The Kinect, an add on for the Xbox was an initial hit. But this past year, it drove the price of the gaming system over £400 – £100 higher than competing systems. And so, Microsoft unbundled it. The problem is … there are few games that support this great device. And without games – the Kinect which really is great – is being purchased by few users.
The Xbox has a funny history. It was slated to die. But due to an internal error, got built and marketed. Turns out, Microsoft can make a really cool gaming system. But now, the tech giant is mucking things up. It seems that the Redmond based, company just can’t score a win with any hardware. And so the Xbox suffers. The one hardware item that could do well for the company, languishes.
You would think that a software company could make … oh … I don’t know …. SOFTWARE. After all, what are games but software. If they had made just a few more games that utilised the Kinect, and kept it bundled, they would have sold more. And, ironically, if they had kept it bundled, more developer would be developing for it as they would know that Xbox owners had a Kinect. But no.
Sadly, Microsoft seems hell bent on killing a really great game system.
And it’s too bad. Microsoft can get hardware right, it just takes them a long time to do so. The Surface (Microsoft’s tablet) is now quite good. It took them two versions to get it right. And they lost more money in advertising than they spent making the first version. The latest Windows phones are actually quite good. After about five years and buying Nokia, they finally got it right. Although they are now a third phone platform, behind Android and the iPhone. Still, the Windows phone is great.
So it seems the Microsoft’s hardware ends up being great, after first being a total failure. Microsoft needs to learn, that all it’s hardware ideas fall short – at first. But with a little refinement, they can be great. Unlike Apple who get’s it right – most of the time – from the start. The Seattle firm needs to bleed some cash and get users to hate the product first
Windows 3 wasn’t great, but it people saw the potential.
Windows 95 was horrid, but people wanted it to work.
Now they can’t get people off Windows XP – released for retail sale on October 25th 2001!
People hated Vista, they rolled back features and … called it Windows 7 – which people love. In fact, a lot of companies found the old computers running XP, were faster running 7.
Version 8, with the Metro Interface, freaked people out, and all the designers were fired. The latests upgrade gives people their desktop back.
The same is true with hardware. Microsoft just needs time to waste some money, to prefect the design. The Zune, the ill-fated Microsoft music player died after a huge marketing push. But other than that, with time, they get hardware right. The Surface, Windows Phone and why not their gaming platform? I don’t know, maybe they’ll rethink that.
What a spin-off would mean for Xbox itself remains unclear, but big questions would certainly face the video game console.
That Bill Gates would publicly back spinning off the Xbox division is surprising, especially given the new momentum the brand has following the appointment of Phil Spencer to head up the division. Spencer is widely viewed as a positive step for Xbox, a “gamer first” executive who understands the core Xbox consumers. At the same time, the Xbox One is falling decidedly behind its lead competitor, Sony’s PlayStation 4…