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Xbox One launch blunders proved console’s strength, says Microsoft

by William Schwartz

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The Xbox One was one of the most bungled product launches in recent memory. From the very beginning, it was obvious that something wasn’t right. The mixed PR messages, the features and vision for the console were so drastically different than what consumers were willing to buy, that Microsoft saw unprecedented backlash from the gaming community — so much so, that they reversed controversial policies within weeks of their announcement.

Right now, Microsoft is feeling the effects of this misstep. North America, a region where they’ve dominated for the last few years, is under Sony control. The PlayStation 4 has been outselling the Xbox One in North America and worldwide since November.

We were able to keep the train running while we were scrambling

In practice, it’s been the absolute worst case scenario for Microsoft and the Xbox One. In theory, it’s been a show of strength of the company and platform, according to Boyd Multerer, the Xbox director of development. Speaking with OXM, Multerer explains.

“Now that I’m past it and I can look back – I think that it actually vindicates one of the strategies that we had,” says Multerer in regards to the changes made to Xbox One. “You remember the whole ‘three operating system’ thing? One of the goals of that was to be flexible and was to create an architecture that can change over time, particularly over the system side, so as those changes were happening, we were able to roll with it on the system side without it dramatically affecting the XDKs that we were giving to game developers.”

“We were able to keep that train running and keep the games in development while we were scrambling to adjust to policy changes and business changes over at the other side, and it actually helped to make all that manageable,” according to Multerer. “It wasn’t fun, but because we had some ability to isolate where the changes were happening, it made it achievable.”

As adaptable as the console may be, it’s still got a ways to go before it pleases everyone. Xbox One users recently got a large system update to bring back some features that Xbox Live users sorely missed at the Xbox One’s launch.

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