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Marketing the New Xbox

Upset that the next Xbox will require you to be have a constant on-line connection? Do you think that is a deal breaker? I bet I can market it to you. I bet you would buy the Xbox over a PS4 or a PC if Microsoft followed my marketing plan.

Microsoft has to know that there is a percentage of it's fanbase that doesn't have access to a reliable internet connection. Microsoft has to know that there is a sizable Xbox fanbase that would choose the PS4 (no online connection requirement and used game capability) over the next Xbox (as rumoured). After all the PS4 has better component specifications and is not requiring that intrusive Kinect 2 spy device. How do you get a gamers attention?

If you are requiring a constant on-line connection to play games Microsoft, it's time to take it to the next step. It's time to abandon physical game sales. Physical games are obsolete for a video game service provider. There's no collection value to a new xbox game and you've removed the used game market. All sales will benefit the publisher (and you of course). These games will be specific to one user. Publishers won't be loser 50% or more of their potential sales to eye patched pirates and their parrots anymore thanks to your "always" on-line connection requirements. Therefore, you need to cut out the middleman mark-up. Your games have to be cheaper, no substantially cheaper to get gamers to buy in.

New Xbox games have to be at least 1/2 off the retail price. If Sony is selling for $60, you have to sell it for $30. Nobody's going to pay $60 for something they can get for $30. You don't have to sell that to just anybody, sell it to your GOLD members. Charge your SILVER subscribers $35. There won't be many SILVER subscribers, as you have to buy what, one game per month to justify the GOLD subscription and you get multiplayer capabilities?!?! Principals, bah! If you sell the games for half the cost of Sony or 60% of the PC cost, people will flock to your console. You'll have stopped Android and it's annoying OUYA based system on one front. Gamers will be singing praises for your always online DRM. It's basically what Valve is doing with Steam, well minus the "always" part.

Well what if the retailers don't want to carry a unit that gives them no additional physical sales you say. My answer, Amazon will sell it if no one else will. You unit is always online, your "always on-line" customer base knows about Amazon and to save 50% off the costs of your games...your customers will go to Amazon if no one else will sell it.

Deal with it!!!

Deal with it!!! Thats what Adam Oath a bigwig at Microsoft tells the millions of eager gamers in response to all the drama surrounding the always on-line requirement for the next unnamed XBox. Remember that, and deal with it.

I loved the PS1. It had some of the greatest games I've ever played. I was going to get a PS2, but I'm not one to rush into a new console generation. I'm frugal with my money. Why pay top dollar for a game when it comes down to a reasonable price in a year or two? New console launches are fraught with few titles anyways. So I waited and in the interim, MS stepped up to the plate and offered an alternative to the PS2.

What dragged me from the legions of Sony fandom and into Microsoft's new console? Two games really, Toejam and Earl 3 and Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR). They were exclusives to the XBox system and they were really the only games that grabbed my attention. Sure Sony had some exclusives, but a sequel to my favorite Genesis game and a Star Wars game from best RPG maker ever, Bioware!!! How could you not have my attention at that time? I'm not out to own every console ever made, so I switched to XBox.

As I said, I'm not an early adopter of new consoles, but I had XBox 360 on launch year (and what a mistake that turned out to be with the RROD striking just after the new three year extended warranty expired). Why did I early adopt? Well it was a gift, but it was only a gift because I asked for it. Why did I ask for it? Because it was backwards compatible thats why!!! I wasn't done playing my old XBox games. However, I could continue to play my old library of games while the newer games were being made and/or falling in price. I could ditch my wired controllers for wireless controllers. I could replace my old system from my component shelf, which was limited in space anyways and attach it to my TV which is also limited in its number of high definition peripheral connections.

So how's MS dealing with retaining me? Bioware is no longer exclusive to the Xbox and they arent as esteemed a studio as they were 10 years ago. What exclusive games are there for the XBox? I have Gears of War and a Halo game or two. Neither has really held my interest. You've pretty much abandoned or bankrupted every other game studio that you had under your wing MS. I'm not a gold member with money to burn. There's nothing announced on your new system that says I need to go XBox next generation. The game I'm anticipating the most in the new generation is the Witcher 3, and it's definitely going to be on the PS4 (but I could play it on PC if I really wanted to).

So now the XBox will require an online connection? Why do I want that? I don't care about pirates. Further, I think your pirates are mythical figures made up by the publishers who convince you that they make you money, not us the little people, i.e. the consumer. After all what publisher made a game that just stunk, huh? Nope, it was all those little pirates with eye-patches and talking parrots who hijacked their games from the annuals of greatness. You know, I did play World of Warcraft for 5 years and I hated server maintenance Tuesdays. I hated when any connection problem kept me from gaming. Why would I want to deal with that horse-hockey when the PS4 or PC doesnt have it? What if I wanted to play a new generation XBox game ten years from now when Microsofts XBox no longer existed?

Did I mention, I like to take my system with me when I travel from time to time? There isn't an internet available everywhere you know. Shocking!?!? Yes us we little people can't always afford luxury hotel accommodations. Sometimes we rent cabins out in the woods or we have parents that don't know what the internet is.

That brings me to used games. I dont buy them...well maybe one or two used games every console generation, but only if there's a game I missed that's now out of print. I dont want someone else's scratched game or damaged case/book etc. I prefer to buy my games new, just not at the outrageous price of $60 or more. Further, I prefer to buy complete games while I'm at it. I can wait until all the DLC is released in a complete package. But I want used games, why? Well, what if I get stuck with another iteration of the RROD or what if I manage to scrape enough money together to buy a second game system in my house? I've so many pass codes for various things now that I really dont need another password locked account. Besides if my second system is for my kid, I dont want them knowing my password. More importantly, I want to be able to sell my game. I like to collect games. Maybe I'll play GAME X and maybe I wont play it. The more games I have, the more valuable my library. At some point in the future someone might want to pay me an outrageous sum for my collection. I think an SNES and some 300 games sold for like $10K on EBay the other year. It's nice to know that my system has value. It's like having some cash in the bank. It would help my cause if you built a more reliable system.

So how does Microsoft retain me as customer? Will your system be backwards compatible? Can I play games off-line? Can it play used games without on-line connections? What kind of exclusives are going to get to attract me to your system? I'm a gamer, and I dont care about netflix. Besides, my TV has that functionality if I wanted it.

I'd like to see you go permanently on-line Microsoft, not because I'd want your system, because I'd want to see you crash and burn. I want to see the masses of gamers and netflix users rise up against you and say, we've had enough, you'll not take our freedoms and privacy away anymore o' evil MS empire. Will you crash and burn? I dont know, maybe I'm wrong, you have millions of gold subscribers who are always online anyway. Maybe they'll support you to another generation. They spend more money, and more foolishly than I do afterall. They are the kind of customer you'd rather cater to. Maybe they dont care about their freedoms and theyll usher in a new era of Big Brother summarized nicely by this quote from Princess Amadela "So this is how liberty dies...with thunderous applause."