On the PR front, there’s no question that this is a better console launch for Xbox than the previous one. For whatever reason, the company just couldn’t read the room, and was mired in controversy and confusion from consumers. This was due to plans for the Xbox One to require a constant internet connection, and have an overly complicated way of playing second-hand games.
Speaking on a podcast with IGN, Phil Spencer acknowledged this controversy and admitted the company made mistakes. Describing it as a “seminal moment” for the team, he says that the negative reception from fans was a “cold dose of reality”.
The Xbox boss admitted this was a “challenging year” for the brand, but was nonetheless positive when speaking about this time period. Explaining how he feels the negative feedback was helpful, Spencer goes on to say, “there was a lot for us to learn. But the things that I see in the team now, like listening to the community, challenging ourselves, not staying in the buddle that we’re in[...]so much of what we are today is from that first launch year of Xbox One.”
Spencer also touched on other, more successful elements of the console in the podcast. Speaking about Xbox’s work in video game accessibility, most notably with the Xbox Adaptive Controller, he said that he feels this is a sign of the industry “maturing”. He also says that accessibility and diversity are areas that will be further explored during the Xbox Series X/S era.
The Xbox One launched back in 2013, and didn’t actually contain either of the controversial elements that were greeted so poorly during the console’s announcement. Plans for it to require a constant internet connection, as well as making borrowing games extremely difficult, were scrapped pre-launch, but nevertheless soured the console’s reputation at such a vital time for the brand.
Bad PR wasn’t the only thing holding it back in the early days. Microsoft also continued to cling on to the Kinect, bundling one with every console purchase. However, this raised the overall price in comparison to the PS4, and was eventually scrapped.
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