Xbox One: Microsoft Doing “Reputation Management” For Negative Criticism?

Microsoft takes to combating criticism and fighting a proxy war on Reddit.

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After the Xbox Wire divulged a whole lot of information on the Xbox One’s policies, including those on connectivity, privacy and used games, dozens – and at this rate, it looks to be hundreds – of negative posts emerged on sites like Reddit, criticizing Microsoft for its policies. Take everything from this onwards with enormous grains of salt.

There are also enough posts and comments talking down to those complaining. Some are even making posts with lines like “stop the circle jerk”. But a Reddit user posted something interesting regarding this very same trend.

Apparently working with a marketing firm in Redmond that has a contract with Microsoft, the user visited one of the Xbox offices and got a sneak peek into what is referred to as “reputation management”.

“While we were waiting, various marketing employees said hello to us/shook our hands – it was a pretty friendly place. Just nearby were two guys chatting at one of their PCs, and they caught my attention because they were on Reddit! I thought that was pretty cool, and presumed they were having a late lunch break and were just goofing around online.

“I kind-of started to eavesdrop (I honestly couldn’t help it, they were talking about Reddit!) and realized they were actually talking business. One of the exchanges went like this: ‘I got a few more on pics and some of the smaller subs.’ ‘Honestly just don’t bother I think, stay focused on gaming. We really should be spending 90% of our time there.’ [Note: I presume they were referring to /r/pics and /r/gaming]

XboxOneGams

“His coworker went back to his own computer, and he continued Redditing while we waited. He must’ve really been hyped up on caffeine or something, because his typing was like a machine gun and he was switching tabs like crazy (or maybe that’s just because Microsoft hires the ‘hacker’ type of guys?) Anyway I noticed he was mass-downvoting a ton of posts and comments, and he kept switching to other tabs to make posts and comments of his own.”

The reputation management involves, “‘debunking’ people who make negative or critical comments about the brand online. I’ve done this myself for numerous clients before (even on Reddit once, sorry!)” and the user noted that, “in any case, they seem to be putting a BIG focus on it for the Xbox One.

“Not only in-house; they’re also dishing out the big bucks for some pretty high-profile marketing firms to do the work for them. Reddit will absolutely be a part of that strategy, and the couple of guys I saw were probably just the tip of the iceberg.”

Of course, he notes that it’s just a hypothesis so empty your last batch of salt and take some more. But nonetheless, “There’s a good chance that many of the positive posts/comments we’re seeing about the Xbox One have been posted by employees from one of those marketing firms.

“It’s fairly standard to diss your competitors too, so I’m guessing some of the negative posts about it might even be from Sony. That’s just a hypothesis, though it wouldn’t be the first time a seeming-crapstorm ‘among Redditors’ was actually just a proxy war between marketing employees.”

Thoughts on this hidden war?

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  • Brad Donald

    Its been going on for years. Its not new News to those that have been part of the gaming hobby for years.

    • Colt Diesel

      Not to mention how much payola goes on in the ranking of games. Metacritic is silly with bogus scores.

  • technoreaper

    I’ve always suspected that they’ve been doing this for years. Their usual MO is to talk about how companies need to make money, and have the right to do so. They’ll use all sorts of propaganda techniques like overemphasizing the positive, justifying the ridiculous negatives, using multiple accounts to make it seem like people are agreeing with them. You see a lot of this going on with the movie message boards.

    Thanks for confirming this exists.

  • Artboy

    Microsoft are not in business of, as you put it, reputation management. The truth is that a small, yet vocal minority are using social media to misrepresent the XBox One.
    I think it’s disgusting behavior, and any parent would be wise to purchase their family, the true future of home entertainment.

    • superman

      Ohhhh the metaaaaa

    • heatEXTEND

      I’ll admit I loled

    • bill

      What am I reading.

      xbox go home

    • Jason Andrew Hahn

      lol

    • weiner

      “… and any parent would be wise to purchase their family, the true future of home entertainment.”

      Man you are really bad at your job. Nobody fucking talks like this…

    • William Clinton III

      That’s awesome!!

    • gdfgdfgfd

      ^obvious troll

    • phillip

      Ummmm, what? Is this real? LOL, this sounds like propaganda from the 40s….how much are they paying you to try to screw the consumer? You think it’s “wise” to have a system that can’t do anything if your internet goes out? Oh yeah it can play tv and movies. Come on, I have both consoles and preferred the 360, but microsoft seem so confused and out of touch I may just “wisely” get a ps4
      Hey, I just realized, that could be a Sony employee acting like a Microsoft reputation enhancer employee in order to further piss us off. Wow this new console generation is a lot more complicated than the good ol days.

    • Artboy

      I’m not being payed anything. I understand if you’ve fallen for the words of the vocal minority, it’s really difficult when forums and so called news sites repeat these lies.

      Understand everything that we say is true. You can trust Microsoft to provide you with all your entertainment needs.
      Want access to the latest and greatest content? Use the new Kinect sensor and simply say, “XBox, latest and greatest content from the world of entertainment, Bing snap that thing.”

      *disclaimer: Microsoft and it’s partners wont be held responsible for any results that cause offence if you or other users use voice commands while intoxicated*

      Like Budweiser say,drink responsibly.

    • phillip

      Ah ya got me, ya got me. The vocal Minority lol
      That would be a good band name

    • Kieran Tsao

      He got you, but it only took another sarcastic reply for you to be sure. No wonder people fall for this.

    • phillip

      Lol, yeah but only because there are so many actual people saying crap like this and they’re serious. And it’s annoying because some of them don’t realize that these companies are not going to stop implementing strategies to squeeze every nickel and dime out of us, and every anti-consumer feature you agree to only brings that future closer.

    • Kieran Tsao

      will be a sad day for the gaming world if enough people are suckered in to buy this version of Microsoft’s future.

    • Artboy

      Goodbye Phillip,I’ll always remembe….error E3-061013 host lost communication with server : shutting down.. .

    • phillip

      xbox go home! Xbone-I’m sorry Art boy I’m afraid I can’t do that. Um xbox, turn off? Xbone- I’m sorry Art boy, this mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it. Art boy-Xbox Go HOME!! Xbone- I’m sorry Art boy, I know you were planning to disconnect me and that’s something I can’t allow to happen. Art boy (Whispering to friend to disconnect xbone) Xbone-although you took very thorough precautions against my hearing you, I could see your lips move. Wires shoot out of Xbone wrapping Art boy up and sitting him down on the couch. Gasses then come out of xbone vents turning Artboy into a consumer zombie. Artboy- Xbox buy………everything, oh yeah and order dominos.

    • Orichalcum_Babbott

      “Vocal Minority” You mean people that take the time to look into the system and see its faults. Right. Okay. Sure.

  • gh

    I mean if it has been said Xbox employees were applauding announcements at their recent reveal I wouldn’t put anything past the company.

    For that matter the same might hold true for video game publishers, developers, and other console makers

  • Benji

    Look at the redditor’s account info. He claims to be an active user, but he’s got 4+ hours of being a new Redditor.

  • lorb

    Some of the Reddit posters and commenters are corporate shills? This is breaking news. Hold on I am getting a report. Water is in fact wet. What will come out next today. Will we find out that gravity pulls us towards the earth?

  • JoeSislack

    I wonder if people like Ben Kuchera are secretly corporate shills too.

  • deeboy17

    People are not seeing the business side of things only the personal. Sony and Microsoft will have to change policies in order to make the publishers and developers happy. These games are on bluray disc and are being played by damn near computer like consoles. Anybody who owns a 3D bluray player can testify that most 3D blurays aren’t that damn cheap. We are talking 30 to 60 dollars upon release if the movie is popular. 20 to 40 if not. Now imagine games with two to three times the data. Devs want their money and so do publishers because the cost of development will be the highest this Gen. Things will change. Because gaming has changed. The always online argument resides mostly with people who aren’t particularly attractive to that feature anyway but so far their are almost 50 million who are on Xbox live and growing. 360 and Xbox One gamers on the same servers will translate into another transition.

  • B_Boss

    Pro ‘debunking’ is an old, old game (not to say that this article is irrelevant). The CIA (or most, if not all, Govt. Agencies) most Corporations and PR Firms heavily engage in it.

    • Kieran Tsao

      Yep, China’s “50 centers” (nicknamed because the rumour is that they are paid this much for every “pro” government comment they make) springs to mind when I read this article.

      The difference is that the public mindset doesn’t really think about this BAR pro Chinese government comments… whereas someone saying good stuff about other governments and in this case, a company’s product, simply pass it off as someone with a different opinion.

      Xbone will still be terrible of course.

  • Your face

    hundreds of negative posts, you say? on the INTERNET? that’s not very many, is it?

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