Former Microsoft President of Entertainment & Devices Division Robbie Bach has experience in running the Xbox brand, since he witnessed the launches of both the original Xbox and the Xbox 360. Bach shared his thoughts about Microsoft’s development direction with the Xbox One, and that most of the pre-launch problems were “predictable and preventable.”
When the Xbox One was first unveiled at E3 2014, people criticized the always-online requirement and heavy DRM policies, which caused Microsoft to later change them. Bach was one of those people, and he thinks that all of that could have been avoided.
He also mentioned that the Xbox One has a “great holiday lineup,” and it has put all of those problems in the past.
“I think I have two thoughts. The first is, gosh, I think some of that was predictable and preventable. If I’m just honest I would say that. These console competitions last 5, 6, 7, 8 years. I think it shows in the marketplace today. I think Xbox One has put almost all of that behind itself. They’ve got a great holiday lineup. They’re gaining share and volume. … The amazing thing is the console market is bigger now than it’s ever been before. Both companies are selling more units.”
“On the other hand, look at what’s going on on Xbox Live. Incredible momentum on Xbox Live. I think it’s a balance thing. I’m realistic enough. I’ve been gone long enough that I no longer say “we”. I say “they,” which is a good transition to actually make. I can be a little critical. I could also say that the team did what they needed to do. They persevered through a rocky patch, and they’re now on the path to making this a very competitive market.”
Bach commented on the future of consoles, and how digital form will take over.
Robbie Bach: Does it have a physical media?
Q: Probably not.
Robbie Bach: Probably not, so how does that look? Is it just a game box or is it more? What’s the balance between what an Apple TV is and what an Xbox or a PlayStation 4 is? These are really interesting questions, and the teams going to have to wrestle with those. That next generation will be a whole new game.
It’s interesting to see the thoughts of a former Microsoft leader on how the company is currently doing.