Microsoft: The Marketing Masters


So, I'm sure by now you know but, just in case, I will catch everybody up.  Microsoft have not only pulled a 180, but they have caught up to, and overtaken, the PS4 in a matter of hours. 

Microsoft backtracked on its much-hated policy that would have required Xbox One gamers to connect their consoles to the Internet once a day to prevent game piracy.

In case you lived under a giant rock, I will break that down further. The company said it would allow gamers to play offline for up to 24 hours on a primary console, or 1 hour if they were logged onto a separate console accessing their library of titles. At that point, offline gaming would have been disabled until players re-establish a Web connection. Basically, it means if you don't have internet, you don't have an Xbox One. But fear not, this one of the polices the reversed.

Microsoft also reversed its policy in regards to game resales. The company planned to let game publishers set the rules for reselling games to retailers, something that a regular web connection would have allowed. Game makers could have restricted the use of games on more than one console, or required a fee for reuse. Microsoft also planned to limit gamers ability to share titles with friends, allowing them only to give a disc to a friend who has been on their friends list for at least 30 days. And even then, each game would only have been able to be given once.

That's now gone, too. You can give your games to whoever you want. You can be online as much as you want. You will need to internet for initial set up of the machine and then you're pretty much free to do whatever you want. So, let's break this down:

Microsoft announce a machine that is clearly a stronger gaming console, and a media console, but then weigh all that down with things like "You can't share with your friends" and "you will always need an online console" and then tweet people saying that they can't travel with the Xbox One, "That's what the 360 is for". That's pretty much the worst marketing strategy for a console ever, right? 

Then Sony announce their machine and it's this amazing machine by comparison. Their biggest advertising was about how bad the Xbox One was and how easily you could share the PS4 games (see the video below).

So, now Microsoft have suddenly "Flipped the Switch" and now there is nothing but good for the new Xbox One, EVERYBODY wants one. Gamestop sold out of day one Xbox: One consoles and are still taking pre-orders for the next batch. 

Due to high demand, GameStop is not taking additional store reservations for the Xbox One Day One Edition. However, reservations can still be made at
— GameStop Spokesperson

Now lets really look at this. They suddenly lift the veil on this new policy where suddenly their only bad features are gone, and now everybody loves the console, and it sells out in less than 8 hours. Is this what really happened?

Here's what I think happened. Microsoft announced everything, and responded negatively to   everybody on Twitter and other social media networks just to raise an incredible amount of bad publicity, and it worked. Everybody is talking about the Xbox One. Then, just as all the focus is on the PS4 and off of the Xbox: One, they take the "bad" out of the publicity and suddenly you have a machine that is pure gold that is in high demand. 

Now, let's look at the fact that the day one console has sold out. GameStop spokespeople had more to say about how many makes and models they have to sell. 

We were only given an allocation of 16 Xbox Ones but we have 60 PlayStation 4s and we’re still taking orders.
— GameStop Spokesperson

Now, that if that doesn't seem to raise suspicious flags, let me continue with this theory. Let's say Microsoft immediately buy all of their day one consoles, making it look like everybody is reacting to the news and now suddenly this is the machine to buy. When I got word of the news and heard it sold out, even I wanted one. 

Suddenly you think your friends are buying the Xbox: One and you MUST have it, but now it's sold out. Do you accept your loss and move on? No. You try harder to get one, and you want one more. It's genius. 

There were only 16 per store to sell, but the PS4 had 60(!) per store to sell, which is almost 4 times as much. Of course 60 PS4 won't sell out before 16 Xbox Ones. It's just logical. 

So, I ask you, are Microsoft listening to their fans and just fixing the flaws in their machine, or are they actually just an incredible marketing genius? You tell me! Throw your thoughts in the comments below.