I love you Xbox, but don't cancel things on your fans

To be clear; personally it's not something I was interested in. I have cable TV and two DVRs in my home already, so this isn't a rant about something I was excited for myself.

But Microsoft announcing, then pulling the plug, isn't a road to travel down. Xbox fans are passionate. Lots of them were excited about this feature coming to their console.

But above all that, it's about promising something and then going back on it. That's never going to go down well, regardless of the product in question.

Xbox TV Tuner

At gamescom in August 2015, Microsoft announced the upcoming DVR feature. I was sat in the audience and the reaction from the crowd suggested plenty were happy to hear it. At the same event I saw the feature working in a closed-door session. We had all the details: an external USB 2.0 hard drive and the OTA TV tuner were required, and there would be substantial mobile integration.

While not something for me, I wrote about it with a smile on my face because it was both impressive and likely to make a difference to a lot of Xbox One owners.

When it was announced and first demonstrated to the press, the Windows 10 powered Xbox One Experience was still in development, but clearly the DVR feature had been an integral part of the early works. Sure, it was a staged demo, but it seemed impressive. Another box to tick over Sony's competing PS4.

So fast forward to June 2016 and Microsoft's statement on halting the project:

We've decided to put development of DVR for Over-the-Air TV on hold to focus our attention on launching new, higher fan-requested gaming experiences across Xbox One and Windows 10. We're always listening to fan feedback and we look forward to bringing more requested experiences on Xbox One, Windows 10 and Xbox Live this year.

It doesn't actually say cancel, but that Microsoft felt it necessary to put out a statement tells me that the Xbox One TV DVR isn't happening for a long time, if it ever happens at all. It's no secret that Microsoft has a lot going on in the Xbox division, with the same event in 2015 clearly showing that its a more a platform now than just a gaming box under your TV.

Phil Spencer

Microsoft's Phil Spencer has also openly pushed the idea of Xbox being about the games and the gamers. And that's exactly where it should be going — like it or not, the Xbox One has become a center of many entertainment systems. The pre-Spencer days weren't exactly a high point, but the Xbox One is packed with features for the home entertainment fan.

More than that though, it's TV DVR for Xbox One was a high profile feature that was announced at a major event, hyped up and then taken away. And looking at the uservoice page right now paints a picture: of displeased users

I bought an Xbox One, TV tuner and 2TB external hard drive last year after MS announced DVR capabilities were coming. All told, I have over $500 into this hardware. The DVR functionality was a major feature that I based my decision on.

I've been patiently waiting for something you told Xbox One Owners was coming. I installed an antenna, picked up the xbox tuner, a larger external drive, and we get a sorry we changed our mind.

This is ridiculous. It wasn't a highly requested feature because it has been touted as an inevitable update since the Xbox One was released! Loyal customers are being burned over this.

Extremely disappointed the DVR capability was canceled. This was one of the features that defined my choice of the Xbox One over a PS4. Apparently wasted money on the tv tuner and 2TB Seagate expansion drive. Please rethink this one!!!

That's just a few; there are many, many more. Along with background music playing, which has been pushed back to this summer's Anniversary Update, it seems TV DVR was hotly anticipated. It doesn't exactly shine a great light on Xbox to suddenly decide to pull it.

Xbox E3

And just a few days before what's sure to be an incredible show at E3, too.

That Microsoft felt they had to put out a statement tells me that the Xbox One TV DVR isn't happening for a long time, if ever.

I love Xbox, and personally I'm happy still that it became my number one purchase for the new generation of consoles. I've owned both previous consoles as well as every PlayStation bar the current one. Overall I still think the Xbox One has the best experience as both a games console and an entertainment unit.

But I don't like to see fans disappointed like this. It doesn't really matter what the product, feature or company it is, promising something with much fanfare and then quietly sweeping it under the rug nearly a year later is a dangerous thing to do. It disillusions those most loyal to the brand, and no-one wants that.

Either deliver, or don't say you're going to do something. That's how it has to be.

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine