So a couple of days ago Xbox announced a few changes they are making to the Xbox One & Xbox live services. To me, this not only shows they should’ve listened to the consumers sooner, but that because of their inability to listen, they could be taking a hit financially based on poor decision making.
First and foremost, they announced a release of the Xbox One that does not include the Kinect which will start selling at $399 USD starting June 9th. One could view this as a way to make the Xbox One more competitive & affordable with their price (a full $100 drop), but I can’t help but think it’s more so due to the fact that Microsoft’s estimated 5 million Xbox One retailer sales just aren’t cutting it compared to Sony’s Playstation 4 consumer sales estimated at 7 million units. Not to mention that the Kinect just is not a gaming necessity, or even something that many game designers see as a profitable avenue for gaming. With only 5 games (Kinect Sports Rivals, Just dance 2014, Xbox Fitness, Zumba Fitness WP, and Fighter Within) that actually require it, and a small handful of games that utilize its function with even less that do so in a creative and interesting way, the Kinect is a gimmick at best.
Next up, starting early June, “Games with Gold” & “Deals with Gold” will also be available on the Xbox One system. This means if you own a Xbox 360 & Xbox One you will be able to receive different games on each system for free, just from having a paid subscription to Xbox Live. I do not personally own an Xbox One, but I still think this is a smart decision on Xbox’s part. I don’t really believe it will increase their actual Xbox One console sales, but they will definitely see an increase in the amount of people purchasing a subscription to gold.
The last and probably my favorite change, entertainment apps such as “Netflix”, “Hulu”, and more no longer require an Xbox Live Gold membership to use starting in June as well. That’s right, the irritating restriction of using apps (that you usually pay for separately) unless you also pay for a Gold membership is no longer in place. To me, this is single handedly the smartest decision they’ve made in recent announcements. Not only has their competitors Nintendo and Sony never required a subscription with their online services to enjoy their entertainment apps, but having the restriction in the first place never made any sense. Certain customers mainly use their consoles for entertainment app usage, which means certain customers not only pay $7.99/mo on Netflix and/or Hulu plus, but also an additional $9.99/mo just to use it on their console.
All in all, while the changes they are making to the Xbox One and Xbox Live services are smart, I believe they should’ve been made a long time ago. Because of the late response to these problems, Xbox has already lost customers to Nintendo and Sony, and responding to the issues AFTER losing customers instead of BEFORE when they were asked to be dealt with makes it seem as though Xbox doesn’t care about its supporters as much as they try and seem like they do.
So what do you think?
Is Xbox making changes because they have finally decided to listen to customer feedback, or do you think Xbox is trying to fill in the financial hole they’ve dug themselves into?
Shoot me a reply or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know!