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Microsoft: Xbox One Won't Require Kinect To Function

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the hmm,-what-do-we-complain-about-now? dept.

XBox (Games) 216

UnknowingFool writes "Microsoft has reversed course on another aspect of the Xbox One. Though Xbox One will come bundled with a Kinect sensor, the console will work without it. Critics were had suggested that an always-on video and audio sensor could be used to spy on users. Microsoft's Marc Whitten said, 'Games use Kinect in a variety of amazing ways from adding voice to control your squad mates to adding lean and other simple controls beyond the controller to full immersive gameplay. That said, like online, the console will still function if Kinect isn't plugged in, although you won't be able to use any feature or experience that explicitly uses the sensor.' This is the latest reversal from Microsoft since they killed the phone-home DRM and made it region-free."

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Rock and a hard place (5, Interesting)

SniperJoe (1984152) | about a year ago | (#44555099)

Is it me or does it seem like Microsoft is between a rock and a hard place now? They've spent months telling us about how the Kinect was mandatory and that it would be used by all their games moving forward! Now developers are going to have to acknowledge that it is optional and that a substantial portion of the population won't use it. Furthermore, people are going to ask, if it's optional, why are you forcing me to buy it?

For every one of these u-turns they make (after touting the features that these things apparently relied on), they just seem more and more boxed in.

Re:Rock and a hard place (4, Insightful)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year ago | (#44555203)

I think a substantial portion of the population WILL still use it. Microsoft's stance change solely means they want to turn off the most vocal naysayers, that's all there is to it.

Re:Rock and a hard place (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44555631)

My whole issue with the Kinect always on wasn't necessarily the idea of being spied on, although I'm not a fan of that thought. My issue was, however the fact that if it comes on every time you turn your console on it uses the motor inside to crank it up and then to track you around your room then it's going to wear the motor out more quickly. Microsoft is already well known for making hardware that breaks, so I see it as a way for them to sell more Kinect units as the motors in them begin to die. This is why the Kinect on my 360 was only plugged in when I needed to use it for a game.

Re:Rock and a hard place (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | about a year ago | (#44556035)

The current model kinect doesn't require that motor to function. Only for initial tracking. You can point the camera yourself.

Re:Rock and a hard place (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44556143)

I don't know any hardcore gamers who use kinect with any kinect enhanced games. using it to control squaddies or stuff like that.

heck, I don't even know anyone who use it for sports games or dance games either. the only places I've seen it even hooked up are in shops and the local MS office(and I know more than 3 people with 360). I don't know _anyone_ who has had the "FUCK YEAH THIS IS THE FUTURE! YES YES YES!" mentality about playing with kinect or controlling anything with it.

anyways... they had to do this to sell xbox one's - this or provide a blanket to wrap it in. because the facts are a) it has a camera and a microphone and b) they can't say no to USA gov. and c) USA gov has shown the will to hijack things like it if they feel like it.

Re:Rock and a hard place (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year ago | (#44556281)

Can't you just... turn it off when not playing it? I mean the whole thing, not just the Kinect.
I don't and won't own any gaming console anytime soon, that's why I'm asking.

Re:Rock and a hard place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44556495)

No, the system has to be on in at least some low power state that it can check you own the games you bought.

Re:Rock and a hard place (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#44556515)

What? And have to walk to turn it on?

Re:Rock and a hard place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44556615)

I agree; they will use it. We have three of the XBox 360 - one for our daughter at college, one for our son, and the older large white one that is hooked up to our main TV mostly for when we have guests and play rock band. We have one Kinnect. We tried it out with the game it came with and gave it a "meh". However, just yesterday at dinner my son was interested in something - Splinter Cell 5 maybe - that was going to have Kinnect support in the game. He thought it might be interesting to use. I am sure many people will use it once the games use it for more than things that make you go "meh".

Re:Rock and a hard place (2)

Talderas (1212466) | about a year ago | (#44556791)

Microsoft is setting themselves up to be able to offer an XBox One console without the Kinect for $399-$449 rather than the bundled version for $499. This lets them compete better against the PS4's $399 pricing. The problem, of course, was that Microsoft was selling the platform to developers on the premise that everyone would have a kinect to get better buy in.

Re:Rock and a hard place (5, Insightful)

rwven (663186) | about a year ago | (#44555225)

I think developers, knowing that players will at least have the hardware, will be free to make Kinect required for their specific games. I'm imagining some kind of art on game cases to specify this, like there was for the 360.

The fact is, most games/developers weren't going to use that rubbish anyway. That kind of control simply isn't the future because people don't WANT to play games and use interfaces that way. It's FAR more of a hassle to wave your hands around than it is to just push a button or move a control stick. If it was 100% reliable like handheld controllers are it'd be one thing, but the kinect as it stands has like a 40% success rate at actually understanding what you're trying to get it to do.

Re:Rock and a hard place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44555481)

I'm going to go with your neckbeard gets in the way of the sensor's accuracy, works fine for me with a little bit of adjusting.

Re:Rock and a hard place (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44555789)

Exactly. If overweight games wanted to actually move they'd play real sports.

Re: Rock and a hard place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44555227)

It wont be too hard on developers. All they need to do is add a "Connect your Kinnect to play this game."

Everyone will have one, so it wont be optional if they want to play your game.

Re:Rock and a hard place (5, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#44555311)

Simple answer, really...

They'll see if they can slip all that DRM and restriction back in once enough customers have bought one. They'll claim that piracy is massive, and that they had to take drastic steps, etc.

Sort of like how Sony popped in that little update on the PS3 that killed OtherOS, but this time with an excuse that the common folk will rationalize.

Re:Rock and a hard place (2, Insightful)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about a year ago | (#44555651)

Which is exactly why Microsoft isnt getting a sale from me. You dont forgive the abusive boyfriend just because he promises to stop beating you.

Re:Rock and a hard place (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year ago | (#44555725)

I like how you're perfectly aware of the exactly one time in console history that something like what you describe happened, and you're also aware of who did it... and presumably also therefore aware of the backlash they took over it, right down to having the root trust of their console's security ripped apart by irate hackers looking to reverse the restrictions.

And yet, you think that the next company to try it will be a *competitor* of the only one to have done it so far? The company who benefited massively from Sony's colossal blunder? Microsoft may have underestimated the backlash against their initial plans, but they know full well what the consequences would be if they retroactively returned to them. Yet, apparently you think that they're already planning to do it, despite the obvious consequences they would face?

What the hell would make you assume that? Does logic just not exist where you're from?

Re:Rock and a hard place (4, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#44555499)

I think part of the problem of MS was the doublespeak that they used and unwillingness to admit that they were implementing features users did not like. For example, gamers wanted to know if there was an offline mode. MS responded that the Xbox One did not require a "persistent" Internet connection but the device had to phone home once a day .

Gamers wanted to know if used games could be played. After a long and confusing answer about how the new console would allow you to trade in your games at retailers, MS admitted that the game developers could limit that ability and that you could share/sell only under certain situations.

This last concern with the always on and required status of the Kinect module had MS trying to allay fears by saying that you could turn off the console. But they didn't mention that turning "off" the console did not turn off the module. An "off" console could be turned on by speaking "Xbox on" which means the Kinect module was always on.

Re:Rock and a hard place (3, Informative)

Sique (173459) | about a year ago | (#44555765)

I guess, one of the reasons to kill the used game block feature was the thread from the E.U. legislation that actually forbid the blocking of software resales. Microsoft had to either enable unlimited resales in the E.U. or face stiff penalties up to being blocked to sell the Xbox at all.

Re:Rock and a hard place (4, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#44555865)

unwillingness to admit that they were implementing features users did not like.

That's because with MS Office or Windows they never have to! They are too used to having users suck it up and deal with whatever unwanted features happened (or whatever wanted features did not happen).

Actually having to deal with customer demands is a relatively new experience for Microsoft.

Re:Rock and a hard place (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44556505)

I think part of the problem was they had an executive in charge of XBox who was being a total dick. They fired him and Ballmer is running it directly until he finds an appropriate replacement. These changes in response to customer feedback are evidence that Ballmer isn't a total dick.

Re:Rock and a hard place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44555711)

I don't think it's a big deal for developers. I doubt anyone made the kinect features mandatory for gameplay (Unless it's a kinect centric game of course)

I think it is a smart move by Microsoft, but not because of consumer displeasure. Microsoft needs to be able to sell a lower tier product to appeal to more customers and the kinect is expensive to manufacture. I saw a BOM breakdown that pretty much said the kinect module is more expensive to make than the new xbox itself.

I have a feeling they'll offer a kinect-less lower tier product for a lower price point, maybe sometime after launch if not at launch. Offering the kinect bundle as the high tier product seems entirely reasonable.

Re:Rock and a hard place (5, Insightful)

Electrawn (321224) | about a year ago | (#44555753)

Quite simply, the main feature Microsoft has been touting to advertisers is the ability to detect who is in the room and target ads accordingly. The gold mine is not in Kinect for games, its for the TV/Video/Music/Netflix/Hulu consumption and the "big data" of being to tell that there is a 30-35 white male (recognized and tracked via Bing), 30-35 white female (Not logged in but we know her profile), and another 25-30 female guest that we have an 90% confidence is person Y who has a bing account. Lets target Ad X, Y and not Z.

MS will put Nielsen to shame with all that mineable data. There will be still be people who leave the MS eye on all the time, at least now you have the option to unplug it.

Re:Rock and a hard place (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#44555759)

It's just you. The kinect is going to be bundled. Developers know everyone will have it and can turn it on if they feel like it.

If you're trying to decide whether to make kinect part of your game, whether or not everyone has it does matter. Whether they have it on does not. If you have a game idea that requires it, make them turn it on. Better yet, make it optional if it's actually something that the game benefits from.

The always on thing seemed like it was just for MS's benefit. So you could limit the number of people watching digital media, a very intrusive form of DRM. And MS was probably hoping that by making it required, everyone would get used to it and want it instead of a PS4 or wii.

Whatever the motivation, it was idiotic, and I don't see how it affects developers.

Re:Rock and a hard place (1)

steelfood (895457) | about a year ago | (#44556263)

Is it me or does it seem like Microsoft is between a rock and a hard place now?

No.

Microsoft is still shipping the console with Kinect. And games that require the Kinect will still ask you to turn it on.

All this does is allow you to turn it off when the rest of the unit is off. This means you lose certain gesture-based functionality (like turning the unit on with a gesture), but that's about it.

Still not the biggest market problem (2)

fiordhraoi (1097731) | about a year ago | (#44555113)

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad MS has reversed course on all those items. They were bad decisions for the consumer. Ultimately though, it's coming in at a $500 price point. That's going to be it's single biggest hurdle when it's put on shelves (physical or virtual) next to its competitors.

Wait until the first patch (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44555115)

Microsoft will come up with some reason to re-reverse and require the Kinect to phone home and inform Big Brother whether you're actually watching the ads shown before your movies. You know -- so they can help the MPAA provide "better" unskippable movie previews.

Ok, so it won't. At launch, that is. (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44555155)

Will it still not require always-on and Kinect-connected after a year? I'll wait to see.

Re:Ok, so it won't. At launch, that is. (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year ago | (#44555377)

You know, there's only one major console vendor that's ever pulled a stunt like that.

Hint: it's not Microsoft. And the backlash was huge.

Re:Ok, so it won't. At launch, that is. (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about a year ago | (#44555635)

I take it you mean Sony, though I don't recall which scenario you meant in particular since they'd done a lot of garbage in the past.

I'm kind of torn. Sony has done some insanely bad things to the consumers over the years with rootkits and what-not.

The PS4 looks like an interesting piece of hardware, but I'm kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop and we find out that Sony is going to require or incorporate something insane with the unit. The only thing pushing back is they're seeing the backlash with Microsoft and don't want any of "that" coming their way.

Re:Ok, so it won't. At launch, that is. (1)

TheP4st (1164315) | about a year ago | (#44556125)

I take it you mean Sony, though I don't recall which scenario you meant in particular since they'd done a lot of garbage in the past.

cbhacking probably refer to the removal of the PS3 feature otherOS that were disabled with a firmware update.

Re:Ok, so it won't. At launch, that is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44556379)

and honestly, the "backlash" was a small ripple on the edge of the kiddy pool. It was only "huge" if you where sitting in a linux-geek-echo-chamber.

Microsoft... (2)

tuo42 (3004801) | about a year ago | (#44555267)

Some more 180 and they might stand a chance in some skateboarding or snowboarding contest.



"Achievement unlocked: 3x180 in just two months"

Re:Microsoft... (1)

tuo42 (3004801) | about a year ago | (#44555327)

By the way: they COULD call it the XBox720 soon ;)

Re:Microsoft... (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about a year ago | (#44556329)

That probably would be in their better interest. Seeing as the most common thing I've heard it called is the XBone, which isn't a misspelling just an awkward short form. I'm surprised their marketing department did think about that.

doesn't matter (-1, Troll)

hypergreatthing (254983) | about a year ago | (#44555273)

Still won't buy it. I don't care how many of their features they're changing around. I don't care if they pay me to put it in my house. It's never happening. XBone is DOA.

Re:doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44555425)

Thus saith the almighty...you? No on cares you don't want it, lots of people already have bought it. Not quite DOA

Re:doesn't matter (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year ago | (#44556349)

Yea, I got a feeling it'll sell just fine, maybe not flying off the shelves like the Wii was, but they'll make their money back' even if it is slow, all it'll take is a few CoDs and Halo games and problem solved.

Re:doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44555449)

And as soon as you take a stance like that, where your staunch emotional reaction overrides rational thinking, you have become a zealot.

I will buy an XBox One if it has great exclusives. If not, then I won't.

I certainly won't deprive myself of utility and fun just because I had a negative emotional reaction to some of Microsoft's initial choices.

The fact that you will says everything that needs to be said about your self destructiveness.

Re:doesn't matter (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year ago | (#44555511)

What an enlightened and rational decision-making process you're using! I mean, I can understand not buying one because you literally just don't want a gaming console. I can even understand not buying one because you disagree with the way that the company has treated its customers in the past (I boycott Sony for the same reason). But in that case, you probably would either have specified such a reason, or just not commented at all. If you had a 360 and were reasonably happy with it, what has Microsoft done that is such a deal-breaker to you?

Seems like we should be *encouraging* these pro-customer policies (not that this one matters very much; you could always have unplugged the Kinect when not gaming; now you can also do it while playing non-Kinect games). Refusing to order, or canceling pre-orders, based on the initial restrictions it would have? That's totally reasonable. But when they reverse on those restrictions, before even a single customer was affected (you haven't bought it yet - you can't, it's not available yet - so by definition you are not yet a customer of this product), that behavior should be rewarded.

Acting like a petulant child isn't going to get you what you want, here. If your goal is to show that anti-customer policies hurt the bottom line, well, you need to show some distinction between how you behave with and without those policies in place. Specifically, you need to ensure that the amount of money they get for anti-customer behavior is less than the amount of money they get for pro-customer behavior. Paying them the same amount (be that zero, or the console price) in *both* situations sends no message at all.

Re:doesn't matter (2)

rsborg (111459) | about a year ago | (#44555787)

Refusing to order, or canceling pre-orders, based on the initial restrictions it would have? That's totally reasonable. But when they reverse on those restrictions, before even a single customer was affected (you haven't bought it yet - you can't, it's not available yet - so by definition you are not yet a customer of this product), that behavior should be rewarded.

This is ridiculous reasoning. Microsoft spent *months* willfully thumbing their nose at the public and declaring outright "my way or highway".

This is not some simply apology after the backlash, but Microsoft's understanding that the public's perception of the XBOne is fatally flawed, and *finally* after all the hue and cry, deciding to "tone down" some of those aspects. If you were going to buy one anyway, now you'll feel better about it. If you really cared about the privacy aspects of Kinect especially after the PRISM exposure, this would do little to sway your decision.

Reality: Kinect will be required for any decent games, otherwise, it's a waste of the hardware. When enough games require it, the console pretty much does as well. My guess is that when you turn on Kinect, it will stay on even when it's not needed. Microsoft can say it's not required when it essentially is.

Have fun at your friends' parties who own XBOne's where everyone in the room will have their skeletal structures scanned and sent to a microsoft datacenter for PRISM access.

Re:doesn't matter (2)

hypergreatthing (254983) | about a year ago | (#44555893)

You don't show companies you mean business by compromising. They tried to push crap that no one wanted. Always on internet checking validity of games purchased? 24 hours and it stops playing back games? Giving the ability to resell games up to publishers to decide what they want to do? these are awful business decisions that take control away from the consumer. How you respond to this is by saying no, i will never have this and you can keep your crap.
You stop this behavior by straight out boycotting.
I don't owe microsoft a purchase because of their back peddling. I'm not acting like a child because i stick to my decisions. You're ludicrous in even suggesting that i do. I do not have to reward businesses for good behavior. They're out to make money and that's it. The very thought of them being anti-consumer is like a cyanide pill to themselves.

That was my last concern (1)

sorensenbill (1931240) | about a year ago | (#44555287)

I know everyone on here is going to be paranoid about a Sony style patch reversing all this but I don't buy that. I will however now be buying an Xbox One and look forward to ignoring all the stupid cable TV features that they seem to think are the main buying point. #Games

Re:That was my last concern (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year ago | (#44555543)

You always (well, since the always-on was dropped) could have disconnected the sensor when not gaming. The difference is now that you can disconnect it even when gaming, if the game doesn't need it. A small change, in my opinion, but still a good one.

Re:That was my last concern (0)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | about a year ago | (#44555695)

I don't know why people would disconnect it while not gaming. Voice controls for video playback are one of the greatest things ever. There's been so many times I've shamed my cable box for making me find the remote. "Stupid cable box, why can't you be more like your brother xbox! He _always_ listens to me."

Re:That was my last concern (1)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#44556385)

I will however now be buying an Xbox One and look forward to ignoring all the stupid cable TV features that they seem to think are the main buying point. #Games

I won't be.

The new Wii is worth looking at if you want Mario/Zelda/Metroid. The tablet controller is pretty nice, and the console overall isn't bad. It suffers from a lack of games still but its getting better. The backwards compatibility makes it a good buy if you skipped the last Wii. But if you aren't into the Nintendo first party stuff the WiiU is probably not worth it to you.

But the Xbox, I don't get it. I hooked up an HTPC last generation and I haven't looked back. I added wireless xbox controllers along with wireless keyboard/mouse/trackpads, and i picked up an ir receiver for 20 bucks so I can use it with my harmony one remote too.

The hardware costs about the same - you can spend more if you want, but you don't have to. And the games are cheaper (a LOT cheaper), with a much wider selection. There is no subscription per gamer (would cost me another $100/year). The storage capacity is an order of magnitude better, most of my games are HumbleBundle, GOG, and Steam so there's no disc juggling. Steam big screen mode in particular for games that support it is as good as a console. Never mind keyboard and mouse for FPS / RTS when I want it.

Plus I've got access to far more mods. Not to mention emulators for some of the classics.

And when I'm not at home, I can play pretty much my entire library on my laptop too. Or on my desktop pc. Huge wins there.

And when I'm not playing games its a full on PC, so torrents, VLC, Netflix, youtube, hulu, firefox (with adblock), etc.

What do I get from xbox (or ps4) for that matter that comes even close? A couple exclusives that really aren't -that- novel. And perhaps better server matchmaking, and integration of voice etc. (Although steam's got that pretty well taken care of too -- pc gaming in general has gotten, for better or for worse, a LOT more console-like over the last generation.)

Re:That was my last concern (1)

DdJ (10790) | about a year ago | (#44556457)

I hooked up an HTPC last generation and I haven't looked back.

That's fine if that's what you want.

Myself, I hate gaming on a PC. I use 'em for work and other hobbyist uses, and have since around 1980; I want my gaming device to be an appliance (that displays on my TV set and uses a gamepad instead of keyboard/mouse). Mega bonus points if it's a platform supported by GameFly.

(YMMV, of course. But that's what I want.)

(I'm still not getting the XboxOne, mind, nor the PS4. I'm considering the WiiU, and have already purchased an Ouya.)

Re:That was my last concern (1)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#44556649)

I want my gaming device to be an appliance (that displays on my TV set and uses a gamepad instead of keyboard/mouse)

Which is pretty much what a PC with steam big picture mode and an xbox controller is.

Mega bonus points if it's a platform supported by GameFly.

"Sorry, rental and subscription services are available in the U.S only. " So Gamefly's pretty much worthless to me, but I can see it being worth something to others. Its going to be worth increasingly less though as the publishers are actively undermining the ability to rent through tying games to accounts, single-use DLC, etc.

I've never been one to rent games though; I used to buy them used at steep discounts pretty regularly. But I stopped when all the local video rental places went under.

How do you like the Ouya? I can't see getting one myself, since I think I've already got access to everything in its library via the PC, but it is a neat concept.

Re:That was my last concern (1)

DdJ (10790) | about a year ago | (#44556523)

It wasn't my last concern. My concerns were:

* I do not want an always-on internet requirement.
* Game loans or rentals must work without any "speedbumps".
* I will not accept an always-on Kinect.
* I demand a reasonable amount of backwards compatibility.

They've addressed three of my four. They've now gotten me to the point where if I were given one as a gift, I'd probably unbox it and plug it in rather than immediately ebaying it. That's no small change.

If they add backwards compatibility that's at least as good as what the 360 had, I'll preorder.

If they add backwards compatibility for at least the "Indie" games (which are built on top of XNA/CLR and should be trivial for them to support), I'll at least consider buying a unit after they're in peoples' hands and I've been able to read fair reviews.

(Backwards compatibility with Original Xbox titles, which ran on an x86 CPU and thus should be easier to support than 360 titles, may also get me to that point.)

Doesn't matter ... (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44555309)

Sorry Microsoft, but it just doesn't matter any more.

You've told us where you'd like to go with this, you've as much as told us you don't give a shit about what it is that we want.

So, as much as I like my XBox 360 -- I won't be replacing it. Certainly not with this thing which is more about what Microsoft wants than what is good for consumers.

My XBox 360 got banished from a network connection when I started seeing ads in the home screen and in the games -- and as much as you keep trying to back pedal, the damage is done, and I am not interested in your shiny new toy.

Maybe if you hadn't acted like such arrogant assholes who said "this is what we're making, deal with it", consumers wouldn't be saying "well, we're not buying it, deal with it".

Instead, I can say quite heartily ... not buying it, don't care, and go pound sand.

Re:Doesn't matter ... (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | about a year ago | (#44555515)

you've as much as told us you don't give a shit about what it is that we want.

Then why do they keep removing all the heinous features everyone complains about?

Re:Doesn't matter ... (4, Interesting)

The Moof (859402) | about a year ago | (#44555645)

Then why do they keep removing all the heinous features everyone complains about?

They were very stubborn in their defense of the heinous features... until pre-orders opened up for both consoles. The PS4 was trouncing the X1, which likely was their "oh shit" moment. Since then, they've been slowly rolling back the features. I think it's too late to recoup the lost pre-order sales, but may save some face for sales down the road.

Re:Doesn't matter ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44555973)

Then why do they keep removing all the heinous features everyone complains about?

The people who respond with perpetual hatred seem to be unable to see that Microsoft is currently in a slow and awkward purge of the "Steve Jobs style" authoritarians in their own middle and upper-middle management structure. You see the same trend with the various levels of rage against Win 8 (which I will not buy for a PC). Or maybe I have an advantage in noticing it because I actually read the Win8 developer reports and the debates in the comments.
Anyway, Microsoft is using the old tactic of "ok, we'll try it your way, and when it fails, you fail with it" to destroy the political power of the know-it-all idiots in their ranks. Yes, it will cost them, but not nearly as much over time as having those failures in more decision meetings would cost them. While I won't buy an Xbox of this generation (as I hadn't bought the prior or the original), you can expect slow sales at first (people still enraged from the old announcements) but staying steady longer than usual as the rage slowly fades in the face of reality as the angry mob sees the product in real life.

Before anyone argues about the poor sales figures of 8, yes, the dismal UI isn't fixed yet, maybe in 8.2 but probably not until whatever they'll call 9. The politics are more ruthless with hardware products (even if the conflict is over the patchable software on the hardware) than software. Also, the support cycle for windows [microsoft.com] versions is still longer than twice the typical OS release cycle, so the idiot-managers involved in that will have some weak excuses until the reports come in that Vista is selling better at the end of its support life than 8 is (sadly, that might take until April 2017 in a worst-case scenario).

Re:Doesn't matter ... (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#44555533)

Maybe if you hadn't acted like such arrogant assholes who said "this is what we're making, deal with it", consumers wouldn't be saying "well, we're not buying it, deal with it".

DING! Now, mind you, Sony didn't exactly win any friends by cutting out 'Other OS' from the Playstation 3, and most console manufacturers want to move in this direction. Microsoft was just the first to fall on the ceremonial sword. It's not so much that they tried this (and ate an enraged internet in response), it's the terrible PR response after that piqued my interest.

Leaked memos detailing how to spin it, several high-level managers saying they weren't turning back, insisting that the features under fire were "integral" to the XBone, and the list goes on... all of this was just really poor management. It pretty much proved to me that even if they did (and I knew they would) backpedal, they'd only do it for as long as it took for their sales figures to come up and then they'd ninja it back in.

This should be a case study handed out to everyone taking a business major on how not to do it. They have handed the PS4 their own head, served in the traditional fashion, because their own management was stubborn and resistant to public opinion. At the very least, they should have said "Based on customer feedback, we are re-evaluating our position," and then had a media blackout while they rounded the wagons and figured out what they wanted to do. The fact that it took this long, and is so far off people's radar that emotion has solidified and public opinion is now weighted in lead... well... they're fucked.

Re:Doesn't matter ... (2)

Zalbik (308903) | about a year ago | (#44556795)

Leaked memos detailing how to spin it, several high-level managers saying they weren't turning back, insisting that the features under fire were "integral" to the XBone, and the list goes on...

I've been following the Xbox one train-wreck pretty closely for a while now, but I don't remember any leaked memo's regarding how to spin "features", or indicating they weren't going back.....do you have links?

I've found this whole thing an awesome example of poor market research. It seems that Balmer so desperately wants to be the next Jobs that he's forcing a very specific vision of how the product should be down his team's throat. The problem is that whereas Jobs was consistently able to lay golden eggs, Balmer only has the consistent ability to push out turds.

Re:Doesn't matter ... (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year ago | (#44555637)

If it's all about what MS wants, and they don't care about what the "consumer" wants (I really prefer the term "customer", but whatever)...

Then why did they reverse all those anti-consumer policies? That's not the action of somebody who doesn't care. They did not, in fact, say "this is what we're making, deal with it." I mean, that's quite self-evident, because that's *not* what they're making!

Here, let me make it more plain to you: what could they have done to *more clearly* have listened to people's reaction to their original plans? I'm really curious. Short of a literal design-by-public-opinion, which would never be practical for something this big, I mean. (This may shock you, but there are people who were actually excited about the original plans, because always-on connection means multiple people can play online games on the same account in one household - something even Steam can't do.)

Re:Doesn't matter ... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44555913)

They did not, in fact, say "this is what we're making, deal with it."

Yes, they did in fact. They quite vocally said words to the effect of it had to be that way, was going to be that way, and it was far too late to change and we should just suck it up and deal with it. You can believe they never said that, but anybody who has been following the news on this knows otherwise.

This may shock you, but there are people who were actually excited about the original plans, because always-on connection means multiple people can play online games on the same account in one household

It doesn't shock me at all -- but since it was functionality I didn't want and I found their insistence on always-on internet and daily phone-home wasn't something I couldn't live with, they helped me make up my mind about the product. Just maybe not how they'd hoped.

That doesn't mean any amount of them trying to back-pedal and change their mind means I've forgotten and arrogance and douchyness they displayed when this first came out. Because I don't believe they won't just try to sneak this in down the road.

I can live without a new game console. And they can live without me as a customer. In fact, I'm not giving them much choice in the matter -- the best I'll do is buy a spare XBox 360 and never connect it to the network either. If Microsoft is still losing money on the console, that strategy will hurt them more than it will me.

Re:Doesn't matter ... (4, Insightful)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about a year ago | (#44556109)

This, exactly.

Imagine you're looking to go on a cruise. You shop around for a cruise ship to go on. It'll cost a pretty penny and there are ships of various sizes and quality. And then there's this crazy captain that, while his ship is new and shiny, openly states that all passengers will be shackled, chained to an oar, and sold to the highest bidder once they reach port. Upon hearing the lament of the crowd, and hardly anyone signing up, he has a change of heart: No shackles, no chains. So come on, we're all looking for a good time here. I've turned over a new leaf. Trust me. I don't REALLY want to brutally dominate your every waking moment. It was just a silly idea I was floating out there. Hey! If you don't like chains, I don't like chains. Not that I'm saying the chains were a bad idea. I still think you'd really like them. But for now there will be no chains on my ship.

Re:Doesn't matter ... (1)

neminem (561346) | about a year ago | (#44556193)

Heh. All you need to do is replace "cruise ship" with "air travel", and that would basically describe RyanAir with hardly any exaggeration or metaphor. :D

Re:Doesn't matter ... (1)

Lendrick (314723) | about a year ago | (#44556261)

This seems to be the pattern that the leader of the previous console generation follows (with a few exceptions).

By the end of its generation, the SNES had taken the lead, so Nintendo shoved a bunch of bad decisions down everyones' throats with the N64 (cartridge games, anyone?), and they lost to the PSX. Sony managed not to bork up the PS2, but the hubris had caught up to them with the PS3 and they priced it so high that it hurt their sales and propelled XBox 360 into the lead. Now Microsoft apparently thought they were invincible and pulled the same crap with the Xbone, and they're already hurting because of it. It's safe to say that the PS4 will be the leader of this generation, at least at the outset. Fortunes can eventually change, but right now Microsoft has squandered their goodwill with gamers.

Part of it is that corporate "brand recognition" mindset. Brand loyalty is bullshit. If you make products that people want, people will buy them. Start making products that people *don't* want, and people will go elsewhere. Brand loyalty may keep people from looking at other products if they're satisfied with yours, but if won't keep people satisfied with your product if you suddenly start churning out turds.

sneaky sneaky (0)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#44555361)

Just because it isn't "required" doesn't mean it won't spy on you while the console is off (or on). Considering it's build directly in, that actually doesn't mean anything. It will boot up or play a game without recognizing a person? You still have to tape over it then. And "not requiring" is still quite different than "we're not spying on you with it."

Re:sneaky sneaky (4, Informative)

afidel (530433) | about a year ago | (#44555441)

Nope, another announcement in an interview yesterday said you'll be able to physically disconnect it so if you're really paranoid that they're watching you then just unplug the thing.

Re:sneaky sneaky (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#44555603)

Dont dismiss it as paranoid. Its not paranoia when you KNOW someone is collecting that data.

Re:sneaky sneaky (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44555977)

*sigh* Great. We get the one time since the invention of tinfoil that the tinfoil hat brigade were even vaguely kinda-sorta right about something, and now we're going to hear about it until the goddamned end of time. We could fast-forward 5,000 years, all the governments, civilizations, and cultures involved will be long dead and nearly forgotten, but you'll still have these few twitchy assholes saying they "KNOW" someone is spying on them because of what happened in America so long ago.

Re:sneaky sneaky (1)

bmk67 (971394) | about a year ago | (#44556335)

Always remember, Mr. AC.... ...shiny side out.

Re:sneaky sneaky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44556365)

As someone who has been paying attention to the revelations leaked in the past month and a half:

Humbly shut the fuck up.

Re:sneaky sneaky (1)

rsborg (111459) | about a year ago | (#44555839)

Nope, another announcement in an interview yesterday said you'll be able to physically disconnect it so if you're really paranoid that they're watching you then just unplug the thing.

It must suck to work in the XBox decision when marketing/PR mishandles this kind of information perfectly - I mean, WTF couldn't they have thought this through before spouting their mouths?

Perhaps it's because the real customers are the NSA and you are the product. Yes, you will pay to be a product as well - even sadder.

Re:sneaky sneaky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44555459)

Uh, its a separate piece of equipment that now doesn't have to be plugged in. How exactly will something that isn't on, isn't getting power, isn't "built in" as Sony fanboys keep trying to claim, going to spy on you? The idiocy on here never ceases to amaze

Re:sneaky sneaky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44555701)

It isn't required to be plugged into the XBox One anymore, as stated in the article.

Quoted from the article:
"It turns out that the Xbox One will run perfectly fine even if Kinect isn't, well, connected to it, according to chief Xbox One platform architect Marc Whitten."

Critics were had suggested (0)

codepigeon (1202896) | about a year ago | (#44555365)

Seriously? I hate being one of those gramar nazi's, but....does anyone even proof read these submissions?

Re:Critics were had suggested (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44555451)

I suspect someone did and confirmed that the galley proofs matched the edited manuscript :^)

Re:Critics were had suggested (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about a year ago | (#44555723)

Seriously? I hate being one of those gramar nazi's, but....does anyone even proof read these submissions?

Moreso than you do.

Try this:

Seriously? I hate being one of those Grammar Nazis. But, does anyone even proofread these submissions?

Free advertising (1)

Bolloney (2734387) | about a year ago | (#44555405)

Can we please stop posting news stories every time Microsoft announces some planned 'change' for their products? Can we not see that this is the cheapest method of advertising there is? Microsoft PR dept. " Oh, look. If we release another announcement about some change that isn't even final yet, all of these news sites and blogs and all of the shills will just repeat it. Then look at all of the people commenting on either how much they hate it or love it or are indifferent to it." And it doesn't even matter! Every time you read an article on XBox One, you are being advertised to. Positive, negative, no matter. The name gets bounced around inside your head.

Re:Free advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44555463)

So true. Sony Sony Sony Sony Sony Sony Sony Sony!

Re:Free advertising (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44555541)

Why not? Apple get a far easier ride. Whenever they so much as fart, the paid astroturfers and zealots are out in force, with a smattering of haters trying to battle them.

Can we not just see this as a simple business decision by a major player in this market. The consumer doesn't want all the shit MS is trying to shove down their throats, and they're starting to listen and are actually doing a few 180s (rather than #dealwithit). This is a good thing, at least until they do a Sony and bring in the crap with mandatory FW "upgrade".

Re:Free advertising (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#44555633)

Well considering the amount of hate MS got for the Xbox one here on slashdot, you'd think that geeks would like to know that one of the major complaints had been addressed. If Sony added Linux back into the PS3, I would think people here want to hear about it.

Re:Free advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44556199)

Well considering the amount of hate MS got for the Xbox one here on slashdot, you'd think that geeks would like to know that one of the major complaints had been addressed. If Sony added Linux back into the PS3, I would think people here want to hear about it.

Perhaps, but the difference is that the PS3 and the removal of Other OS from it already happened. As in, both were actually things that occurred. The XBone isn't even a thing yet. Microsoft's PR department could be making up whatever bullshit they want if they wanted to hear themselves talk and whip people into a frenzy about it.

"Oh, man, look at this amazing thing! And how it's over here! Behind this curtain! You can't look behind the curtain, don't ask. Wait, what? You don't like it? That thing I just said it had? Well... um... hey, look at that! It changed! Yeah, suddenly it's different and changed and that much better for it! No you still can't look at it yet shut up. Wow, check out how much awesome quotient has been added to it now! It's measurable! Like... fifteen... more awesomes. Buy it!"

I'm still out. Over to Sony I go. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44555421)

Enjoyed my Xbox 360, but MS has shown their true colors of ownership and privacy sellouts to the media co's instead of just providing the best gaming product.
No thanks I'll be getting rid of my and my extended family's Xbox's and converting over to Sony. Thanks Sony for staying true to your fan base.

Breaking news!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44555471)

"Micro$oft has reversed course on another aspect of the Xbox One. Form now on the console will be called Xbox Playstation. Maybe Xbox 720 or Xbox 3."

X Square Circle = Xbox 360 (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44556269)

Form now on the console will be called Xbox Playstation

No, that was the Xbox 360, or rather, the X Square Circle [uncyclopedia.co] .

Developers will abandon kinect now! (1)

Holammer (1217422) | about a year ago | (#44555487)

Nah... I doubt they ever wanted or intended to develop for it to begin with. Some MS first party titles will have it shoehorned into them; but most games, even the vast majority of games will remain multi platform, so putting in kinect functionality is a wasted effort. Just like PS Move, SixAxis or Wiiu Pad support.

Re:Developers will abandon kinect now! (2)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about a year ago | (#44555813)

You're just talking out of your ass with no foundation for your arguments.

There is a huge client base for games that require actual body movement. Kinect is known (not just presumed) to have the best movement detection framework in the gaming industry.

Re:Developers will abandon kinect now! (1)

TheP4st (1164315) | about a year ago | (#44556381)

Kinect is known (not just presumed) to have the best movement detection framework in the gaming industry.

Which matters very little when Kinect can completely ruin your gaming experience as it did with Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor [youtube.com]

Backwards compatibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44555507)

Dear Microsoft,

If you want me to be interested then bring in some backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games.
Without backwards compatibility there is no benefit of loyalty, so there’s no reason for me to consider the Xbox-One over your competitors.
If I can’t play my current game library that I have invested in on the new Xbox then, I’m sorry but I will try a PS4, I don’t want to have 2 Xbox’s on my shelf.

Re: Backwards compatibility (1)

Sebolains (2792751) | about a year ago | (#44555991)

The PS4 will not be backwards compatible either [wikipedia.org] . As much as we'd all love backwards compatibility, the difference in processor architectures makes it pretty much impossible (at least without using a streaming service, like Sony has planned).

Xbox86 (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44556295)

the difference in processor architectures

I can see why it's not compatible with Xbox 360, but the original Xbox and Xbox One are both x86.

New model coming out already! (1)

msobkow (48369) | about a year ago | (#44555557)

XBox One: NSA Edition

:P :D

It seems that the drm will still be there though (4, Interesting)

Zimluura (2543412) | about a year ago | (#44555581)

It seems that the drm will still be there in some form though.
http://www.ubergizmo.com/2013/07/forza-5-requires-download-before-it-can-run/ [ubergizmo.com]

though they've been backpeddling from that too.
http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/07/18/forza-motorsport-5-install-offline-details-clarified [ign.com]

best case i could give them is a wait and see approach.

when i look at these factors:
the xbone fiasco.
the windows8 mess.
consumers seem to like apple now.
ms' abysmal presence on mobile devices.

it's seeming very plausible that consumers will realize there just is no good reason for microsoft to exist anymore. about the only customer they haven't alienated is the ms office user.

Re:It seems that the drm will still be there thoug (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44556747)

"only customer they haven't alienated is the ms office user."

except for the damned ribbon

Re:It seems that the drm will still be there thoug (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44556807)

[...] about the only customer they haven't alienated is the ms office user.

No, they have with Silverlight and the Ribbon.

Latest update: (4, Funny)

crashcy (2839507) | about a year ago | (#44555727)

XBox One is no longer a gaming console. Microsoft has reversed the policy about playing games on their upcoming console. The company has not revealed what it will do now, but given the amount of anger over every move they have made so far, industry analysts believe it may be their best decision now to just do nothing.

What??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44555751)

So... Let me get this straight... If I don't plug it in.. I won't be able to use it?

SHOCKING!

Thank's for explaining it to me.

Um (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#44555769)

I know people wanted to slam Microsoft on everything about Xbox One, but I never suspected that it wouldn't work without Kinect attached. I throw this clearly into the FUD category. I think Microsoft was clarifying that idiots assumed it needed Kinect to work, not reversing a decision that it would require Kinect to work.

Re:Um (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44556163)

I never suspected that it wouldn't work without Kinect attached. I throw this clearly into the FUD category. I think Microsoft was clarifying that idiots assumed it needed Kinect to work, not reversing a decision that it would require Kinect to work.

Asked 'does Kinect always have to be connected for the Xbox One to function', Harvey Eagle, Microsoft's Marketing Director of Xbox UK stated simply: "yes it does, in all cases." [trustedreviews.com]

Not FUD.

Re:Um (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44556311)

I never suspected that it wouldn't work without Kinect attached. I throw this clearly into the FUD category. I think Microsoft was clarifying that idiots assumed it needed Kinect to work, not reversing a decision that it would require Kinect to work.

Asked 'does Kinect always have to be connected for the Xbox One to function', Harvey Eagle, Microsoft's Marketing Director of Xbox UK stated simply: "yes it does, in all cases." [trustedreviews.com]

Not FUD.

....but calling it FUD works for the people disconnected enough not to know the truth.

Ep+!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44555801)

gloveSG, condoms

Brain Function (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44555907)

Microsoft never accounted for the developing brain of the Internet connected adolescent. Unfortunate mistake. Hopefully this 12-24 group of gamers (fingers crossed) will buy a PS4 this go around which should make the Xbox lobby a more pleasant experience for its on line community!

STILL (1)

Korruptionen (2647747) | about a year ago | (#44556139)

not gonna buy it... why? Because greed.

Closer and closer (1)

jxander (2605655) | about a year ago | (#44556275)

I'm still waiting for them to reach the apex (nadir?) of these reversals:

"PS4, but with Halo"

trial balloons (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44556289)

It seems like Microsoft is exploring what the public will let them get away with.

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