Is Microsoft Making A Blunder of New Coke Proportions With The Xbox One

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Fresh off a disastrous week at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles, Microsoft finds themselves in a serious crisis mode prior to the launch of the Xbox One. Despite having a much better showing this timeout by focusing on games, the $499 price tag combined with confirmation of the systems requirement to check-in online every 24 hours as well as its blocking of used games might already have sealed its fate prior to launch. Sony stole the show with an impressive demonstration that took several shots at Microsoft and underscored not only a more powerful console but one that does not block used games, has no online requirements, and is $100 less at launch.
Retailers such as Amazon are already showing significantly higher trending and pre-orders for the PlayStation 4, and with the disclosure that the Xbox One will only work in 21 countries at launch one has to wonder what Microsoft was thinking during the design stage of the system and if they are about to make a blunder of New Coke proportions.

In light of the disclosure that the government has been monitoring e-mails and phone records/calls as part of national security, many people are very concerned about a camera equipped system that requires daily Internet connectivity and is capable of recording how many people are in a room, what they are playing, what films and shows their watching, as well as what they are accessing online. Perhaps it’s paranoia run amok but it’s still smacks too much of George Orwell’s 1984 and big brother to make people happy. I have actually dubbed the system the Spybox as it does seem to be ideal for gathering information about the people who use it.

While the game shown on the console were impressive, it is important to note that almost all of them will be available on other formats be it PC or the rival PlayStation 4 system. Only Halo and I am assuming future titles in the gears of war series stand out as the key exclusives for the system. In light of their numerous PR blunders and concerns about the system many fans may take a wait-and-see attitude before jumping aboard the Microsoft bandwagon. They are likely going to see if the company makes any adjustments that can’t burst your features of the system as well is wait for the price to come down and true exclusives that merit the cost of the system to debut.

While hard-core Xbox fans are likely to get the system regardless of the issues many have disclosed that has made them rethink their support of the system and have looked for the PlayStation 4 as the console of choice going forward.

While there is still a long way to go in the console war, Microsoft continues to shoot themselves in the foot time and time again with extremely poorly timed features, evasive comments, and almost out right denial or lack of caring about consumer issues and concerns. All of which bodes very well for Sony who had an extremely large crowd at their booth at E3 which was considerably larger than Microsoft’s. The response to the new system from Sony has been extremely positive and the pre-order rates have shown early on which system the public is planning to embrace.

While there is still time for Microsoft to turn things around, they need to learn from their previous blunders and make changes even if it means admitting mistakes and delaying the console. As in my opinion, there are ready fighting an uphill battle due to all the negative association with the system and are in need of a serious change of pace and refocusing up their marketing strategy if they are to regain any semblance of the success that they had with their previous launches.