In a stunning reversal, Microsoft announced that it would drop the Internet checking requirement as well as its used game restrictions for the Xbox One. This comes after Microsoft spent a significant amount of time defending those measures.
However, it's worth noting that after last month's Xbox One reveal, Larry Hryb, known by his Xbox Live gamer tag Major Nelson and the director of programming for Microsoft gaming network Xbox Live, weighed in on journalists' and gamers' concerns surrounding the Xbox One's used game and DRM policies at the time. Check it out below.
We find nothing wrong with the above tweet, which is actually an understandable position from our point of view. If it were Microsoft's perogative to stay mum on certain Xbox One features, including used game policies and DRM, so be it. That would have been understandable considering the Xbox One is months away from launch. However, since preorders began during E3 2013 last week, it would have behooved Microsoft to make its position on both issues clear and to repeat those stances and policies over and over again. They didn't. It fumbled, and the other team (Sony) recovered the ball and went in for the touchdown.
After Hryb sent out the above tweet, Microsft found itself ensnared by a tangled web of mixed messages that it weaved itself. During E3 2013 last week, Microsoft's Don Mattrick even went so far as to say that gamers should stick to the Xbox 360 if they want a console that doesn't require an Internet connection. You can watch Mattrick say that here.
So in the past month, Microsoft has gone from "policy decisions are still being finalized," to "we have a product for people who aren't able to get some form of connectivity, it's called Xbox 360" to a complete reversal on used games and Internet checking. While we applaud Microsoft's decision to swallow its pride and listen to the gaming world, the company clearly has a problem with respect to clear and consistent messaging.
Hire a star political consultant. Or two. Or three.
The three we have in mind are James Carville, Karl Rove and David Axelrod, each of which ran successful and victorious presidential campaigns for Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, respectfully. Regardless of how you feel about each of these consultants' political stances and affiliations, what's undeniable about all three of these men is the fact that they know how to masterfully craft messages that resonate with large audiences. Microsoft could definietly use some people with these skills, as could any public or private figure.
Microsoft would most definetly have avoided the PR disaster that they have been stumbling through for the past month or so with a dream team like Carville, Rove and Axelrode on their side. They might have even won the PR war with even one of those guys.
What do you think of this idea? Do you think Microsoft should have hired any or all of the above political consultants we named? Why or why not? What do you think of Microsoft's reversal on Xbox One used game and Internet checking policies? Are you pleased with them or not? Sound off in the comments below.
I cover video games, tech, privacy issues and more for IBT. Prior to joining the staff, I wrote for Major League Baseball, Computer Shopper and other publications. I earned...
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