Rugged Opinions

Microsoft not worried about PS4 sales, “in it for the long run”

by Jack Napier on August 14, 2015

Microsoft’s Phil Spencer is not worried about PS4 sales dominance and low Xbox One sales in Europe, and claims Microsoft are “in it for the long run”

After taking the title of Head of the Xbox Division from Don Mattrick, Phil Spencer seems to have been the target of a lot of embarrassment, with the Internet criticizing the entire discussion regarding DRM and TV, without even calling out XBOX One sales, which are pretty poor when compared to the last generation of consoles launched by Microsoft.

However, according to Spencer, Microsoft is less interested in “winning” the console race, but instead seek to keep their customers satisfied, by delivering quality content and an unforgettable experiences, as declared in a statement to Eurogamer.

Of course, when considering the recipient, a publication dedicated towards the European market, this statement feels somewhat lacking, considering Microsoft have been largely in the shadow of market-dominating Sony and their PlayStation in the EU.

Spencer went on to say that yes, it is possible to “sell consoles by losing more money on hardware and building an unnatural business construct,” but that’s a thin statement, so long as the business model is set up in such a way that the price competitiveness allows for more base system sales and thus a wider install base for game developers to publish on.

It’s the market share growth and profits that matter for a company in the end, and such a statement sounds more like complaining about sour grapes in this context.

“At the end, when people make a commitment to Xbox and the consoles they buy, the games they buy, they want to know that Microsoft and Xbox is in it for the long run. To sacrifice the long term for any short term gain doesn’t make any sense…” which is another thin statement, since Sony’s strategy in this is all about sacrificing short-term profits for long-term market share and delayed profits – which, can only really be obtained if gamers purchase enough content to offset the losses, and in order to do THAT, the content has to be as high-quality as possible.

“Next year’s line-up is pretty incredible, and we haven’t even talked about all the games that are coming next year. Investments in first-party, there’s more risk involved, and people can say it’s more challenging building first party investments, and you could say it’s easier doing third-party deals, but they’re critical to our business, and we’re in this for the long run.”

“Next year’s line-up is pretty incredible,” but we’re not going to talk to you about it. Just take us at face value. PR speak anyone?

I suppose it’s too soon to throw dirt at Microsoft without evaluating the success of Windows 10 and the Xbox app on it, the fact that Microsoft wish to build an entire ecosystem around Xbox, and more importantly, Sony’s lack of experience in software development, required for this kind of feature set.

This kind of PR stunt seems to bet on the promise of powerful backing by Microsoft towards Xbox, and lots of promises. I’m very skeptical about it, considering the fact that Windows 10 appears to be an expansion on the kind of intrusive stubbornness, lack of respect for privacy and retraction of feasible features and freedoms that almost made the XBOX One launch such a fiasco.

Anyone remember Sony’s “excellent” PR campaign at the time, consisting of simply NOT doing what Microsoft was, capitalizing on gamer goodwill?


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