Sunday, June 11, 2017

Why Microsoft needs a fresh user base for the Scorpio to succeed.

Microsoft Scorpio

The moment is almost here and as gamers all around the world count the hours, we get near to the final unveiling of Microsoft's new console, up until now called Scorpio (which is a kick ass name so they should keep it). Now the question is... how can Microsoft convince gamers that their new console is the real deal after the Xbox One lost the battle against the PS4?

The answer is easy... They need a fresh user base with a more open mind. 

Xbox One


Take a moment to think about what happened to the Xbox One. Regardless of how dumb the initial pitch was and how their PR disaster hurt the console's launch, it managed to recover and sold relatively well. Some people thought that they were going to have a comeback in the console race, especially after the console had a really strong Christmas 2016, but once January 2017 came it all deflated and has been practically inert ever since. You want to know why? Well prepare yourself.

The main reason the Xbox One lacked the strength to close the gap was because its user base was really narrow in their gaming selections and that limited not only the amount of players, but also the opportunity of having a good variety of games, which most often than not turn into direct sales of the console itself. Sadly the Xbox One carried the effects of the blight of 2008 and that really hurt the potential of an otherwise awesome console.

MTG Blight


What was the Blight of 2008?

I like to call "the blight of 2008" to that period in the previous generation of consoles where all the attention in the market shifted to two three genres which were first person shooters, racing and sports games. Every other genre was basically ignored and month after month the leaders in sales were games in the genres previously mentioned. Don't take me wrong, I love those types of games too, but on those days they were like a giant black hole that was swallowing everything. It was so bad that even the once proud Japanese companies started imitating their Western counterparts in a desperate attempt to have better sales. It was the couple of years that had sad incidents like the president of Square Enix giving his infamous "ultimatum" about them catering to the west and the death of many good games because of  poor sales. This went on and on with many franchises been either changed or dumbed down until the current consoles came and brought back the balance we had enjoyed for the previous 20 years and had momentarily lost in the days of the blight.

Microsoft Scorpio


So what does the Xbox One has to do with the blight?

It makes me sad to say it, but it seems that some people believed that we are still living in the days of the blight and so they didn't supported anything that went away from their comfort zone as if they were still living in 2008. I am not pretending everybody to buy every game, but sales numbers show that the Xbox One user base was basically saying "meh we just want shooters, racers and sports", which is a thing that discouraged most third party companies of releasing good exclusives for the console and made the Xbox landscape to be based almost entirely of multi-platform games with some few exclusives thrown there now and then.

Don't believe me? Check out these articles:

79% of UK Final Fantasy XV sales were on PS4, 21% Xbox One

ReCore News: Sales Gone Bad? Microsoft Finally Made Their Move

Poor sales continue as Quantum Break hits Steam

You see? Those are examples of one multi-platform and two exclusives not performing well on the console in terms of sales. They were all good games so those failures were uncalled for.

Microsoft Scorpio


Then what Microsoft needs to do to fix this?

What Microsoft needs to do from today on can be divided in two things. First they need to win over people that fled to other consoles because of the lack of the games they wanted and second, they need to re-educate they loyal fans to support more types of games than they did with the Xbox One. They need to immediately state that the console will be powerful, sexy and with lots of different games to support that power. Otherwise, they may have another Xbox One situation on their hands and that would be really devastating for the Xbox division within Microsoft.