While Xbox has recently been trying to get a foothold in regions that it historically didn’t perform all that well in, like Japan, fans are crying out for support in their own regions, as many of them feel neglected by the gaming brand.
It may surprise you, but there are a ton of regions that have no localisation, no online store to shop in and little to no media presence for Xbox. Catarina Ferreira, a Portuguese Xbox fan and regional advocate has taken it upon herself, alongside some motivated community members, to bring this issue to the Xbox leadership through an online petition and an open letter directed at Phil Spencer.
The issues with Xbox’s globalisation approach range far and wide, from minor grievances like not getting access to (some of) the Microsoft Rewards, not being able to participate in events and giveaways or local marketing underperforming versus competitive console brands like Nintendo and Playstation, to larger issues such as not having a localised store, having no access to the online features provided by Xbox Live or not accepting certain currencies.
The first step in this process, was creating a Discord channel where representatives for each region could voice their concerns. They compiled a list of complaints, ran a survey to find out which concerns returned frequently and used it to create the petition.
“The Xbox fans around the world have been struggling for far too long to get the brand’s presence they deserve. Out of 193 countries in the planet, only 42 are currently supported by Xbox, and most in a poor way. That means that from the 2 billions Xbox attempts to reach with cloud gaming, only a few can actually get the Xbox experience.
We all love Xbox. The community, the consoles, the games, the services. With the constant growing of Xbox Game Pass, we can’t all wait to keep living wonderful stories and adventures. But not all of us are lucky to try these experiences. Some of us can’t use Microsoft Rewards, or join an Xbox FanFest, or see marketing for Xbox. Others can’t even purchase consoles and products in their own country.
In a joint attempt to reach out the high executives of Xbox, people from all sort of backgrounds are joining now to reach the Xbox team, get their attention and finally put a stop to this.
We want to openly discuss with Xbox about the main problems and finding solutions together. Xbox keeps getting better and we want to be a part of it.
Please sign the petition if you live with these issues or sympathize with your fellow Xbox family.”
Open Letter to Phil Spencer
“Mr. Phil Spencer
You cannot imagine how grateful we all are for everything you brought to Xbox. With your leadership, the Xbox teams did incredible things, even when it seemed like the entire world was weighing on you.
The strength, determination, perseverance, and faith you showed inspired us all to create a better world. You saw the talent and uniqueness in all the elements of a crushed team, and from the ashes something rose. And those wrecks are what made Xbox what it is today.
What a ride!
Xbox fans share wonderful unique stories, from all various backgrounds, united into one single family. The power that dreams, representation and visibility can have in people around the world is incredible. From all the places in a world which such diversity, Xbox is a home, a tribe where we can all connect and feel like we belong. That is probably your greatest achievement.
And for that, Xbox’s most powerful active are communities. The people that not only play on Xbox devices and services, but also find inspiration to follow their dreams, strength to fight their fears, courage to love again. They find their inner soldiers, adventurers, and leaders.
Today, for most of these communities Xbox is not there. The home we found seems to be abandoned with little to no services, and it can be difficult to get new consoles and support. Our hope grows thinner and our courage weaker. We are still suffering from the wrecks that were brought to you.
Community and regional leaders from dozens of countries around the world gathered as one single voice. Where before we felt so powerless from speaking alone, now we speak as one soul, and we ask you: please listen. We all want to be fully supported members of the Xbox family!
People are asking you to hear their stories, understand their side and make a commitment to make sure your teams improve things where possible, step by step. Some need more support for their communities, some need more marketing or language localization, others just want the chance to purchase a console at a physical store.
These are only a few requests we would like to discuss/have some feedback on:
– Increase the number of Xbox Live supported countries
– Improve regional teams and marketing in already supported countries
– Reach those billions of gamers by seeing the potential of smaller markets
– Broader globalization of features like Microsoft Rewards and promotions like Xbox All Access
– Provide solution for payment methods currently restricted, originating from unsupported countries
– Improve support for different languages on 1st party Xbox games
– Help developers improve localization
– Support the local communities
– Commitment to discuss these issues and possible solutions with Xbox fans
We are willing to be open and honest with you, to explain our struggles and reach out to find a common ground where we can all, truly, win.
Xbox Community Hub
My personal take, from a Belgian/Dutch point of view: While Belgium & the Netherlands seem like countries that would receive dedicated Xbox Support and local marketing attention, the local communities have not been feeling it since the early years of the Xbox One.
While we have Microsoft Rewards now (it rolled out eventually), fun events like “Rack up 10 000G Gamerscore and you’ll get 10 000 Rewards points” have sadly been missing and players had to cheat the system by changing their region.
Until some time ago, there were also a lot of localisation issues where you could select Belgium as your country, but that automatically set your language to French, even though we have multiple official languages here (Dutch being my own, but I prefer to keep the interface in English) –> this has luckily been fixed!
Advertising wise, Xbox seems to have some presence here on Social Media and classic channels like TV, newspapers or magazines, but you’ll notice that competing brands do a way better job at this by also being present in the street, through billboards and advertising in busy places like train stations.
The Social Media approach has also been less direct in recent years. Playstation has actively improved their communication methods and they even enter conversations with their followers on Twitter, whereas Nintendo & Xbox have one-way street approach with them only sending out news. Nintendo still has Xbox beat in this regard, as they have a dedicated Dutch-speaking community manager making language-appropriate puns. Xbox doesn’t have a Twitter account and only posts messages translated from the English channels to Facebook and Instagram.
Event-wise, Xbox seems to no longer invest in local gaming expos in the BeNeLux area. No launch parties for hardware or 1st party software and I fear we’ll never see a Belgian or Netherlands Xbox Fanfest.
Conclusion: going forwards, winning the hearts of gamers is not something Xbox will achieve through hardware sales and buying interesting companies to deliver content for Xbox Game Pass alone, it’s an investment in global marketing and brand presence and fans across the world are begging Xbox to be more inclusive towards smaller regions.
If you want contribute to this effort, here is what you can do:
UPDATE: Destin Legarie from IGN asked Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, about globalization of Xbox and local support: