Project Scorpio: Can Microsoft bring the fight back to Sony's doorstep?

Praise for Scorpio's specs is universal, but in many ways that's the easiest part of this journey; MS must now start answering the truly tough questions

As the dust settled on last week's reveal of Scorpio specifications, reactions fell into two possible camps. On one side, you had those who were tremendously excited about the specifications of the console - which is unquestionably the most technically impressive games console ever created, and will easily leapfrog Sony's PS4 Pro in terms of graphical prowess. On the other side, more negatively but almost certainly more realistically, you had those asking the important question; okay, but what about all the other stuff?

There's overlap between those camps, and I find myself with a foot in each. Scorpio is hugely technically impressive; the very choice to do the reveal via Digital Foundry, which was not kind to the relative technical failings of Xbox One, shows Microsoft's well-placed confidence in the hardware they've crafted. Yet at the same time, nobody should lose sight of the fact that great console hardware - even outright superb console hardware - isn't the triumphant flourish of a full house to end the game and take home the prize. On the contrary, for Scorpio's technical prowess to be superb is the buy-in. It's the most basic test the company had to pass. That it has passed it with flying colours is good, of course, but it's the beginning of the conversation about Scorpio, not its end.

There are those who disagree, pointing to the technical advantage Scorpio enjoys over PS4 and PS4 Pro, but this reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the console market. If you believe that Scorpio's technical advantage over PS4 will deliver it commercial victory, then presumably you also believe that the PS4's present market dominance is simply a result of its technical advantages over Xbox One - but this is a vast oversimplification of a complex outcome that was born of a great many factors, of which technical capabilities were only a minor one at best. Yes, PS4 was technically superior to Xbox One, but beyond the realms of a fraction of the core market who obsess over such things, this was unimportant and, indeed, not even very widely known. Far more important were other areas where Sony simply outplayed their rivals in Redmond; software, of course, but also branding, positioning and marketing of their system.

"The decision to reveal Scorpio's technical details well ahead of E3 speaks not to the perceived importance of the specification, but to their perceived unimportance"

My fear with regard to Scorpio has always been that Microsoft, stung by the misplaced gambles it made on Xbox One's hardware which left it lagging behind Sony's system in performance, would obsess over technical specifications, ascribing them far more than their due importance in the grand list of reasons why Sony is dominating this console generation. Their response, then, would be to break the traditional console business model, dramatically shortening the life cycle of a system with a large installed base in the name of simply leap-frogging its rival in technical specifications term. (One thing that's clear from the Scorpio reveal, incidentally, is that the gap between Xbox One and Scorpio is far greater than the PS4 to PS4 Pro gap; Scorpio really is more like a whole new console generation, where PS4 Pro is simply a tweaked, 4K-capable edition that can sit comfortably on the market alongside PS4.)

If that were all that Scorpio is, it would - ultimately - be a failure. It might enjoy healthy sales to begin with, since Xbox retains a very loyal fanbase in some quarters, but it would ultimately be a device which would push Microsoft's gaming efforts closer and closer to the fate which Nintendo has so often brushed up against; consigned to relying on the support of core fans and often struggling to break out beyond the few tens of millions of hardware sales they amount to. Microsoft could iterate over and over upon improving its hardware performance, delighting its core audience but not swaying a single consumer beyond that base. To go beyond the audience that Xbox One has enjoyed, other, more fundamental changes are needed to the Xbox strategy, and the early focus on Scorpio's muscular specifications has not, thus far, implied that the company is girding itself to make those changes.

The bright ray of light in this - what has convinced me that Xbox' strategy runs far deeper and more thoughtfully than a half-cocked "make it faster, and they will come" - is Xbox boss Phil Spencer's interview with Gamasutra this week, which lays out a far more nuanced view of the console market and Xbox' place within it. Reading between the lines slightly, Spencer ends up downplaying the importance of system specifications - noting that the huge spec bump at the outset of this generation was in no way as impactful as the leap from Xbox/PS2 to Xbox 360 / PS3, and essentially accepting the narrative that technical advancements have been delivering diminishing returns for some time (after all, there is never again going to be a technical leap as dramatic as SNES to PlayStation 1, nor one as dramatic as PS1 to PS2 afterwards). Moreover, Spencer speaks frankly about the nature of the console business being one of longer life-cycles, and the damage faster refresh cycles for hardware would do to the industry's bottom line.

Forza is great, but much more software will be needed to showcase Scorpio

Forza is great, but much more software will be needed to showcase Scorpio

In short, Spencer is refuting some of the assumptions one could easily make about Scorpio; that it's all about shortening the console life-cycle in order to get a technical leap on Sony. His comments imply strongly that Microsoft sees Scorpio as a one-time gambit, not a new paradigm for the business, and that its objective isn't just to achieve technical superiority but rather to gain an opportunity to relaunch Xbox, bringing it out from under the shadow of PS4 and starting to rebuild its position in the market. While details remain thin on the ground, Spencer quite rightly seems to view the technical prowess of Scorpio as a means, not an end in itself.

Perhaps, then, the decision to reveal Scorpio's technical details well ahead of E3 speaks not to the perceived importance of the specification, but to their perceived unimportance; to a desire to get the specs conversation out of the way as quickly as possible. Thus, when the big event rolls around, Microsoft can talk about games and start working on positioning and branding, rather than devoting its energies to discussions of RAM and GPU types which are meaningless to most consumers, and largely uninteresting to even more. What people actually need to see isn't how Scorpio stacks up against PS4/Pro; it's what's going to be different about Scorpio, more beautifully rendered polygons aside, that will make those who didn't bother with an Xbox One feel like this is a console they actually need.

How Microsoft achieves that goal is a big, big question - a big set of questions, in fact. There's definitely a software challenge; the gap in volume and quality of exclusive titles between the PS4 and the Xbox One in the past couple of years has become increasingly embarrassing, to the extent that it's put question marks over Microsoft's entire commitment to the console sector. Best case scenario, that's all down to a huge focus on Scorpio software and all will be revealed at E3. That would be a little upsetting for existing Xbox One fans (again, it's actually sold pretty well and deserves more software attention than it's been receiving) but it's far better than the alternative.

"After watching Scorpio's technical specifications be lauded by the experts, Microsoft is now starting to position itself in a way that suggests that it knows that was the easy part of this"

Moreover, though, there's also a branding challenge. The Xbox brand exists in an unusual and not entirely secure position, with a core group of genuine fans supplemented, in the last generation, by a very large audience who loved the Xbox 360 console but clearly didn't find themselves particularly in love with the brand as a whole. Look at how dramatically quickly PlayStation was able to regain the ground it lost during the Xbox 360 era; especially outside the United States (but also within the US to a large degree), PlayStation was still clearly seen as being the premium game console brand, a stark reminder of how much of Xbox 360's success was down to Sony's dropping of the ball with the PS3.

That's primarily down to the very carefully balanced work Sony has done with the PlayStation brand itself over the past two decades. Where Xbox has found a comfort zone - American males, 15 to 30 - and stuck firmly within its borders for the most part, Sony has managed to turn PlayStation into a brand that's playful, approachable and even whimsical, without eroding its appeal to that core audience in the process. Playing up the "Japaneseness" of the brand has no doubt helped - that's an arrow Microsoft doesn't have in its quiver - but it's far from being the whole story.

The sheer amount of effort and intelligence Sony has put into making PlayStation into a brand that balances widespread appeal against niche credibility is remarkable; it's an effort that spans not just marketing and advertising but the whole console operation, from industrial design to software publishing all the way through to its (recently vastly improved) stage management of big conference events. Microsoft has never quite had the same confident command of the Xbox brand, the same willingness to step beyond its comfort zone and engage other audiences; that's a confidence it will have to learn, and learn fast, if it's going to make a real success of Scorpio.

The difference between last week and this week is that, after watching Scorpio's technical specifications be lauded by the experts, Microsoft is now starting to position itself in a way that suggests that it knows that was the easy part of this. It's got a great piece of hardware on the way; but a great piece of hardware, on its own, is just silicon and plastic. A game console platform is so much more, and in the coming months Microsoft needs to show the world that it understands what else it needs to do to bring this fight back to Sony's doorstep.

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Latest comments (15)

João Namorado Project Manager, Portugal Telecom2 years ago
Also... price! :)
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago
If Microsoft is smart, they will eat whatever it takes to make Scorpio $399 this Christmas. With a game or two, and a free trial of Xbox pass. That eill be a game changer.
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James Prendergast Research Chemist 2 years ago
I'm not an MBA so I can't really see the benefit of them eating a huge loss on each console at this point in the generation. PS4 is leading XBO in a ratio of around 2:1 worldwide. Both Sony and Microsoft have made or are making their money on those consoles now. What would be the strategic win by throwing out a really powerful console and losing a lot of money on it?

They can't undo those PS4 sales. They exist whether they want them to or not. Scorpio is not a new generation so there's not that pull for people to buy it to experience the games. I know 4K is a big thing in the USA but, outside of the USA, it's not that big. This is the very beginning of the 360/PS3 situation once more - people are still on 720p and 1080p screens (a vast majority).

I think scorpio has some fantastic features (tech-wise I think it looks great from what's been revealed) but I'm still waiting for a reason a PS4 user on a 1080p screen would upgrade - you lose compatibility with your games library. For an XBO owner the price is going to be the major issue but then they'd just be cannibalising their own userbase and to subsidise that would be crazy from a business perspective...

Regarding the article directly:
One thing Microsoft has to change about its XBox brand is its over-reliance on the USA if it wants to be successful. 360 didn't have the lead worldwide at the end of last generation despite the huge money sunk into the project (RRoD etc.) because they focussed, not just on white American males between the ages of 12-30 (I'd argue that perhaps I could write it even younger because there was a VERY strong pull for the under 15s) but on the USA only. The Xbox fared well in the UK because of the cultural similarities between the two but outside of that you did not see Xbox dominance.

Once Sony made their u-turn and brought down cost and showed less arrogance they quickly re-made the ground they lost and Microsoft had nothing to offer anyone outside of the USA. They repeated this mistake at the outset of the XBO reveal well into the first year. I don't know if it's gotten better or not because I stopped following that side of things but I'd be very doubtful.

Strangely enough, I see Microsoft obsessively focussing on the Japanese market - trying to get a foothold there but they really need to focus on the EU/Eastern Europe markets instead. I know people shoot back with 'but it's complicated, all those laws and copyright bodies etc.'. YES it IS complicated but other companies manage it and it is a global society we now live in - we can see when we're getting less 'stuff' than other customers in other countries so that excuse doesn't wash.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago
@James Prendergast: James there aren't any more generations, but iterations.

Even with this generation, by all accounts Sony and Microsoft agreed to a bunch of rules about how same their consoles would be to aid developers. They're going to stick to x86/64 architecture and AMD CPUs.

Microsoft isn't "over reliant on the (English speaking world) by choice, it's where Xbox sells. Much of the rest of Europe has irrational hate for them, and the console is flatline in Asia. Only is a brand everyone grew up with, and Xbox lost the ground they gained mostly because they didn't have a chance to explain themselves, paranoids, an organized slime campaign by Sony, and equal to the previous, the $100 price difference.

The efforts in the Japanese market are all about courting Japanese developers. I've had long discussions with major Japanese retailers, and at least one of them, who had large prominent Xbox displays to,d me they sell a handful of games a week, but Microsoft pays rent on the shelf space. In Japan, appearances are everything, and if game developers can march the CEO down and show him in essenxe that the system exists, it makes getting them to develop much easier. Japan will likely never embrace Xbox, but as long as their developers do it's mission accomplished.

People who owned 360 have large investments in that ecosystem, and they remember how much better live is than PSN. Microsoft needs to give them an excuse to cone back. As a solid 2/3 of 360 owners have yet to upgrade, they're handing them power for the graphics tarts, the fact that your previous purchases survive, and a ton of new features. Investments in PS4 can be handled with what many Xbox owners have been asking for: a disc to digital program (yes online purchases are an issue, but since they have no way of verifying your PSN purchases, nor disabling those copies it's moot)

And if you think they're not looking at Eastern Europe/EU, that's what the PlayAnywhere initiative is for. To sell Xbox games and the ecosystem where they're not popular. Pure speculation: I believe it's quite possible you'll see the DX12 boost in AMD PC hardware that will only be accessable through Windows Store versions in the future, which would actually give people a reason to use it.

Changing their software direction takes time, and Spencer has aggressively hinted that there's a lot of surprises. This is a relaunch of the brand, likely a one time push to, as he said, regain developer trust. Future iterations won't see a generational jump in computing power, but it'll keep the bar moving. When Scorpio 2 hits vanilla X1 mandatory support will likely be dropped, but it doesn't mean people won't support it for the right games when Scorpio 3 is out, just as a new blizzard game runs fine on a six year old cheap laptop. And I know Sony is doing the same. It makes good business sense. Microsoft's biggest issue is perception, and they're about to launch a massive relaunch of the brand emphasizing how they've changed. Frankly given the number Id features I've heard about for years that kept getting pulled back, I'd say they're all in a basket marked Scorpio.
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James Prendergast Research Chemist 2 years ago
@Jeff Kleist: Yes, I understand your point about generations. My point was that the general consumer will not get that. A new generation has always been a selling point. Why would a normal consumer upgrade their 2 year old laptop when they won't notice a difference to something of a similar sale price now? Apply that sort of logic to people who are playing XBO/PS4 to PS Pro/Scorpio. We're not talking about the core audience here.

Xbox sells in English speaking markets because they focussed on them. It's sort of a circular thing. You can't say that the rest of Europe hates Xbox irrationally when the platform has never courted them, never spent any sort of effort to bring them the same features that are available elsewhere in the ecosystem. It works both ways. I also disagree about them not having the chance to explain themselves. Much of this sort of argument assumes many things about what they "would have" done - after the U-turn. It's just speculation and we only have what they officially released before that event.

Consumers aren't irrational, they buy products from companies that treat them well.

PlayAnywhere is a nice initiative. I don't see how it addresses the issues that the EU markets have historically encountered with the Xbox brand though. I don't see how it's focussed on that market either because as far as I can see it's a level playing field as to the access of the feature. I also don't see how a feature that requires windows 10, use of the windows store and powerful PC hardware is a value-add for console consumers in general, though. Unless you're making the argument that EU console players mostly have PCs?

I would love to agree with you on the boost to AMD hardware performance in gaming but, quite honestly, I was waiting for that after the XBO and PS4 launches and we didn't get it. So I'm not hopeful on that one...

Maybe live has changed a lot since I had a 360? But the current PSN is pretty much on par with the features Live offered during the end of the 360s days. I don't personally play with other people much but what little I did in Destiny was more than fine. I do think that PSN's value is now starting to drop - but mostly because the games offered as part of the package have been getting progressively less worth the investment. If it doesn't improve I'll drop the subscription when it comes up for renewal next year.

We'll have to see about Xbox's rebranding attempt. I can see them pulling it off, but they have to think worldwide... not just two markets.

Edit: I should also point out that the attitude that Europeans and Eastern Europeans have an irrational dislike to the Xbox brand is just reinforcing the dislike of the brand. Just because you (perhaps) don't understand the reasons behind a dislike doesn't make it irrational. People don't favour Sony because they grew up with it. If that were the case Nintendo would still be king of the hill...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Prendergast on 14th April 2017 4:43pm

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Keldon Alleyne Strategic keyboard basher, Avasopht Ltd2 years ago
I think XBone lost to PS4 because Sony didn't have a significantly weaker online system, have much higher price point or release a hot year after players had already sunk their teeth into online multiplayer for key cross platform franchises edit: as they did with the PS3.

I believe the strength of PlayStation is about perception. XBox may be perceived more as a PC-like gaming device for a certain type of gamer.

Would be interesting to see surveys on how gamers perceive the brands, but I really don't think it's got anything to do with an irrational hate.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Keldon Alleyne on 15th April 2017 2:58pm

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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago

You will find a huge amount of irrational hate for Microsoft in Europe. Interestingly enough, google, Amazon, and Apple commit many of the same sins that Microsoft rightfully paid huge fines for doing (first on the list, not giving third parties access to the hooks in Windows needed to get to the metal. Apple has OSX locked down, and for example still won't permit a native DVD Blu-ray player to be released for the platform). Amazon hired the Kinect team to make Echo, which is basically what Kinect was supposed to be on Xbox One, and only praise, barely a peep.

It's irrational and hypocritical, and that existing distrust was used to help sink Xbox One further than Mattrick big mouth ever could. . I've watched these viral marketer/manipulators at work many many times, and Sony is intimately familiar with their playbook from the HD DVD/Blu-ray war. Instead of frequenting forums where kids at Best Buy and circuit city play after work, they made sure the GameStop kids were at the front of the line. Do I have proof they were hiring them? Not that will stand up in court, but I've watched it unfold too many times. Somebody hired them, and probably didn't even have to spend a lot of money to get the ball rolling.

As one of the few people on the Blu side during that war, I also, am intimately familiar, because we were the ones tracking them (The infamous Deadmeat cones to mind). Thanks to VPN and other tech developed since then, one man is an army, and unlike the 2006 variety, they aren't paying for ten internet connections from half a dozen ISPs to wrangle a few dozen accounts.

There are plenty of people out there pushing laundry detergent (seriously) just as hard as others are pushing to slime political candidates. You Just give them a push, and watch the snowball roll.

And in case anyone is confused (as has happened before), I have not, nor will I ever, engage in these practices, paid or unpaid. They are unethical and immoral no matter who is doing so, and my only engagement has been in debunking and tracking these people. If I had every paycheck I've been accused of taking for this kind of thing, I'd have a VR headset and a 1080 right now on my couch change ;)
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic keyboard basher, Avasopht Ltd2 years ago
@Jeff: Microsoft had a hot monopoly on home computing at the time so there will be different treatment due to their market position.

As a reminder, Microsoft single handedly held back the progression of the Internet for a good 8-10 years until Google took their share of the browser market, forcing them to fix their act up. They did do good things too, of course, but overwhelmingly they were the bane of web development.

Nobody* really cares about Blu-Ray on Apple devices. Nobody cares about opening up Apple Macs.

Kinect is not Echo. Looks nothing like it. Costs nothing like it. Is packaged nothing like it. Is marketed nothing like it. Really not a product that can be compared. Any marketer should know that.

So please, source on the so called irrational hate for Microsoft in Europe.

*: by nobody I mean an insignificant number, not literally nobody.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago
@keldon Apple, google, and Amazon have gigantic control over the internet. If your app isn't on iOS you're giving up 60-70% of the market. When Amazon web services goes down so goes huge portions of the top 500 web sites. Google basically rules search and much of the online advertising. Just because it's more subtle doesn't dilute the power. So why is it OK That Steam has a near monopoly on Pc gaming with their near non-existent customer service department it took an Australian court order to get them to put a phone in? (Au only)

There's a lot of people interested in Blu-ray on Apple devices. So much so the BDA actually authorized a piece of software that does its decryption in the cloud because they can't establish a secure environment on macs. So there is definitely a market for it. But since Apple only makes pennies on every Blu-ray, and makes $5 on a new release iTunes sale, they have no interest in opening up. So why is this not OK for Microsoft but OK for them?

Kinect is absolutely Echo. It's exactly ehat it was supposed to be before it was torpedoed. Amazon hired away huge swaths of the Xbox team, which is one of the reasons why the One launch was such a disaster.

They just panicked and abandoned all of the home server parts when they pulled it out of the box. It was supposed to do exactly what Echo does today. Gaming was a very secondary function, and since most of their major contracts weren't signed at the time of the initial panic, they couldn't talk about them.

Sources? Aside from twentyish years of experience a fast google gives:
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic keyboard basher, Avasopht Ltd2 years ago
@Jeff: firstly I meant sources backing up the notion that people in general have an irrational bias against Microsoft, not whether you can find articles / posts complaining about that perceptions.

Also even if Echo and Kinect were identical in functionality the very fact that Kinect was to be bundled with a games console at the additional cost of $100 while imposing a set of functionality that threatened privacy, they would be remarkably different from a marketing perspective. Nothing prevented Microsoft from selling something like the Echo separately.

Google hasn't been abusing search. Amazon hasn't been abusing web services though I do feel they abused their position by banning chromecast from Amazon. Microsoft were abusing their position. A reminder, Microsoft held back the web by a hot decade to be behest of every web developer.

No issues about Microsoft pushing their AntiVirus.

iOS having limitations / restrictions is really no big deal whatsoever. Context Jeff. Nobody really cares.

And again. Blu Ray on Mac is a non-issue. They're not market dominant, most Mac consumers buy a Mac in exchange for hiked hardware prices and a smaller selection of software and games. Nobody cares, and those that do buy a PC.

Sony received stick for discontinuing Linux support and had to settle. So no, other companies have issues too. Regulations affect other companies too.

So, failing to see how those links support the idea that consumers have an irrational hate towards Microsoft, and that is why PS4 is selling better. Even failing to see any legitimate evidence of irrational hate in the cases you've presented given the context.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago
@keldon It doesn't take a lot of people, and the repeated actions against Microsoft as well as the linked articles, again for the same stuff that the other majors are doing without so much as a hearing tells the tale. Otherwise you need to deep dive forums and other places and "take the temp" for yourself. It's taking these people and amplifying tnem that spreads everywhere and sows the seeds of distrust and doubt. I'm not sure what you want but here's more.

And Google gets g away with similar things

The entire deal structure Microsoft had, and to get companies to start thinking about and building these apps required every System to have a connected Kinect. Amazon benefitted from Microsoft breaking the ice, and the rise of the digital assistants on phones. There are no privacy issues with Kinect that aren't the same as carrying a smartphone in your and pocket(and I'd argue far less). People have been just fine for years with computers with microphones and cameras built in. It's pure irrational paranoia and hypocrisy. . And everyone is just peachy with that as long as they like who's watching them.

I said MacOS, not ios. Again, hypocrisy. if one company is fined and charged., so should all. There are plenty of other people out there who want to write for Mac, Oculus and Vive for example who are similarly blocked from achieving performance targets and necessary features (like supporting HDCP) Just because you care doesn't mean others don't.

Sony was sued. No government regulators investigated, fined, and placed legal restrictions on them.

That's not what I stated. I stated the slime campaign helped sink Xbox further in 2013 giving them an even bigger lead than they otherwise would have thanks to disinformation and stoking paranoia, and compared it to Microsoft and Toshiba's actions in 2006 whose playbook They so abley copied.
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic keyboard basher, Avasopht Ltd2 years ago
Note: you mentioned iOS, 70%, that's why I mentioned iOS. It's even worse if you're talking about MacOS.
if one company is fined and charged., so should all
Microsoft were absolute gatekeepers, MacOS is not. It's not blocking market entry. It's one insignificant platform that cannot be supported, just like the Wii-U is unsupported. If MacOS was a major gatekeeper there might be provision, but it would be stupid if EVERY piece of hardware -
- no matter the share of market - had regulations that were only really necessary for monopolising giants.

Microsoft were not forced to open up the XBox hardware to support OpenGL, for example.
There are no privacy issues with Kinect that aren't the same as carrying a smartphone in your and pocket
However you spin it there are fundamental facts: this is bundling the technology with a games console. That's not Echo. You can turn off your phone's digital assistants, leaving you with a regular phone. With Kinect you couldn't erase the fact you've just spent an extra $100.
Otherwise you need to deep dive forums and other places and "take the temp" for yourself.
Vocal minorities are not an accurate judge of the majority. Dive into forums and you get anal arguments about whether the PSX was more graphically capable than the N64, which had the best graphics and other things the average gamer don't care about in the slightest.
and the repeated actions against Microsoft as well as the linked articles
Let me rephrase it clearer so that you can get what I'm asking for. I want data that indicates that the perception of the gaming population is irrationally biased against Microsoft. I don't care about laws and regulations. I'm talking about gamers because this topic is about sales of consoles, not anti-trust laws.

Failing to see the parallels between your articles on Microsoft and Google. They're two distinctly different cases. They're incomparable. Why would you bring them up?!
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago
@Keldon you're being hypocritical. Sorry. If amicrosoft has to do it, so does everyone. Market share is irrelevant.

Yiur has gone can spy on you without digital sssistants. Android phones are incredibly open to malware, virtual,y nothing stopping people from spraying on you. Apple tracks everything you do, as does Sony, Google, and yes, Microsoft. You use their services, they track you. The microphones, gps, and cameras are not optional in most devices manufactured today. Same exact thing.

You're still missing what I'm saying. Vocal minorities, properly goosed to go crusading, and simply linking to their posts or just repeating their words creates a group consciousness, it permeates, even subconsciously. As I said, I fought these people in the great HD war. We tracked them, watched it happen, and it's just gotten worse in the interim with the advancements of algorithms and rise of VPN. It's about influencing the vibe, and using these passionate people to push your agenda. If you need an example, the US election is a poster child.

I said many, I didn't say all gamers.
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic keyboard basher, Avasopht Ltd2 years ago
@Jeff: hypocritical means behaving in a way that suggests one has higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case. Did you mean discriminatory?

In the real world it would be pretty stupid to hold small companies up to the same standard as huge companies. It's why smaller businesses don't have to file chartered accounts. The administrative cost relative to revenue is too high.

Likewise, the implications of a large company making bottled water from tap water can affect the entire nation, so it would make sense to regulate Nestlé's bottling of tap water in India but not say, some girls selling lemonade by the street. You also wouldn't demand them to submit weekly payroll accounts, but a large corporation could. Not only would they need to have systems in place to handle that, the cost per employee is manageable.

So it is irrational to expect everyone of all sizes to be governed by the exact same regulations. It just doesn't make sense in the real world at all.

Again, perspective: Microsoft single handedly held back the web by 10 years. They increased the cost of web development by about 30-100% (source).

Anyway, I'm not going to waste time explaining the basic reality of the impact monopolies can have and why regulation is sometimes necessary, but not necessary for products that aren't gatekeepers to industry.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago
@john Owens

I agree with you, but that's what government is for, to pry open the locks of people behaving badly. Don't forget Steam has ONE customer service phone number, in Australia, where required by court order. The rest of the world suffers their "highly qualified" staff that can't copy and paste a product key so I can get tech support (the key was patched into the game, not standard redemption and not displayed in Steam ) in less than three emails over the course of a week (record over three weeks of them demanding paperwork and pictures sentweith initial email through form letters). Steam enjoys what is in many ways greatly resembles monopoly, but nothing is done because they don't advertise, and they're off the radar unlike Sega/Nintendo or Sony Microsoft.

I'm advocating ALL of the tech giants behave properly, and allow access for a reasonable fee and NDAs to their hooks. Its always fun to hate the people at the top, and you're quite possibly correct that their failure to brib...lobby the right people caused the action against them

@keldon Apple, Valve, Google,Amazon are not small companies. Arguably many of them are larger and more influential than Microsoft. If a smaller firm wants people to develop for their device, then they make sure things look and work their best on it by providing that information. Asking for a small fee or the signing of NDA is not unreasonable, but it has to be out there. Apple has one reason to lock out BD playback: they make ten times on an iTunes sale easy what they do from a BD sale, possibly even after taking the fee for digital copy redemption, from royalties

The I.E. debacle is as much lazy users as anything else. The modern automatic upgrade system and the more aggressive push to narrow the field of devices is an effort to address that. You're twisting that piece to blame Microsoft for the end user's failures to pay attention. If your roof caves in after thirty years because you failed to have your twenty year roof replaced, is that the fault of the roofer or the homeowner? This is exactly what I mean about irrational hate. Instead of finding real legitimate reasons to hate someone, and Microsoft has offered plenty, this is the one you come up with because it sounds good in a headline. PBDAC as we used to say.

How about the stealth Windows 10 upgrades for something recent? That's caused way way more business disruption because when people's printers and utilities stopped working. My friend's grandfather's accounting firm was upgraded, and I spent an entire evening getting him back up and running, easily would have run up a $250 bill had I been charging him. And he was certainly not alone. That was ABSOLUTELY their fault. And there's tens if not hundreds of thousands of people affected by this in a similar manner.
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