Dear Microsoft

New-Microsoft-Logo

Dear Microsoft,

Thank you for describing – with an apparently irony-free straight face – the huge, massive and vociferous global outcry to the planned restrictions on the new Xbox One as ‘candid feedback’.

Well that’s one way of putting it…!

Xbox One

I mean, come on.

‘Candid feedback’ is what you should have been seeking BEFORE you announced one of your biggest strategic innovations and competitive plays of the decade, not gathering once the shit has hit the fan so spectacularly after the event.

Have you not heard of market research?

It’s when you talk to your consumers and explore how they might react to the sorts of things that you’re thinking of doing.

xbox gamers

One focus group, just one focus group, with one tiny sub-segment of ‘gamers’ would have told you that restricting the sharing of games, restricting sales of pre-owned titles and requiring daily online authentication might not have been such a hot idea.

snake-nokia-3210

The last ‘game’ (as in computer game) that I played in earnest was Snake on my trusty Nokia 3210, c.1999, but even I could have told you that such a fundamental change dictated so prescriptively was not going to go down so well.

But I am being purposefully facetious and doing you a disservice.

Of course you did market research. Of course you did.

But I suspect you only heard what you wanted to hear.

I think you were seduced by positive responses to intriguing new features such as the ability to access your game library from a friend’s house.

I think you only heard the things that fitted with your strategic vision for a new era of digitally-centered console gaming with a forward-looking approach to games distribution, inspired by iTunes and PC gaming service Steam.

I think you were listening too hard to the games designers and publishers who are (understandably) sick of losing out to piracy and second-hand sales.

In amongst all that noise I think you forgot to listen, to properly listen, to the people who are actually going to go out and spend money on your stuff. The gamers.

But having said all that, thank you (and I’m thanking you on the behalf of the ‘gaming community’) for putting things right.

XBox and Playstation signs at Electronic Entertainment Expo

Sure it’s an embarrassing U-turn, a humbling climb-down, an admission that the other guys (namely Sony with the PS4) got it right and you got it wrong. (Oooh, their gloating must have been vexing for you.)

But the important thing is, you’ve put things right and all is not lost – and you’ve got until November to make it seem like none of this ever happened.

Thanks again

Ned

 

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