We shouldn't have "sugar-coated" the Xbox One controversy, admits Phil Spencer

"It's better to just be direct and honest."

Speaking at the SXSW Gaming Expo 2014 in Austin, Texas, Microsoft's Phil Spencer has conceded that Microsoft's Xbox One messaging across the May 2013 reveal event and E3 2013 could have been handled better. Spencer is adamant, however, that all of it came from a good place.

"I look at last summer and that wasn't a highpoint for me, coming out of the announcement of Xbox One and E3, where I thought our messaging around what we believed in was confused," he admitted (via gerrenlaquint). Spencer didn't specify which aspects of the messaging Microsoft had gotten wrong, but the reference is presumably to the console's now-abandoned 24 hour online DRM checks in particular.

"One of the reasons I wanted to be a little more active socially was because I knew the core of why we were in this industry was not an evil reason," he continued. "It was to really delight consumers and build a great product that millions and millions of people would love.


"I learned a ton last summer as leader of our groups about being true to your core vision about what a product is, not being confusing, and frankly, when you're going to say something to a consumer that might put them off, it's better to just be direct and honest, rather than trying to sugar-coat something that might be controversial.

"I'd rather deal with the controversy of what we're doing, and have an above-table conversation about that topic, rather than trying to sugar-coat it with some other news. And again, my interactions over the last six months, and I really think the interactions of [Xbox chief marketing and strategy officer Yusuf Mehdi] and [Xbox corporate vice president Marc Whitten] and other members of the leadership team - we're meaning to build on what we learned last summer, and just build on who we are as people."

This represents something of a retreat from Spencer's stand in August last year, when he argued that gamers buy consoles for games, not press events. Spencer did, however, observe at the time that "it's important that we remain in a two-way dialogue with gamers and potential customers about what they would like to see".

How do you feel about the Xbox One's public image right now? I think we can all agree that there are some great titles available for the console, and at the end of the day, that's all that matters. Right?