Xbox One DRM backlash was unfair, suggests Molyneux

Monday, 12 August 2013 15:30 GMT By Dave Cook

The notion that Microsoft was trying to outright control the online habits of Xbox One gamers is unfair, according to 22 Cans founder Peter Molyneux.

Speaking with TechRadar, the former Microsoft studios head said, “It’s quite an unfair thought that Microsoft are trying to control our gaming, they’re trying to force us to be online all the time. [People] didn’t really think that through.”

Molyneux suggested that perhaps Microsoft was just doing what it felt it had to in order to create a strong long-term strategy, but added that a few mistakes gave the public an opening to unfairly savage the company.

“I know Microsoft,” he continued. “I know they were only doing things because they thought they were long-reaching and long-thinking. But the world we live in now is that we have to realise, especially if you’re a big corporation, if you make one step wrong, the world will leap on you, and unfairly, very unfairly, they will judge you.”

“Like everything else in our world, when something turns slightly bad it goes very bad and you have to make big correctional steps to get yourself back on track.”

He concluded, “Microsoft did the reversal and we should have all turned round and said ‘fantastic, you’ve really listened to what we’re said’. But you have to over-correct to get back on line.”

Do you think the good ship Xbox One is back on course? Was it right to listen to you? Let us know what you think below.

Thanks MCV.


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  1. DGOJG

    Yes Mr Molyneux, please continue..

    #1 2 years ago
  2. YoungZer0

    @1: *claps for Memento reference*

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Francis O

    3rd party developers loved Microsoft’s DRM policies. They wanted it.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Clupula

    Molyneux defending Microsoft? My god, what are the chances?!?

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Pytox

    @3 Cliffy B Loved it too

    #5 2 years ago
  6. DSB

    Hahaha. Does anyone actually think for a second that he’s “really” talking about Microsoft?

    I feel bad for laughing, I know he means well, but I just can’t help it.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. OlderGamer

    Right…poor poor Microsoft. Just victims really. We should protect the innocent.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. ysleiro

    Yet another industry insider, LONG time expert and game creator extraordinaire that is CLUELESS as to the business he is in!

    What is it with these people in the industry? What makes them think they know so much?


    #8 2 years ago
  9. HUcast

    Sounds like nothing more than Molyneux defending Fable again.

    Microsoft only listened when pre-order sales of the X1 weren’t moving. Gamers were speaking out about the Microsoft ‘features’ way before then and they didn’t care.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. backup

    agreed with peter

    i fully support x1 drm

    #10 2 years ago
  11. DeVitowned

    What Hucast said +1000

    #11 2 years ago
  12. merrc

    @Hucast Exactly!

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Styweed45

    Once a great game developer(loved B&W,Fable,Populous) now a bag of hot air who promises that outlandish experience which he can`t deliver

    The problem was MS didn`t care what the people who really buy the console and went for there dream scenario whit 100% drm console which people are ready yet(losy internets,speed is not good enough in most places to support it)if they went for a more people friendly comparison 50/50 they could probably got away from it but they got wrong everything they could bad pr,bad community management, didn`t look at the competition and how people looked at it

    #13 2 years ago
  14. bradk825

    First of all, you know how you hear about people and when you see them they look totally different from how you pictured him? This guy looks pretty much exactly as I thought he would.

    Anyway, I still stand by my opinion that the DRM model using discs was a poor one. I see that they were trying to soften the transition to digital only but they bungled the attempt. This was compounded by poor communication and some d-bag remarks from Mattrick who shortly later disappeared (“If you don’t want to play online buy an Xbox 360″)

    That being said, it wasn’t as bad as many represented it to be. You could still trade games, you just couldn’t install them, trade them, but keep playing them because they are installed.

    They wanted to get people used to not putting in a disc, without taking away the ability to buy a disc. I can kind of see the thought process that went into it, but when it started getting so complicated and they started seeing how it would look in practice, someone on their team should have said “Hey guys, this isn’t going to work out, we need to rethink this.”

    #14 2 years ago
  15. DeVitowned


    Still doesn’t explain the need for 24 hour check-ins (hourly on guest’s device). That’s where Microsoft REALLY blew their own damn foot off.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. schnide

    Well that settles it for me. I always used to be against draconian DRM measures, but if Molyneux’s in favour, I know I was right all along! Cheers Pete! Loved Curiosity by the way – what amazing gameplay!

    #16 2 years ago
  17. bradk825

    @15 How would you have confirmed ownership of the game without requiring the user to put the disc in?

    They went wrong way sooner than 24hr checkin. The 24hr checkin was a symptom of the idea of going half-way to discless.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Jeckt

    “But the world we live in now is that we have to realise, especially if you’re a big corporation, if you make one step wrong, the world will leap on you, and unfairly, very unfairly, they will judge you.”

    That is so pretentious… Peter you are an amazing games developer and you understand the indie games industry well! So all I can ask is, how much did Microsoft pay you to say this? It sounds so forced.

    I remember watching E3 live and in the breaks there was an interview with Peter and he wasn’t happy at all with what Microsoft had done. He judged them himself! Peter disliked their stance with Indie companies whilst Sony was doing right by them.

    DRM is not needed to be online all the time, we as an international society are organically staying online all the time, Microsoft isn’t our boss, we get forced to do things enough at work. We don’t need to be told to do anything by our sources of entertainment. Give users the choice you will see a better reaction, don’t believe me, look at the great things Kickstarter has produced!

    Peter Molyneux stop fence sitting.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. spazman

    another MS dispshit, spewing dribble from his ivory tower. The fact remains if we are all going to be playing AAA games on dedicated servers in the next couple of years why the f**k shall we fork out $500 for a plastic box that will just stream and relay game pad inputs. Welcome to two-tier gaming if you got the money and broadband connection you’ll play the premium game, if not, it’s the shit version for you on the 360.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Lengendaryboss

    Oh yes it was very unfair: with no positives for the customers and plenty of positives for the publishers/MS: oh yes i think it was very unfair: maybe next MS should bend us over and we should take it.

    I think we all know the sarcasm is implied.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. actuallyisnotafox

    gamers said what they wanted, they chose to listen, as gamers we had pretty much every right to do what we did, and say hey we dont want next gen doing this bs please stop, thx

    #21 2 years ago
  22. super3001

    short sited idiot all of you.

    industry will die without digital future. retail cannot sustain but idiot like all of you think optical disc is still relevant.

    wake up. moly is right. ms is right you all know it for fact.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. sebastien rivas


    I agree with you, but again there is the art and there is the manner by which to my need was neither one with this dam 24/h check.
    I am all up for next gen type of gaming but as you mentioned, I am part of the loosy internet speed with at top 310 kb/s, so would I wait roughly 7 to 12 hours to download a game on Xbox 1? and perhaps even longer if it is a bundle game packaged with extensions…..

    I don’t know what is going on in AAA mindset or in Microsoft fortitude.
    Let’s pretend just a second you buy 70$ a video game and you are told you cannot sell it back or even give it (let’s be fair because this situation happens more often as several posters on vg247 explained me).
    It hurts the video game industry indeed but here is the issue , what are those $70 good for? is it a sale or is it a rent?

    On the other hand, I assume and want to believe that 60~70$ is the critical plateau video games reached to be sold to the public, any higher and sells may seriously decrease.

    There are many who would say ok, if I buy a game but it is not truly mine because well I cannot do what I want with it then seriously ponder the question if $50~$70 is fai since it is not a sell but a rent.
    My question is, would opening two markets be fair and to increase or generate sells if 1 game can be sold in 2 methods. 1 method is to be sold 50% of full price and hell no you can’t give it, trade it, nor look at the box container and the other is freedom of choice full price 60~70$.

    What I mean is let’s be conscious that no matter what you do, some will find ways to circumvant what appear an issue and they will do it with a smile. Anything higher than 50% of a full price and rest assured your game that is not supposed to be tradable or given will be pirated, traded, given freely, even perhaps exposed in 2nd hand stores.

    Basically I don’t give games, I sold a couple of times games in last 5 years to 2nd hand store. Although I buy games digitally but I do not pay full price and wait games comes under 25$ because I know I don’t have a physical copy; therefore it is bound to my account and so, I have no choice and I assume it will eventually disappear from pure mistake from the digital store erasing my account or from account fraud.

    Now if you think I am going to pay 70$ for a game while it is digital then think again. It may happen once every 2 years because I have been waiting for a title for a long time but that is it. This all scheme of all game on internet is quite good but the way it is set won’t get me “in the game”. And no, don’t tell me the same game price decreased to 59$ at opening because it is digital, $10 to hook me up would make me look cheap and still do not see any effort from AAA to understand me in that “fairness”.. seriously :)

    we know the economy is not in good shape. I know Entertainment is the first form to suffer from it. Now pardon my expression but it is the way I feel If I jumped in the bandwagon “But it does not mean I or my console have to whore”.

    I agree,

    #23 2 years ago
  24. Cobra951

    Slowly, so they understand me:

    Digital . . . GOOD!

    Intrusive DRM . . . BAD!

    #24 2 years ago
  25. tilinelson2

    Nothing to see here. Molyneux is always defending MS and XBox. He is no worse than fans of any platform we see in every community defending their preferred brand no matter what.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. lookingglass

    The whole debacle is just embarrassing.

    The gaming community is paranoid, the community is dismissive, and the community is toxic.

    The scene is full of gangs and the people behave like a mob. If it’s not cool, it’s attacked. If it makes a good point, it only enrages the mob and they lash out.

    It’s tragic and it hurts gaming as a whole.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. ysleiro

    #26 Shhhhhh

    Don’t bring that kind of logic in here! The VG247 commentators will have your head severed.

    Don’t you know industry insiders are all buffoons? They are called experts but in reality they don’t know what they are talking about. In reality we as commentators on this site know more about the business they’ve been in for longer than most of us has been able to wipe our own asses.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. MCTJim

    People only heard DRM and 24 hr check and stopped listening after that. They didnt want hear Anything when they tried to explain and didnt care either. Some of these people and I say some, are the same ones that complain the microwave takes to long to heat up their bagel.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. DeVitowned


    No, blind loyalty and narrowmindedness when big corporate says something is so , and you take it as testament is the growing cancer that leads the industry to destruction. Not the consumer.

    Let’s face it, Microsoft is personification of the arrogance, the bullishness and exploitation that is wrong with America. There was no Trojan Horse intention of ushering in some benefit to the consumer, only to tell them what they should buy, how to buy it, what they can do when they own it, and what they can’t do if they can’t afford to connect to their system for surveilance. Not once did they listen to the consumer and seriously consider their concerns. They told us to accept it. Told us to get over it if we don’t like their demands. There was no fucking compromise. People complaining about intrusive surveilance and completely ridiculous DRM had every right to complain, and did, and what’s better is that they refused to buy it.

    People (in the industry, shills, and complete tools like you) keep saying that forcing Microsoft to make a u-turn is keeping the industry from progressing. What kind of bullshit is that? What kind of morons do you think we are? All we did is take a stand for our rights as consumers, to buy what we want, to control what we do with it, and to tell bullies that they have no power to tell us otherwise. Retail may be a problem and an unnecessary evil, but what was Microsoft’s answer to that? Charge us extra fees on top of buying the game used (or borrowing from a friend)? Why can’t the answer be their encouraging the use of digital downloads, which already has its own DRM and low overhead, and making the price much more attractive than spending more on the disc? No, Microsoft just wanted to tell us what we can and can’t do.

    The industry would be a lot better off if Microsoft and companies like it didn’t exist, especially if the future they propose is the direction the industry is going. I am not afraid of change, or an all digital future, but I am afraid of a future I have no more rights as a consumer.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. ysleiro

    @29 The product wasn’t even out yet.

    Realize your view on the industry and happenings is limited when compared to individuals who work within it and have done so for upwards of a decade and a half.

    Your view is myopic when compared to the view of individuals who are vastly more knowledgeable than you.

    If you know so much WHY THE FUCK are you commenting about it on a blog as opposed to working in the industry.

    I mean you clearly know more than every single person that works in the industry that doesn’t agree with you. You should be making a 6 figures working for Activision or Ubisoft!

    #30 2 years ago
  31. tenthousandgothsonacid

    Molyneux still a clueless bellend shocker

    You’ve lied before for Microsoft (project Milo) and you’ll lie again Peter.

    #31 2 years ago
  32. DeVitowned

    Ysleiro really has no clue, does he?

    #32 2 years ago
  33. sebastien rivas


    Beautifully said ;)

    It is because @29 sees what each element proposed by Microsoft is/are and foresee what doors it could open to that he felt compelled and oppose to Microsoft.
    Maybe he already works in the industry, maybe he is an indie too.. who knows… but the industry should understand something too. It is not the industry fault either and from which @29 only responds to @ LookingGlass.

    The issue and solution lays in how much publisher is ready to spend to produce a game versus how much entry can it generates. The number fly so high that we are at almost at the edge of game price tag versus sells versus profit.
    and here is why I agree with @ 29. The industry is looking in the wrong direction. Obliging gamers to anything never accomplished anything because gamers will circumvent that obligation one way or another and on top of it with a smile.
    Much like you, I do not want that but what else can gamers do? Pay $70 and not play with their friends?
    The right direction the game industry should look into is how to create assets and game faster. If you work in the industry then you already know how massive manpower needs to be just for one AAA quality title. This associated with the length and duration of production. I mean it is insane! .
    No wonder some publisher backlash so hard at devers to dumb down or find other ways to appeal other audience.
    It truly is insane and inhibits devers creativity.

    Something I wonder and still ponder is how come new technique like Sony with EQ_Next is not exploding in everyone’s mind by modeling with VOXEL. Don’t get me wrong, I never tried but I checked on Wikipedia and other tutorials and it sounds really, really, really appealing. The second question is if it is integral to any or many engines which I doubt it is. Although how come slicing production time is not more appealing to the industry remains a mistery.
    I like Autodesk, I trully do, I work on max, maya, mudbox etc etc but hey guess what, I keep a very close eye on 3Dpaint since EQ_Next just for that voxel matter and wherever you are, you should keep an eye on it too. I do not say 3D paint is perfect, actually it might be really clunky to use… who knows… but seriously, it is priced @ ~10% of some of single Autodesk title and may slice your production…..
    How can you chear for 24H/ check and other little annoyances that Microsoft has taken off for their next gen console if in first place you slice your production time and your production cost.

    #33 2 years ago
  34. Phoenixblight

    “Something I wonder and still ponder is how come new technique like Sony with EQ_Next is not exploding in everyone’s mind by modeling with VOXEL. ”

    Voxels will never replace polygons and with their shaders they have to go at a stylized approach hence why EQ Next looks very toonish. ALso the lack of tools, SOE is using another persons work in order to make environments for their game. Not to mention that developers have to look into new ways to create shaders for voxels and how textures are applied. Its new so it will take awhile for it to be adapted for all developers to use it.

    Also I want to mention that all engine developers are now working on workflow and how to get assets to implement faster. Just like at Unreal 4 the new engine doesn’t need to bake in light or need to compile changes in code which allows for faster iteration. These designs are the reason why there won’t be a huge jump in cost from this gen to next as it was for the PS2 and PS3.

    #34 2 years ago
  35. Cobra951

    @29: Hear, hear! Your post should go on the front page of every gaming website. Beautifully said indeed.

    #35 2 years ago
  36. CPC_RedDawn

    HEY! Molyneux where is Milo then…??

    Seriously this guy should leave the industry he has his head so far up Microsoft’s ass he can taste the rainbow.

    Yet another Microsoft fanboy dev getting paid off by Microsoft to help them with damage control, well I am not surprised at all they got this guy to say this because he helped them hype up Kinect with that bullshit Milo demo that was obviously just PR bullshit to sell the damn thing to the unsuspecting public who had no idea the Kinect was basically a paperweight disguised as a camera.

    #36 2 years ago
  37. Joe Musashi

    Tell people what they want to hear and they will agree and endorse you.

    Tell people things that sound challenging, disruptive or in some way unpalateable to their sensibilities and they will damn and vilify you.

    The message itself is almost always entirely irrelevant.


    #37 2 years ago
  38. CaptPierce

    “If you want backwards compatibility, YOU are backwards.”
    “If you don’t want to be online, just buy an Xbox 360.”

    That’s saying fuck you to the customers, with gleeful pride and arrogance thinking they’ll pay you no matter what.

    They’re reversing policies now, but that still put me off ever wanting the Xbox One.

    #38 2 years ago
  39. Jeckt

    @30 ysleiro, DRM isn’t games industry knowledge, it is freaking politics and that means it effects everyone.

    With your complacent thinking, it’s like saying Kim Jong Un knows better than me, so I should follow him.

    The whole point DeVitowned was trying to make is we want to keep progression, but sensibly and respect the consumers (Which is YOU). Do you not think for yourself?

    Honestly if we listened to people like you, we would be in a distopian orwellian nightmare long ago… Corporate companies want your money, those DRM policies were in place to squeeze as much as they could out of your wallet, not like DLC’s wasn’t doing that already.

    I don’t believe you are that blind or naive to just follow like a sheep now, not with this much information at your fingertips. If you want to be knowledgeable or just up-to-date with facts, fucking use the internet, you can learn anything you’d like! Pfft, you probably think the internet was better off with policies set by SOPA and shit, just because they sound more intelligent than you.

    #39 2 years ago
  40. ysleiro

    I’m sure you will be making the same complaints in 2020 when the new consoles ship without a disc tray and are fully digital only.

    You do realize the only reason they had such draconian sign in procedures was because they wanted to be able to do physical media and digital whilst having the physical media behave as a digital copy.

    Bro if you had people like me making the decisions the PS4 and One wouldn’t even have disc trays.

    #40 2 years ago
  41. Arnvidr

    @40 What are you talking about? Do you honestly believe this is the only way to move towards a digital future? Put just the tiniest bit of trust in your consumers, and those draconian measures are completely over the top.

    And for the record, what kind of DRM the console will have on pure digital titles are not a part of the discussion at all. You don’t need to be a complete idiot (original XB1) to entice your customers towards digital.

    #41 2 years ago

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