The Xbox One could give consumers the ability to trade and loan digital games to their friends, says Microsoft senior director Albert Penello.
In a talk with Gamespot at Pax Prime, Penello argued that a digital future “is going to happen,” and that his company’s former DRM policy was designed to make that as consumer-friendly as possible.
Though the original Xbox One unveiling and E3 presentations drew a lot of fire from fans who were concerned about what they saw as an anti-used stance, the company quickly backed off its policies and reverted to a more disc-based model.
That hasn’t stopped the ball rolling towards digital, and Microsoft still plans to reveal a host of digital features after the initial launch on November 22nd.
“I don’t think there’s anybody in the industry; no matter what you thought about our original policies around DRM; I don’t think there’s anybody that doesn’t know that someday, it’s going to happen,” said Penello.
Pointing to the success of digital on PC and mobile platforms, Penello believes that aside from the obvious barrier of internet bandwidth caps and infrastructure, the biggest challenge to overcome is the public perception.
To this end Microsoft planned to make it possible for users to trade or loan digital media through the Xbox One’s since abandoned “Family Sharing” feature.
“Well, actually I think if you go back and you look at some of the things we said, that was one of the places that we were actually trying to pioneer,” explained Penello. ]
“We were trying to implement the ability to trade [and] loan digital games with your friends which is something that no one else was doing.”
Unfortunately for Microsoft, their message wasn’t very well communicated or understood, and both the gaming press and consumers were confused and skeptical that the tech giant had their best interests at heart.
“I believe, in retrospect that people have calmed down and gone back and actually looked at what we said, people are starting to understand, ‘Wow, they did want actually to allow me to loan and trade’ which other digital ecosystems don’t want to do,” said Penello.
“And so, yeah, I think we need to do that. That has to be part of the experience.”
The furor over the DRM perceived as so restricted has definitely abated, and Penello claims that he’s getting a lot of e-mails from fans asking that Family Sharing be reinstated, but for now the company is going with demand and will hold off on its digital ambitions.
“I get a lot of mails saying ‘god, please bring back the family sharing,’ he said.
We’d love to figure out how to bring that back. I still think it was a good idea. Maybe it was a little too soon for some people, but I still think there were a lot of good ideas in there. And we’ll bring it back when the time is right.”