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MS surprised by 'how negative' reaction was to Xbox One DRM

But an all-digital future is inevitable, says Albert Penello

Microsoft's director of product planning Albert Penello says the firm expected controversy over its original always-online Xbox One pitch, but was surprised by "how negative" the reaction was.

"If I had to go back and wish that I could rewind time and redo one thing, that would be the one thing," he told Rev3Games, admitting flaws in the firm's messaging.


"I think with time, people have understood what we were trying to do, and in fact I'm sure you've seen it with the fans. They were saying, 'God, I wish some of this stuff would come back'," he said, likely in reference to the axed Family Sharing plan that would have allowed gamers to share all their games, digital or retail, with friends.

"People got in their minds that what we were trying to do was evil or anti-customer when, in fact, we were looking at what Steam does, we were looking at what iOS is going, we were looking where the customers were going and saying 'I think we can actually give you a better all-digital experience."

"So was I surprised that people had a reaction to it? No. I mean, we knew it was going to be a controversial decision. Was I surprised how negative the reaction was going to be? Yes," said Penello.

"We were surprised at how vocal it was, we were surprised at the reaction and the assumptions that people had about what we were trying to do. So we did the famous '180'."

But Penello insists that an all-digital future is imminent. "Nobody debates there's going to be a world, whether it's this gen, or next-gen, that discs are going to go away, it's gone away in just about every medium," he said.

"I think if anything we thought it was going to happen sooner than the customer. We took a hard stance on it.

"I hope that in some point in the future some of those cool features - some of the Family Sharing, the household sharing stuff, the games are always with you - we want to bring that stuff back."

The Xbox One release date has been confirmed as November 22, 2013. The console will launch in 13 markets including North America, UK and Australia simultaneously.