Xbox One, Here's Your New Way Forward



So after a month of your consumers screaming bloody murder, you listened. Well done. Now you can focus on the real reasons that consumers were so upset. It wasn't the 24-hour check-ins (well, it was, but only to the extent that it limited used game sales), it wasn't only the used game stuff, and it wasn't your confusing messaging. It was this: You're not a very consumer-friendly company.

You know who doesn't complain much about used games? Steam users. You see, Valve has a history of offering tangible benefits to not just the publishers, but also the consumers. Games over two years old are rarely priced above $10 on Steam. You know why? Because people don't buy old games anymore.

So here's where you need to drastically change your business model. Push digital sales by offering consumers more than just the convenience of downloading their games anywhere (they expect that). Give them a reason to pick up games they wouldn't otherwise purchase. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "Yeah, I picked it up on a Steam sale. Still haven't played it, but it was cheap." You don't care if they play it or not, frankly, so why not bring those folks in? If you keep with the current pricing on Games on Demand, you're going to continue to be viewed as a consumer-hostile company. Examples:

  • Borderlands 2 - $27.49 on Amazon - $39.99 on GoD - $27.99 on PSN (or $19.59 with PS+)
  • Modern Warfare 3 - $34.44 on Amazon - $59.99 on GoD - $39.99 on PSN
  • Halo 4 - $27.18 on Amazon - $39.99 on GoD
  • Forza Horizon - $32.90 on Amazon - $59.99 on GoD
  • Saint's Row the Third - $43.99 on Amazon (includes all DLC) - $49.99 on GoD (does not include DLC) - $49.99 on PSN (Includes all DLC)

All those Amazon prices are new discs (not used) that you can re-sell compared to digital purchases which you can not. If you can't even compete with disc-based games, then you're not really trying. So, keep an eye on what games are selling for outside of your closed ecosystem and price accordingly. Otherwise, you're seen as a miser that uses their closed ecosystem to exploit customers.

To reiterate, your customers rebelled because you've given yourself a bad reputation, not because they hated the ideas of your console. If publishers are the problem, then work with them to fix it. They're clearly willing to accept lower prices (they do on Steam), so if your cut is too big, make it smaller. Better to get a smaller piece of a big pie than a larger piece of a small pie. Good luck out there.