GamesBeat

Always listening: Microsoft doesn’t resent vociferous fans

The Xbox One can now play used games just like an Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 do (and the PlayStation 4 will upon its release). Microsoft made a stunning course correction after weeks of gamer outcry against the company’s policy that would have severely limited used games with strict digital-rights management.

It turns out that the outcry is what made the difference, according to Xbox chief product officer Marc Whitten.

“Frankly, over the last three weeks we had an opportunity to share our vision and get feedback,” Whitten told GamesBeat. “I think we heard that people love our great games, they love the vision for the platform, they love so much about it, but they were very clear that they also wanted choice. The ability to use their console offline if they want to go on vacation or are in a low-connectivity area. They also want the choice to use physical disc the way they were used to. We listened.”

Microsoft listened, and now the Xbox One is a much more appealing machine to a lot of gamers.

The thing is, this is probably because of you.

“As a team, we’ve been reading the comments and reading the forums,” said Whitten. “We’ve been getting e-mail and collecting all that feedback. That’s been our conversation over the past week, and that’s what led us to make these changes.”

I asked Whitten if he resented having to change the Xbox One after putting so much work into it. No one has really had any hands-on time with the features that Microsoft changed, so maybe the company believed in them and hate that it has to take them out.

That’s not the case.

“This is literally what I love about this industry,” he said. “I’ve been on Xbox for a decade. I’ve been responsible for most of our updates on Xbox Live. All I do is put out new functionality, then listen to the community. I try to do more of what they like and less of what they don’t like.

“I’m absolutely not resentful. Frankly, I thank gamers for their feedback. That’s the beauty of this industry. It’s so much better than putting out a product and then not hearing anything because people don’t care. That’s the beauty. People care about Xbox, and they want to have an amazing experience. I love it.”

So, Microsoft is listening. The lesson is that if you don’t like the price (it’s still $499), the indie policies (small devs can’t self-publish), or the bundled Kinect (included with every console), then you better speak up now.


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