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

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

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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."

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