Apparently, MS’s new $400 console is having a lot of problems. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be happy if I plunked down enough money to buy a cheap computer and my video game console didn’t work correctly. However, the real problem for Microsoft is touched upon in this blog.
In the past, such a faux pas would have taken weeks to get attention. One person would have a broken box and think maybe it was just them. After a few weeks of reports, someone at a store like EB would leak the problem to the press and THEN it would be a big deal. That’s how things used to work. Unfortunately for MS, that’s not how they work anymore.
Take, for example, the Sony malware debacle I was following on my blog. Just a little over a week after a hacker figured out the problem and reported it on his blog, Sony was recalling the discs and making all sorts of apologies. This sort of speed is unprecedented! Usually companies spend weeks denying and then playing down the risks. However, when people can be vocal on their blogs, things begin to add up. Especially when sites like Technorati provide a gauge to how much a particular topic is being discussed.
I hope that MS realizes that, while they may be kings in the OS department, they are relative tyros to the console market and didn’t even do that well with the first xbox. They would do well to take a lesson from the Sony incident and just apologize. They are also extremely lucky that we live in such a connected age. If the problem happens to be software related, they can simply release a patch via Xbox Live and fix their user’s systems. In the past they would have had to have boxes shipped to them to be fixed.
I can’t say that I’m suprised at the reports of the boxes. In addition to the fact that it’s very hard for any manufacturer to keep their products from having defects, MS has two things working against them. First of all, the Xbox 360 was rush-delivered to stores to get in this Christmas season and get a leg up on Sony and Nintendo. This type of situation almost always leads to a shoddy product. Second, look at the crap job they do on Windows. They release a product that’s halfway done and reason that they’ll fix it via patches later. That’s not the way to do things! Oh well, I’m just glad I’m not one of those who has to have the latest thing right when it comes out. (I didn’t get a PS2 until they were $150 last summer) If I ever get an Xbox 360 or PS3, it’ll be a few generations down the line – after they have fixed all (or most) of the bugs.