Microsoft: Xbox One’s “sugar-coated”

During the SXSW Gaming Expo 2014 in Austin, Texas, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer has conceded that Microsoft’s Xbox One messaging across the May 2013 reveal event and E3 2013 could have been handled better.

“I look at last summer and that wasn’t a highpoint for me, coming out of the announcement of Xbox One and E3, where I thought our messaging around what we believed in was confused,” he admitted.

Spencer didn’t specify which aspects of the messaging Microsoft had gotten wrong, but the reference is presumably to the console’s now-abandoned 24 hour online DRM checks in particular, according to Total Xbox.

“One of the reasons I wanted to be a little more active socially was because I knew the core of why we were in this industry was not an evil reason,” he continued.

“It was to really delight consumers and build a great product that millions and millions of people would love.

“I learned a ton last summer as leader of our groups about being true to your core vision about what a product is, not being confusing, and frankly, when you’re going to say something to a consumer that might put them off, it’s better to just be direct and honest, rather than trying to sugar-coat something that might be controversial.

“I’d rather deal with the controversy of what we’re doing, and have an above-table conversation about that topic, rather than trying to sugar-coat it with some other news.

“And again, my interactions over the last six months, and I really think the interactions of [Xbox chief marketing and strategy officer Yusuf Mehdi] and [Xbox corporate vice president Marc Whitten] and other members of the leadership team – we’re meaning to build on what we learned last summer, and just build on who we are as people.”

This is a reversal from Spencers’ stance last year, as he argued that gamers buy consoles for games and not press events. He did also say “it’s important that we remain in a two-way dialogue with gamers and potential customers about what they would like to see”.

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