Microsoft Unintentionally Creates An Interesting Discussion Point
How many gamers still playing on their now-previous-gen consoles are doing so because of the games they’re playing or the friends they have, who still haven’t moved onto the new generation?
Last week Microsoft spent quite some time in the headlines after announcing a host of changes to their current Xbox One business model, and earning some consumer faith in the process. As is typically the case with anything related to Microsoft in recent years, there were also a fair few critics of Microsoft’s decision; folks who on one hand would deign to consider this a win for consumers, and on the other hand take shots at Microsoft for going against their original product.
Us gamers really don’t think about the things we say sometimes.
In any case, while some of us might have thought all was said and done, it turned out that Microsoft still had one more card to play. That came in the form of chief marketing and strategy officer Yusuf Mehdi, finally able to speak about the Xbox One after a long silence, saying that people with Xbox 360s are more satisfied than people with PlayStation 3s, and that is why the PS4 is currently outperforming the Xbox One.
Now there are multiple ways to look at and interpret that sort of statement, but I do want to first say that perhaps the original article worded his statement a little suggestively. Still, that doesn’t excuse some really blush-worthy words from none other than the chief marketing and strategy officer of a company. We’ll disregard his unspoken assertion that people with PlayStations stick to PlayStations; perhaps he forgets that if consumers are unhappy with a product, they are entitled to move across to another product, ie. PS3 to Xbox One.
Instead let’s talk about what he said from the perspective of gamers. For this, we’re going to operate on the assumption that there is at least a little significance to what he said. That is to say, people with Xbox 360s simply enjoy playing on their Xbox 360s more than people with PlayStation 3s, to the point that they would not be easily swayed or coerced into moving over to a different albeit familiar experience.
The idea for today’s article came in a rather interesting discussion I had with a bunch of users over on the SA Gamer forum. One user posed the thought that perhaps it’s in multiplayer that the Xbox 360 is dominating. This argument does seem to have some bearing for me because I need only consider the fact that we currently have no Halo or Gears of War — two massive Xbox 360 titles — on the Xbox One, and further, there hasn’t yet been a next-gen Call of Duty, which is another massive multiplayer offering that is popular on Xbox 360.
I had originally hoped to pull some figures (or: actual journalism) to back up this claim but then I remembered that I’m not actually backing up this claim at all. At worst, I’m playing Devil’s Advocate, but at best, I am simply entertaining the thought in the interests of discussion points.
How many people who have Xbox 360s are simply content to stick with their Xbox 360s because of how much they love it, and perhaps also because of how expensive that Xbox One was — something that Mehdi also conceded in that very same statement. How many of those people might be more interested in going to the Xbox One (or indeed the PS4) once the next big multiplayer title arrives on those consoles?
Sure, Titanfall did great and was quite widely anticipated but it has since fizzled out to nobody’s great surprise and besides that, we’ve really got nothing else on the Xbox One or PS4. Meanwhile, on Xbox 360 there are people still playing the likes of Halo Reach, Halo 4, Gears of War 3, Gears of War: Judgment, as well as various multiplats in larger numbers than on the competing PlayStation 3 which seems to have attracted people for the exclusives and PlayStation Plus but hasn’t done that much in terms of multiplayer, aside from a bunch of free-to-play offerings.
But the Call of Dutys, the Assassin’s Creeds, the GTA Onlines, they’re all still on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. So too are a bunch of other titles, and you start to wonder why anyone has gone over to the next generation yet. With the PlayStation crowd, given their affinity for exclusives, it is at least understandable in that context; PS fans want their next exclusive, so they’ll get their hands on a PS4 in order to play the Shadowfalls and the Second Sons, because multiplayer wasn’t what they were about in the first place.
Does this have anything to do with the reality of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 sales? Probably not as much as I’d like to believe, but you have to at least grant that there is something there. At the very least, an interesting point of discussion? So. Discuss.