Microsoft has apparently been listening to the chorus of press and gamer voices denouncing the current state of digital downloads on its next-gen Xbox One console. Xbox Community Manager Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb yesterday revealed in a Reddit thread discussing Titanfall digital download release times that his company plans to improve the situation — eventually.
“A better digital experience is on the roadmap.” wrote Hryb. “Preloads, unlock by time zone etc. are all things we want to roll out for Xbox One. Those features are simply not available yet.”
Some Xbox One owners residing in timezones running ahead of Pacific Standard Time have expressed their dismay at having to wait until the clock strikes midnight on the West Coast prior to being able to download Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall onto their consoles. The game will not be available digitally until the wee hours of the morning for many, while it can be purchased at brick and mortar retail stores at 12:01 am local time at participating midnight release stores throughout North America.
In addition, the Xbox One does not provide gamers with the option to pre-purchase and pre-download games to their consoles over Xbox Live, a feature that’s been made available for games on rival digital distribution platforms such as Steam, Origin and the PlayStation Network. Microsoft temporarily displayed a message on Titanfall‘s Xbox Games Store stating that the ability to pre-download would be made available for the game, but it removed the message shortly after and stated that it was posted in error.
Hryb stated in yesterday’s Reddit thread that there is currently no time frame available for when the Xbox One’s digital experience will be upgraded to include pre-downloading and other heavily requested features. He said that the public will learn more about the new digital experience “as soon as [Microsoft has] the proper story to tell.”
Microsoft famously reversed its next-gen digital strategy in the wake of its acerbic public reception following last year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. While the switch allowed for the elimination of DRM features that were maligned by many, it also killed previously announced digital game sharing capabilities.
When asked directly if the console holder would have had the digital options mentioned by Major Nelson in place already had it not pulled a 180 on its originally announced policy, he responded that while there were too many variables for him to say for certain, Microsoft “would probably be closer.”