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HD Report | April 23, 2017

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Is Microsoft The Most Consumer Friendly Game Company?

Is Microsoft The Most Consumer Friendly Game Company?
Matthew Byrd

Many people attribute the PlayStation 4’s early lead in the console sales race to the fact that Microsoft botched the reveal of the Xbox One.

The original Xbox One was expensive, dependent on the controversial Kinect, and built around despised policies which would have required owners to have a stable internet connection in order to actually use their console. Prospective owners were concerned.

While Microsoft was busy trying to ease consumer’s fears, Sony was garnering acclaim for their design of the PlayStation 4. Not only was the PlayStation 4 cheaper than the Xbox One, but it was a far more traditional console that didn’t scare gamers with controversial features. The simplicity of the PS4 allowed Sony to focus on the games.

By the time that Microsoft untangled the Xbox One’s knots, the damage was done. Sony had established the PS4 as a console for gamers like you and me, while Microsoft was fighting the perception that the Xbox One was a glorified multimedia device that so happened to play games.

Over the last four years, though, Microsoft has made quite the effort to flip that narrative.

It started with Games for Gold. Microsoft’s helped ease the pain of having to pay for their premium online service by giving gamers free games every month. Microsoft released this program for the Xbox 360 but soon carried it over to Xbox One. Sony soon incorporated a similar program. Even then, some argued that the average value and quality of Games for Gold was regularly superior.

Later, Microsoft began to slowly make the Xbox 360’s library compatible with the Xbox One. While not every Xbox 360 game is compatible with the Xbox One, the number of games that have been added to the console since this program launched is impressive.

Neither Sony or Nintendo offers a similar program. Instead, both companies opt to charge users for previous generation titles via digital downloads. The closest Sony has come to introducing a similar program is their PlayStation Now service which allows users to stream a select library of PS3 games for a yearly fee of $99.99 or $19.99 a month.

Even there, Microsoft is preparing to undercut them. Soon, Xbox One gamers will be able to access Game Pass; a rotating monthly collection of games that can be played for a $9.99 a month fee. Unlike PlayStation Now, Game Pass will feature both current and previous generation games.

Recently, Microsoft has even revealed that they intend to allow Xbox and Windows 10 gamers to receive a refund for any game or app that they’ve played for less than two hours or owned for less than two weeks. Sony and Nintendo have not yet revealed their plans for a similar service.

Add it all up, and you’ve got a pretty compelling argument that Microsoft is the most consumer friendly console manufacturer in the business.

Then again, why wouldn’t they be? Given that there is almost no chance the Xbox One will match the PlayStation 4’s global sales figures, Microsoft has to start building a more intimate image for themselves as a company that values their gamers over money. Whether or not that’s actually true is kind of irrelevant so long as they continue to introduce similar policies.

So yes, Microsoft is the friendliest company in the industry at the moment, at least so far as console manufacturers go. So long as they continue to grow that image, gamers everywhere will continue to benefit from their effort.

Comments

  1. Moe

    You could try and make a case from them being the most gamer friendly company, had they shown a long term commitment to a console they manufacture. Their excluives support for Xb1 has been below average at best. To suggest that they are the most gamer friendly is ridiculous. All the info mentioned in the article translates to them trying to circumvent the investment in first party studios and third party excluives. Not exactly something to praise them for.

    • I don’t understand how one can correlate first party investment as a measurement whether or not a company is consumer friendly or not.

      1. Microsoft has taken risks this gen by producing games like Sunset Overdrive, Quantum Break, and Ryse. And despite the internet circlejerk and what they subjectively spout about Halo, Gears of War, and Forza, these games have delivered both critically and financially for Microsoft.

      2. If games sell poorly or if a game is stuck in development hell, it would be anti-consumer for Microsoft to continue pouring money toward projects that their customers don’t want to spend their money on or that are taking up too many resources from other successful segments of the Xbox brand. Microsoft or Sony don’t all of a sudden wake up one day, snap their fingers, and say, we love our customers, let’s just make The Last of Us and Horizon Zero Dawn cause’ we know they’ll be amazing, well-received, and sell boatloads. No, just like any other art form, the process itself is a risky one and is unpredictable.

      3. Persona 5, Nioh, and Nier: Automata are usually touted as a pro-consumer cap feather for Sony because it just adds to the catalog of Sony exclusives. But what if I tell you that Sony’s way of making sure these stay exclusive to their platform was done through anti-consumer means? Yes, I’ll say it right now, the aforementioned games were money-hatted. At the very least Nioh and Nier would’ve done well enough on the Xbox platform to recoup publishing costs. Remember how ROTR led to many criticizing Microsoft for buying 1 year exclusivity? Why can’t the same be said for Nioh and Nier? Oh, that’s right, it’s cause’ its Sony where buying exclusivity is considering Pro-consumer, right?

  2. Not giving you

    Is Microsoft The Most Consumer Friendly game Company?

    Here’s a hint.
    No.

    Also, Microsoft is not a game company, it develops software first.
    And not a single company is consumer friendly oriented, they literally exist to make money.
    Don’t think any single company is looking out for the consumer.

    Also, they had a few tries to show they support PC gaming industry and yet they are lightyears behind what other services offer. I do like that more and more XBO exclusives come to PC because exclusives are bad for the consumer, but most of those exclusives are very meh.

  3. KillerX

    No Scalebound, no fable, canceled games, No real exclusives, no GOTY contenders, terrible E3 2013 scandal…

    Microsoft = The worst company ever

    EA > microsoft
    Horizon ZD > BF1 > halo wars 2

    • ISpeakthetruth

      You aren’t very bright are you? Neither Scalebound nor Fable Legends were going to be very good. Also Xbox had a GOTY contender last year, Forza Horizon 3 was nominated for GOTY at IGN. And the 2013 scandal? Get over it, that’s like still holding Sony accountable for the disaster of a 2006 E3 they had

      EA>>Comcast>>>Sony

      Witcher 3>>Borizon Ginger Yawn

      • Ken11

        Uncharted 4 >>> w3 blood and wine >>> forza

        Persona 5,HZD,Uncharted The Lost Legacy >>>>> xbox

        Sony wins again!

        • ISpeakthetruth

          Witcher 3 >> Overwatch and Forza >>> UnFarted Snore

          Gears, MGS, Rise of Tomb Raider, Dark Souls >>> All PS4 exclusives

          PSN = down 70% of the time

          RIP Sony fanboys :(

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