In a new interview with The Telegraph, Microsoft's Yusuf Mehdi explains that he believes Microsoft's original plan for the Xbox One--which included a number of since-reversed policies for digital games--was the "right vision." The problem, Mehdi said, was that Microsoft didn't communicate clearly enough with fans about what was the best road to take for the platform.
"If we had more dialogue with our fans, we would have heard more loud and clear that this was important and we would have delivered that future" -- Yusuf Mehdi
"I think it was the right vision," Mehdi said. "I think a digital future for games is the way to go. I think where we missed was that we didn't give customers the choice if they wanted to sell or pass on their disc. If we had more dialogue with our fans, we would have heard more loud and clear that this was important and we would have delivered that future. If we had done that maybe we would have gotten to a better place. Who knows, maybe fans would have said no, let's skip the disc and give me those features."
Microsoft's original vision for the Xbox One included a 24-hour online check-in requirement, limitations on how you could re-sell games, and a Family Sharing plan that was going to allow you to share digital games with up to 10 people. Microsoft reversed these controversial policies just a month after announcing them in the first place.
The company also made a dramatic platform decision just last month, announcing that the Kinect camera would no longer be bundled with all Xbox One consoles. You can now buy a $399 Xbox One that does not come with Kinect, though you'll be able to buy a camera by itself later on this year.
"There were certainly some developers that make dedicated Kinect games that would like it to stay in, but in the broad masses we arrived at the conclusion that if Xbox was more accessible that will bring more people to the system which over time brings a better platform for developers," Mehdi said. "Ultimately what developers care about is the reaching the broadest audience with their games. The hope is that people will come and use the system and they'll be encouraged to buy a Kinect."
Also in the interview, Mehdi said Microsoft competitor Sony has done an admirable job launching the PlayStation 4. "Hats off to Sony, they've done a really great job with their launch," Mehdi said. "What is good for them and for us is good for the industry and is good for gamers. It means the console generation is vibrant, more developers will come and write more games and we all get to play more excitement entertainment."