Schell: listening to customers was Microsoft’s big mistake

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Microsoft’s decision to reverse its bold Xbox One policies is a mistake typical of companies that restricts real change, according to veteran game designer Jesse Schell.  Speaking to GI.biz at the GameLab conference in Barcelona earlier in July, Schell, who is both an author and founder of Schell Games, suggested that in Xbox One’s DRM policies Microsoft was trying to give customers a console-based equivalent of Steam that ultimately soured the consumer’s perception of the company.

Schell began, “Your customers want you to stay the same, even if it drives you into the ground.”Somehow, Microsoft didn’t seem to think that would be a reality, or even a problem. The reality is that they can’t do what the customers want.

“Basically, Microsoft said, ‘We’re going to be Steam. You like Steam, don’t you?’ And we all said, ‘No, we hate that. We hate you. You’re an idiot to do that.’ They came out and said, ‘We’re gonna do this new thing.’ And the customers said, ‘No, we don’t want that, we hate that’ – even though it’s what they really want and what they will ultimately buy.

“So now Microsoft has had to say they won’t do all that stuff, but someone will.”  The Xbox One will launch in November.