Microsoft admits it was "definitely a challenge" to get the Xbox One message across early on

Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb recalls that the Xbox One was originally "very complex to explain."

Today during a PAX East panel called Console Launches: A Post Mortem, Microsoft's Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb acknowledged that it was a real challenge getting the Xbox One message across last summer when the console was originally announced.

The Xbox One was "very complex to explain" to consumers, Hryb said. He went on to explain that when you're marketing a product, whether it's an Xbox One or a phone or even a stapler, you need to be very clear to the customer about why they need the product in question.

For the Xbox One, "It was definitely a challenge" in getting that message across, Hryb said. Presumably, Microsoft thinks it has improved its Xbox One messaging to date, but Hryb did not say one way or the other.

During Microsoft's original Xbox One announcement in May 2013, the company focused heavily on the device's entertainment functionality, leading some to think games had been forgotten. Of course this was not true, and Microsoft announced new core games at E3 a month later like Halo for Xbox One and Sunset Overdrive, among others.

Also during the panel tonight, Hryb took a shot at Sony's claim that it will ship 100 games in 2014. "Saying something and shipping something can be two different things," Hryb said.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com
See more coverage of PAX East 2014.

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1530 comments
redskinStu
redskinStu

It reads like a magazine ad for Microsoft.

danixdefcon5
danixdefcon5

Nope, it wasn't the entertainment stuff that sent gamers away from the Xbox1. It was the really stupid DRM thingy they were trying to ram upon all users, the stupid name they baked up for the console, and the Kinect bundling with its "always on" requirement … which given that the Xbox1 "announcement year" was the same year we got the Snowden-gate stuff turned out to be even more creepy than it usually would be.

Karlinel
Karlinel

"Shipping 5Millions and selling 5Millions can be two different things"

See, Major Nelson, I can do it too!

TristanPR77
TristanPR77

"Saying something and shipping something can be two different things," Hryb said.

Exactly Major Nelson, this applies to Microsoft as well since saying that you have shipped 5 million consoles to retailers is not the same as consoles sold to customer, they are 2 different things.

And your complete silent on how many consoles has been sold to customers just shows the xbone is performing very bad compared to the PS4.

Martyr77
Martyr77

I don't get why any of us support Xbox One period. Microsoft tried to stab us all in the back with always online, no used game, spy camera, DRM garbage and they are still trying it now!! I have a 360 but that is it for me. They tried to kill gaming for all of us. I can't support them.

theKSMM
theKSMM

In other words, the marketing team at Microsoft didn't realize that console gamers are a hysterical, reactionary bunch.  Sometimes you have to rub their bellies to mollify them.  Microsoft's XBOX ONE presentation didn't have enough soothing language and had the nerve to propose something different, so the gaming community flipped out.

Run_2_the_Hills
Run_2_the_Hills

oh people understood it.  MS just wanted consumer to bend over to stick them in the ass and they basically said eff you MS.

AceJakk
AceJakk

It actually wasn't that complex, they just dropped the ball terribly with communicating it.

kgallis21
kgallis21

MS cant keep up with PS4 they messed up a good opportunity

TenraiSenshi
TenraiSenshi

"...you need to be very clear to the customer about why they need the product in question."

I wonder why people always like to use the word "need" when it comes to selling their product to a consumer. No-one "needs" an Xbox One, or any other console for that matter. There are many things that people do need, like food, water, shelter, transport, etc, but they certainly don't "need" a gaming console, which exist solely for the purpose of recreational or entertainment activities in a medium that not everyone is interested in.

What you have to do, is give people a reason to "want" your product. More games would be a good start.

sdoxas
sdoxas

Kids, 

You WILL need an Xbox One to watch TV from now on.  And you will need your Xbox to watch you while you watch TV.  Also, 1080p.  Maybe.

Threesixtyci
Threesixtyci

Also, we chose DDR3 Ram to benefit the consumer and not our pocket books. Oh and... 1080p is overrated Upscaling 720p is the same thing. Of course, we concentrated on gamers and know what they want....
 DVR's are awesome....

queenelsa
queenelsa

Because the main issue was you guys thought that you could get away with whatever greedy stuff you had in mind that day.. and atleast from that experience you knew how to listen to your consumers..

northArrow
northArrow

It wasn't the message it was the product.

xFinding_DeMox
xFinding_DeMox

I enjoy my Xbox One, however, i am annoyed at the lack of games coming our for the console. I like Call of Duty and Titanfall mind you, but I also like story mode type games and I don't have any really good options. PS4 has far better choices currently and it honestly bugs me. I can't wait for Kingdom Hearts III, Destiny, and a new Borderlands but I am bored now and want something good to play.

xeis-net
xeis-net

It was a difficult message because it took what the excellent 360 offered and introduced draconian restrictions that gave gamers absolutely no benefit.  They have reversed all those terrible decisions now and I am sure the X1 will now find many devotees at least they finally listened to the gaming community rather than the so called "experts" (who seemed to be exclusively middle aged white guys into NFL)

Shelledfade1
Shelledfade1

I remember angry Joe did a short interview with this guy, and every time Joe made a great point, the guy would basically shit on him and say something idiotic or simply ignore the question. 

You could probably look it up on youtube to see how lame this guy really is. "angry joe interviews major nelson" It's like the guy didn't even know anything specific about the xbox one other than that it was supposed to be great for magical unicorn reasons lol....   F*** me sideways what a chauncy this guy is.

logandbrown
logandbrown

If all my gamer friends weren't on the Xbox... Microsoft would have lost me with this train wreck of a console. This product wasn't ready to ship, their updates and 'new features' are coming too slowly and seldom, and the lack of titles available for gaming is making this the most expensive piece of unused furniture in my living room. It's incredibly frustrating when I went out and bought the day-one Xbox One, only to spend most of my evening on the 360. 

C0v3rtUnis0l
C0v3rtUnis0l

To be fair, the xbox one is a nice piece of gear but its got 2 fundamental flaws - 


1) its overpriced (compared to the competitors atleast)

2) it was ridiculously marketed right off the bat.


Take a look at apple's products - It hasnt significantly improved design or functional changes since 2007 (iphone) and we've got 5 different iterations of the phone. Yet people buy it ridiculously in large numbers (and if you ask them why, they would probably come back and say "because its apple" (WTF)). Yet its marketed brilliantly in such a way that it will convince you to buy it. The XB1 isnt any different - its not a new product, its an iteration of the previous one and yet, if your marketing strategy doesn't tie down to why you need the product, you are basically putting the hard work of the designers/development engineers out through the window.


A marketing and communication strategy should be crisp and clear. Unfortunately for MS, there were more questions being thrown than answers (DRM/cloud gaming policies, im looking at you.). Customers wont buy something if they wont understand how its beneficial and to be honest, they marketed it as an entertainment unit more than a games console (what?) which was not what the box was intended to do. If they made a statement such as "its your games console, but more" and built on that, people would have understood. Instead, the whole release statement was a fucking mess.


You get only one chance to bring out a new product/new iteration of a product because this industry is unforgiving. If you mess it up, you not only will lose credibility but you're going to have a hard time coming back from bottom. 


SJGSpook
SJGSpook

It boggles the mind how someone like Major Nelson was given this kind of job. He is so fake I can 't believe anyone would believe a word he says.

Shelledfade1
Shelledfade1

/facepalm.

Larry Hryb should honestly be ashamed of himself at this point. The guy is a total fake, fake personality and will say literally anything to make xbox one look good. Does not even refute the negatives about drm or the xbox ones problems and instead will say anything to make it seem good, like "hey, see this pile of shit on the ground, if I open the xbox one I can literally use it as a shovel, amazing isn't it?

Personally I think hes one of the worst PR reps I've ever seen, they should have fired him a long time ago because all you see and hear from this guy when you look at him and listen to him, is bullshit.

Instead of him admitting that it has problems, he basically says instead that we're all stupid for not buying into drm lol. Apparently DRM is a message that nobody understands according to this chauncy.

hurricaner
hurricaner

And what is the Xbox One message? "War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength." 'nough said.

Martyr77
Martyr77

"We tried to find a way to explain that we would take away consumer rights like selling games, buying used, as well as adding a spy camera and making them check in with us online everyday. We just couldn't come up with a good way to explain how we were ripping our customers off. They just didn't understand our message."

leigham
leigham

Yeah we get it, Xbox One is a piece of shit, but we can't lie. Sony fucked up when they said no to Respawn Entertainment for Titanfall. Microsoft would really be eating Sony's dust had they done it. And I'm pissed as well because I definitely would've bought a PS4 if it had came out. But whatever I'm still waiting for NHL 15 for PS4 and than I'll get it, and Titanfall 2 will be out on PS4 soon after that as well. 

moonlightwolf01
moonlightwolf01

Yeah I suppose it is pretty difficult to explain to the consumer how reducing their rights and throwing away the concept of ownership would possibly be a good thing. You know the way its difficult to explain to people that someone else owning all their data (The Cloud) is a great thing. Microsoft is just full of difficult to explain ideas, that's our problem, we just don't get their brilliance.

chibistevo32
chibistevo32

I have the thing in front of me, and even to this day, I still have no idea what they were on when they designed this mess of an interface. I think the kinect is still in its box.

ainouta
ainouta

It is a challenge and "complex to explain" because they can't think of why consumer need their product instead of a PS4. Its that simple.

pip3dream
pip3dream

this guy hyrb is so annoy, grey haired, and old.  he makes ME feel f'ing old.  can't they get someone who isn't so damn geriatric to be there spokesman?

atornsock
atornsock

 They're slowly trying to bring back the DRM and the idiots will eat it up.

Inlex
Inlex

Every time I see an article similar to this one in title, and see the digits that show the number of 'comments' beneath the header, I burst out laughing. 

Oh how much fun this trainwreck has been the past year. Adam Orth did so much for the world, he has no idea...

n0matter
n0matter

So they were like "Hey, buy this product, you need it!"  And then I was like "But I don't want the camera and all digital downloads and shit..."  And they were all like "But you NEED it!  Don't you understand, this is something you NEED!?"  And I was all "What the fuck, can't I just buy a game console without being forced to endure all of this other shit?  The gimmicks, the peripheral, the forced content medium, etc.?"  And then they were like "Oh fine fuck it, you can just have what you want and then six months from now we'll pretend this was our strategy all along..."


Cool article. I learned a lot.

gunnmetal
gunnmetal

the entertainment is what sold me on the xbox one. theres nothing on the market that can automate my surround and my cable and have skype on it. plus i get to play forza 5 with awesome trigger feedback that makes drifting a breeze.

theKSMM
theKSMM

@xeis-net I wouldn't call a digital library that follows you everywhere and could be shared with friends and family "absolutely no benefit."

Martyr77
Martyr77

@logandbrown Take a stand man. I did and now my friends all have PS4s once they knew what Microsoft was up to.

jellyman68
jellyman68

@C0v3rtUnis0l Nobody says "because it's Apple". I don't know where these mythical Apple acolytes that some people think are everywhere actually hang out, but in years of working with people who use and love some Apple products, I've never met one.

GSGuy321
GSGuy321

@SJGSpook It's not that he's "fake," it's just that he knows nothing about gaming. But I get what you're saying.

C0v3rtUnis0l
C0v3rtUnis0l

@Shelledfade1  Dude, take a chill pill. Do you know him personally? You are seriously coming off as someone who has a personal vendetta against the guy rather than the flawed marketing ploy he (and others) developed. 

asdzxc1234
asdzxc1234

@Shelledfade1 Well said sir. I'll make this easy for you guys so you know when your being suckered next time: Never trust a man who describes something as a "product". You think anyone who worked hard on something and was personally invested in its success for reasons other than money would just call it a "product"? Yeah that game I slaved on night and day for 10 years in an attempt to show the world my vision, that was a great product we sold.

andmcq
andmcq

@chibistevo32  The Kinect was there to gather your information. I'm not big on conspiracy theories, but in this case it all adds up.

n0matter
n0matter

@gunnmetal  Skype is for assholes who think a phone call is too impersonal.  Anyway, I'm glad you bought one because you NEED it, dude.

theKSMM
theKSMM

@deathwish026 @SJGSpookYounger and fresher?  Oh, God, no!  The last thing I need is some pimple-faced dweeb with no life experience telling me why his console choice is the best.  I get enough of that here in the GameStop comments and forums.

xeis-net
xeis-net

@GSGuy321 @SJGSpook  I would say insincere rather than fake, I am not sure he is a 'gamer', his handling of the DRM issue in the early days was farcical imo.

Shelledfade1
Shelledfade1

@GSGuy321 @SJGSpook  He comes off as totally fake to me as well. It's just the impression that first comes to mind whenever I watch him. Like you can see past the act and see it for what it really is, an older man that is putting on a try-hard to keep his job, and will say anything even if what he says is ludicrous as long as it makes the xbox one seem better than it is.

Personally I really don't like this guy at all, hes a scumbag. It makes me angry somebody like that could get that job in the first place.

C0v3rtUnis0l
C0v3rtUnis0l

@n0matter @gunnmetal  You do realise that skype is more useful than a phone call right (especially when you live in a different country than the party you were calling)? 


P.S: Skype is free and so much more economical than wasting money in a long distance call.

crunchb3rry
crunchb3rry

@n0matter @gunnmetalSkype is the same as a phone call, more personal in a lot of ways. I would argue that the problem is nobody uses the phone or talks face to face anymore. It's all texts and Facebook messages. That shit is what is impersonal, by a country mile. Communication has better results when you can see the look on someone's face or understand what they're really trying to say by their voice. Technology has devolved us as human beings.