Microsoft’s Xbox division has been under the gun since they announced their original Xbox One plans. Of course they have since made intense efforts to both change those initial, heavily contested policies, and the perception of the company among the gamer base. Phil Harrison, Corporate VP of Xbox’s Interactive Entertainment Business in Europe, recently sat down with GamesIndustry International to discuss Xbox One , and specifically the direction the company is going in regards to the indie community and digital distribution.
In regards to when gamers will be able to play indie products on the Xbox One, Phil Harrison had this to say:
I don’t think we’re going to see things at launch. I don’t think it’s realistic to see a developer get the programme and build a game and get it into the market on November 22. It’s reasonable to expect in early 2014 we’ll start seeing the first games come through.
The Xbox 360 was arguably the best console for indie development last generation, so it’s interesting to see this shift occurring. Sony has been loud and clear about their support of indies on the PS4 and will have a strong line-up at launch. Xbox One will have some catching up to do once products start rolling out.
Phil Harrison was then asked about the future of digital distribution and a universal connectivity of home consoles; two points of high contention earlier this year.
Our long term vision hasn’t changed at all. 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.
Microsoft is right about their long-term vision – connected ecosystems is the future – but they jumped the gun a little early. It’s great to hear a leader inside the company acknowledge a mistake while also standing by the company’s long-term vision.
The full interview with Phil Harrison can be found on GamesIndustry International. It’s a good read!