An Open Letter to Don Mattrick: The Xbox Community Wants to Talk to You

By on June 24, 2013

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Dear Don Mattrick,

My name is Danny Peña, founder of Gamertag Radio. I’ve been part of the Xbox Community since I played your first console back in Nov. 2001 in New York City. One of the things I loved about that event was getting to know the people that worked on it behind the scenes. At the event, I got to meet an Xbox exec whose name was J Allard. He was at the event from the beginning until the end, talking to the fans and getting everyone excited for the next big thing. Years later, Microsoft was getting ready to launch the Xbox 360. J Allard came to our show just to talk about the console. (Thanks to a former employee, Trixie, for helping make that happen.) There was no PR involvement; it was J Allard himself who said yes to our request. He got us excited once again by just talking to us instead of depending on the media.

Weeks later, there was an Xbox 360 launch event called Zero Hour where fans got to play the console days before launch. The event was for the hardcore gamers, the ones who would spend hours–even days–in line just to be the first to buy an Xbox 360. Not only that, but former Xbox execs, J Allard and Peter Moore, held a great community Q&A session with indie sites at the event. They answered questions about the present and future of Xbox 360.

Gamertag Radio has been a proven and established voice for the community. Our track record speaks for itself, and we are asking for the opportunity to speak with you and ask questions the community has been curious about since the reveal of the Xbox One.

We believe something in your message is missing, and your relationship with the community has been damaged. In our eyes, the trust many of your customers had in the Xbox team–which was what set Xbox apart from the competition–has been lost. What made Xbox so unique in the past was its relationship with its gaming community. Something changed in 2009 and it has not been the same since. I believe you have lost touch with the community. Yes, the MVP program is a wonderful thing, but instead of the Xbox team being made up of people who are passionate about your product, we are only seeing the business side of the Xbox product. The focus on community has taken a back seat. Since 2009 we have seen less and less interaction with the gaming community and more messages like we got during E3 2013.

For the record, here are some of our past interviews with Xbox executives:

J Allard Nov 2005

J Allard and Peter Moore Q&A at Zero Hour – Nov 2005

Q&A with Peter Moore – June 2006

E3 2007: Interview with Peter Moore

E3 2007: Speed Interview with Peter Moore

E3 2007: Interview with Jeff Bell

We appreciate you taking the time to read this letter and we look forward to speaking with you soon.

- Danny

Danny Pena

About Danny Pena

Founder & Co-host - Since 2001, Danny Peña’ has been at the forefront of Internet video game community building. Known for his unmistakable voice and interview skills. For press inquiries or additional information: email me. Bio: about.me/dannypena | Twitter: Godfree | Follow me on: Xbox Live: Gamertag - GODFREE | Nintendo Network - Godfree | PSN: GodfreeGTR
  • Mug Costanza

    I am with you Danny. I have been there since day one. Back then PS2 reigned supreme I was playing Halo CE and Crimson skies. Xbox back then had a different feel. It felt like a tight knit community. Now it feels like sterile corporate machine. Microsoft needs to connect with it’s community again.

  • Mark Cardwell

    Remembering the wacky skits Trixie used to do….always funny!!!

    • Trixie360

      <3

      • http://angryfacing.com/ Nick

        I remember those too. Those were pretty awesome! Haha.

  • Arik Cotton

    All of this stuff started when Peter Moore and Bill Gates left. Then followed Shane Kim, Robbie Bach, J Allard, Trixie, Gamerscore Blog (not in that order), and since Steve Ballmer took over MS, they really started focusing on business rather than community. Totally agree. If worse comes to worse, we can look to guys like you who are still all about community. Major Nelson is too busy to look after it, and I don’t think he can do as good a job as Trixie did. Maybe with the hire of Phil Harrison, the games can get back to uniqueness like before, but they need another Gamerscore Blog group or something like that for the community.

    • http://www.gamertagradio.com peterocc

      You’re missing the point. Sometimes, its not just the games.

      The following are comments from a chat between Godfree and I on my feelings.

      “This is a totally different corporate culture we’re dealing with.

      A truly corporate culture that doesn’t see the reality and need for a community for their product.

      And as much as MS tries to get people to evangelized their product… their failing miserably”

      MS isnt focusing on the core target… the gamers.

      Yes, they are marching towards the goal that Bill Gates envisioned years ago of the Xbox becoming the central focus point of a household but unfortunately have ignored the how they got here in the first place; the gaming community and its games.

      /rantover

      • Arik Cotton

        My point was that the real gamers that worked at Xbox are all gone, and you have corporate shills working there now. None of them are real gamers like us, and they only care about numbers. I feel that the only true way to get back to that is to bring people who care about the community, that’s all. Phil Spencer doesn’t. Major Nelson doesn’t, even though it’s his job to do so. Dan Matrick doesn’t. And Steve Ballmer surely doesn’t.

        • Daniel Lawson

          I think you’re mistaken… there are a TON of gamers in the Xbox division… lets hope with this reorganization that Microsoft is doing gives the Xbox group a little more unilateral power

          • cain141

            Dude I totally disagree about Phil and Major not being gamers. I’ve had some phenomenal talks with both of them. They are truly passionate about games.

    • http://www.majornelson.com Major Nelson

      Godfree…let’s make this happen. I send a note to AG about this.

      • http://twitter.com/iamnovatribe NOVA

        MAJOR NELSON TO THE RESCUE! THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!!! Hope ya’ll get STRAIGHT up 100% hardcore answers to the goings on….and get this ship straight.

      • Danny Peña

        Thanks Maj!

    • Dyltone

      Arik,

      Just to keep the facts in the post… Bill Gates retired as Microsoft CEO in January 2000, but was on the Board or Directors till 2006.

      I highly doubt he had anything to do with the gaming community specifically.

  • kevin carey

    Speak for yourself…I’ve got nothing to say to that goofy schmuck.

    Well, OK….I suppose I’d jump at the opportunity to call him a goofy schmuck to his face. -_-

    • Jeff Bell

      I am sorry you feel that way, but if it would make you feel better, then message received.

      • CPaladino

        I am unsure how anyone can not respect someone who responds to a ridiculous, immature comment like the one above.
        Jeff has kept in contact with me, and MANY Xbox gamers over the past 7 years when there’s been no business reason, or ulterior motives to do so. Jeff has helped Promethium with advice and mentorship on countless occasions.
        It’s interesting that one of the reasons MS is targeting non-gamers is because gamers (like Kevin Carey) are vocal, and many times unreasonable. If you are impossible to please, and are not spending enough money to keep the company in the black, then you HAVE to move to less chaotic consumers.

  • trent82

    To me, it seems that the message is that we all just don’t realize how awesome Kinect is, but once we have it, we will all see the light. Does anybody think that will actually happen?

    You simply cannot look at the sales of the original Kinect and decide that people love Kinect and want more of it. The Kinect is like the Wii. Lots of people bought them, but how many actually use them? Look at those weekly top 20 lists Major Nelson is always posting. Kinect games are basically never on any of those lists. Wii is over. Move is over. Kinect is over. Motion gaming is over.
    It’s so frustrating that the extra $100 wouldn’t be buying me native backwards compatibility or a headset or the ability to recharge my controller or any other worthwhile feature, but instead I just gain the ability to play motion games and use voice commands to complete tasks that I’d rather complete by simply pressing the A button.

  • http://twitter.com/iamnovatribe NOVA

    Honestly, this is all about the fact that every piece of messaging from Microsoft for the past 3 months has been on some business tip. As a fan and as supporters, a lot of times, we (myself included) have had to defend Xbox from a business standpoint because everything they were saying was SO MASSIVELY anti-consumer and devoid of any respect for the gamer and Xbox hardcore base………their messaging sounded more like: “Hey……take it or leave it m***f***ers”.

    Good on these fellas for going hard and going at the source for answers to this odd and alienating approach, and seeing what juice they can squeeze out of the berry.

    Now….about that price tag…HA!

    • http://www.timacheson.com/ Tim Acheson

      I cannot agree with all of what you said.

      But about that price tag?

      1. Make Kinect optional for Xbox One, and include a headset instead.
      2. Drop the price accordingly to undercut Sony.
      3. Win the crucial pre-order war.

  • http://www.daylondeon.com/ Deacon

    i’d like to see this happen :) community goes a LONG way with the Xbox and the influence the community has can’t be forgotten.

    • http://angryfacing.com/ Nick

      I’m with you, and everyone else, on that. I want to see the Xbox community rise up and be what it was and more.

  • xboxoneforlife

    I have been a xbox live member for over 10 years. I remember when community was a huge focus on people like godfree and myself. I remember when microsoft use to talk to us as a community not as a bunch of suits. I remember when the “xbox” brand looked at us as a investor in the platform. We made the xbox brand what it is today. Microsoft seems to have forgotten that. They need to change and look at us as a community and not as a business. Bring back FAMILY SHARE!

  • Josh Burkhead

    Jeff Bell is my hero.

  • Trixie360

    The Major and I had different styles and didn’t always see eye-to-eye but he is absolutely a real gamer–much more so than I–and I know that many of these changes break his heart. He’s just not allowed to admit it. He’s doing the best he can and and he’s doing it all alone.

    • Jeff Bell

      Agree that the Major is on point. So is AG.

    • CPaladino

      I will also stand-up for Major/Larry. His heart is in the right place, and he’s one of the few Xbox representatives who can, and will, respond to gamers.

    • dirtydiva

      I can also stick up for Larry. I would sit in his office at times and watch him play – he IS a gamer.

      Whenever I went to events with Major and Trix, they would be completely community focused. They would do their very best to answer every question asked by anyone who was there regardless of “ranking on alexa”. It’s a shame things have changed.

  • http://www.johnporcaro.com John Porcaro

    As I mentioned earlier, this makes me incredibly sad. As a marketing consultant, I work with billion dollar companies that are hoping to create a small portion of what Xbox had.

    I’m so proud of the relationships that Gamerscore team (Tony, Nelson, Chris, Sara), Trixie360, Xbox Gamerchix, J, Peter, Jeff, Peter M., and others built with the gaming community. I definitely would add Larry, and I understand the constraints he was (and is) under, and I give him props for surviving. We couldn’t have done what we did without help and support from Robbie, Shane, Chris, Aaron, Albert, Cameron, Dan G, Don M, Rob G, Frankie, Kiki, Kevin, Michael, Doug, David W, and especially Charlotte. And despite what you may think, there were many supporters on the PR team that supported our work, Rob S, Jen M, Jen P, Kari, Annie, Genevieve, Stone, and a handful of others.

    It’s hard to understand what all the reasons were that led to the loss of the relationships that were once pretty strong. It seemed a small price to pay to have a handful of folks at Microsoft to make sure that there was always a finger on the pulse of real gamers. I can’t help but think that all of the angst that happened at E3 could have been avoided. The most important role that the Gamerscore team played wasn’t to put out marketing messaging, it was to link the voice of the customer into the development of products, promotions, and campaigns.

    The fact that our relationship was symbiotic was never the most important thing. Real relationships are usually that way–you help each other, and you both give and get. FWIW, there are plenty of Sony community members who feel the same way about Jeff Rubenstein, Jack Tretton, and even Phil Harrison.
    I love that we are all friends post-MS. It’s evidence of the relationship we had, or rather have. I am inspired every day by Godfree’s passion, JVB’s insight, Christa’s wit, Nick’s intelligence, Parris’ parenting skills, Drea’s inspiration, Edward’s artistry, and Robert W’s offbeat sense of humor. And I’ll forever be inspired by David Dregar’s childlike shit-eating grin and his creativity and determination. I miss him. They’re not friends because they outdo my gamerscore (by several orders of magnitude).

    Great job starting the discussion, Godfree, and kudos to all of the folks at Gamertag Radio.

    You’re not just “gamers,” or “fans.” You’re friends.

    • Trixie360

      John P wins the comments. <3

      • http://www.majornelson.com Major Nelson

        Yes. Yes he does. Well said John

        • http://www.timacheson.com/ Tim Acheson

          Microsoft must now make Kinect optional for Xbox One, drop the price accordingly to undercut Sony, and include a headset instead.

          We can discuss the community and PR issues around E3 forever. It’s interesting and there are lessons to be learned. But right now, there is a defining process for the industry going on and we need Xbox One to come out fighting to ensure plenty of healthy competition within the industry for the next 10 years. Sony has already succeeded in making the pre-order war all about price and flexibility. Microsoft must now do whatever it takes to win that war, and with this one final difficult u-turn announcement it is in a position to do so. Create two pre-order packages if it softens the blow, one with and one without Kinect.

          We now have all have important work to do. Let’s now focus on realising the full potential of Xbox One and its community. After making our opinions heard, there will come a point when we must draw a line under the complaints and feedback and get behind Microsoft.

          The original strategy announced at E3 was right and good for everybody. But Sony and the whiners have reduced the evolution of the next generation to price and used games, so Microsoft had to respond.

          • Daniel Lawson

            are you really going to bitch about a 10 dollar POS head set? Microsoft will be able to pump 7.1 DD into your headset through the controller… give that crap a rest

          • http://www.timacheson.com/ Tim Acheson

            Nope. But you and I both know that there will be a tsunami of people who do bitch about no headset if Kinect is made optional but no headset provided.

            Sony who seemingly are including a headset will do all they can to stir-up the bandwagon, too, just as they have done over price and DRM.

            By making Kinect optional and undercutting Sony on price, Xbox One can destroy what’s left of Sony’s biggest-selling points overnight. We should also pre-empt the next step. If there’s no headset, Sony and the critics will exploit it and it will take detract slightly from the benefits of the overall u-turn.

          • EnyOne

            IMO, Kinect has to be kept, it seems like one of the last vestiges of innovation that’s actually being brought to any of the so-called “Next-gen consoles” (mainly between Sony and MS). With MS putting the digital vision on hold right now, the Kinect is the only thing that’s going to give some actual innovation; get rid of Kinect and now both consoles are just improved-versions of the current-gen consoles and that’s just sad because there shows no creativity. I hope Phil Spencer and Microsoft hire some enthusiastic developers that can really make something special out of Kinect because I believe, if used properly, it can be interesting.

          • http://www.timacheson.com/ Tim Acheson

            I agree, wholeheartedly. And Sony’s marketing folks must be accurately aware of this.

            The problem is, people don’t get it — and that includes hundreds of very vocal gamers posting comments online and some influential professional commentators.

            Sony and others have succeeded in reducing the pre-order war to one key factor: price. IMHO MS needs to win the pre-order war whatever it takes.

          • http://www.timacheson.com/ Tim Acheson

            Knew it — Xbox One sales doubled without Kinect. Sadly, price matters most.

            http://metro.co.uk/2014/07/17/xbox-one-sales-doubled-after-kinect-less-release-says-microsoft-4801161/

    • Parris

      John you win post of the year, it’s true we are all friends. The relationships I’ve made because of the Xbox community are priceless and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

      And for the record this open letter was all about starting a conversation about a product and community we all love and are passionate about, for better or for worse something changed with the Xbox team’s approach to community and while no one can expect things to go back to the way they were when this first started, the hope is the message and approach to the community can be clarified.

    • dirtydiva

      <3 Nothing to add. It's exactly how I feel.

    • Tony

      Well said John.

      I enjoyed every moment when I worked with John and team on GSB and I am very proud of what we built and to even be mentioned years after the program was canceled is very flattering. I sincerely miss those days. That said, I’ll echo John’s point that there are still many within Xbox that care deeply for the community. Larry’s response is a great example.

  • Daniel Lawson

    I miss JA… I wish he was back with the team…. remember when he did a chat with a broken arm…

  • Brandon Hofer

    That is a really great letter Danny and it is great to see the majority of the people in the comments willing to help when they can. For me personally reading the names of the commenters is a trip down memory lane. I have personally dealt with Jon Porcaro, Trixie, Major Nelson, Chris Paladino, Jeff Bell and many more over the years. They have always treated me and my site with the utmost respect and they were always willing to help with something if they were able to do so. Most recently I ran into Major Nelson at the Call of Duty World Championship and even though he was under the weather he would still stand around for a moment and talk with you before he had to get back to work.

    Some of the comments below are disheartening and really highlight how some people really don’t know how things work. In the instances where Major has been nice enough to grant me an interview we have always had fun discussing the latest games, similar to how he does every week on his podcast with E and Laura. Peter Moore was always really gracious with his time and I remember at E3 2007 where he stayed up half the night with a bunch of us and we just hung out and talked about games and other things. The guys and gals at the Gamerscore blog helped me out with a lot of that and CPaladino specifically helped me out a lot which I will always remember.

    This is getting a bit long so I’ll end it like this…I look forward to Danny hopefully getting to speak with Mr. Mattrick. There are real gamers at Microsoft and, hopefully, in the future, there can be something similar to the Gamerscore Blog to help with the community. In my opinion that would help out great with the community’s understanding of what is going on and would take a lot of pressure off of guys like Major Nelson.

  • http://www.timacheson.com/ Tim Acheson

    This article reads like sour grapes from a blogger who wants more attention and interviews from Microsoft and is cynically exploiting this bandwagon to get noticed. Corporations like Apple and Microsoft do embedded reporting with rewards and exclusives for loyal bloggers. Microsoft does not, and that’s a good thing.

  • http://www.timacheson.com/ Tim Acheson

    Is there a point to this rambling outburst?

    “messages like we got during E3 2013″

    You’re jumping on the bandwagon and that’s lame.

    The original strategy announced at E3 was right and good for everybody. But Sony and the whiners have reduced the evolution of the next generation to price and used games, so Microsoft had to respond.

    • http://bit.ly/nathanaelphotosynth Nate Lawrence

      Tim, Godfree is just an XBOX fan who misses how directly the XBOX team communicated with their fans in previous years and how in tune the higher ups in those years were with their audience: us.

      What finally turned Godfree toward getting an XBOX ONE before PS4, just before the DRM reversal, was the family sharing plan. He’s an XBOX fan.

      What I had a problem with is that not one time during the entire XBOX ONE Reveal or their entire E3 Media Briefing did they ever even mention any of the things that they cancelled.

      They didn’t once mention Family Sharing or any benefit that would come from having to connect once a day from the stage. That was all relegated to blog posts where people were more likely to misinterpret what they read, instead of hearing someone explain it clearly and show us exactly what it would look like.

      You can be sure that the XBOX team knew in advance of the reveal that they might have to reverse course on the DRM. In fact, in retrospect, the fact that they didn’t once mention any of the biggest benefits enabled by the DRM from the stage shows me that they didn’t want to put anything in their presentation that they might have to retract.

      Of course, by not spelling out any of the benefits clearly onstage (digital lending), they all but guaranteed that the backlash would only become so big that they’d have to back down.

      If anything, Godfree is just asking that XBOX higher ups, like Don, take the time to personally talk and listen to their community and take what we have to say seriously like J Allard and Peter Moore did at industry and community events that they attended in the past.

      Furthermore, what he is asking for is that the emphasis on the XBOX team proactively building their community by hiring an entire team of people whose job it is to engage all of the XBOX fan blogs, forums, and podcasts and make sure that the community is a vibrant and integral part of the dashboard so that our questions and concerns are directly, openly, and honestly addressed be returned.

      The reason that he is asking for this is primarily because Microsoft failed to clearly communicate the benefits which they were planning to the majority of the people who so vocally spoke out against XBOX ONE.

      I see hundreds (if not thousands) of people who thought that Family Sharing required someone to be on your XBL friends list for 30 days (when the 30 day friend requirement is for permanently giving away a game to someone else – totally unrelated to Family Sharing) or hadn’t even heard that Family Sharing existed, or thought that it was just a time-limited demo, or thought that XBOX ONE required XBOX LIVE Gold (instead of just Internet) or thought that other gamertags on the same console couldn’t play your games, and a million other false perceptions.

      If they wanted the average gamer to get their head around things, they needed to make a big point of it, on video, in their primary presentations and make it absolutely crystal clear what the advantages over XBOX 360 are, what benefits the restrictions bring (lower game prices because of publishers profiting from used game sales), or what they are giving us to compensate from the flexibility of DRM-free discs that was being taken away (digital lending to compensate for the lack of free physical disc lending or trading). They needed to have a video clip up on YouTube and embedded in Larry’s blog, and have your reps reaching out to every gaming site, social media, forum, and comment section, explaining:

      1) Anyone who was signed into the same XBOX ONE as you could play all your full games (just like 360 XBLA games).

      2) Since you couldn’t lend your discs to anyone with XBOX ONE DRM, you were allowed to add ten friends to your Family list and digitally lend your titles online.

      (Better than XBLA),
      (More convenient for sharing games with friends anywhere in the world),
      (Not as free as lending different discs to different friends and allowing both of them to play them at the same exact time)

      3) With the DRM, you could still resell your discs at used game shops as long as they had the gear to unlink your disc from your gamertag.

      4) This also guaranteed that the game publisher got a cut of the used game sale, meaning they don’t need to charge the first person to buy the game as much to compensate for an average number of resales per disc. In addition, on XBOX ONE, publishers control the pricing of their games, similar to Steam, so can put their game on sale on both platforms at the same time.

      5) Since all XO games are installed to the console’s hard drive (and with DRM, you wouldn’t need to insert the disc to play) your discs would stay in better condition for longer, meaning better condition to be resold.

      6) Under the DRM plan, If you wanted to permanently give away or sell your copy of a game (disc or download) without going through a used game shop, you could, with the proviso that the recipient is on your XBL friends list for 30 days.

      7) Even if you prefer to buy discs because driving to the store, going home, and installing is faster than downloading for you (or you have a bandwidth cap or pay per bandwidth used) (or just like special editions with artbooks, soundtracks, figurines, etc.), with the DRM, you still got digital ownership of the title in case anything ever happens to your disc,

      8) With XBOX ONE, a single XBOX LIVE Gold subscription can provide most Gold features to every user on the console. (not a DRM side-effect, but something that’s not widely known and is as good as we’re going to get as long as apps like IE, Netflix, etc. remain behind the Gold paywall).

      etc.

      In the past several years, in particular, (and in contrast to many past years) Microsoft has had a very odd trend of not talking to their customers directly and not responding to public questions and criticism.

      I watched it happen with Windows Phone developers curious about Windows Phone 8 development tools.

      I watched it happen with Photosynth’s super-delayed Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 mobile panorama app releases.

      Other product teams have gone through this as well like Bing Maps or Silverlight and when it comes to XBOX, the audience is not developers or enterprise businesses. The audience is gamers – people who spend money on the products as a fun pastime and recreation. Our community is inherently social and even more effected by a lack of communication (although it’s not healthy for any audience/customer base to have questions ignored or glossed over).

      • http://www.timacheson.com/ Tim Acheson

        Wow. An epic reply for an epic moment in the evolution of the industry.

        For me, the bottom line is that the original strategy was right, but it’s complicated and marketing needs to be simple. Now, MS must adapt. The first u-turn was a shame, but necessary. Now we need one more, making Kinect optional and dropping the price. That will be the hardest, not least because clearly the purpose of this strategy was to give developers the confidence to put serious effort into utilising the hardware.

        “They didn’t once mention Family Sharing or any benefit that would come from having to connect once a day from the stage. That was all relegated to blog posts where people were more likely to misinterpret”

        I totally agree. MS had a case, but failed to communicate it. To be fair, making the case for compromising on price and flexibility is not east, especially when Sony know exactly how to exploit it.

        “You can be sure that the XBOX team knew in advance of the reveal that they might have to reverse course on the DRM. ”

        I’d like to think so, and they certainly were fast to respond with such a big u-turn which impressed me — but I think the magnitude of the backlash took them by surprise.

        “Godfree is just asking that XBOX higher ups, like Don, take the time to personally talk and listen to their community and take what we have to say seriously like J Allard and Peter Moore did”

        The disconnect does concern me. Perhaps we could attribute some of it to pre-launch secrecy. It worries me that I do not see Mattrick active on Twitter, for example. When I first wrote to him and others begging for a u-turn on DRM etc, I feared I would not be heard. I was pleasantly surprised that they did react and tackled the issue in the only way they could. It can’t have been easy to make such a u-turn. Mattrick and colleagues cannot help but realise now that the time for pre-launch secrecy is over and they must now work hard to fully engage MS with the community. With such an amazing community, that’ll be the easy part of all this.

        “he XBOX team proactively building their community by hiring an entire team of people whose job it is to engage all of the XBOX fan blogs, forums, and podcasts and make sure that the community is a vibrant and integral part of the dashboard so that our questions and concerns are directly, openly, and honestly addressed be returned”

        Agree. Essential. Our Xbox UK folks are very good like that. They have fewer people to worry about I suppose. But more of that is needed — much more.

        We’re on the same wavelength. I shared your experience with WP7, Silverlight, XNA, SkyDrive, etc. Some of the best products tech has produced were like the industry’s best-kept secrets. MS marketing is still weak but starting to head in the right direction.

      • Danny Peña

        thanks man.

  • http://www.timacheson.com/ Tim Acheson

    Sorry — this is important:

    Microsoft must now make Kinect optional for Xbox One, drop the price accordingly to undercut Sony, and include a headset instead.

    We can discuss the community and PR issues around E3 forever. It’s interesting and there are lessons to be learned. But right now, there is a defining process for the industry going on and we need Xbox One to come out fighting to ensure plenty of healthy competition within the industry for the next 10 years. Sony has already succeeded in making the pre-order war all about price and flexibility. Microsoft must now do whatever it takes to win that war, and with this one final difficult u-turn announcement it is in a position to do so. Create two pre-order packages if it softens the blow, one with and one without Kinect.

    We now have all have important work to do. Let’s now focus on realising the full potential of Xbox One and its community. After making our opinions heard, there will come a point when we must draw a line under the complaints and feedback and get behind Microsoft.

    The original strategy announced at E3 was right and good for everybody. But Sony and the whiners have reduced the evolution of the next generation to price and used games, so Microsoft had to respond.

  • http://www.timacheson.com/ Tim Acheson

    I’m in the UK so I don’t have as much direct contact with Xbox US folks as most of the people posting here. But if the community here in the UK is anything to go by, it is thriving. I live for it. Thanks to our amazing local Xbox UK folks like AceyBongos and Cowfishdreams. They talk to us every day, they listen to us and reply. I’ve personally experienced some amazing UK game launch events like Halo Reach purely thanks to them reaching out to me as a nobody gamer.

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