime soon," he said. "So far they haven't given it back so the games can't run at as high a resolution as they could if they had that extra power. At least that's what I've heard from talking to developers."


In other words; we had plans for delivering the new Direct X that is meant mainly to optimized that crappy ram system we made and allow minor improvements PC performance. 


Yeah we figured.....

Radnen
Radnen

That moment when 'hullabaloo' is a legitimate word. :O

holtrocks
holtrocks

The really sad thing is these consoles will be stuck at 1080p for the next 9 years and by then 4K will be the norm which is 4 times the resolution. 

juboner
juboner

Wow some dumb pro sony comments in here, they cant stand to hear good news for x1. I am beginning to realize they have more in common with baboons than ponies.

mattcake
mattcake

All we hear is how MS will "fix this" and "make this better" so it's closer to the PS4, but let's not forget Sony themselves will also be doing the same. What's to stop Sony overclocking their components too? (other than the risk of fire of course)

jakesnakeel
jakesnakeel

@youngzen69 he co-created XBox not xbox One.  Basically the entire article is 'i don't know' or 'i heard'

rarson
rarson

@UnrealPro  

5k? You want an extra thousand horizontal pixels randomly crammed onto your display?

streamline
streamline

@KBABZ MS should just let it go. They keep reminding people about these things. I think most people are over it.

ArchoNils2
ArchoNils2

More like 5 years ago. On Pc a lot play over 1080p for many years

crix01
crix01

@holtrocks  4k is for big tv/monitors, and I doubt everyone is going to have/buy a big tv/monitor in the future to make it "the norm". Playing 4k on a 30 inch tv/monitor is as useless as playing 1080 on a tablet. All that resolution on a smaller screen is imperceptible.

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

@holtrocks I seriously doubt 4K will be anything more than another version of 3D Tvs

Pockets69
Pockets69

@holtrocks next 9? more like next 6 or 7, this generation was the longest running generation and lasted 7 years for the ps3 and 8 for the xbox, well thats close to 9, but no generation should last that long, the specialists were already saying how adding this two years was hurting them (them consoles) and how this gen should have been released in 2012 instead of 2013... but yeah in two years 4k will be the standard, and our consoles wont be able to pick up, oh well, consoles were always behind the tech curve in the latest years, this is not a new situation.

ArchoNils2
ArchoNils2

How are those good news. They just said they made two errors oO

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

@juboner I am somehow not offended by anything a lemming of M$ says.. it's like racists and homosexual comments. They all come from morons that can't read a dictionary; why the hell should one of them offend me?

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

@mattcake  The risk of fire. Overclock the console and all consoles will run hot. Decreasing console life and risking another RROD or Pulsing Blue Light of Death or even the orange "MY FUCKING LIVING ROOM HAS BURNED DOWN!" flame of death.

Not to mention the console platform is static for a reason. If they overclock that means that every developer that is currently in the process of making their games will have to either delay to make the game compatible with the new speed or PS4 owners will have to wait yet again for the games to start looking their best.

And what is the point in risking all of that just for a few more frames per second or graphics?

I'm still getting an Xbox One right now regardless of the power. I just prefer that console. If I cared about graphics I'd be playing on PC in the first place. Graphics don't make a game awesome. Killzone Shadow Fall and InFamous should be good enough proof of that right now. I've hardly heard a single thing about InFamous since release. Probably because most people have completed and forgot about it already.

billlabowski
billlabowski

@DarqStalker @holtrocks  No they're not. You can watch a movie on them...that is it. Can't play games at 4k on them, they would explode.

s2i2p2i2o
s2i2p2i2o

@Kinguard73 @holtrocks  Yeah, because morons will accept the mediocrity that is 1080p. (Not being sarcastic, but actually agreeing with what you're saying)

mattcake
mattcake

@Dannystaples14  Errr you do realise they already overclocked the XB1 to help it compete with the PS4 yes? That's what I was referencing.

And overclocking has zero effect on developers as game speed runs independent of framerate to allow for fluctuation - up as well as down.

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

@Dannystaples14 if it makes you feel better to think that go ahead. Drink some warm milk, climb into that cozy bed of your wild imagination and fall asleep thinking how great being delusional really is...

gamist
gamist

@Dannystaples14 Since MS overclocked the X1, does this mean that in a year, lots of X1s will RROD?

rarson
rarson

@UnrealPro

You're projecting.


PS- I win.

rarson
rarson

@UnrealPro  

I was wrong. It wasn't two hours. It was 32 minutes. You really are desperate.

rarson
rarson

@UnrealPro

OH MY GOD, I had no idea how little life you actually had until I responded to you twice, in about two hours with you responding within ONE MINUTE of my response. BOTH TIMES!  You really need to find a girl. And stop acting like me giving you attention is "bothering" you.

UnrealPro
UnrealPro

@rarson @UnrealPro  If you want diverse and original, go to a museum or read a book, and stop trying to bother me.

rarson
rarson

@UnrealPro

And you're repetitive and unoriginal! Sock account likes!

rarson
rarson

@UnrealPro

Whatever you say! 

You must really care what I have to say to wait around for an hour for me to respond!


I like how your sock account immediately liked your comment!

rarson
rarson

@UnrealPro

That I don't what? I'm afraid you're not following the conversation.

Okay, just confirming. I just wanted to make absolutely sure that you didn't have a fucking clue what you were talking about and that it was coming straight out of your ass. Thank you for confirming. :)

UnrealPro
UnrealPro

@rarson @UnrealPro  Answering my question with another question tells me you don't, and you have zero experience with higher resolution displays. Go troll someone else.

s2i2p2i2o
s2i2p2i2o

@Daemoroth @s2i2p2i2o @Kinguard73 @holtrocks  Lol so what you're saying is that one can't see the aliasing on 1080p televisions now? 4k would remove that problem. So would better anti-aliasing tech do as well, but so far the better options either distort the clarity of the picture or eat up to many frames. Why are you so set on holding back technology?