Xbox One message could’ve been “more open, complete,” some features may return

Saturday, 13 July 2013 15:18 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Xbox corporate vice-president Marc Whitten has said if Microsoft could go back to when Xbox One was announced, it would have been more “open and more complete,” regarding the features, policies and merits of its upcoming console.

Speaking with IGN, Whitten said it’s possible the firm could bring back some of the features it cut from Xbox One when it dropped “certain polices” pertaining to its DRM control, 24-hour check-ins, “no limitations” to using and sharing disc-based games, and the Family Sharing Plan back in June. The latter is one such feature in which quite a few Xbox fans are lamenting.

The outcry over the new console’s policies and online features, according to Whitten, was Microsoft’s own fault, a lesson it learned the hard way and one which it intends to take to heart.

“We’ve got to just talk more, get people understanding what our system is – the thing that’s really gratifying is that people are excited about the types of features that are possible, and it’s sort of shame on us that we haven’t done as good of a job as we can to make people feel like that’s where we’re headed,” he said.

“The number one thing I want to do is I want to get the product out, but certainly what I want to do right is now is talk more about how we thought about these features: how we thought about how Xbox Live works; how digital works.

“I see people feeling like we’ve moved away from digital, when certainly I don’t believe that’s the case. I believe we’ve added on choice for people. It was an addition of a feature onto Xbox One, not a removal of a feature. And I understand people see things like Family Sharing and they’re like, ‘Wow, I was really looking forward to that,’ which is more of an engineering reality time frame type-thing.”

The removal of the Family Sharing feature, as mentioned above in the link to the petition, is something that could eventually return, although Whitten wouldn’t confirm it. Instead, he said some of the features removed from the onset could return in the future – if consumers really want them.

“We need to do more work to talk about what we’re doing because I think that we did something different than maybe how people are perceiving it,” he said. “When I read some of the things like that petition, from my perspective we took a lot of the feedback and, while Xbox One is built to be digital native, to have this amazing online experience, we realized people wanted some choice. They wanted what I like to call a bridge, sort of how they think about the world today using more digital stuff.

“What we did, we added to what the console can do by providing physical and offline modes in the console. It isn’t about moving away from what that digital vision is for the platform. It’s about adding that choice. Frankly, I think we need to just do more to let people see how the console works, what they’re going to be able to do for it. I think a lot of the things they’re wishing for are frankly there.

“If it’s something that people are really excited about and want, we’re going to make sure that we find the right way to bring it back. I probably should have been more clear. We took some feedback and realized there was some stuff we needed to add to the program. To add it to the program, we had to make room, just from a pure engineering perspective, to be able to get that work done.”

Whitten went on to reiterate that taking Family Sharing out of the launch window was a logistical decision and should it return in the future, the only regional block to the program would be from a publisher perspective, as Microsoft itself wouldn’t put any restrictions around it.

Xbox One is slated for release around November.