As Microsoft prepares its presentation for E3 2017, one of the gaming giant’s Vice Presidents, Yusuf Mehdi, took to LinkedIn to discuss preparations and reminisce about E3 in years past. One particular topic Mehdi shared was the struggled launch of the Xbox One and what the company has done to improve since then.
Mehdi revealed how excited the team was to introduce new tech with the Xbox One, as well as a new experience for gamers that would go well beyond what the Xbox 360 has provided. However, as Mehdi explains, Microsoft quickly learned that gamers weren’t pleased with the company’s direction, so Medhi and his team pivoted to better match gamer expectations and requests. Medhi explained:
"With our initial announcement of Xbox One and our desire to deliver breakthroughs in gaming and entertainment, the team made a few key decisions regarding connectivity requirements and how games would be purchased that didn’t land well with fans. While the intent was good – we imagined a new set of benefits such as easier roaming, family sharing and new ways to try and buy games, we didn’t deliver what our fans wanted. We heard their feedback, and while it required great technical work, we changed Xbox One to work the same way as Xbox 360 for how our customers could play, share, lend, and resell games. This experience was such a powerful reminder that we must always do the right thing for our customers, and since we’ve made that commitment to our Xbox fans, we’ve never looked back."
It’s refreshing to hear some candid thoughts from a Microsoft executive about the Xbox One launch, which was admittedly a bit clunky. After the initial reveal, Microsoft was forced to backpedal on a lot of planned features, which inarguably propped up PlayStation 4, which launched at the same time.
That said, Microsoft has seen a great deal of success thanks to its backward compatibility service, which now has over 300 games available for Xbox One owners to download and play. And with new games added to the backward compatibility library every month, it’s only growing stronger as an important feature for the Xbox One.
Mehdi expanded on the backward compatibility point by discussing how much fans appreciate the feature. In fact, the VP mentions how he would have expected the most fan excitement to come from games like Halo, but has instead come from backward compatibility. Mehdi said:
"In our own experience with Xbox, it was the E3 2015 announcement of Xbox Backwards Compatibility and Xbox Play Anywhere features that elicited some of the biggest cheers from our fans. You hope to get such cheers from a new release of a game like Halo, but to get this kind of reaction for Xbox Backwards Compatibility reminded me yet again how delivering on the things that your fans really value trumps all. In this case it wasn't a great new game that we wanted to sell, rather it was recognizing the value and investment our fans had made in their game library on the Xbox 360 and enabling them to bring it forward that was the delight."
Fortunately, backward compatibility is available on both the Xbox One and Xbox One S, and is planned for Project Scorpio, which is set to launch later this year. Chances are good that Microsoft will spend a good deal of E3 2017 discussing Project Scorpio and the games and features coming along with it.
It’ll be interesting to see how well Project Scorpio sells and if it gives Microsoft a leg up on Sony. Despite having a stellar year in 2016, PlayStation 4 has continued to outsell the Xbox One around the globe
That said, it’s good to see Microsoft trying to give gamers what they want and doing its best to offer a strong offering despite selling only around half the number of consoles Sony has sold. Gamers will undoubtedly be paying close attention to what Microsoft has planned for Xbox One at E3, as well as the rest of the year with the Project Scorpio launch.