Ripped from the headlines: Microsoft’s role in building a gaming community

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In tomorrow’s Metro (my day job for the next week before I go Hollywood), I’m running a column on Microsoft and their ever-increasing role in building a solid gaming community. Whether or not you’re fully aware, the big M is head and shoulders above both Sony and Nintendo as far as building awareness and responding to problems — community wise.

After the jump, digest my take on the whole thing which will run in tomorrow’s Metro U.S. editions here on the East Coast. Check it out and tell me what you think. I’d like to hear how others perceive Microsoft now.

What Microsoft gets right and Sony gets so wrong 

Today’s console and video game landscape is no longer the closed-off, disconnected world we grew up in. Thanks to the power of broadband and a series of tubes called the Internet, we are now a huge contingent of gamers. Banded together by our favorite Web sites, consoles and online friends, today’s video game world is a community — and nobody understands this more than Microsoft.

While Sony, and to some extent Nintendo, are just now beginning to catch up to that notion, Microsoft has been plugging away with ferocity at creating a loyal community of gamers. Whether it’s hosting events for players or emerging Web sites or podcast folks, Microsoft is deeply involved with building a community and the results have piled on since.

On a daily trip through the Internet, a typical gamer may see more than a handful of negative Sony stories, but how often do you see negative Microsoft news? Not very often. The reason for this is because Microsoft is so connected to what is going on out there.
Not only do they have troops on the front-line to quell any sort of confusion over an issue, but they also have their own stable of bloggers and community people to put out the fires of criticism like new-age firefighters.

With people such as Major Nelson and the folks over at Gamerscore Blog, Microsoft maintains a connection that the people at Sony and Nintendo just do not understand. Luckily for Nintendo, they have a healthy staple of fanboys willing to throw themselves off a bridge in the name of Mario, so they aren’t as dependent.

Sony, however, is in a continual state of denial and unless they wake up and realize we are living in a new era, they will lose the hearts and minds of gamers everywhere. But we aren’t the only ones.

The developers are also feeling the winds of change. According to insiders I’ve spoken with over the past few months, they are becoming fed up with Sony’s antics and lack of responsiveness as well. The flood of gaming franchises turning into non-exclusives speaks volumes about Sony’s arrogance and superiority complex.

If Sony truly wants to pull themselves out of the negative public image mud, then they need to take a page from Microsoft’s book and reach out to us, the gamers. Only then will they continue to reign as kings of the gaming world.

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