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4 Social Media and Business Lessons from Xbox One's Announcement Blunder

Xbox One Social Media Lessons


That just about sums up Microsoft’s Xbox One announcement. You can read about it herehere and here, but to sum it up, thus far, it’s been just shy of a disaster.

For those who haven’t followed along, here’s a quick summary of events:

  • Microsoft announced their new gaming console by not spending much time showcasing gaming functionality leaving many people confused about what the Xbox One really is
  • They revealed several controversial policies to do with connectivity and used games that were met with much chagrin
  • Those policies were reversed within the span of roughly one week

From a social media standpoint, Microsoft has been lambasted for the direction they’ve taken the Xbox One, and many decisions they’ve made regarding the aforementioned policies.

What hurts most is that so many of these blunders could have been easily avoided.

Lucky for us, Microsoft’s Xbox One announcement serves as a great case study in social media, business,  customer loyalty, and value provision.

Social listening can really pay off.

In my experience anyway, social listening is one of the most under-appreciated benefits of social media for businesses, but can be hugely helpful. As the Xbox One announcement was drawing near, the social web was abuzz with rumours about Microsoft imposing policies regarding the limitation of used game dissemination and a requirement for constant connectivity. Almost unanimously, sentiment about these policies seemed negative.

SO WHAT? If you are paying attention to relevant conversations on the social web and your consumers or target demographic has taken a strong stance on something to do with your business, you are flat out being foolish to not address this in one way or another. Pay attention to what people are saying about your business or brand on social media, and act on it.

Make decisions based on what will add value you consumers, not yourself.

I feel like a broken record about this point, but it is critical that your decisions, be they for the production of social media content, or more generally for your business, add incredible value to your consumers. Microsoft clearly lost focus on the importance of this when making some of their recent policy decisions, and has had to eat crow as a result.

SO WHAT? As a business, you are nothing without your consumers. If you ever find yourself making decisions for your business based on what is good for you, and not for your consumers, it will be a good idea to re-think your approach. After all, your consumers will always have the final say with where they choose to spend their money, so make sure it’s with your business by putting them first.

Trust is slowly earned, but quickly destroyed.

A reputation and trust can take a lifetime to earn, but can be destroyed overnight. With one announcement, Microsoft has made skeptics out of a huge portion of their consumer base.

SO WHAT? Trust is very important to your business. Without it, you’ll negate your ability to build loyalty and advocacy among your consumers, and formerly loyal consumers will take to social media to express their disappointment, ultimately propagating the issue. Nurture consumer trust by consistently listening to them, providing huge value, and giving them the ability to influence your business.

Real-time marketing can yield amazing results, so be ready to capitalize on opportunities.

Sony’s PlayStation 4 is arguably Microsoft’s main competitor in the console video gaming category. Almost immediately following Microsoft’s announcement of their contentious policies, Sony released what turned out to be a hugely successful video demonstrating their used games and game sharing policy. This video currently has just shy of 13 million views on YouTube and would have cost virtually nothing to produce. It’s truly a testament to the power of real-time marketing and capitalizing on time-based context and relevance to an audience.

SO WHAT? On social media it pays off to be contextually opportunistic. Be prepared to practice real-time marketing by creating a nimble team that is able to act at a moments notice, organize an expedited approval process, open internal lines of communication with key decision makers, and gain the support of senior leadership. All of these things are critical to being able to act quickly.


What do you think about the announcement and promotion thus far of the Xbox One?

Do you think they made a good decision to do a 180 on their contentious policies?

How do you think Microsoft’s woes could have been avoided?

It would be great to chat with you about this further in the comments.

Join The Conversation

  • RGBSocial's picture
    Jun 21 Posted 3 years ago RGBSocial

    I really hope it wasn't a publicity stunt, though who knows. Intentionally seeking negative press just seems like an ill-conceived idea.

  • ubersocialmedia's picture
    Jun 21 Posted 3 years ago ubersocialmedia

    I'm wondering if this wasn't all a massive publicity stunt to get people talking about it? 

    It seems pretty obvious, to even a casual gamer like myself that their initial plans would cause outrage to the gaming comunitiy and that it would put an awful lot of people off the new console.

    I don't believe for one moment Microsoft didn't pre-empt that sort of response.  If it wasn't a publicity stunt i'm pretty baffled as to how such a misjudgement could take place too!


  • RGBSocial's picture
    Jun 20 Posted 3 years ago RGBSocial

    Hey Shell - Thanks for the kind words and for sharing your article. It was a good read.

    I'm with you, it was definitely a good move for Microsoft to reverse their DMR and connectivity policies, but I'm still baffled at why they would have made such a critical misjudgment in the first place. 

    Thanks again.


  • ubersocialmedia's picture
    Jun 20 Posted 3 years ago ubersocialmedia

    Great article Matthew.

    I wrote an article myself last week here, highlighting Sony's fast, clever advertising in the face of the outcray from gamers when Microsoft unveiled their plans at E3. 

    I love the fact Microsoft are listening and taking reactions seriously.  They did the smart thing in revising theirr plans.  This proves that even massive multi-national brands can get their plans wrong, but for me,  putting things right with their revised plans for the XboxOne, is definitely the right thing to do, afterall, why spend millions developing a product no one wants?  Listening to your customers remains critical, no matter how big or small you are.

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