Following their amazing success with the Xbox 360, Microsoft went into the pre-launch of Xbox One with a swagger. They were going to market an all-in-one, always online, entertainment system that would end up in hundreds of millions of homes… or so they thought.
That calamitous reveal and marketing strategy will go down in the history books as one of the worst console reveals in history. From the top to the bottom the marketing strategy was just a series of Team Xbox shooting themselves in the foot.
Truth be told, the Xbox One never really recovered from 2013. Sales figures show it has often slumped behind the PS4, more so especially in the worldwide market. The Xbox One was a laughing stock, the butt of internet jokes and the way to came out of the blocks, it never really stood a chance against the infinitely better marketed PS4.
Fast forward 7 years, Microsoft is preparing to launch a new generation with the Xbox Series X. This time around, Microsoft aren’t making slip ups. They’re focused on the games, they’re focused on delivering the most powerful console, they’re focused on putting value first and winning over gamers.
There’s an earned confidence about Microsoft that is different from their cocky over-confidence back in 2013. The whole strategy now is about putting the gamer first. Delivering games, services, and a console that all centre on giving the gamer the best experience possible.
Things are different this time around – the Xbox team know there’s nothing like always-online, DRM, forced Kinect etc. For them to stumble over. The vibe they give off is that of a team that knows their past mistakes better than anybody and they’re on a crusade to do it right this time around.
First of all, Xbox is not afraid of going first. Whether it be the announcement itself, showing off the hardware, talking about specs, doing a show, all of it Microsoft has done first. They give off the feeling that they are always rearing to share even more about their new console and this is permeating throughout the industry.
It’s a stark contrast to Sony who seem to be playing second fiddle with the PS5 and are leaving many unanswered questions – leading to a growing frustration in the fan base.
Xbox has come a long way since their dark days of 2013, through managerial changes aplenty and a re-awakening to re-centre their focus on the gamer, Microsoft is in an infinitely better position going into this gen than they were 7 years ago with the Xbox One.