Microsoft's Phil Harrison wants to be clear on Microsoft's plans for the Xbox One. Speaking to GamesIndustry International, Harrison said the company's "long term vision hasn't changed at all." The Xbox One as a digital television, sports, games living room machine is still a concept that Microsoft is driving. We recently learned that the Kinect sends out enough infrared signals that it can then act as a controller for whatever other electronics you own through voice commands.
We haven't diluted our long term vision, which is all of the benefits of a connected ecosystem and what that means for all of the stakeholders - us, developer, publisher and crucially, the player. None of that has changed. What we recognised was when you put a disc slot in the front of a machine certain expectations come with that disc slot. We had to adapt some of our policies and it was best that we did those before we launched, which we've done. All of that can be handled in the vacuum of the pre-launch activity. And it allows the players to have a choice. They can consume the content through the medium they like the best and fits with their particular situation. I don't think there's a negative to that.
Harrison also noted that we're unlikely to see any indie games on the Xbox One until next year and that "eventually our goal is that every retail Xbox One console becomes a dev kit." Seems for now, as ID@Xbox sorts through developer applications, development kits are being doled out per usual.
Despite this push towards digital distribution allegedly being the interest of consumers, Harrison was fleet footed in avoiding the issue of digital titles being priced higher than boxed titles, defaulting to the trite defense, "But you could also take the point of view that the only way in which our industry can continue to grow is if the margin structure enriches game development. Meaning that as much as the consumer spend as possible accrues back to the creator."
Harrison was also quick to point out that the games only seem more expensive because they're cheaper in stores, "when you have this direct A-B comparison of Tesco selling a packaged version of the game and an online service selling the digital version of exactly the same bits and the pricing is easily comparable." Hmm. Digital prices only sometimes seem too inflated because there is a point of comparison, but with new online only models, there won't be a point of comparison so they won't seem overpriced?
Are you okay with paying day-one dollar for a digital copy of an older game several years after it came out as long as you're unaware you can find it for a pittance elsewhere?
Xbox One: "Our long term vision hasn't changed at all" [GamesIndustry International]