Phil Spencer explains why joining Xbox and PC is good for gamers

In the xbox UI under settings/network/go offline. its doesnt check owner ship at all. unless the game is like destiny. I am amazed that a lot of people dont know this

No, but back in 2013 before the Xbox One launched, the always online function of the console was meant be part of the experience. After the public backlash on the press of this, the policy was then revised to be a 24-hour check in period, where you could play your game for up to 24 hours offline before you would have to log in to live to continue to play the game, verifying ownership through an internet access connection. This proved ineffective in calming people’s outrage at what the Xbox One was shaping up to be.

Thanks to a very loud public response, and people showing with their wallets they wouldn’t stand for this, MS eventually went back on these outrageous always online, 24 hour check-in, DRM policies. The DRM in place on the 360 for digital titles worked fine, and there was no need to fix a system that wasn’t broke. The Xbox One was trying to be like a console version of steam, at the time just didn’t set well with people, and most speculated it was going to be very impractical. Given the current fiber network infrastructure of the US isn’t on par with some other countries in terms of internet connection, availability and speed, most people weren’t too accepting of the always on verification of ownership approach. It is was going to prove problematic for Armed Forces servicemen who had no access to internet connection overseas.

I am fully aware of the go offline feature though, but the Xbox One as it is, and what it was originally planned to be are two very different things. Most of what me and Andy were talking about is the pre-launch era of the Xbox One, now several years behind us. I’m glad I can play my Killer Instint online and off when I want, as well as my Minecraft, but several years ago, that might not have been the case.

dang man, ur on point with your responses. but ya I got ya. thanks

No problem man. Good conversation doesn’t move forward unless people speak their minds. I appreciate what you were trying to say too.

dude, I just said the same thing in a thread I started. Aim high and get more chances to hit your target lol

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I imagined Kermit saying all this. I was very happy.

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I’m not sure how you can say this. I have gone completely digital for this generation (so all of the horrible things MS tried to do with discs still apply to me - and it hasn’t hurt me in the slightest) and I very rarely pay $60 for a game. I have a lot of digital only titles that debut at a much lower price, and there are frequently sales and discounts. Plus, used games RARELY save you more than $5 on newer titles, and it is not unusual for me to be paying less on digital than I would for a used game at my GameStop. If you need further evidence that this would be true in a digital only world, I can invoke Steam again.

I’m not trying to pick a fight with you, because you have very reasonable things to say and we are probably wearing the thread a little thin. But your argument about Steam being different basically comes down to “Steam can get away with it because Steam users don’t mind.” And you DO need an internet connection, right now, to get both X1 and PS4 to work because neither ships with complete firmware - and you really shouldn’t want to do otherwise since both see frequent upgrades and patches. The same is true of almost every disc based game. Right now, regardless of MS’s policies, you need to connect to the internet and download a day 1 patch for almost every disc based game. They don’t “just work” out of the box. This has less to do with an industry conspiracy and more to do with the complexity of the games and the economics demanding they get things to market as early as possible. People are free to hate it, but it isn’t going to change. The bit about sailors on a submarine was basically just hatchet job journalism and MS mismanaging their message. But there is nothing “unfair” about it. Listen, consoles are not public service devices that are distributed freely to the poor and the needy. If what MS is selling doesn’t fit your needs, don’t buy it.

Books are going the same direction, with Kindle and Nook and everything else. MS was just “ahead of their time” with X1. You will notice how all the cross buy games that will work for both PC and X1 are digital. You can’t drop an X1 disc in your PC and have it work. This is going to be the future. People are going to complain about it (like they complain about everything else) but we are slowly moving steadily in that direction and never backwards.

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Okay, as far as the $60 price tag, yes I’ll cave to that, perhaps a little too overblown on that point, MS typically at some point will inevitably have sales on their products and the price control on the titles diminishes the price tag with the passage of time and market demand dwindling. However, most AAA titles do debut at this price tag, and if you want them on day 1, there’s not much choice in the matter. Steam is also in a very good position to offer the biggest and most incredible sales on games, but they have a much larger and open selection of 3rd party support and games that aren’t built to a specific platform or specifications. It’s a different platform, and a different set of rules, and I don’t believe they easily apply over on to the console market, not without being forced into the jigsaw puzzle.

You bring up good points about the necessity of day 1 patches and upgrades, firmware updates, etc. to allow the X1 and PS4 to work “out of the box.” I don’t believe this is in any way an industry conspiracy, but I do think that once these updates are downloaded and your experience is up to speed with the latest stable version of any software version, and you still can’t enjoy something like Minecraft or KI offline (except in the instance of something like Destiny or Titanfall, which are online only), a problem does indeed exist. Not every part of the world maintains a constant, uninterrupted, high-speed connection yet, but to require one for something as simple as the Sonic 3 port to play seems a tad overreaching to provide necessary proof of ownership (again, that’s not the case, just a hypothetical).

I find this rather upsetting actually, because at this point, if someone wants to have a Halo 5 party, they can’t even do so unless there is a connection to Xbox Live. I don’t know why that design choice was made to wall off the multiplayer component in the absence of internet connection, and it’s most likely not for the same scenario, but it does represent an interesting “what if” to the discussion. So basically several people want to play Halo 5 but can’t because of built in limitations, regardless of what the reasons for those limitations are. There is a clear want to play Halo 5, but a seemingly artificial limitation that hampers the enjoyment of the game. But you can’t turn to the PS4 for your Halo fix.

On that note, what ever happened to the simple convenience of system link? That’s been a feature to Halo since Combat Evolved, and now I miss it a lot, but don’t understand why it was eliminated, though I have my suspicions as to why, but that’s irrelevant at this point. I was willing to bend on the loss of split screen, but this one irks me in a far worse way.

I disagree with this on multiple points. I believe that the motivation behind some of the earlier functions and features of the X1 were less innovation driven and more market dictated for some of the earlier stated reasons. I also don’t believe that a purely digital sales platform is the certain future, and hope it isn’t. While there is a lot of evidence contrary to my beliefs, and perhaps I’m merely holding to archaic principles at this point, I don’t believe the feeling of ownership over a product should and ever will be limited to a virtual tie in an online environment over a digital, non-physical product. Should the support of the online ties to that product ever be severed, via services being retired, servers shut down, loss of connections, you basically own a big pile of nothing.

I believe in forward progression, but I don’t think phasing out certain commodities of the console market, and forcing unpopular practices of marketing is how we will get there.

And I am exhausted…I think I’m just gonna chill and watch the Tusk stream at this point.

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@IronFlame This is another thread like the one where the “what is math?” question came up in which I can’t be bothered going into a huge amount of depth, but I disagree with probably a good 80% of what you’re saying.

I think the whole concept of game “ownership” via possession of physical media such as discs is a really bad model for media consumption. It takes up storage space, your ownership is easily revoked by theft and natural disasters such as fires and floods, and physical devices degrade over time: two decades from now your “ownership” of physical games purchased now is going to be in an impractical sense at best. (That’s certainly the situation with my 20±year-old games. I’m actually far better off picking up Unreal for $2 off Steam than trying to get my physical copy to run, and I can’t run my SNES copy of KI.) Physical ownership allows gamers to delude themselves into thinking they’re playing a meaningful role in game preservation, to the detriment of actual preservation efforts. It’s highly expensive in the digital age for publishers to maintain a physical media market presence, and that physical market in turn artificially inflates the cost of digital goods.

Maybe the main thing, though, is that I’d rather consumers let go of this whole “ownership” thing so that we can have a better conversation about the business models around which developers produce and distribute their games. I’m not a huge fan of the current digital model, but it’s clearly pretty malleable: publishers can tune and distort the pricing of their games to achieve their actual goal, which is to meet their costs and achieve a profit on their production outlay. Retail complicates that in a pretty big way.


I wouldn’t count on seeing a proper Konami game ever again at this point.

Without a sense of ownership, what is the point of even investing in the product a company sells? If you are never going to own something, then by what sense should the customer even bother buying anything from the business? Personally, I don’t get why people think pure online DRM verification is a GOOD idea, and why it’s the wave of the future. Basically at this point, from the picture your painting, I should blindly accept a game company is “lending” me rights to play their product in a digital environment, to which they can always confirm purchase and can never be denied profit, and if they so choose, could revoke the rights to play this title should they feel so inclined (not without good reason usually, but there are notable abuses of power within Steam and general digital sales practices that suggest a little reason to be suspicious of the practice).

I will not blindly accept, nor go without questioning the underlying motive to why the all digital movement.

Now while you’re right in the regard that buying Unreal of steam is easier than finding some ancient disc to run it, there’s little choice and obvious convenience in the matter. However, the digital generation carries with it it’s own risks. Physical ownership goes beyond game preservation, although from Konami’s effort to wipe PT and Kojima’s ties to some of its projects, digital game preservation isn’t exactly reliable either. I understand it’s not feasible to create a physical copy of every small sized indie game that becomes available to the public, as the cost of creating physical copies for such small demand just isn’t cost effective.

I’ll give you it’s an increasingly costly practice, but I don’t see the current digital sales frontier at a point where it can be a reliable method of going without any type of physical console release ever. With a major portion of the US lacking stable, readily available and affordable, high-speed internet connection to support the pure digital sales model of games, and increasing distrust and disconnect from publishers (not all, but EA certainly isn’t helping) in their core customer base, I just can not support this sales model at this time. Perhaps in years down the road where the circumstances are different and the business model of pure digital goods are more feasible, and there is some extension of trust from the industry to consumer where in the absence of physical media, it is replaced with something of equal value to replace not having an actual physical product, I’ll look differently upon the issue.

So at this point, I will just leave it at, let’s agree to disagree. The practice of selling physical media is not perfect, but neither is the practice of selling digital goods, IMO. I’m glad you have faith in the practice, but unfortunately I do not. The way I see it, the physical disc represents that even though the internet my go out from time to time, my ability to play game X isn’t tied to it and is denied when that connection is out. It’s not really preservation, though I know people who do take pride in owning the old SNES cartridges of their favorite games like the red DOOM cart, but it’s also insurance to when the internet is out, I can still play my game, as if I still own it.

However, an interesting prospect does come to mind. Killer Instinct has made a very successful run starting as an all digital game, and has sold all of its expansions through digital sales as well. So why then if the game was successful as a digital title, was there a physical release down the road? I don’t think it sold nearly as well as the digital version, but there was demand enough for a physical version. I’m not stating this in some sarcastic sense, it’s actually something that has me a little puzzled. I’m guessing it was probably for the TJ Combo early access code, but then it could just be dinosaurs like me wanting a collector’s item of some kind. I guess another example of game preservation which further validates your point, but I can’t really deny it.

Yeah, that certainly seems plausible to me too, at least as far as AAA titles are concerned. Which is why it could make sense for MS to be the conduit for their IPs.

As a gamer, I don’t want to see Castlevania, Suikoden, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, and for that matter Bloody Roar, Contra etc disappear forever.

Which is why I’d love to see MS go to them and say “we’d like to continue or reboot some of your franchises.” MS supplies the development team and assumes the cost side, Konami supplies the IPs and some light consulting, perhaps some slight quality assurance input, MS gets exclusivity while Konami gets a percentage of profits for a game they didn’t have to dump any money in to.

Imagine if MS could go to E3 and demo new versions of some of these titles and say “if you want Konami games, if you want Castievania and Metal Gear Solid, Xbox is the place to be.”

I’m not saying it’d turn the tables in MS’ favor, but it’d be a big, bold move to bring some fairly substantial franchises in to the MS camp, and that’s something.

I absolutely agree on that. I played Silent Hills, well… the PT Demo, and really enjoyed the concept they were developing. I’m not the biggest fan of Hideo Kojima’s but his and Guillermo Del Toro’s work on the title and what it could have been would have been a really big step up for horror games, and it was undeniable they put a great deal of heart and soul into it. I also hope the petition from Del Toro and Norman Reedus gets enough steam and recognition to constitute some type of action.

If MS could approach them for the rights of their franchises, whether to buy them out or work to develop the franchises for them, I could support that. While I would rather just see MS buy out the rights to the IPs rather than working under contract and being allowed to develop them while Konami reaps a little profit of the hard work they didn’t put in, anything seems better than simply letting these creations slowly fade into darkness simply because the holder of these franchises has gone crazy.

One title you didn’t place in your list though that I really want to see return to the forefront: Zone of the Enders. I loved playing those games, even if the story on the first one was a train wreck of a narrative, and they were both short. The second game in the series was significantly better and is one of my favorites of the PS2 era.

Konami’s decision on PT was absolutely baffling, and the fact that Sony didn’t stop them from killing the project is bizarre too. Unless they were asking for an astronomical amount of money to develop the game, they should have just coughed it up and gotten out of the way. That demo generated as much or more hype for the PS4 than any of the actual games. I almost bought one to play it.

If MS were to pick up any sort of game by Kojima and del Torro, even if just a spiritual successor it would be a gaming “hero” move.