A report was released that stated that the next generation of Xbox would not have console exclusives until around a year after launch. This would indicate that all upcoming titles would be cross gen, leaving consumers to trust Microsoft’s vision and ultimately decide if they want to purchase the Series X.
On the surface, this is a vexing business decision. Microsoft has been criticized in recent years for its lack of exclusives, while Sony and Nintendo continue to expand their respective libraries. Saying they need a win is an understatement, but there is reason for optimism. Their aggressive acquisition of studios will ensure that the Series X will have its share of console exclusives and the Game Pass is a brilliant way to spread the Xbox Brand.
There is still time for Microsoft to find ways to sell its console. But it is a downer knowing that there aren’t any titles that can only be found on that console at launch. Stating that it will be the most powerful may not be enticing enough without a true exclusive. Why would you purchase a console when all of its titles or cross gen or available on PC?
One of the unintended consequences of this announcements is that it will fuel its competitors. Sony feasted on Microsoft after the Xbox One announcement and not having console exclusives will definently alter Sony’s marketing strategy for the PS5. If Microsoft wants to remain competitive this holiday season here are five things they can do to ease concerns:
1.) Nail the price point.
The most powerful console does not win. See the Nintendo Switch as evidence of that. Microsoft should ensure that the price point for all variations of the Series X is affordable for the average consumer.
2.) Highlight exclusive features.
Explain to the consumer what makes the Series X special. Will it connect to Steam? Can it replace your gaming PC? Will there be VR/AR capabilities? How will the power of the Series X upgrade existing titles?
3.) Don’t wait until E3
Seriously, with all of the potential leaks that could happen between now and June, Microsoft should make a concerted effort to put out as much information as possible concerning the Series X. Waiting plays into your competitions hands.
4.) Show your studios work.
There have been multiple studio acquisitions for Microsoft. Show the consumer what they’ve been working on so they know what to look forward too. Don’t just highlight Gears, Halo, and Forza, consumers know what to expect from those franchises. Enthrall them with an entirely new experience.
5.) Ignore the noise and continue emphasizing the Game Pass.
Right now, the best thing that the Xbox brand has going for it is the Game Pass. Its affordable, features an expansive library and can be found on both PC and on the Xbox One. It’s a given that the Game Pass will find itself on the Series X, but Microsoft shouldn’t stop there, put it on mobile devices too. Make sure that the Game Pass is accessible everywhere.
Microsoft will have is going to have its work cut out for it in the coming months. Consumer trust is a difficult thing to obtain when it comes to product introduction, especially considering how competitive the gaming industry has become.
Product differentiation matters as the different features is what sells. Not having exclusives at launch is questionable, but not the end of the world. But seeing how the Xbox One was outsold by the PS4 two to one this generation, Microsoft should have came into this year with the intent on closing the gap. Time will tell if this strategy comes back to bite them.