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Why Public Relations Can Bring Down The Xbox One
Public Relations, it’s something that is important in every business, but even more so for big companies like Microsoft. The Xbox One, or the Xbone as it has been called, will now work without the Kinect. I would be happy, but this only highlights the biggest problem the Xbox One has had since its inception. The PR that has accompanied this system since Microsoft showed it off months ago has continued to be a reoccurring problem. This is only exacerbated by the fact Sony PR’s can’t do anything wrong and that’s the most telling story of the next generation. If the Xbox One loses to Sony, or even on the very very slim chance the Wii U, it won’t be because of the games, it will be because of how they showed off the system and it will show how bad PR breaks the product.
When Microsoft first revealed the Xbox One, everyone got on how they showed it off. If you watched the conference, you heard TV a lot and not so much on the games. I would like to say this didn’t bother me but I would be lying. However, after thinking long and hard (probably too much) I tried to justify that because the conference was so close to E3, they wanted to show the games at a game event. In hindsight, it wasn’t the strongest argument but I was patient and decided to hold back my judgment of the system until E3. That’s when it got bad.
I liked the games Microsoft showed off but it was not Microsoft’s best conference. Sadly though, a combination of not listening to fans and a better conference by Sony (if we are being honest about this) had fans and consumers scratching their head. This was done in two fold, the first was easy. The DRM restrictions on the console were just a bit too much. When Microsoft announced the restrictions, I understood it. Get more $ to publishers and developers to allow more innovation and riskier products to diversify and gaming out of its slump. This wasn’t simply rage that games such as Diablo III and SimCity had when DRM, it had a side of rage and that is just never a good combination. This concoction came about because it was announced poorly and many people were just confused and just scratched their head wondering what it was. These DRM policies overshadowed anything that Microsoft could have announced. Want proof? A new Halo got announced and while there was no date and just a trailer, that didn’t gather the attention a Halo announcement normally would have. The most headlines you read and what you heard from friends were those 3 letters. Yes, it has a lot or preorders but it was still there, especially after Sony just annihilated and straight up bitch slapped Microsoft with their press conference. So what did they do? They reversed their decision and said no online DRM, just update the system when you plug it in and you will be done. But the damage was done, and no amount begging on knees could have saved them and no business lingo could have pulled them from the rock and hard place they put themselves in.
The second was the price tag and what was included. $500 is a lot of money to put into just the console. So remember the time when Sony was mocked and ridiculed because the basic PS3 at launch was $500 with a $600 version? Yea this is worse. I could justify Sony having a high price because the tech inside wasn’t cheap and they wanted to make money. This though just seems like straight wallet ripping out of my pants by Microsoft. Not only were the specs below what I had expected, but that ugly eye thing came with every system. Now comes the announcement that the Xbox One doesn’t have to be plugged in to work with the system. Great, so can the system be cheaper to buy now since I definitely don’t want one. Probably not, but this just story straight stinks as we have less than 4 months until it’s launch.
There is something to be said about PR and the effect it can have on a product. So how will the story of the Xbox One be told? Will it be how bad public relations can ruin anything or will it be how Microsoft turned itself around after a rough start? The answer to that question will determine whether the Xbox One will succeed or fail.