When they first unveiled the Xbox One back in May, Microsoft announced a console that was trying to do something new. Microsoft could see that the writing was on the wall – that digital sales were the future – and so they built a console and curated policies that would reflect that future.
However, alongside a console that included the ability to resell digital games and share them with up to 10 family members/friends, Microsoft also outright nixed the Xbox One’s ability to play used games and made 24-hour Internet check-ins a requirement. It was with those two specific policies that the company moved a little too far, and it was there that they lost a lot of gamers.
Since then, Microsoft has gone back on their DRM policies and always-online requirements, but in the process they lost many of the admittedly cool features that came along with them. That doesn’t mean those features are gone for good, though; in fact, Microsoft exec Albert Penello thinks they will return, “When the time is right.”
In an interview with GameSpot, Penello acknowledges that Microsoft moved a little too fast with their digital focus. They introduced features that were revolutionary for the digital-only space, but they were also all but ushering in the death of the used game. And so, for now the Xbox One will remain a disc-based system.
“Well, actually I think if you go back and you look at some of the things we said, that was one of the places that we were actually trying to pioneer. We were trying to implement the ability to trade [and] loan digital games with your friends which is something that no one else was doing…I believe, in retrospect that people have calmed down and gone back and actually looked at what we said, people are starting to understand, ‘Wow, they did want actually to allow me to loan and trade’ which other digital ecosystems don’t want to do. And so, yeah, I think we need to do that. That has to be part of the experience. Right now, we’re focused on launch and we switched the program back to discs, because that’s what customers wanted.”
That said, there are still gamers out there who liked the idea of a shared digital library and who were disappointed when Microsoft went back on their policies. And while Panello doesn’t have any formal announcement to make, he does think that the feature will return sometime in the future, likely when video games have mostly transitioned away from disc media.
“We’d love to figure out how to bring that back. I still think it was a good idea. Maybe it was a little too soon for some people, but I still think there were a lot of good ideas in there. And we’ll bring it back when the time is right.”
Microsoft wants to get their console in as many homes as they can, and since that goal was hindered by some fairly restrictive policies, they decided to make a complete about face on a lot of them. Most of those policies, we figure, are changed for good, but as Panello explains, the digital shared library did have some advantages. For now, though, Microsoft is focused on their impending console launch, which we just learned will take place on November 22nd in 13 countries across the globe.
Do you think that Microsoft will one day bring back the digital shared library for the Xbox One? Were you disappointed that they changed their policy, or did that increase your interest in the console?
The Xbox One will be available November 22, 2013 in North America.