Xbox One's family game sharing will return "if people are really excited" for it

Marc Whitten on Xbox One messaging: "We haven't done as good a job as we can"

Xbox Product Chief Marc Whitten has confessed that the way Microsoft have been communicating with consumers on the Xbox One has been less than stellar after a petition to reinstate the console's controversial digital features reached more than 20,000 signatures.

In a frank and forthright interview with IGN, Whitten confessed that the mixed messages haven't reflected well on the new console in the eyes of the public. "The thing that's really gratifying is that people are excited about the types of features that are possible," he said. "And it's sort of shame on us that we haven't done as good of a job as we can to make people feel like that's where we're headed."

"What it tells me is we need to do more work to talk about what we're doing because I think that we did something different than maybe how people are perceiving it,"


When questioned specifically on the petition, Whitten stated how it was clear customers wanted a choice. "They wanted what I like to call a bridge, sort of how they think about the world today using more digital stuff. What we did, we added to what the console can do by providing physical and offline modes in the console. It isn't about moving away from what that digital vision is for the platform. It's about adding that choice"

One of the downsides of removing the unpopular DRM features from the Xbox One was the apparent abolition of the Family Sharing feature - the ability to share Xbox accounts (and the games on them) with nominated "family" members.

Whitten explained that "we took some feedback and realized there was some stuff we needed to add to the program. To add it to the program, we had to make room, just from a pure engineering perspective, to be able to get that work done. So taking Family Sharing out of the launch window was not about 'we're going to take our toys and go home' or something like that.

"It was just sort of the logistics of 'how do we get this very, very clear request that people really want, that choice, and how do we make sure we can do an excellent job of that, get to launch, and then be able to build a bunch of great features?'"

So could Family Sharing make a comeback? "If it's something that people are really excited about and want, we're going to make sure that we find the right way to bring it back."

On what Microsoft has taken away from the whole affair, Whitten had this to say: "One of the things I think we learned was that we didn't talk enough, and we were incomplete in a lot of how using the system would work. Because we weren't participating in the conversation in a deep enough way, it got us sort of off cycle about how we talk about our program.

"I think we've learned a lot of lessons. And I think it's something that you're going to see a lot more from us, frankly, is engaging more with the community. I think it's the number one thing I'd want to do if I went back, was have the conversation more open and more complete."

What do you think? Is this a sign of Microsoft willing to make up for past mistakes, and would you like to see Family Sharing - or indeed, any of the other removed features - make a comeback? Let us know in the comments.