Xbox One Messaging Has Been Shameful, Says Microsoft Exec

Marc Whitten believes the company screwed up the conversation with consumers from day one.

News by Mike Williams, .

When the mere mention of your console at EVO 2013 elicits booing from the crowd, you know you have a public relations problem. In an interview with IGN, Xbox One chief product officer Marc Whitten admitted that Microsoft screwed it up when it came to selling the next-gen console's features to players.

"I think it's pretty simple. We've got to just talk more, get people understanding what our system is,” Whitten said. “The thing that's really gratifying is that people are excited about the types of features that are possible, and it's sort of shame on us that we haven't done as good of a job as we can to make people feel like that's where we're headed."

"The number one thing I want to do is I want to get the product out, because people are going to use it and obviously a lot of this is more evident, but certainly what I want to do right is now is talk more about how we thought about these features,” he continued. “I see people feeling like we've moved away from digital, when certainly I don't believe that's the case. I believe we've added on choice for people. It was an addition of a feature onto Xbox One, not a removal of a feature. And I understand people see things like Family Sharing and they're like, 'Wow, I was really looking forward to that,' which is more of an engineering reality time frame type-thing."

More than 25,000 supporters have signed the petition asking for Microsoft to revert back to the Xbox One shown prior to E3 2013. One of the biggest features that potential Xbox One users are missing is the Family Sharing option, allowing all members of a family to share in a purchased title.

"When I read some of the things like that petition, from my perspective we took a lot of the feedback and, while Xbox One is built to be digital native, to have this amazing online experience, we realized people wanted some choice. They wanted what I like to call a bridge, sort of how they think about the world today using more digital stuff. What we did, we added to what the console can do by providing physical and offline modes in the console. It isn't about moving away from what that digital vision is for the platform. Frankly, I think we need to just do more to let people see how the console works, what they're going to be able to do for it.”

"Family Sharing is a great example of how you do that with content. I think you're going to see us, both with examples like that and with other things, keep pushing on how that's something great. An example is some of the stuff we're doing with what we announced around Gold, where other people in the house get the advantages of Gold when I'm a Gold member. You're going to see us continue to push in those areas.”

Whitten explained that the loss of Family Sharing when Microsoft first announced its reversal on Xbox One's always-online system was not a spiteful move by the company. Instead, Microsoft needs to figure out how to implement the feature under a different online infrastructure.

“I probably should have been more clear,” Whitten said. “We took some feedback and realized there was some stuff we needed to add to the program. We had to make room, just from a pure engineering perspective, to be able to get that work done. So taking Family Sharing out of the launch window was not about 'we're going to take our toys and go home' or something like that. It was just sort of the logistics of 'how do we get this very, very clear request that people really want, that choice, and how do we make sure we can do an excellent job of that, get to launch, and then be able to build a bunch of great features?'"

"You know, if there's anything I think that Xbox 360 has proven, it's that we're super committed to this constant cycle of improving the experience and the software, and it's what we've been doing for 360 for the past seven years, and it's certainly where we're going to go with Xbox One.”

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Comments 6

  • Avatar for Bla1ne #1 Bla1ne 4 years ago
    How they were communicating wasn't the issue; it was what they were saying. Thankfully that's been righted--I can't believe some fools are asking for MS to revert!Edited July 2013 by Bla1ne
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  • Avatar for bigdsweetz #2 bigdsweetz 4 years ago
    @Bla1ne I agree and disagree. I believe if they talked this over better, it would have been more receptive. Not saying that I was going to get one up front (I'm going to wait on this. I've already gone through 7 Xbox's) but I would have been more likely to get one sooner then later.
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  • Avatar for Ryze #3 Ryze 4 years ago
    Their presentations were terrible as far as abating fears was concerned.

    Stevie Wonder would have seen that privacy, and casual game swapping would have been HUGE sticking points, so they should have gotten their story CLEAR and STRAIGHT with everyone knowing and saying the same thing.

    A few diagrams showing how things work, without the confusing / confused suits jabbering and babbling different messages would have helped them here.

    Can you imagine Steve Jobs unveiling a product in the way that X180's been revealed? No - then they had MUCH more work to do on their presentation, as it was FULL of holes.

    Shame on Microsoft for that, as the product's not bad, but there have been so many uncertainties, dodging and avoidance, swapping and changing. With this, along with the stubbornness of not allowing the OPTION of a start menu in Windows 8, they've burned their bridges with me.

    I'm no longer interested in their new products, as the people who made producs that appeal to me - the Win 98SE, Win 2000, Win XP, Win 7 and Xbox 360 people - clearly are no longer there, or have been shafted out of their decision-making positions.
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  • Avatar for robtoohey #4 robtoohey 4 years ago
    @namander I know you like SOny, but.. with the way you described yourself, i'd call you a gamer foremost ;)
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  • Avatar for Shamroqs #5 Shamroqs 4 years ago
    The only thing more shameful than their messaging was their actual policies behind the messaging. Now they've backtracked and apparently have Marc Whitten running damage control PR based around an idiotic petition? The damage has been done as far as I'm concerned. If Microsoft was genuinely interested in having a "conversation with gamers" about these policies and features, they could have done that a long time ago, and things never would have gotten to this point.
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  • Avatar for fullyillustrated #6 fullyillustrated 4 years ago
    Lets be honest, the world loves a good drama, and in 2 years from now, nobody will remember this shambles when they are arguing over which version of COD12 has the best shaders.
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