Microsoft has learned from it’s Mistakes, but is it too late?

Microsoft E3

Just take a look at Microsoft’s E3 Press Conference this year and compare it to that of last year. You will notice the shift in focus, telling us that Microsoft is learning from it’s decisions in poor taste that ultimately resulted in the Xbox One lagging behind in sales.

Last year, it was all: Multimedia, Multimedia, Multimedia, with Gaming almost an afterthought. Microsoft had portrayed the Xbox One as a Multimedia Hub, the center of your Home Entertainment System, rather than a Gaming Console. On the other hand, the PS4 was focused solely on gaming. It did have some nifty mutlimedia features, but Gaming was the foremost focus.

This is a complete reversal of the scenario which was there in the previous clashes between these two giants. In the last Console Wars, Microsoft had focused on Gaming and Multiplayer, while Sony added Blu-Ray to the mix and portrayed the PS3 as an Entertainment Hub.

SEE ALSO: Console Faceoff- PS4 vs Xbox One

The PS3 was behind the Xbox 360 in terms of sales, mainly due to the stability and features of Xbox Live and also due to the emphasis on Gaming. The introduction of the Kinect was not just to showcase a new medium for controlling games, but also to set the first stone in Microsoft’s move to Media.

Xbox One console

The Xbox One completed the process by integrating the Kinect itself in it’s price, making the Xbox One $100 more than the PS4. While controversies raging around the Xbox One also proved to be factors of lagging sales, this higher price was one of the major reasons why the Xbox lagged behind the Playstation.

Microsoft defended the Xbox One by saying that without Kinect the “Xbox Experience” will be degraded  and you won’t be able to enjoy the Xbox One fully . But people were not convinced that the Kinect was worth an extra $100 — They turned towards the PS4 for their Gaming Fix.

kinect 2 - 2

It was at this point of time that the folks at Microsoft were regretting their decisions. There was a bit of a divide inside , with one side asking for unbundling Kinect and lowering the price, while the other side was against this decision, arguing that such a decision would divert the Xbox One from one of it’s Core concepts.

Eventually the first side prevailed and Microsoft announced the unbundling of Kinect and the price cut oiff $100.

E3 was approaching fast and Microsoft had already chosen their Focus, one which was already tried and tested and had bought Microsoft considerable success: Gaming. At E3, Microsoft assaulted with a bunch of exclusives, Indies and Cross-Platformers, which is the stark opposite of the Microsoft at E3 2013, where the Kinect and the Xbox One’s Media Capabilities were the prime and absolute focus.

There was just one mention of Kinect, and that too not a bold one. From this fact only you can see that Microsoft isn’t giving priority to the Kinect.

Sunset_Overdrive_KeyArt_Vert_RGB_Final

With great games like Halo 5, Sunset Overdrive, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed- Unity and also considering the price cut of the Xbox One, it seems like the Xbox One is ready for making a comeback. Yes, Microsoft has learned from it’s mistakes, and the focus on Gaming, with some great games coming out all is very good, it still doesn’t guarantee a comeback.

You see, most of us excited about the next consoles have already bought either the PS4 or the Xbox One (The PS4 being more likely) and for those of us with a PS4, it isn’t financially viable or even something compelling forcing you to switch sides from the Xbox One.

For those who haven’t bought a console yet (What are you waiting for?), most will still choose the PS4, because the Xbox One’s history fraught with bad decisions, comments and controversies is hard to forget and that casts the console in a bad light.

But if Microsoft had selled the Xbox One without the Kinect from the get go, we may have been seeing a very different scenario. By unbundling the Kinect months after the Xbox One’s launch, Microsoft has ended up damaging itself:

1.) It has alienated the Consumers:

  • By unbundling the Kinect afterwards, Microsoft has done a mistake. First off, many have already bought the PS4, so Microsoft can’t do anything about them.
  • And for those who liked the Kinect and were saving up for the Xbox One, they feel alienated too. You see, Microsoft unbundling Kinect after the launch of the Xbox One gives off the illusion that Microsoft is abandoning Kinect (It may not actually be so). Also, there will be fewer games for the Kinect now (Point expanded below)
  • Then there is the issue of the Xbox One’s image, which is littered with controversies and bad decisions

2.) It has alienated the Developers:

  • The Kinect could prove to be a form of control that could be used very effectively in games.
  • Due to Microsoft unbundling Kinect, less Kinects will be in circulation.
  • This means that there will be the issue of fragmentation., meaning that there will be some people with the Kinect and some without.
  • By giving off the Kinect with the Xbox One, Microsoft had given the developers an advantage, that of a uniform developing experience.
  • But now, due to the fragmented experience, it makes it difficult to develop for the Xbox One. So developers have the option of making Kinect games that give lesser returns, or make normal games that would sell more but don’t use the Kinect. Most developers will choose the latter option.
  • Of course, this may change later, when more Xbox One owners will buy the Kinect as an add-on accessory. Of course it would still be a fragmented experience, but that extra circulation might give developers that extra incentive for developing for it.

Also, we must take into consideration that while Microsoft was busy catching up with the PS4, Sony went ahead and gave the PS4 a huge push with lots of games. Although only a few of these games were exclusive, Sony went behind the scenes and gave almost every game an “exclusivity factor”.

For example, certain missions and parts of the games can only be played if you have a PS4. Then there is the Playstation TV, which is an add-on to the PS4 that could become a cheap PS4 through Remote Play.

All this means that while Microsoft’s E3 was playing catch up, Sony’s E3 was power packed with lots of games and also hardware, something that Microsoft didn’t talk about much at E3.

However, the Xbox One very well might take the flag from the PS4 and surge ahead, if Microsoft plays it’s cards right. All Microsoft has to do is, to summarize:

  • Prove to Potential Buyers that Microsoft hasn’t actually abandoned the Kinect and that it still backs it.  Microsoft also has to prove that it has learnt from the Xbox One controversial decisions.
  • Lure developers to continue developing for the Kinect.
  • Also partner with developers to create more exciting games for the Xbox One and also make more exclusives .
  • Regularly announce deals, bundles,etc
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