Microsoft: Xbox One should be judged by our consumers when it launches, not now
Microsoft has told Pocket-lint that its controversial plans for how the Xbox One needs to connect to the internet is not only about empowering the future of what the new next-generation console can offer, but also what consumers are telling it they want.
"I love the way we are embracing digital entertainment," Chris Lewis, head of Xbox in Europe, told Pocket-lint in a one-to-one interview at the E3 gaming convention in Los Angeles. "We are very tuned into our consumers and what they are looking for, and now, in this new generation, it is about digital entertainment.
"It is about giving folks access to the breadth of all of their entertainment wherever they want to access it anywhere on the planet, infinitely flexible, giving them that choice."
The comments, which will strike at gamers who have taken to Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere to complain about the console's need to connect to the internet every 24 hours, will be welcomed by consumers, it seems.
"The reaction from our consumers thus far has been very good. They like what they've heard from us," added Lewis, when Pocket-lint grilled the exec over the plans.
Microsoft has been heavily criticised by the gaming press for forcing several new restrictions on gamers, something that Sony used to its advantage in its E3 press conference to highlight that it wouldn't be following Microsoft's lead.
Asked whether the big boss though the criticisms had been unfair, Lewis had this to say:
"I don't think that unfair is appropriate because I think we should be judged by our consumers based on their experience later in the year. We are in a place now where we are transforming the way that games and entertainment are consumed. We are in an unprecedented position here.
"We are uniquely placed with Xbox Live in a way that it connects across multiple devices and gives people this choice I talk about. I think we will and should be judged by our consumers' reaction to us and their consumption of games and entertainment through Xbox One."
Drawing parallels with the new features of the Xbox One and the move by the company to include an Ethernet port and hard drive in the original Xbox, Lewis tells us sales are already going very well:
"The fact is, that Amazon [US] is already sold out on pre-order. That is indicative of a pattern we are going to see in the UK and other markets [in which] we've enjoyed genuine success consistently over many years."
Something that might scupper that is the price against the PS4. Although it doesn't come with a camera, the next-generation console from Sony will cost £80 less than the Microsoft console in the UK, something that cash-strapped consumers will no doubt take heavily into account when it comes to launch day.
"I think it's about value, it's about the breath and depth of our proposition," Lewis assured us when we asked why people should pay the extra cash. "You've got such a powerful system. You've got the new Kinect technology, not only to be used by the consumer when it comes to voice and gestures in enhancing the game, but also that being central to the system allows our developers to create games with that in mind."
Highlighting Sony's lack of entertainment focus for the PS4 so far, Lewis adds: "I think consumers are very savvy. The different approaches manufacturers take makes us work harder to please the consumer.
"For me the success will be the combination of entertainment and games. It's that combination, the idea that they can't live without our offering, that will help us succeed. I don't think it is any one thing but all those things in combination."
Lewis also confirmed that Microsoft still has plenty more Xbox One announcements to come, including a greater focus on working with smaller indie developers, something that didn't really get a mention at the company's own E3 press conference.
"You will see over time much more content for Xbox One, more casual games, and games from smaller developers. We are very committed to working with independent developers."
"I will give you a stay-tuned message, but there is a lot more to come. This is just one beat in the rhythm between now and the time that we launch Xbox One, and you'll hear a lot more from us between now and then."