We interrupt this regularly scheduled World of Warcraft blog for an important next generation console post
A few weeks ago Microsoft revealed their next generation game console, the Xbox One at in the form of a big press release event. With promises of better graphics, a new game engines and exclusive games to usher in a new generation of console games. The event focused on Television and Netflix, Skype and Fantasy Football apps. It is clear that Microsoft’s plan for the Xbox One is to move the console away from just a gaming device to an all in one media device.
After the event, rumors and facts started to by the gaming press about some of the unmentioned features and constraints that the Xbox will place on the players, a mandatory once-a-day internet connection, an always on Xbox, stricter DRMs on their games and Microsoft’s vagueness when came to the question of whether or not the Xbox Live service will still have a subscription fee and if the Xbox Live Dashboard will have advertisements.
Out of all of the most startling thing was the discovery of a year old patent Xbox placed on the idea of player interactive advertisement and their plan to add achievements for people watching ads and special television events. It seems that Microsoft wants to dip into both the old and new business model that has emerged from the internet by asking the players to pay for a service and then turning around and selling the consumer’s information to other businesses and companies.
The old internet business model is the one we are most familiar with, a business creates a product or a service and the customer pays for it with money. We see this at the markets and landscaping services offline and music albums and online videogame subscriptions online. You pay money and receive the desired service, end of story. Microsoft follows this model by asking players to pay the Xbox Live service.
But at the beginning of the 2000’s a second business model emerged by providing the people with a free service for you and everyone else to use. This model was popularized by Google, Facebook, Hulu and Twitter. These companies make money is by selling the information we willingly give to them to other businesses and selling ad spaces that we will see the mix of our news feeds and at the beginning of a Youtube video and even using our information to provide targeted brands and advertisements for our eyes to consume.
It is a tad Orwellian but it gets the money through. Microsoft is trying to utilize this model by pushing the idea of selling interactive television advertisements and achievements that will encourage the player base to watch certain television series and (ESPN) football events and creating interactive television ads.
We live in a world where people expect one business model or the other, either a finished product with no advertisements to buy or a free product with ads and the expectation that the company would be selling our information.
The Xbox One is trying to do both and burning the candle at both ends, expects us to pay for their service and then selling advertising space and our information to companies. Which I bet will not be well received by the player community and might be a major factor in deciding what console to get this generation.
The only way Microsoft to save themselves from a major player exodus from their service is to make the Xbox Live service free for everyone who buys the Xbox One. Microsoft may make less money with this business decision but they will be able to save face in the eyes of the consumers and videogame community. If they do make this decision I bet it would be one of their major announcement at this year’s E3.
But what do you think, Do you see a problem with Microsoft asking their consumers to pay for Xbox Live and then display ads on the dashboard? and What is your opinion on the patented interactive television ads that MAY be on the Xbox One?
(If you do answer leave a comment on whether or not you currently own an Xbox 360 and if you are planning to buy the Xbox One)
Be MOP focuses on the Mists of Pandaria expansion of World of Warcraft with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the game’s life cycle. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays