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Social Disorder: How Microsoft Ruined the Xbox One Image
Regardless of how cliché this advice is, first impressions are always important. They way you represent yourself among peers or strangers will determine their confidence in you. Naturally, failing to do just that can result in negative and incompetent perceptions. Sony learned this the hard way when they initially sold the $599 PS3 with little games; Nintendo learned this when the Wii U Gamepad became the system’s face and confused consumers; and now, Microsoft are learning this after debuting their Xbox One gaming system as a cable box. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the fumbled Xbox One reveal occurred in the fast-paced and unforgiving world of social media.
For a former technological leader, Microsoft being so unprepared to handle the Xbox One’s negative backlash in every social network is such a baffling thought. Despite one of their former employees facing scrutiny for mocking complaints against always-online devices, Microsoft had no clear answer if the Xbox One would be one of them. Despite the growing outrage of DRM implementations to block used games sales, Microsoft had no clear answer if the Xbox One had one of its own. Despite all the negative rumors that been building since the Xbox One was originally codenamed Durango, Microsoft made no effort to shut any of them down at their conference. And in failing to properly dismiss these anti-consumer rumors, Microsoft has greatly damaged the Xbox One‘s image and the Xbox brand in mere hours.
People are not calling Microsoft’s new console the Xbox One; they’re calling it the Xbone. There’s no anticipation for what the new Kinect system can do; only fear of how it will be used. There’s no positive word-of-mouth to convince people to “jump in” for another Xbox; only continued detractions as to why they should #jump out. The Xbox One is not seen as the all-in-one entertainment device or even a video game system; it’s seen as VCR.
Microsoft may blame the gaming media for misinterpreting their news, but when the company’s official representatives keep changing their story left and right, what should journalists do? It’s even harder to excuse Microsoft’s incompetence when the Xbox One reveal was originally delayed; creating a more horrific scenario of how worse the whole event could have gone. There’s no denying it: Microsoft lost control of the Xbox One’s narrative; they barely had a sentence written down on paper. In losing their narrative, Microsoft gave their competitors the ammunition they need to deliver a headshot to the Xbox One.
While the Wii U enjoyed a huge sales boost courtesy of the Xbox One announcement, it’s the PS4 that’s gaining the most from Microsoft’s screw up. Right now the PS4 is currently seen as the next-gen console to own, with the Xbox One barely putting up a fight. Sony doesn’t even need to make a new ad against the Xbox One; social media is happy to make one (and more) up for them and spread it like wildfire.
It’s fitting that a system pushing for social connectivity like the PS4 is besting the Xbox One on sites like Facebook and Twitter. And what image did the Xbox One press conference inspire people to make and share online?