Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Xbox 360: Get Out the Marketing Tranquilizer Darts

Peter Moore, Corporate VP of world marketing for Microsoft, had an interview with MTV. Here's an excerpt:
...When people first heard of Xbox 360 being tossed around in focus groups, people scoffed at the strange naming scheme. Why not Xbox 2? "We tried Xbox 2. We tried a number of names. Went around the world for four months, and Xbox 2 got a shrug of the shoulder," he says. "Then we explained the Xbox 360 as a living entertainment experience powered by human energy [that] revolves around you and makes you at the center of your experience [and] people were like [snaps fingers] ... 'I get that.'"

I get what? A living entertainment experience powered by human energy? How much dope do you have to smoke before that makes sense? Where did you do this focus survey--in a commune?

Somebody desperately needs to talk these Microsoft honks in from the stupid ledge. They have an excellent piece of hardware, but every time they open their mouths they sound like the biggest, most pretentious phonies ever. It's like the interview J. Allard gave with Edge Online on October 6
about having selling two different console configurations:
Consumers like choice, and it’s a very pro-consumer move on our part to say, ‘We’ve got two configurations of system that’ll be launching in Europe and if they’re not right, we have the flexibility to go and change it’. You buy a TV and it’s not progressive scan, you’re screwed – you made the choice and you can’t upgrade. You buy an iPod Shuffle and you want an iPod Photo, you’re screwed – you can’t upgrade. You bought a Mini Cooper and you want the Turbo, you’re screwed. You buy the Xbox 360 Core system, you can build up to the premium system and you won’t be left out of anything along the way. You can pace into this however you want, unlike any of the traditional categories.

It's, um, two different personal energy hubs of the extreme entertainment experience and stuff! And the Nazis may try to stop us in their Mini Coopers, but they can't catch us! They should have bought the Turbo!

Now if "building up" to the premium system after purchase was going to cost the consumer $100, the same amount as the price delta between the two units, I would agree with him. It won't, though--it's over $200. And without the hard drive, you'll have to buy a memory card ($39.99) or you won't be able to save your progress in anything.

In other words, the "Core" system is cripple-ware. They don't want you to buy it, and they've done everything in their power to make it as unappealing and inconvenient as possible. And if you want to upgrade it later, they'll make sure they shove a pencil up your nose.

It's not about "pace."

How refreshing it would have been to hear J. Allard say "We just couldn't sell the system with the hard drive for $299. It was too expensive and we would be taking too much of a loss."

Damn, telling the truth--that's just crazy talk.

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