The last few years have been rough for Microsoft, especially in the game console department. It took them a while to figure this out, but your core audience responds better when they aren’t completely ignored in favor of soccer moms and octogenarians. It might not have been the best strategy to throw that loyal audience under the bus for a new breed of consumer who will purchase one game for themselves and then leave. It might have been erroneous to announce plans to tether every purchase to one machine, even for discs, and then have to frantically reverse direction after the response was so incendiary. It also might have been a bad idea to set the price of your new console $100 above your main competitor just so you can shove in a decapitated Johnny 5 head that doesn’t apply to any game they’re interested in, can’t be turned off, and watches them in their sleep.
It’s been a long road full of mistakes. But things are getting better.
After getting pounded into the dirt by Sony at the end of last gen and the start of this one, a new strategy emphasizing GAMES has started to pay off with its gamer audience. You know what that audience responds even better to? Being the lower-priced console against your competitor.
Swallowing their pride and all previous feelings of elitism, Microsoft has lowered the XBox One to $349, against the $399 Playstation 4, and the results have been akin to a rocket shooting off. For the first time this year, sales of the Xbone have surpassed PS4 sales over the last two weeks. To sweeten the deal, they’ve also started bringing back the pack-in game at no extra charge, and they aren’t yesterday’s cheap games — they’re the latest releases. It adds up to a pro-consumer, properly competitive strategy that should have been there from Day One and that will hopefully lead to a similar deal from Sony.
Slowly but surely, they’re climbing out of that pit. But we won’t know if Microsoft is truly learning from anti-consumer practices until the next Windows OS comes out and all that nonsense is gone.