I think I'm not supposed to write two blogs in a row, and this was originally supposed to be in my blog about privacy, but I since it has nothing to do with privacy, I decided to make another blog just for it. And it's in my head right now, if I leave it for later I probably won't write it. I don't blog much, so maybe I can do it just this once? Pretty please? Thanks!
We've talked plenty about how Xbox One is more like Xdone, and I just wrote about privacy. Leaving all that aside, I'm in the mood to play armchair analysts, so allow me to briefly take on Microsoft's strategy.
This year, total Playstation 3 sales have overtaken 360 sales, despite the fact it launched a year later, is more expensive and has always remained a distant second in the hugely important U.S and UK markets. This tells us two things: One, Microsoft has the U.S and UK market in the bag. Two, as big as those markets are, the rest of the world is even bigger.
Which is why I'm baffled by Microsoft's choice. There's probably a reason I'm here writing a Cblog and not running a billion dollar corporation, so maybe I'm just clueless, but I truly don't get it. Microsoft believes 1 billion next-gen consoles/devices will be sold, and yet it seems to be focusing 95% of its efforts precisely on the markets it already conquered, and some of those efforts even leave out the U.K entirely, at least for now.
The TV TV Experience TV Television TV integration, for one. Microsoft obviously sees it as a big selling point of their new entertainment device. At launch, it's just for the United States, where Xbox already dominates. Obviously, Microsoft's plan is to launch it globally "over time", but how long will it take? Is it even viable anywhere but the biggest markets? U.K residents who get Xboned can no doubt expect to be one of the very first "other" countries to be graced with Xbox TV, but if anyone in Finland or Belgium is excited about it, I'd suggest you find a really fun hobby to pass the time while you wait.
Or the exclusive NFL deal Microsoft paid $400 million for. Sure, $400 million is a tiny sum for Microsoft, but it's significant for the Xbox division. How much it costs, though, is not really the point, the point is what it says about Microsoft's priorities. The NFL is about that weird sport that U.S people call "Fooball" for some reason even though they only use their feet to run, and is only appreciated by weird Americans. Oh, you weirdos!
In case the above paragraph didn't give it away, I'm not American, and it's not a coincidence that I'm, to put it mildly, not all the interested in American Football. By and large, only people in the United States care about it. So Microsoft goes and invests in exclusive content that only appeals to the one country besides the U.K that is already seduced by the Xbox brand.
Another selling point, as Microsoft sees it, is the voice interface. Question: what does a voice recognition device needs to work properly? Answer: it needs to understand the language. I don't really know anything about the tech side of things, so I might be mistaken, but I suspect it's not easy or quick to prepare a device like Kinect to recognize and speak multiple languages. The original Kinect only launched with 3 languages. Assuming Kinect 2.0 voice powers are as amazing as advertised, it will probably take even longer to expand to many languages. And will Microsoft even bother with small or tiny languages? They will definitely have French and German Kinects at some point, but what about Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian, etc, etc, etc? Sure, individually, the countries that speak those languages have very small markets, but altogether they matter. The PS3 outsold the 360 worldwide precisely because, besides Japan, Sony conquered most of these individually insignificant markets.
In short, I just don't see how they expect to conquer the world with a device that's so U.S-centric.