GAMING BLEND

Microsoft Responds To DRM Petition: Glad People Are Excited About Xbox One Features

By William Usher 2013-07-12 21:48:52 discussion comments
While this is almost a double-post, I felt this really did deserve it's own little thing considering that Microsoft's chief product officer for the Xbox One had some great things to say about the Xbox brand and some of the issues that people had concerning the system... including that recent petition to bring back the Xbox One's anti-consumer DRM.

So, in the article that was just posted about the Xbox One's Family Share Plan making a return to the Xbone, there were some more juicy tidbits of information scattered throughout the lengthy IGN piece, which was basically the biggest piece of damage control that just might save Microsoft some massive face heading into Comic-Con next week.

IGN's Andrew Goldfarb blatantly asked chief product officer, Marc Whitten, exactly what Microsoft thought about the campaign from the tens of thousands of gamers petitioning Microsoft to bring back the Xbox One's anti-consumer, and culturally damaging DRM. He was also asked about the flip-flopping that people now see from Microsoft, as a company chasing dollar bills instead of consumer support. Whitten stated that...
“I think it’s pretty simple. 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.”

One could figuratively argue that the "talking" is what got the mini 'M' in all that trouble in the first place. Let's not forget that it was corporate vice president Phil Harrison that spilled the beans, so to speak, on many of the policies that would later become rallying points for the gaming community to strike back against Microsoft and eventually drive massive amounts of pre-orders toward the PlayStation 4.

I think it's not so much that they need to talk more, but they need to listen as much as they speak.

Anyway, Whitten goes on to say...
“The number one thing I want to do is I want to get the product out, because people are going to use it and obviously a lot of this is more evident, but certainly what I want to do right is now is talk more about how we thought about these features,”

“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."

I have to give Whitten a round of applause here. This guy tip-toes around this issue with the grace and PR awareness of a marketing ballerina. Dance those words, Whitten... dance those words!

The real issue – and something that we actually haven't discussed regarding the delicate situation of the Xbox One DRM petition – is that Microsoft was in a no-win situation regarding this public escapade.

Had Microsoft acknowledged and said they would act on the massive amount of people who came forward to support the petition (no matter what the reason), they look like they have zero confidence in their product and no idea what's actually happening in the gaming community. If they said they were going to ignore the petition and that they don't take such things seriously, they would still come across as haughty and arrogant, and it would further perpetuate the stigma within the gaming community that “Microsoft doesn't listen to their fans”.

So again, huge props to Whitten for being able to dance around this sensitive topic without actually damaging the Xbox brand. I believe this is the first time since the May 21st reveal that a representative from Microsoft has actually managed to talk up the Xbox One without any negative connotations or foot-shooting involved.

However, this brings us back to another important topic: if the DRM is still hardware embedded and they're adding “switches” to patch out the restrictions, does this mean we could eventually see a firmware update that (de)evolves the Xbox One back into the DRM beast that was unveiled in May?
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