Microsoft exec dismisses Sony's Gamescom dig; insists it wants feedback from gamers

Sony's PlayStation leader Andrew House, decided to take some time near the end of its Gamescom press conference on Tuesday to take a shot at Microsoft, specifically on its many changes it has made for the Xbox One between its reveal in May to today. House hinted that Microsoft had "shifted their message and changed their story" in regard to the Xbox One while Sony has stayed on target with the PS4.

Today, Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer dismissed Sony's "shifting message" jab during a Eurogamer interview, saying that their efforts to listen to consumers was in fact an advantage. Spencer stated:

The two-way conversation we have with our customers is a strength. Certain people have tried to turn that into something that's a bad thing about what we're trying to do, and I just disagree.

Spencer used the example of his own participation at a community event at Gamescom on Tuesday night, were members of the general public were able to play Xbox One games. Spencer said he walked the floor and listened to comments from gamers, both good and bad, about the Xbox One launch titles that were playable on the floor.

In the end, Spencer says that Microsoft is still committed to its digital vision for games and the Xbox One console, despite making changes to their original plans to accommodate gamers who still want physical media. He stated, "It meant some delays in some of the stuff around digital so we could fit in the time to get physical done at launch, but our vision remains the same."

Source: Eurogamer | Image via Microsoft

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I would say they are changing their tune for a little while. I would say for maybe 8 to 12 months once they get the base settled they will change their tune again with a force update and there is nothing the customer can do at that point.

See how easy it was to change from locked to unlocked + they already have the code for how they wanted initially so it wouldn't be too difficult to implement it back.

You guys seem to assume that doing such a thing would result in zero backlash and no legal issues. Its one thing to change these plans before console a launches, but to change it once its already on the market is must more difficult then a simple lock or unlock. MS would have a gigantic headache trying to manage all the changes needed to revert to the original plan.

The only thing I see changing in a year or so is that MS will roll out all of the features they had planned around the 24hr check in requirement such as the library share, but now without such a check in and reserved for digital content only.

Meaning that they will keep retail content under the same policies we see now without change, but digital content features will expand to include sharing, rentals, maybe even the digital resell options they had mentioned.

I never bash Microsoft. They've given me a good living supporting stuff over the years in server products. But I'm not a blind fanboy of any one company either. And let's be honest, Microsoft made huge mistakes on this and it possibly cost them the next console war.

Its hard to think that its impossible to make this up for MS. I just don't get the idea that now its all locked up for Sony. It seemed to be based a lot on MS' initial mistakes, not on much they have done since then.

If Sony can turn things around from what they did with the PS3, I wouldn't be shocked to see MS do the same now.

Oh goodness, the funny thing is seeing trolls chime in and try to bash MS over this.

Bash Xbox, bash Windows, blah blah blah, same old story.

The reality is that most people that are outside of this small sphere of the 'internet gaming community' aren't quick to pick sides and troll the other side.

So companies like Sony and MS just need to worry about the final product and what they are offering customers. Offer the content they want and the experience that will make them happy and it will take care of itself. At this point, looks like both are doing just that.

Let those that enjoy this ridiculous arguing waste there time pointing fingers, placing blame, and twisting news to fit their ideas.

trooper11 said,
Oh goodness, the funny thing is seeing trolls chime in and try to bash MS over this.

Bash Xbox, bash Windows, blah blah blah, same old story.


Don't forget "bash Windows Phone" lol

Maybe they should listen to feedback more, know your target market, all this weird junk with their policies and DRM, the mandatory 'spy tool', not launching in many countries where especially early adopters have their system language set to English anyways....

It feels like MS completely lost touch with its audience and never bothered to question an average gamer at any point in time between the 360 release and today.

I'm not sure how they have lost touch at this point. They actually seem to be getting back in touch ever since they decided to change their drm plans. Everything from their focus on gaming, their indie support, and little things like disconnecting Kinect has been positive things, things that people want to see.

The 'spy tool' remark is merely an opinion, not evidence that they are out of touch. Not launching in some countries isn't being out of touch, its being behind in preparing your consoles as far as language support etc. If MS just released consoles that only supported English in these countries, there would be many, many people that wouldn't be happy. Again, this about the market, not how we individually feel.

Personally, Id rather have a console out when its ready, not rushed out just to say its out there.

Basically, it boils down to if you hold a grudge against MS for the initial issues, or if you are more concerned with what the reality is at launch.

If they knew their audience, or gamers at all. They wouldn't've come with a mandatory 24hr check in.
I quoted the spy tool as its not my personal opinion, but those of people around me. Thanks to PRISM/NSA scandals going on, this gadget is perceived as their way into everyone's household
There's several European markets left out where most gamers have their consoles, OS, phones etc set to ENGLISH, not their own native language.
Those that don't are either used for work, or used by the elderly and technologically challenged.
Early adopters, you know, the ones that can make or break a console, play in English.
If they just polled their 360 gamers and check what language the system is set to, they'd see that the active gamers (nolifers) have it set to English.
But no, after all the media mumbo jumbo, they will see some countries will have a console months before they do.....

I thought we finally got rid of timed releases of junk. Either suspend the release of the entire console, or just release it with a "localized update pending" notice. This is just a(nother) bad move IMO.

Besides, until 5-10 years ago, things never got localized beyond English, Spanish, French and German, if localized at all.
Now its a deal-breaker for releasing the console on a same or similar date?

Maybe you missed my point. They seemed to have started to listen ever since they changed their drm stance. They made the mistake and then they changed it. why is it so hard to accept that?

As far as the Kinect stuff, its kind of hard to blame MS for not 'listening' since the whole Prism/NSA stuff came out well after these plans were in place. In fact, since they made the change so that it can be completely disconnected, it would seem to me that they did react to those issues people had. They built in software features to disable it and then said you could just unplug it.

As far as the English stuff, I guess your right. I'll take your word for it that you know most gamers will prefer to use their console in English. If that is so, then there are two possibilities:

1. MS is ignoring this and wants to insure complete compatibility with its voice controls at launch (that has little to do with the language you read and more with handling your accent or language for voice controls)

2. MS is using this as the reason when the reality may involve something else.

I don't know the truth, but those are possibilities.

But lets not forget that neither console is launching everywhere at the same time. Even Sony isn't doing that. They are launching in NA on the 15th of Nov, in Europe/SA/Austrailia on the 29th of Nov, and we still don't know what the date is for the Asian territories. MS has yet to supply us with dates, so we don't know if the delay means two weeks or two months. Heck look at how this generation went to see how its not unusual to have staggered rollouts.

I agree that you would rather be everywhere on day one, and it can hurt you if your competitive is available where you are not, giving people a chance to buy their stuff instead of yours. I'm not sure how bad that will affect MS since we don't know the dates. If its pretty close together, I think it will have little impact since there is likely to be a shortage of both consoles regardless.

Thing is, usually it's to late if you try to fix it after the fire has already burned down your forrest.
Can't blame MS for Kinect, that mainly has been bad timing. If the PRISM scandal didn't happen. I'm pretty sure few people would care or even notice it as a spy tool.
And taking my word for it sounds so weird though I don't know every gamer so no statistics, but from the hundreds I do know. I can count them on 1 hand those that use localized systems. Mainly due to the fact that most are grown with everything in English and not localized so it feels wrong to use your own language on a computer or gaming console (Germans and French are a strong exception to this though, they have everything translated and dubbed).
Many casual gamers indeed seem to prefer localized. But casual gamers are not going to be buying the console at launch prices. They already have a 360 or PS3 (or Wii).

I can understand their possible reasoning behind it just fine. Personally I was going for a PS4 (due to exclusives and game library on PSN) but I notice that those that wanted to stick with the Xbox, are dropping to PS4 because these things.
The always-on, mandatory Kinect and now the 'gotta wait till next year' is added. Even if they backtrack on their initial announcements, damage is being done already.
And I don't want to go back to 1 console that's absolutely dominating, I personally liked a balanced out generation like the PS3-360 one, don't need billions of mass produced games like we saw on NES, PSX/PS2 etc.

But it is going to be a very interesting generation. I still want a XBO too though, there's a lot of things I'm interested in, but maybe somewhere over the next year or so. Plus I'm hoping devs take good advantage of Kinect or WP8/Win8 intergration and want to see how that plays out first.

And yeah if release dates are close together, it's not a big issue. But as it's broadcasted now it sounds like they will be months apart.

It's these little things why I wonder "Is anyone at Microsoft even listening to themselves before going public", no repetitions, no one to check whether its the best thing to say. I figure they have the resources to know it better then Sony does, and Sony has been giving very good replies. Even though its marketing, it looks like they had their say ready and came prepared.

Well if people are dropping the X1 because Kinect is bundled even though it can be unplugged and because of the delay in releasing in some countries, there is not much that can be done.

If MS can get the X1 out sooner, they will. I don't think they are doing the delay to spite people. The only reason this would happen is if there was a serious issue at play.

Since they did not announce a release date yet, it makes me think they wanted to wait for Sony's announcement and also wait as long as possible to try and iron out whatever is causing the delay. I agree that announcing a push to next year was not a good idea, so we will see if they can get ahead of schedule or if they have to commit to that kind of delay.

I know people like to ignore this, but there is always the option of importing an X1 from a country getting it at launch. Since the whole thing is region free, its pretty darn easy, just need to get cash cards to buy things on XBL until the update is pushed out to support the local currency/localization/etc. But that might not be worth it to some.

As far as those in countries that do get it day one, I think MS has turned the situation around for the most part. The main issue I hear now is from those that have no interest in Kinect and don't want to pay for it. I don't know how big of a group that is, but I don't see MS unbundling it, at least not for a while.

The only thing Microsoft listened to was pre order numbers.

They were awful so they changed tune.

Don't take us for idiots Microsoft.

Listening to you? Dont lie to yourself. They are listening to their shareholders, they dont give a rats ass about you. Nor does any other company of their size.

The DRM stuff was rumoured waaaay before the console reveals and people moaned, they didn't listen then, they only listened when everyone shifted to pre-ordering the PS4.

And you still think they did it because of you? No. Of course when pre orders sifted to PS4 they are losing money and shareholders are not happy about it, never. If they would care about you they would have changed it before the pre-orders sifting when people moaned.

I completely agree with spencer. I think sony's exec has his bud hurt because the only advantage they had over Xbox was the stuff around DRM and sharing. oh yea and slightly better hardware spec on paper. but who cares? experience is important. controller is much better in xbox (even looks better)

That's the interesting thing about Sony. They never seem to advertise the strengths of what they are selling, they just crap on what others are doing differently.
Same thing that they did with the Wii. "OMG. Motion control is teh stupid!!" "Check out our new MOVE"
I can guarantee that Sony is working on a similar DRM system that MS was proposing.

IM_bck said,
I can guarantee that Sony is working on a similar DRM system that MS was proposing.

Exaggerate if you must, but there's no reason to lie.

They still have the price point advantage and a system with 2x the processor power as X1.

Also, I must've missed something, because didn't Microsoft initially say that the X1 was built around the DRM system and the 24 hour check-in requirement so could not be changed? Then a week later came out and say no DRM and no 24 hour check-in required? A two-way conversation my ass. The only reason they changed it was because they knew they'd get slaughtered by Sony if they didn't. Its also interesting how Microsoft claims its still in their plans. The Sony exec was spot on about Microsoft flip-flopping on their word.

still_rookie said,
They still have the price point advantage and a system with 2x the processor power as X1.

Also, I must've missed something, because didn't Microsoft initially say that the X1 was built around the DRM system and the 24 hour check-in requirement so could not be changed? Then a week later came out and say no DRM and no 24 hour check-in required? A two-way conversation my ass. The only reason they changed it was because they knew they'd get slaughtered by Sony if they didn't. Its also interesting how Microsoft claims its still in their plans. The Sony exec was spot on about Microsoft flip-flopping on their word.


First of all They put Internet connection requirement because of the DRM (same way steam client connect to internet every once in a while) they changed DRM model back to the old way because folks here and there didn't like it. that's listening to users.
Secondly, PS4 doesn't have 2X processing power, its not like a car engine that if you double the capacity it doubles the horse power. there are lots of factors involved. software optimization is equally important which xbox has always been doing better job on that. proof would be ps3 vs xbox360. many games looked even better on xbox although ps3 had better processor and also better graphic card. let alone now they use almost the same graphic card.
Xbox has tons of more features, Kinect integration is awesome just lookup the videos on youtube, illumiroom is coming soon, controller is better. I don't even mention TV settop box integration and of course a much superior online networking for multiplayer games.
pricepoint I think is so fair when you look at all these features and an extra Kinect and headset included in the box.

Edited by trojan_market, Aug 22 2013, 4:06pm :

He's right, I like knowing I'm being listened to. However, I did like the original plan. It's unfortunate that so many people didn't understand it.

WinMunkee said,
He's right, I like knowing I'm being listened to. However, I did like the original plan. It's unfortunate that so many people didn't understand it.

I understood perfectly well, thank you very much.

The problem was that the DRM implementation was flawed, in that it made being a consumer/gamer highly and unnecessarily restrictive. This was not acceptable.

The features can return, with more flexible controls in place, and everybody can be happy.

THAT is what some people refuse to understand.