Microsoft: First in being the worst
Previously I spoke about Sony and their inability to tell the truth to their customers, and Nintendo’s tendencies to create problems only to sell you the solution. So, now it’s time to talk about the big boy American company that muscled their way into the gaming industry, MICROSOFT! Now this one is gonna be a little personal to me because I have always been more of an Xbox fan boy, but I can’t gloss over all the mistakes and shitty business practices that Microsoft has done just because I played Halo 3 for an ungodly amount of hours. So, without further ramblings, let’s get right to it.
Starting all the way back in 2001 when Xbox first started its venture into the gaming market with the original Xbox. Microsoft was looked at by the other giants in the industry as an outsider trying to squeeze their way into a market that has been dominated by Japan for YEARS. People were wary to work with them and I kind of understand why. Just look at the design of the original Xbox. It looks like a futuristic personal AC unit for a house in Back to the Future, and holy shit that controller. That thing was so big and heavy that it caused more broken feet in one year than a decade’s worth of frozen turkeys during Thanksgiving. They called it the Duke, which is accurate because it feels like the designers took a fat shit and Microsoft just ran with it anyway.
The Xbox did succeed in one thing though and that was Downloadable Content monetization. Before Xbox, companies did sell DLC but it didn’t gain anywhere near the revenue that Microsoft made by marketing off their highest grossing games like Halo and Splinter Cell. They made it an industry standard that DLC is almost always inevitable. There will probably some season pass or some extra content they will add to your favorite game to squeeze even more money out of their very loyal fan base. It might have started off as innocent at first with small purchases of like 1 to 5 dollars, but it quickly grew to the heights where it was necessary to create a storefront in their console to sell even more things. Which brings us to their next big project the Xbox 360, but before that I want to take a quick detour and talk about the names.
Who the FUCK? Oversees the naming process at Microsoft? Whoever it is needs to be taken out back and sacked. How do we go from the Xbox to the Xbox 360 and then from the 360, (where everybody’s logical conclusion is Xbox 720) to the Xbox one? The Xbox one isn’t even the one, it’s the 3rd. Their naming scheme makes no sense and now with all the new versions it’s like they are deliberately trying to confuse their fans and especially the parents. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to explain that the Xbox one S and Xbox one X are still Xbox ones and are not new consoles with new games. Then comes the next generation and they’ve overdone themselves again with the dumbass names, with the new Mini Fridge console the Xbox series X, not to be confused with the Xbox one X. It’s just dumb and makes Microsoft look like they either don’t know what they are doing or don’t care
Ok, now back to the timeline. I forgot to mention before we get the Xbox 360 there’s one more thing that Microsoft did that lead to an industry standard that is now a staple in business practices in gaming, and that is Xbox Live. Before the Xbox, online console gaming was a distant dream that most couldn’t even seem to understand like SEGA and their Dreamcast that tried to scratch the surface of online gaming but with only a dial-up connection and no broadband support until much later it didn’t really take off, and Sony didn’t even seem to bother trying with the PS2 not even having networking capabilities built into the console. Xbox not only had a broadband connection built into the hardware, but servers and software built into the console ready to take the lead when they announced it a year after the Xbox was released. It was a huge hit and from there other companies took notice of this new subscription that people had to pay in order to access the internet they were already paying for. Granted Xbox live used servers to run their online service and servers require money to keep running but no company will be looked at favorably for creating a new way for corporations to sell you things and make money off of you. They weren’t doing it out of the kindness of their hearts, they were a business, and this was a way to market to their customer base.
On to the Xbox 360. Compared to the total domination of the gaming market of the PS2 during the original release of the Xbox the 7th generation of consoles was a much more even playing field. Xbox lead the charge coming out a year early and piercing the stronghold that Sony and Nintendo held for so long. The problem was is that the console didn’t fucking work. The Xbox 360 had a failure rate of over 50%. Five times that of the PS3 and the PS3 wasn’t known for being a stable console by any means either. Also, their customer service sucked, and it took them like a month to fix their consoles, compared to Sony and Nintendo’s week of repair time and only about 3.8% of the people with broken consoles were upset enough to never buy Microsoft again. The Xbox fanboys were so hardcore attached to Microsoft that they endured the shitty customer service and weeks of no game console just so they can play more Halo with their buddies on their 4th replacement console.
Then comes the Kinect and it’s cool concept but sloppy design, was unveiled in 2009 with the Milo demo (Which is widely believed to be a fake demo with scripted sequence of events that looks well practiced by the lady in the video) It went on to break records and become one of the fastest selling consumer electronics device in 2011. I gotta be honest. I bought it day one and I played the shit out of it. So much so that I was one of the top scorers on the Kinect Volleyball leaderboards. Which got me nothing at all except for a broken fan that I hit with my hand as I served the fake ball to a twelve-year-old that was just trying to have fun as I destroyed him. The Kinect lost its shine really fast though as a lack of games with any polish at all came streaming from it as it tried to keep people interested. Most of the games got boring quickly and others were just buggy messes that didn’t work well at all. Despite that fact Microsoft carried the corpse of the Kinect all the way to the launch of the Xbox one and plopped it squarely on top of the console and forced their fans to buy it with the console, driving up the cost to 500 bucks on release day.
The last thing I want to talk about is their attempt to make their consoles always online, watching your every move to gather information on games you like to better advertise to you and their attempt to attack the used gaming industry by making it so you can only play your games on your console and like five other friend’s consoles. The backlash for these policies was so swift and very loud as many people played games just offline and didn’t have a means or a want to have their console online and even other gaming companies took a crack at making fun of Microsoft’s attempt to kill the used games market. (Granted, Sony was playing both sides because as they mocked Xbox for their new policy on used games, they created a patent that would essentially do the same thing.) Microsoft quickly backtracked on their idea and instead just released the new Xbox one with the normal features.
And that’s the last thing that I wanted to bring up in regard to Xbox’s money hungry tactics. Recently they’ve been rather customer friendly with their new announcements that all their exclusive games will be on the Game Pass day one, which is super awesome, but I don’t know how they expect to sell their new console when they just made it so you don’t need the new hardware to play their new games, and with their new Halo game being pushed back until after release. I can’t help but think they are going to take a plunge in sales on their new console because there’s nothing really to sell it other than it being the new console and it’s backwards compatible. Which is at least more than I can say about the PS5. Either way I hope you guys enjoyed the blog and if you did maybe leave a like or a comment and be sure to share and subscribe! Hope you guys have a good day! Peace!