Ten ways Microsoft can turn their boat around.
E3 is a time of coming together, one where all major publishers and hardware manufacturers can gather to show off their latest and greatest innovations. Of course, commentators will always attempt to discern who “wins” at the end of every convention. I could normally spend days waxing lyrical about how hard it is to decide who came on top but, whilst this may still be the case, it’s pretty easy to see who’s at the bottom of the pecking order currently. Microsoft dropped a few bombshells, with an outrageous price tag and confirmation of draconian DRM schemes all but killing any enthusiasm we had for the Xbox One. Though the start may be sketchy for their console now, Microsoft may yet be able to play a successful long game with the upcoming successor to the Xbox 360. Here’s ten ways they can turn things around and win back their fans.
Stop Screwing Over Europe
I’d be foolish to argue that Europe is a more important market than America because, in terms of sheer numbers at least, it just isn’t as big. That said, anyone who has bought games in Europe knows that we always get the raw deal. Games come out over here slightly later, at a slightly higher price and currency conversion always means we over-pay for hardware and peripherals by about £40 a pop. That said, the discrepancy between the price of the Xbox One in the US and UK is a complete joke. Priced at $499 in the States, the UK price of £429 converts to roughly $672.50 by current market prices. Why the hell are we paying over $150 extra for the console in England? I can stomach and extra $50 or $60, but anything over a hundred is taking the piss. Jog on Microsoft. You’d better sort your conversion rates out if you want solid customer satisfaction in Europe.
Unveil Some Convincing Online Features
It turns out all those rumours of a hated always-on DRM policy are true for the most part, and I can’t imagine anyone is happy about it. The main issue is how unnecessary it feels from a consumer angle. Sure, it will crack down on piracy but, without an online feature that screams “always connected” it just feels like Microsoft aren’t putting their fans first. There are certainly a lot of online features built into the Xbox One, but plenty of other consoles can give us online features and an offline experience simultaneously. If Microsoft can justify their online policy with an essential online only feature, they’ll be sure to win back the sceptics. And by essential, I don’t mean Skype.
Sort Out the Price
The price is a joke, but it’s here to stay and unlikely to change any time soon. That said, the least Microsoft can do to justify a price tag some $100 higher than its competitors is throw in some extras or alternative options. Subscriptions may be a good way to start, offering cheaper consoles to those who sign on for a minimum subscription to Xbox Live. Considering Microsoft are apparently in talks with Sky about offering its console with Sky TV packages in the UK, it seems like this could be the best way to go about mitigating the price issue.