The Number 350, Not 360; Microsoft’s New Number Won’t Win the Console War
Champion of the Console Wars?
There are two things that determine the fate of any product. These things are image and effectiveness. If a product is great, but it has a bad reputation, it will have very low demand. If a product has a great reputation, but does carry out it’s function well, consumers will not seek to waste funds on it. The effect of this principle gets stronger as the price of said product rises. Home video game consoles are not cheap, thus the importance of the reputation and the effectiveness of each device is high. Almost like gum on a shoe, Microsoft seeped to step on new controversies on it’s road to the Xbox One launch. Sony, however, stepped on something else. They were stepping on the stairs leading to the throne belonging to the victor of the Console Wars. As the butt of Sony rapidly descends into the figurative chair of the coveted position, what has Microsoft done to combat this massacre? Is it effective?
Last generation’s global sales of the Xbox 360 came incredibly close to that of the PlayStation 3, trailing behind by around 600,000 units. This is a complete and utter embarrassment. Why do I say this? Hollywood. You may of heard of this place as it’s only the heart of the arts and entertainment of the most powerful country in the world. Guess what? The American video game market is larger than that. Larger than rest the red, white, and freakin blue’s entertainment powerhouse. Despite this, the Xbox 360 couldn’t outsell the competitor. The 360 bid win the “Console War” of last generation was a failure. With the next generation on it’s way, Microsoft worked on it’s attempt go at things. As if instructed to say the first thing that came into their heads, Microsoft had come up with the number to it’s new strategy; One. With a higher pricetag and inferior specs, this initial strategy didn’t work without widespread critical feedback. Where did One go wrong?
One is for mistake after another.
Sony filed a patent for a technology that would block used games. This was the start to a news cycle that revolved around the idea that the PlayStation 4 would not allow used games. Microsoft announced their DRM and “always online” policy for the Xbox One. Basically what Microsoft said to the public was ‘We are going to charge you a lot of money, for a device that restricts more things than our competitor, and you won’t be able to play games previously owned by someone else. Oh and you will always have to be connected to the internet.’ Wait I forgot one more thing, I apologize. ‘You can connect your CABLE BOX to it!’
‘Sports! Sports! Sports!’
‘TV! TV! TV! TV!’
‘Oh we almost forgot video games.’
Following this Sony announced they would have no internet restrictions and that the PlayStation 4 would play used games. Microsoft stuck to their very, very unpopular guns. Sony broadcast a $400 price tag and a pretty nice list of technical specifications. Want to know Microsoft’s follow up?
They stripped it down to a higher pricetag of half a grand and inferior technology. Microsoft revealed a combination of a $100 higher pricetag at $500, and the following:
- You can not play games that were previously played on another console
- You must always be connected to the internet
- You may not disconnect the Kinect
- It is possible you may have to pay more money if a certain amount of people are watching a movie
- It is possible that you cannot block the Kinect sensor so that it cannot pick up an image.
Here we are now. February 2015, and now the Xbox One is $50 less than the PlayStation 4. What is Microsoft’s latest change in approach?
Microsoft’s new strategy: 350
Ignoring the overwhelming negative pre-release, and post-release, does $50 cut it? Is $50 worth noteworthy inferior graphics? Is $50 worth needing Xbox Live to do anything but play a single player game? The answer for people will very quickly be no. A common attitude among many people in these days is ‘If I’m going to spend this kind of money it needs to count’. $50 more for better performance and free online is worth it, and consumers know it. In fact you may save more money spending more to buy the PlayStation 4. Sparing themselves the burden of a yearly $50 Xbox Live gold membership fee to play online and stream media takes away from the new 350 strategy.
Microsoft is definitely trying hard, launching a directive to reimage in Japan, reaching out to the community for feedback, and yes lowering the price of their console. Sorry to say this is something they have to do in order to remain a respectable contender for Console War victor. Unfortunately going from always online, sports, tv, vague mentions of video games, fake applause, and $350 will not cut it. Microsoft’s new strategy just isn’t enough.
The opinions expressed in this piece do not reflect how Dual Pixels feels about t as a whole. They reflect the opinions of the author.