5/31/2013

5 things Microsoft can do to "save" the Xbox One




I can't think of a bigger PR disaster in recent history than the unveiling of the Xbox One. The presentation itself was underwhelming at best even for non-gaming outlets (you get in bed with crappy cable companies but don't eliminate the need for a cable box and don't work with dvrs?). Then the inability to even just keep to "no comment" and instead throwing out several different answers to questions about used games and online requirements caused massive confusion and outrage. Right now it seems like even if the Xbox One is a hit with the so-called "bro-gamers" who only play Madden and COD and the more casual crowd who care about things like it being a set top media center, the core gamers, those people who line up on day one, won't be there to support the console. But there's still time and with E3 right around the corner it's the perfect chance to get on the right track. Here's 5 ways they can do that.



5. Make Xbox Live an actual deal: Xbox live is without a doubt the slickest service out there for consoles. But the competition offers much better deals considering Nintendo's online is completely free and Playstation Plus is an optional service that gets you tons of free and discounted content. Now, it's a good money bet that Sony will incorporate Plus as something you need to pay for if you want to do online MP, it's just leaving too much money on the table. But you would still get all the free stuff and discounts, while most other things like Hulu & Netflix, would be free to watch. That makes sense. Xbox Live Gold does not and rumors are they are raising the price. If you are going to still charge for it and not make me laugh, make it worth my while and don't throw everything behind a paywall. I've got lots of acceptable alternatives to paying for your bullshit.



4. Don't shove Kinect down our throats: I get it, Kinect was a massive success with the casual crowd, so yu are introducing a new and improved one for the next generation and want to makeit an integral part of the Xbox One experience. It makes perfect sense, and the Kinect 2.0 is admittedly an impressive piece of tech itself. But do what makes sense. Don't require it for games that don't need it (see anything labeled "better with Kinect") and if I want to press buttons instead of making obscene gestures, let me do that. Kinect is a potentially great piece of tech just don't push so hard on it.



3. Have a clear message: Again this is probably where the most damage was done. Instead of the usual no comment or being honest we got different answers from different people on just about everything. Unfortunately we probably won't get answers at E3, they are more likely to really just stonewall any questions about used games or connectivity. I don't think that's the right way to go. Be honest and direct and say "this is how we are going to do this and this is how it's going to be and this is why it's a good thing." We'll appreciate it because right now all we have are very bad rumors with no benefits for consumers. Have concrete simple answers instead of this mess you currently have.



2. Make no used games work for us: No used games isn't the ultimate anti-consumer practice many are making it out to be. But you have to explain why this isn't a bad thing. Steam is a pretty good example-You can't trade in anything but there are price drops and discounts all the time. Plus Microsoft had said there would be a way to trade in games. Can I do it digitally? That would actually be pretty cool. So do that and maybe no used games won't be such a big deal.



1. Games, games games: Microsoft has pounded home the message that E3 is all about the games. I hope they keep to that. Showing  commitment to gamers with awesome games we will actually care about will go a longer way towards getting the gamers back on your side than virtually anything else. And I don't mean Kinect games or COD or Sports games. We need new ideas, new IP. We need some risks. Do that Microsoft and the other stuff may not even matter.

So despite how bad Microsoft looks at the moment, they still have a pretty decent chance to turn things around. And as a gamer I'm hoping they do because I would like the decision of what console to buy next to be a hard one...

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