Did Microsoft make a mistake in listening to fan feedback for Xbox One?

In June, Microsoft famously reversed its previously announced plans to restrict used disc game sales, along with its Internet DRM policies, for the Xbox One console. The changes followed a massive, and loud, backlash from potential Xbox One buyers, who wanted to keep the current used game policies and DRM setup that Xbox 360 owners enjoy.

But did Microsoft make the right move, both as a company and for its customers, to cave in to user demand in this case? Gamesindustry International interviewed Jesse Schell, the founder of casual game developer Schell Games, claims that Microsoft did in fact make the wrong move. In fact, he states that in terms of all large companies, "There's one mistake that they all make, and that mistake is listening to their customers."

Schell claims that ultimately, the changes that Microsoft originally wanted to put into the Xbox One were for features that their customers would have embraced in the long run. However, he adds:

The reality is that they can't do what the customers want. Basically, Microsoft said, 'We're going to be Steam. You like Steam, don't you?' And we all said, 'No, we hate that. We hate you. You're an idiot to do that.' They came out and said, 'We're gonna do this new thing.' And the customers said, 'No, we don't want that, we hate that' - even though it's what they really want and what they will ultimately buy. So now Microsoft has had to say they won't do all that stuff, but someone will.


Schell's comments were somewhat echoed last week by id Software's John Carmack, who said that the "witch hunt" against Microsoft this summer was "a little bit unjustified". He also said that an all-digital future for games "... will be good for us in general."

However, Microsoft has faced this kind of backlash before--and very recently--with the launch of Windows 8. Many users complained about the lack of a Start menu on the desktop and that they could no longer boot straight to the desktop. For Windows 8.1, Microsoft has added in the option to boot directly to the desktop UI, along with a Start button, if not a full Start menu.

Neowin readers certainly have had much to say on the matter, both in our news comments and on our forums. A forum thread about the Xbox One's DRM policies and other matters was started by njbrodeur87, before Microsoft changed its mind on requiring an Internet connection every 24 hours. He stated, " ... when technology advances sometimes requirements need to be made to make things better. This I think is a good choice. It will leave people behind like Xbox Live did when it was broadband only, but in the end will provide some great experiences on Xbox."

The debates about the Xbox One, and the changes Microsoft made to the system in response to customers, will likely continue in the weeks and months leading to the launch of the console. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds and which side will be proven right.

Source: Gamesindustry.biz | Images via Microsoft

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