E3 is over, but that doesn't mean the fun has to stop. An internal, seemingly official Microsoft PR document about the Xbox One just leaked out, but it's not full of horrible secrets, or general shadiness. Nope, it's actually full of good news that Microsoft just didn't bother to stress.
With gamers up in arms about the Xbox One's 24-hour online check-in requirement, or the limit of one trade per used game, you'd think Microsoft would give every single positive aspect of its new system ample time in the spotlight to try to cancel out the bad vibes. Well, here's a few Microsoft let slide by mostly unnoticed, in some cases even totally unmentioned:
No ads on the dashboard
Q: Will there be advertisements built into the dashboard like Xbox 360? How many?
A: We designed the Xbox One dashboard to make your favorite games and entertainment even more front and center. Advertisements will not be visible on the home screen, so you only see what’s most important to you.
Xbox Live Gold extends to anyone using your console
Q: How many people can be signed in to Xbox Live on a single Xbox One at one time?
A: We made that simple, it’s virtually unlimited. Our vision is to extend the great benefits of Xbox Live Gold membership to anyone in your home.
...We’re also announcing today a new benefit for Gold membership on Xbox One is the ability for anyone in your home to access many Xbox Live Gold benefits on your Xbox One at no additional cost. And the primary Xbox Live Gold membership travels with you to any Xbox One system.
Your wired, 3rd-party controllers might still work
Q: Will my wired 3PP accessories (controller) work on Xbox One?
A: Today we’re here to talk about Xbox One and the best in class games and entertainment systems we announced on stage Monday. We’ll share more details about accessory compatibility closer to launch.
The Xbox One will play nice with universal remotes
Q: Will there be a remote control for Xbox One? / Why is there not a remote for launch?
A: ...We will also publish our Xbox One infrared remote control codes at launch for existing 3rd party universal remotes to use.
Now granted, none of this softens the blow for folks who just can't manage an Internet connection for those 24-hour check-ins, or can't afford anything but the cheapest of used games. But with a little better messaging—messaging that at least made a serious effort to accentuate these sort of positives—goes a long way to convince users that they aren't just being screwed by a malevolent corporation that's not only out to take their money, but also to ruin their day.
Even the features of the new system that are restrictive—like those regarding physical game discs—come with upsides that just didn't get the positve spin they could have. As an alleged Xbox One engineer said in this email leaked on Pastebin [all sic]:
The thing is we suck at telling the story. The whole point of the DRM switch from disc based to cloud based is to kill disc swapping, scratched discs, bringing discs to friends house, trade-ins for shit value with nothign going back to developers, and high game costs. If you want games cheaper then 59.99, you have to limit used games somehow. Steam's model requires a limited used game model.
The thing is, the DRM is really really similar to steam... You can login anywhere and play your games, anyone in your house can play with the family xbox. The only diff is steam you have to sign in before playing, and Xbox does it automatically at night for you (once per 24 hours)
It's a long tail strategy, just like steam. Steam had it's growing pains at the beginning with all it's drm shit as well. [...] For digital downloads steam had no real competition at the time, they were competing against boxed sales. At the time people were pretty irate about steam, (on 4chan too...) It was only once they had a digital marketplace with DRM that was locked down to prevent sharing that they could do super discounted shit.
It's one thing to make some tough decisions and take some heat for it, but it's something else entirely to not even make the best argument you can in your defense. Who'll fight that fight if you don't? [superannuation via Dan Teasdale]