Oh and I'm sick of DLC a week after a game releases!? Oh it took you months to complete this game, but you can just whip up new DLC like that now that the game is released. Yeah right!?
Used game sales are "a problem," but second-hand downloadable market not ruled out as Microsoft's Phil Spencer addresses next-gen rumors, says subscription plans for hardware purchases "should be here to stay."
The next generation of Xbox may have been absent from the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo, but at least Microsoft Game Studios head Phil Spencer was on hand to explain why. In a mid-show interview with GameSpot, the executive answered questions covering a variety of topics facing the company's gaming business, including the next-generation no-show.
Beyond addressing the gorilla on the show floor, Spencer addressed rumors that the next generation of consoles could thwart second-hand game sales. Spencer stopped short of denying the rumors, saying only that it's important consumers have a variety of price windows for the games they want to play. He added that used games are "a problem" because the content creators don't get a cut of those sales, and said that a second-hand market digital goods is important for players, and something Microsoft should try to work into its system.
Spencer also talked about the company's current promotion to sell the Xbox 360 for $99 with a two-year gold subscription plan, and whether that might be the hardware business model of the future. Other topics touched on included possible gamer apathy to the SmartGlass app, the app's potential to replace a standard controller, imposing Kinect connectivity on first-party games, and complaints about the redesigned dashboard.
Why haven't we heard anything about the next generation of Xbox?
Well, with Xbox 360, we're doing really well, we're the No. 1 console globally. As you saw at the briefing, huge brands are showing up on our box, not only games, but you're reaching things like Nike, you see Sesame Street coming, you see large entertainment brands like ESPN with their full suite, a lot of that is because of the scale that Xbox has reached, in terms of the number of households we're in, the number of Live customers we have, the subscriber base that we have.
"I think there are many years ahead of us for 360."
Entertainment at the largest end is about scale, and when you have the number of consoles we have out there, this is a great time for content creators. We look at this and we say, "What a perfect time to be delivering more and more and more diverse content on the platform." I think it's a strength for the industry that you have platforms so strong.
With the shift from Xbox to 360, original Xbox hardware was discontinued months before the 360 came out. Can we expect to see overlap in the life spans this time around?
I think there are many years ahead of us for 360. I thought [Microsoft senior vice preident Yusuf Mehdi] did a nice job on stage of showing our richest functionality, like Bing search, and we'll be localizing that work to make sure it reaches the globe.
Now with price points you guys just expanded to the $99 Xbox program. Is this model something we can expect to see right off the bat in the next generation, or is it a later-in-the-lifespan approach?
If you look at the way we launched this program--and I would still say it's a program that we're evaluating--we specifically launched in Microsoft stores, wanted to watch how that built. And we announced Best Buy and some GameStop engagements. We're learning, it's not something we've done before, and the consumer reception has been strong. I think the model makes sense, if you think about other devices that people own, cell phones and other things. So I think the model feels true to us, but you haven't found that in the gaming space before, in the console space. So we're still looking at it, but I'd say early indications are it's something that should be here to stay.
Last year at E3 we were told that all Microsoft first-party games would have Kinect features built into them. Have you backed off that mandate?
Well I kind of said two things; I've said, I don't want to unnaturally push Kinect into games where I don't think it makes sense, or we haven't found the right creative outlet for what Kinect is. I've also said I do think Kinect will show up in all games, and I still believe that, absolutely. And if you look at what happened at our E3 briefing, I thought it was interesting that you had a series of games that had Kinect showing up through voice.
You think about how it showed up in Splinter Cell, Madden, or FIFA, and you also had very specific Kinect games like Wreckateer and Fable: The Journey that were built from the ground up with Kinect. And they just all mixed together on stage. It's less of a specific Kinect story and more just about all the features that are available for the 360. I still believe that voice, identity, depth, gesture, those are tools that all game developers will find useful.
With your show there was a lot of emphasis on things like Kinect training, multimedia services, and non-games offerings. Do you think Microsoft's E3 presence is targeted toward the mainstream audience or the core gaming audience?
You separate those two things, I'm not sure they're separate. I guess I would call myself a core gamer, but I'm not a core gamer 24 hours a day. I don't have a controller in my hand all the time. I think people through their day whether they're playing games on the phone while they're waiting for the bus, they're sitting at work and it's lunch and they want to play something on their PC, or they go home at night and they want to watch a movie or play Halo or Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed or something, our job is entertaining everybody.
I think it's less about a specific segment, or trying to characterize or classify people as one thing or another. We stand up at E3 and we want to say that we want to bring all the entertainment that people want to the Xbox in a unique way. It's nice to be able to focus, now that we're sitting in such a nice space with our console--young, old, male, female--we can really think about experiences that cover the gamut. I thought our core-gaming focus at our briefing was strong. I mean, I looked at the franchises, I won't just pick the first-party franchises. I thought Splinter Cell looked great. I thought Call of Duty looked great. Tomb Raider was there. Resident Evil was there. The support we get from the third-parties around core franchises is strong.
Judging from what you've seen at this year's show, what do you think the big trends in the industry, beyond Microsoft, are going to be for the next year?
It's a good question. I see a couple things happening. I'm going to pick Assassin's Creed for a second because I think it looks exceptional, and the production value that you see in your high-end games--whether it's Halo, Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed or something like that--it's just incredible. And the number of people that these studios are applying to the franchises, the graphic fidelity, the sound… These are world-class creative properties that people are putting out.
At the same time, something that struck me, I don't know if you've been over to see the war gaming booth, wargaming.net, but it's the World of Tanks team, and it's interesting at E3, you have this at-scale free-to-play game with a booth on the floor, I've been coming to E3 for many years, and you see different business models showing up, you see different teams, it's not a team that even existed, I think that team is in the hundreds, number of people that work on that franchise, so you see these emerging business models and new creative things popping up and having critical success.
I was meeting with my friends at Rovio earlier today, and where they've been able to take their work. E3's been a good place and it seems to be transforming into less about, just three companies building dedicated hardware, and more about all entertainment, which I think is a great thing. It is the Entertainment Expo after all.
A number of users have been upset with the redesigned dashboard, the presence of ads, and finding navigation to be harder, have you heard those concerns, and if so how are you addressing them?
Well, the nice thing about [Xbox] Live is we have a two-way connection with all of our customers and they can give us feedback through the web forums or aliases or through great publications like your own. We're always taking feedback. You make changes and you learn, you follow the output. As a software company, one of the things we've been able to do on the Xbox is in a way reinvent the box two or three times this lifecycle by changing the way it works, we think making it better, but you can always make it better and better. You can always continue to perfect, and we will. Our software roots are strong, and people should expect you'll see constant updates to the operating system and the dash for Xbox 360. We appreciate the feedback. We want it to continue to come.
We have found a lot of users that find a look and feel that's consistent--Windows 8 hasn't launched yet, but you'll see that Metro look showing up on multiple devices--helps people not feel like they have to learn a separate UI for every screen they see, and I think that will pay dividends down the road.
During the press conference, Trey Parker and Matt Stone poked fun at bits of the Xbox experience on connected devices.
While you're in your refrigerator, was that one, while you're driving or something? I thought they were good.
That got one of the bigger rounds of applause from the audience. Is this connectivity and SmartGlass something that you think people are clamoring for right now?
Well, it might be unique to me, I don't think it is, I happen to have 16- and 13-year-old daughters, two daughters, and when we're watching TV together, which is less often than it used to be, the number of screens they have around them while they're doing anything, frankly, in their life… I looked last week and my 13 year old had sent 6,000 texts last month, I mean, how do you do that? But they are active on multiple screens by nature. It is not forced. It's not something because their dad works at Microsoft, it's just who they are. I think what we've done with SmartGlass has actually reached that consumer in the space they already exist. And we're not trying to move them into a place that seems unnatural for them. Having multiple active screens whether it's a laptop or a slate or a phone, whether it's a Microsoft device or a non-Microsoft device, we think there's a definitely younger generation growing up, that is just the way they consume content.
And you can see that if you look at a show like Glee and its rich web presence, or, Game of Thrones isn't really for kids, but you see a lot of shows today that have a pretty rich web presence. SmartGlass allows us to connect these things seamlessly, not simply to mirror the same screen, but to give additional information or functionality, and stay in-sync so when one screen changes they all kind of recognize the change, basically turns any TV you have into a smart TV.
Do you think people that aren't as comfortable with multiple screens are going to feel like they're missing out on the complete experience if they don't have that sort of SmartGlass information?
Our idea is not to drive a requirement that somebody has a second screen…We're not gonna force you to go to the slate, if somebody says I just want to keep going. HBO Go's not something that we do, but I think it's an interesting place to look at how they're doing Game of Thrones, giving you additional information. If you want to go full screen and just watch the show you can go do that. I think what you're actually finding is people will re-watch a second time to just consume the story, and the second time they go through they and dive in the information and I think this kind of technology makes those kinds of scenarios very possible.
"I think the trading of goods and digital goods in that kind of functionality is stuff that is important, and we should work to try to always make that part of the ecosystem."
And eventually could it be just like a controller basically, tilt-sensitive, touch-screen?
Absolutely. That's what you see with the web browser, so the web browser, that functionality there, basically when you go to the web browser you get a touch interface that puts the pointer on the TV screen allowing you to drag and drop and click.
We've heard rumors about the next generation of consoles potentially locking used games, is Microsoft considering this?
We understand that games at multiple price points are important to consumers. I don't think it's really about used games per se, when I as somebody who lives near GameStop and sees what happens there, I think what you find are consumers that want to be able to enter and play games, if they want to buy it day one they know what the price is, and they actually see price windowing that happens and it happens in a way right now that doesn't include the original content creators, which I think is a problem, frankly. Maybe it's because I run studios.
But the people that built Call of Duty or they built Gears of War or they built Halo, I think they should have a way of participating in all the windows of the product that they built. Today that's not possible. But from the consumer standpoint, I think consumers want to be able to enter and play games at multiple price points as well, and I think that's an important part of our ecosystem and should remain an important part of our ecosystem.
But not necessarily be able to pass that off to someone after the fact?
I think the trading of goods and digital goods in that kind of functionality is stuff that is important, and we should work to try to always make that part of the ecosystem. And Live doesn't really support that today. I can't sell you my XBLA game. And that's not really a policy point on our parts, it's just prioritizing the work that we have. But we're less focused on that specific used games and what that means and just thinking about content, the complete ecosystem and content, and prices and making sure that people can play at the prices they want to play.
Also, I hate when I lose my connection to XBL, and get booted out of my game because I'm playing DLC that needs a digital handshake, to work, that's my other fear, what if you're not connected to the Internet, will your purchases still be valid? I find it irritating.
It's all about greed, these companies don't care about the studios or game makers. If so, give them a bigger cut of the pie, of the initial sale. Even when a company want to release free content, they are sometimes forced to charge a fee. I have three xboxes in my home, I used to buy two of most of the hot games, one for me and a used one for my son, sometimes one for my nephew. But now with all the codes and stuff, I just buy one and they play on my account, which is fun but, being able to play all together at once is much better. I found out the hard way with BF3, I bought three, not realizing that the other two I bought online, we're priced low because they didn't include the VIP code. That really sucked, all were new purchases. The gaming industry is bigger than the movie industry, and probably bigger than the individual car companies, so there's really no excuse for this kind of behavior. Just plain old greed! They need to drop prices quicker, the Vietnam DLC for BF2 is still way over priced, oh wait they drop 400 MS points off the original, after everyone had moved on to BF3. It's a joke!?
Hypocritical. Gets in a hissy fit when people trade in boxed games to retailers, salivates at the idea of trading digital goods where they get the profit not the retailer anymore.
Gotta love the logic here. Yes, re-selling digital goods to a friend is a good idea.. but think about the term "used". If you buy anything at all that is used (non-digital), there is a chance that original packaging could be missing, or the product might have some wear and tear and thus why the price is cheaper. Now with digital, unless the person buying it from you is downloading data from your system and not the main server.. then it's literally not used. They don't get your achievements or game saves, they just get a new game. It seems like you will probably be able to sell it, but there will be a "Microsoft tax" put on it, so that they get their cut of every "used" sale".
Like I said, re-selling digital goods is good for consumers.. but thinking of it as selling a used game is just wrong and I have a feeling it's going to get ugly.
used games.. it kills me. If I buy a Ford , pay it off and sell it, Ford doesn't claim to be owed any more money. However that comparison is not quite right. The games get recycled through multiple users within its short 5 year life span, and each time, Gamestop makes money. Oh wait a minute, the same thing happens at a used car lot.
The pricing for new games is harsh. I make good money and I have hard time justifying a new game every few months. Guess what? The pricing point on a new car can be harsh to people, and that is why the buy.. you guessed, USED cars!
The game studios cant beat em, so they need to join em as one guy on here said.
Make the game price much lower its second year IN DIGITAL FORM, you will sell more units NEW that way than Gamestop. If I can buy a game for 15.99 digitally or 30 used and its physical, I will be all over the digital. This way you cut out the middle man.
What a fag, beating around the bush so hard he might as well be tossing salad. XBOX 720 essentially is looking to block physical sales of used games but will have potentially a way to sell back used digital games? But what he sounded like was that there will be a launch date price, a been out for 6 months price possible and maybe a year later OH look it's 30 bucks now? Whoop-dee-freaking-DOO!
I only wish game companies would release more hit titles on PC and move away from consoles more. Steam has it's issues much like other things but at least they offer real deals that beat out anything you'd get at a Game Stop. Those people are crooks that make it look like you're some how getting a deal by trading in a bunch of wanted titles just to put it back up for 44.99. CROOKS!
And on that note why do we have to pay equal price on digital downloads when we don't get any of the physical items with it like manuals, cd, box and such; shouldn't we pay 10 bucks less at the very least?!
XBOX 720 dodging the hard hitting questions about blocking out 2nd hand titles because THEY WANT MORE MONEY! It's US buying YOUR SYSTEM and bringing it to OUR HOMES. We have the right to play anything we want with that property, including used games!
So essentially if I wanted to bring my disc over to a friends house I'd have to lug my damn console over there? Yeah, not happening! What a greedy douche, just make Steam a partner and give us access to more games. XBOX 720 would get more indie games, we'd get more console games, and developers get their money when people buy their games, even when they go on sale! EVERYBODY WINS!
A little question for the gaming industry; do you want to shut down stores like Gamestop because
A.you don't get a share of the profits from used games?
B.they sell criticaly acclaimed games from Japan like Blazblue and Catherine?
Take your pick.
"He added that used games are "a problem" because the content creators don't get a cut of those sales."
as is the case with ANY second hand product, yet the video game developers are the only ones bitching about it.
I fear that the industry is using and justifying DLCs as the cure for used game sales...
Say hello to bite size gaming!
"make better games and people wont want to sell them". Exactly, that's why I see so many JUNK games been offered used on Gamestop: Batman Arkham City, Skyrim, Assassin's Creed, GTA IV, Max Payne 3, BF3 and others.
Here's my vision of the future. I'm going to go to the store and buy a bunch of cardboard boxes containing things like food I want to eat, games I want to play, clothes I want to wear. Then I'm going to come home and log onto my Xbox 360 and repurchase all those items with the online codes the boxes contain so that they can be shipped to my house.
When those items arrive they will be locked in a safe that I must enter a 20 digit key code to unlock them. Then I'll use my authenticator to activative them to my DNA, so that if anyone else tries to eat my food, wear my clothes, play my games, etc. it self destructs on them. This way all the farmers, sweat shop slave laborers, and game programmers get their fair share of the items they created. I can't wait for the freaking future!!!
Title should read "Give all your stuff to me for free is only what I care about", anything else is a lie.
How used games a problem take a good look at last gen console it wasn't a problem back then and it makes me wonder why
I think it would be a good thing if you could sell your digitally purchased game back to the provider. it keeps them in the loop as far as money is concerned and encourages future purchases. I have heaps of games on steam i never play and would gladly trade them in to reduce the cost of newer games.
That response to the locking-out used games question... nice one....
He said a lot without saying anything....
Basically if you can't beat 'em... Join 'em, digital used games will give a chunk of the money to Microsoft/Sony and maybe a little bit to the publisher/devs. Sounds like a good plan to me, but definately agree with the comments saying "make better games and people wont want to sell them" because it seems like only the people spamming out tons of crap and getting pleanty of sales seem to complain about it.
I have 2 Xbox's in my house and ones in my sons room. We already can't share online games because of online codes without paying more $. If they do this I'll have to buy 2 copies of every game for the same house. And forget about bringing a game to your friends for a game night. And what about people that don't have internet???
@slimandchubbies One of the reasons I'm thinking about getting a WiiU is because they seem more likely to continue the good old multiple players in the same room as well as online play, unlike the rest of the gaming platforms which all seem to have scrapped split screen gaming.
@JimmeyBurrows And they won't completely turn to online purchases, AND they have no plans against used games. That's why I'm 100% sure to buy a Wii U, it may not be the next powerhouse, but it sure as hell seems like a console that respects the person that plays it.
For them people who don't have internet are not allowed to play games anymore, that is until those people buy PC and turn over to piracy and then they will accuse them of profit loss.
how about start creating exciting new IPs instead of all this load of crap? seriously, the only reasons the 360 is marginally ahead of PS3 is the one year head start and the tons of broken consoles that had to be replaced by diehard fans.
The appeal to solely own a 360 is long gone compared with the PS3/PC games library...
What a load of excrement you spew forth ... "compared with the PS3/PC Library" ... you obviously don't like the 360 but that doesn't excuse your ignorance and misguided loyalities.
@digi-demon nah, way too long, i just read all the comments and get the gist from everyone else. Apparently game makers suck and only want our money.
@digi-demon You didn't miss anything new after the first few paragraphs, lol... Just a quick scan through the rest of it for me, seemed to all be covered in other articles/e3.
Ugh, some studio makes a game that sucks and drops $10 million into production and advertising. Game does not catch on and sells maybe $6 million. Developer blames used game sales for destroying their proffit....Make better/original games and test to make sure they are a finished product before sending them out for consumers and you will make money. I'm not the first one to this of this, come on.
I can count on one hand how many used games I gave bought since first firing up an Atari game system in the 1970's. If any console maker nerfs my ability to play a used game, or borrow a game to check it out, then I will not buy that console. Hardware and software companies needs consumers like me to survive and make money. I do not need them. I will take my money to their competitor and use it there.
It's a freaking miracle car makers, jewelry makers, and other providers of products have survived this long when all along they could have attached a life long rider to their products to cash on on a perpetual revenue stream as long as that product exists and is being used. Maybe we should all be paying a software users fee annually, or, based on income?
What happened to my comments? I wrote a huge comment on why Phil Spencer is wrong about these comment:
"I don't think it's really about used games per se, when I as somebody who lives near GameStop and sees what happens there, I think what you find are consumers that want to be able to enter and play games, if they want to buy it day one they know what the price is, and they actually see price windowing that happens and it happens in a way right now that doesn't include the original content creators, which I think is a problem, frankly."
My whole post disappeared. What a crock. I hate this new posting service. It sucks GS. In any case, Publishers and developers do not have the right to get money from resold used games, unless they are the ones reselling them themselves. It doesn't happen with cars, HDTV's or diamond rings. It shouldn't happen with video games either. These publishers are just greedy because they aren't making the kind of profit they used to and they want to milk the gamers for every dime. Publishers need to find a cheaper way of making their games, so they can become profitable again. Nuff said.
The main reason I buy used games is because I don't feel that the retail price is justified with the experience provided by the game.
If a game launches at $60 and I'm not into it enough to pay the much. I'll buy it used. I would buy it new at a lower price point, but games take 1-2 years to reach the $30 mark. At this point I have more games on my backlog as well as new games coming that I want to play. My dollars have to be budgeted to the games I am most excited to play. So those games that I would buy at a lower point get added to the backlog and I only buy them when I find them for a good used price.
There are several ways that publishers/developers can combat this and the simplest is to lower prices at a faster rate. A lot of people won't buy your game at a $60 launch price. but they may buy it 4-6 months later at $40. And those that don't will likely buy it for $30 another 6 months down the road. After a year or two on the market the game should retail for $20 or less.
This isn't the bible for game pricing. It's a suggestion that might lead to something that actually works for everybody. Attacking used games by trying to lock them out and make it impossible (or very difficult) to sell or trade is only going to encourage piracy.
Excuse me, but can we get an answer to the actual question?
"A number of users have been upset with the redesigned dashboard, the presence of ads, and finding navigation to be harder, have you heard those concerns, and if so how are you addressing them?"
Mr Spencer completely dodged the question. There are 2 reasons I can think of for this, but it'd be nice to hear the truth and not have the question ignored.
Reason 1: Microsoft likes money and the ads give them lots of money. MS doesn't want to have to tell people how much they get off of these ads or make excuses for why paid subscribers see just as many as free subscribers. They dodge the question to make people wonder if they really have something coming that will make their browsing better on the Xbox. Problem is that Microsoft has built a track-record of making the experience worse.
Reason 2: Microsoft actually has plans for changes to the dashboard, but they can't reveal them at this time. Either because they make the ad experience worse for gamers or because they haven't finalized their plans.
Either way; I think gamers lose out. They have a functional box with tons of great content and services. But they also have to go through a lot of BS to get to those games and use those services.
Why does the gaming industry listen only to "money" and not to the actual gamers? Reading the comments, I feel there are a lot of good ideas, the sole agenda, it looks like, is to make money by ripping off the gamers. If they made us, the gamers, happy I think they will make their money. Greedy "mean people." My hat goes off to CD Projekt RED for making games I don't mind paying full price for. Additional content is free and abundant! Hate paying for extras that should have been in the game. Make a game worth buying and people will buy it new. Miss the days when you bought a game and it was yours, no hoops to jump through ie: signing up for Origin and internet connection required.
Welcome to capitalism. it isn't just the gaming industry that listens only to money, it's all industries
How are they a problem? Oh thats right, you just want to make money on a game you've already made money on... If i bought a used game, that means the other person who did pay the full price isn't, just like everything else that is "used"...
Well the 360 is an exciting plaform for sure. I think it is this generations winner. I take nothing away from the Wii and PS3, but the 360 is a celebrity. lol it'll have its own star on the walk of fame one day :D
I honesty fail to see why used game sales are such a problem for the industry, other than that they see it as lost sales; and thus it's a question of greed. You don't hear the auto industry inventing solutions so that the car key is coded to work only with the original purchaser, do you? It seems that software is somewhere pushed to exist in a state where you never actually buy it, and instead, even if they call it "buying it", is in fact considered "renting it". You basically pay a sum for the license to use it, not for the product itself, only the right to use the product.
It's a development that I find most troubling, and I shudder to think if other markets would start acting in this way. I mean imagine a world where when you only own things until you don't want it anymore - then you have to give it back to the creator or stuff it away, never to be used again. Where we have no option other than to buy new goods, be it games, cars, or books. Where you can't lend a good book (or game) to a friend, because it only works for you and no one else. So he/she will have to get his own copy, because otherwise it's a lost sale. Where a friend can't driver your car, because someone else using their (the company's) product without paying them (the company) is considered a lost sale. Where you needs to pay twice for your car so that both you and your wife will both be able to drive it?
It's greed in a disgusting manner, pure and simple. And if all other markets would act like this we can all just kill our children now instead of leaving them to suffer a slow death on the ruined resource depleted planet we'd leave them...
The sad fact though, is that they'll likely be able to push through with making used games unplayable on new consoles. And it won't hurt their sales, it'll just reduce the amount of players in multiplayer, drastically reduce the average life length of games (meaning the time it's being played, not the actual length of the games) and raise the prices of new games, since that'll be the only option we have left (because it's a snowballs chance in hell that prices would drop in such a scenario).
All this makes me want to slap the ones responsible, and make them pay for the right to wear shoes. 2 licenses for each pair, preferably on a monthly or weekly basis (regardless of if they're being used or not). And an extra fee once they're worn out, so I can charge to dispose of them. Let them have a taste of the market they're trying to build. End rant :)
How about some new 1st party IPs, Microsoft, ain't that sound good? No? You are just going to emphasize more on the entertainment aspect of the console, instead of the CONSOLE aspect, and you are also going to try and ban used games? I guesd you don't need my money then...
I don't see the reason why they should earn money from second hand sales; car manufacturers don't receive money from second hand sales nor TV makers nor ANY company that makes products. Hell, it's like trying to cash in from someone selling stuff at a garage sale.
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