Microsoft just ditched its Xbox One development philosophy. That can't be good.

by Gaetano 'Xbot' Prestia 24 Comments 17 Likes 4,290 Views 20/06/2013 Back to Xbox One articles Xbox One

So the gamers screamed, Microsoft listened, and now we’re all better off! Apparently ...

In an open letter on the official Xbox site, Microsoft president of interactive entertainment business, Don Mattrick, said the company will ditch always-online and DRM restrictions for Xbox One.

Microsoft has been quick to address Xbox One criticisms, completely rejigging the functionality of the console after a large consumer backlash, ditching online requirements and allowing used games to be played.

Microsoft told MMGN at E3 that anyone without satisfactory internet "should go and buy an Xbox 360", which doesn't require an internet connection to play. It's been an astounding about-face.

"Wonderful!"

"Spectacular!"

"Outstanding!"

Really, though?

The hardware has kind of been regressed and the developer philosophy changed to appease a backlash from a mob that never appeared to truly understand the hardware architecture to begin with.

The console was made with the cloud in mind. I’ve seen what it can do. Microsoft made the mistake of making a console -- the Xbox 360 -- with a detachable HDD, which made it tough for developers to create games that required storage space for large amounts of data, as not everyone had a massive HDD.

POLL: Was this a good choice by Microsoft?

They rectified this with Xbox One, but now we've regressed into a console that no longer requires the internet, meaning people without the net will buy the console and will need to be serviced by the software, which can no longer be made with the cloud exclusively in mind, because not every console will be connected.

It completely changes the console's development philosophy. I don't know if this is a good thing.

"Our vision around Xbox One and what you can do because of the power of both the architecture of the console, and also the cloud and the Xbox Live service, remains unchanged," Xbox Chief Product Officer Marc Whitten told Joystiq.

The vision might not have changed, but how developers approach the console might.

Were people genuinely concerned about the internet requirements for the console? Does the largest cross-section of the Xbox One-buying market have access to satisfactory internet? Microsoft created the console a specific way for a reason. The cloud was always going to play an important part. Sony uses similar technology, but it hasn't showcased how it will be used to enhanced a game's world or experience, at least not in the capacity Microsoft has.

Today is a win for gamers -- they appear to have gotten what they wanted -- but it seems to me that it's also a step back for the technology, a restriction implemented on developers because of apparent consumer concerns that the console was too unattractive and "anti-consumer".

Well, we now have a pro-consumer device, but that doesn't necessarily mean we're getting the best possible Xbox One. How will we ever know? We won't, but it's a decision that could very well reshape development philosophies that are already in place.

What do you think Microsoft's about-face? Was it the right choice?

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Microsoft just ditched its Xbox One development philosophy. That can't be good. Comments

  • chucky110 35500 XP 20/06/2013
    They could put labels on games that require internet like they do with games that require Kinect
  • Tano 327870 XP 20/06/2013

    @chucky110 said: They could put labels on games that require internet like they do with games that require Kinect



    What's it like back there in 2002? :P

    See my point? I'm not sure you can compare something of a lesser requirement and not a necessity or household necessity like Kinect, with something as important to our daily lives like the internet.
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  • chucky110 35500 XP 20/06/2013
    The whingers should have to put up with it. now it's a possibility the games will be less quality because of this
  • Rashy 37198 XP 20/06/2013
    Hopefully they just label the games that need to be always online to take advantage of the cloud as such and that way nothing really changes too drastically.

    Overall I'm not impressed by the decision.
  • Blob 39930 XP 20/06/2013 +1
    Please, the cloud was never going to be as good as they'd like you to believe.
  • Tano 327870 XP 20/06/2013

    @Blob said: Please, the cloud was never going to be as good as they'd like you to believe.



    Like the NBN? Or really any technological advancement?

    Do you see how dysfunctional that argument is? Cloud is a very vague term that few people actually understand, and it's not like they're using it to sell the console to non-gamers. It's all very technical. Sony is also relying on it.

    And the cloud can be used in very simply ways. Like shaping out AI respond to you in a certain way, based on information passed through cloud. We use it every day when we go online.

    I know it's all PR fluff but that doesn't take away the fact that it's still an important thing moving forward for game development.
  • MezFunky 900 XP 20/06/2013
    Yeah, maybe the fact that they can just ditch the cloud focus so quickly shows that it wasn't all that important to begin with.
  • Jayden27 1554 XP 20/06/2013
    Valid points, and I wonder if the decisions will actually see increased consumer/gamer acceptance for the console.

    I'm sure various conspiracy theorists who view MS, Xbox One and Kinect as a spy device might now drop their arguments, given the console can now be played offline outside of the day one update (where's the hate for this, much like the Wii U's daye-one update haha).
  • Tano 327870 XP 20/06/2013

    @MezFunky said: Yeah, maybe the fact that they can just ditch the cloud focus so quickly shows that it wasn't all that important to begin with.



    Or they went into damage control after realising just how hostile gamers were to the device.

    I don't mean to disregard that cloud maybe isn't as big as they say it is, but why would you show LAUNCH games as using the cloud, and then ditch plans for the console to require an internet connection?

    I mean, it's akin to OnLive ditching internet connection requirements, although yes I know it's different because OnLive doesn't require discs. It defeats the purpose. Don't we need SOMEONE to make a better version of OnLive? Isn't that where we want to go? Or am I missing something?
  • method 328 XP 20/06/2013 +1
    Everyone seems so resistant to change. M$ failing was the shortcomings of their marketing department. They never really explained what they were attempting to do with cloud processing, so it made them look like where just being pedantic about DRM and "Spying" on people.

    @MezFunky said: Yeah, maybe the fact that they can just ditch the cloud focus so quickly shows that it wasn't all that important to begin with.



    They had no choice. Either watch their product fail or meet the demands of the masses. As a software developer I was genuinely excited about the prospects of the azure platform being integrated into the Xbox Ones game development. I'm hoping they still find a way to let the users who want to be online and take advantage of the cloud processing to do so.
  • BBking 27056 XP 20/06/2013
    "Microsoft made the mistake of making a console -- the Xbox 360 -- with a detachable HDD, which made it tough for developers to create games that required storage space for large amounts of data, as not everyone had a massive HDD."

    Developers complained about space storage...?
  • Destry228 0 XP 20/06/2013
    Makes you wonder what will happen to the Steam Box if it's like a direct Steam port.
  • method 328 XP 20/06/2013
    Bbut but but... I can play my games offline :\
  • Tano 327870 XP 20/06/2013

    BBking said: "Microsoft made the mistake of making a console -- the Xbox 360 -- with a detachable HDD, which made it tough for developers to create games that required storage space for large amounts of data, as not everyone had a massive HDD."
    Developers complained about space storage...?



    It presented issues for games that could have potentially included a mandatory install, which would have therefore increased playback quality and reduced load times...as well as give a little more leeway to the dev.
  • Rashy 37198 XP 20/06/2013

    BBking said: "Microsoft made the mistake of making a console -- the Xbox 360 -- with a detachable HDD, which made it tough for developers to create games that required storage space for large amounts of data, as not everyone had a massive HDD."
    Developers complained about space storage...?



    Bungie spoke about it quite a bit in regards to it's impact on Halo 3. Due to the way they had to optimise the game to run without a HDD, they actually recommend against installing the game to your HDD as it will load slower as a result.

  • punk 11307 XP 20/06/2013
    I'm surprised they back flipped but Sony were getting a lot of good publicity. Microsoft had to do something..

    I actually wanted to ask about the sharing as I was reading to much nonsense.

    Personally it wasn't all that clear to me
  • Olly 31789 XP 21/06/2013 +1
    Read this comment over on Eurogamer and its pretty good, thought i'd share...

    I can't help but think if they had just had the option of:

    1- Online activation of the game, allowing the game to be installed from the disc and played without the game.

    OR

    2- If you do not wish to activate online, or be online whilst playing, then allow installation of the game but require the disc to still be in the machine.

    Wouldn't this give everyone the best of both worlds? If you don't want to be online, you'll miss out on the new features (discless play, family share, and whatever else), but you'll still be able to play your games!
    If you don't mind being connected to the net, then you can take advantage of all the new features!

    As for trade-ins, there system would need to be tweaked.
    1- Keep the system in place, and with retailers.
    2- Don't have a silly limit on how often a game can be traded.
    3- Allow users to "remove" games from their own catalogue.
    4- Allow users to sell their games privately (eBay/ whatever).
    5- Create a website which allows users to check if a game they're buying is currently linked to any account.

    I'm sure there are things I don't know about the (now) old system, and there will be holes/ problems in this, but you'll never get a perfect system which everyone is happy with.

    I really want discless play, after 10+ years of not needing the disc in my PC to play any more .. it would be awesome to have that on consoles too. But without the online check, it's not possible.
  • Tyrus 57191 XP 21/06/2013
    I was extremely surprised when I read the news about the flip yesterday. I personally think it's a good result and will remind Microsoft there's only a certain level they can go before the vast majority of consumers will shout out not to be screwed over by some really, really questionable policies. The games are all there, there's no doubt about that. But to justify some of their policies as truly beneficial, well, they were doomed from the beginning, especially from the more extreme, self-entitled vocal gamers out there.

    An example would be the shared game feature, where you could share your games with 10 other people you deem "family'. While that sounds cool and all and more or so now that it's not going to be implemented, an MS employee confirmed www.heyuguysgaming.com/... the 'family share feature' Microsoft touted actually only involved a 45 minute- 1 hour demo for your 'family' to play before purchase. How was this meant to move us forward, exactly? It's not the fully-fledged killer feature many gamers thought it would be.

    I also don't think cloud would have been as revolutionary as they hyped it up to be, but then again, you've (Tano) seen it in action at E3, so maybe MS did have big plans for it. But I'd rather miss out on cloud then play a console with as much BS policies as Xbox One had.
  • Olly 31789 XP 21/06/2013

    @Tyrus said:an MS employee confirmed www.heyuguysgaming.com/... the 'family share feature' Microsoft touted actually only involved a 45 minute- 1 hour demo for your 'family' to play before purchase. How was this meant to move us forward, exactly?



    Hey you guys gaming? that article sounds very fake to me... [Shifty]
  • Tyrus 57191 XP 22/06/2013
    Haha my bad. I meant to post the original link, which was on Eurogamer, but they took it down as Microsoft apparently replied and shot down the suggestion.
  • PS3sR2Dear 661 XP 22/06/2013
    Someone remind us all why exactly we cant still buy a 3TB HDD for our consoles ?

    Game server lag to foreign countries isn't going away real fast even with the NBN in AUS..
  • Robert735 0 XP 24/06/2013

    @PS3sR2Dear said: Someone remind us all why exactly we cant still buy a 3TB HDD for our consoles ?
    Game server lag to foreign countries isn't going away real fast even with the NBN in AUS..



    pretty sure the ps4 still offers the ability to put in any 2.5" HDD (like the ps3 did). MS probably doesn't let people because they don't like people buying anything but their own proprietary drives.

    It wasn't that people could remove their HDD's which was a problem for MS, it was the fact that several people bought versions of the console that didn't have them. Even with 500GB, I'm skeptical on the Xbox One. Unless they also 180'd on making us install every game we buy to the HDD, that space will fill up fast. Games on both systems now will be using blu-ray and those have A LOT more data on them than dvds
  • Olly 31789 XP 24/06/2013

    @Tyrus said: Haha my bad. I meant to post the original link, which was on Eurogamer, but they took it down as Microsoft apparently replied and shot down the suggestion.



    More on the subject
    uk.ign.com/...

    The family share idea was definitely the real deal, not demo's...

    I actually hate all the whiners in the world lol.
  • Weallly 69 XP 29/06/2013
    I'm a little skeptical about the stability of the Xbox One with meeting demands, but it'll still be interesting to see if Xbox make further changes.
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