Microsoft Cares Only About the Bottom Line, Not Gamers

Would you really expect anything less from the company that invented Windows? The bottom line is all that matters.

Those of you in business school will respond, "Well, of course they care about the bottom line. They're in business, after all."

And obviously, Sony and Nintendo care about the bottom line, too. If that bottom line isn't rosy, things go bad for everyone involved, including the gamers. However, as I touched upon in a recent editorial, Microsoft's reputation has suffered over the years, due partly to shoddy hardware and lack of software (at times), and due partly to this:

It's money first, gamers second with Microsoft. It always has been and always will be.

They won't budge unless they see losses, or have internal data forecasting losses

Last year, when the Xbox One was initially announced, most gamers were just plain irate. The policies scheduled to be in place for Microsoft's next-gen system didn't go over well and for a while, the PlayStation 4 ran away with the popularity contest. I distinctly recall a certain Facebook poll that actually had to be stopped before it officially finished, because the PS4 had something like 92 percent of the vote. It was ridiculous.

Microsoft didn't immediately respond. They said nothing, in fact. They waited to see just how bad things would get, and only when they finally decided that the Xbox One launch would go badly did they decide to make some changes. I guarantee they weren't going to make a move unless some internal study somewhere came back saying, "Change this or lose money."

The most annoying part is that Microsoft played the "we listen to our gamers" card when they reversed those policies. Why would anyone believe such crap at that point? Those ideas for the console when it was first announced is a perfect example of how Microsoft sees the gaming public: As nothing more than consumers. It's not about satisfying them; it's about making as much money off of them as humanly possible. Yeah, it's why we've been charged several hundred dollars for each new Windows upgrade for years.

Not long after the $399 announcement comes the release date for Halo 5. While it's true that all platforms have franchises that are definite cash cows, it's not ironic that Microsoft dropped the price of the system first and then announced a date for their single biggest franchise. Honestly, this is what they do.

Yes, all companies try to make the most money possible. That's the objective, of course. That being said, there's a reason why certain companies have certain reputations among the consuming populace, and why Microsoft has the reputation it does among gamers. Those who are paying attention know Microsoft would never have reversed or rescinded any policy originally announced with the Xbox One if they thought the launch would be fine.

And now, six months of complaints after the launch, M$ "responds" again

Forcing us to purchase Kinect with the Xbox One was a dumb move to start with. It gave the competition a $100 advantage and really, Kinect wasn't enough to override that price gap. Not even close. Had Microsoft released two versions of the system - one with Kinect and one without - I'm confident they would currently have the lead in the US, and the next-gen gap in other territories wouldn't be as big as it now.

Microsoft obviously saw it this way as well, and once again, they go and play the white knight. Did you see that article on their site talking about how they're dedicated to giving gamers "choice?" Yeah? How much "choice" were you giving us when you announced the Xbox One? How Nazi-esque were the caveats that went with an Xbox One purchase? You know, the ones you had to ditch if you were going to get anyone to buy the console?

If you were into giving us choice, you never would've revealed the Xbox One as such. You never would've forced us to buy Kinect right out of the gate, and kept it that way for six months.

And hey, here's something else to remember: The Xbox 360 was catastrophically bad in terms of reliability. Reports of 30-35 percent defective rates from major retailers flooded the Internet; many gamers went through two, three, four and even more 360s. Not everyone just got theirs fixed after the "Red Ring of Death;" in fact, there's no telling how many just bought the system again.

Did that not keep sales high? Why do you think it took more than three years for Microsoft to implement a program to deal with this problem? Well, because that RRoD issue added to sales, didn't it? Some skeptics say it's the same theory behind hospitals these days; give the patients something to deal with one problem, only to cause four more problems that force them to come back and give the hospital more money.

But anyway, the point is this: Given all the evidence, I can't possibly fathom how Microsoft doesn't have an even worse reputation.

Featured Columnist

A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.

Published May. 16th 2014
  • Don_Bellezza
    As with most of the comments on here that have already stated this is just a biased rant. I'll be the first to say I had a red ringed 360, and I had three more that broke some way or another be it E74 error or what not. But I didn't have to pay out of pocket, in fact MS fixed or replaced them all for me free of charge.
    I've known people personally who have gone through three or four play-stations without ever being reimbursed.
    Now with your complaint about MS charging for online play, I view it as this, I can have free digital TV or I can pay for cable.
    Which is the better option?
    I'd gladly pay for a better service. You didn't see Xbox live get hacked and shut down for three months, have 300,000 people have their identity stolen, and then only get a ten dollar downloadable game as reimbursement.
    You know Sony knew about the breach before they got hacked but spent 2 million dollars on boosting internal development security servers instead of customer identity servers.
    Then again Sony online came out last year before the ps4 had launched and said they did not make any improvements to their online security.
    Which is probably why they got hacked for two days when the system first came out and 30,000 people had their account passwords stole.
    How many times has Xbox live been hacked and put out of use for months on end, hmmm?
    None that I can recall.
    I'm also not going to say that MS is a Saint either, but man you need to get off your high horse. How about go outside and take a breather, if you want to complain about bullshit complain about bullshit that actually means something, like why people have to pay for WATER or FOOD, why corporations poison the people with all the chemicals and GMOs they shove in food, or why we're destroying our only fucking planet.
  • Spyke_3447
    Ugh, still with the unsubstantiated claims of professional experience in the field of games journalism on a site that literally allows you anonymity.

    "Burden...of.....proof....."

    Where is the proof?
  • Rothalack
    Master O' Bugs
    Though you have some valid points in here, you didn't compare anywhere near enough to Sony. This could turn out to be an amazing series now that I think of it haha, Sony vs MS, who was shadier. Sony was just as bad when they took the backlash to MS and rode the wave. Did you see the commercial Sony did about game sharing? Those were the top execs. They did that in a matter of days. That is shady too.

    I think it's important that everyone realizes that business is cut throat. Those who aren't cut throat die out (hmmm, survival of the fittest... Evolution?). It's why MS rules the PC world and Apple doesn't. You can poke holes all you want, but that's business. Gates didn't get where he is without being ruthless. No business got anywhere without being ruthless. If you have a problem with capitalism... You're in the wrong millennium.
  • ice_9343
    Someone's a Sony fan.
  • Juicy Jane
    A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years...... writes on a blog that is free for everyone to join.
  • Juicy Jane
    Wow man did you get payed by Sony for this article..... coz this sounds like you are a PlayStation fanboy. and a very bad written artical, if you want to be some real writer don't use these funny word jokes like: "M$" coz clearly you have an opinion about Microsoft that has nothing to do with Xbox.
  • topher339
    But here's the thing. You can't make money if no on buys the console which means that, in the end, Microsoft HAS to provide what gamers want or the sales drop. So you still get the same effect their way so long as gamers make themselves heard as was done 6 months ago.
  • Alexis_9888
    I don't know a lot about Sony except they shut down SWG. But MS has been one obvious shady practice after another. If Charles Dickens were still alive, he'd write A Christmas Carol about Gates and Jobs not Scrooge and Marley.

    MS and Apple have had some of the worst scheming "how do I get ppl to pay exorbitant amounts for something mediocre." The MS OS monopoly has held back computing for generations. Jobs never developed some of the best ideas for Apple. He stole them from others (like his college roommate). I'm not kidding. I read the article in Game Informer.

    Gates and Jobs are first and foremost good at manipulating markets like con men. They aren't geniuses and they aren't interested in improving anything or giving consumers what they want or need. Money, money, money. MS and Apple need to die. They are the Robber Barons of our time. True innovation and ethical companies will take computing to the next level not these guys. They are just holding America back one shady deal, lawsuit, and cutthroat legal policy at a time.

    There's a lot of reasons IPs don't want to do business with MS. Any self-respecting programmer, designer, or engineer should look for work anywhere else than these companies. They have corruption from the top down throughout their establishments. Foxconn wasn't the only incident at Apple. And these companies only have one ethic--money. Not consumers. Not even good moneymaking sense.

    They sabotage consumer relations and then lie to cover up the mess. They offer broken products and then lie while making more money off those who are locked into brainwashed dependency. The whole industry needs a renaissance of creativity and innovation which cannot happen while these guys dominate the market.

    The Consumers need a Revolution and a renewed commitment to being informed and choosing products based on quality rather than commercials. Otherwise, the capitalist system is already broken down into dysfunctional socialism which cannot improve society let alone this industry.
  • Gizmo_2738
    Setting aside the bundled kinect (and my reservations about the silly focus on being a catch-all media system) there were some benefits to the change in approach Microsoft wanted to bring about with the Xbox One, aping the very successful Steam and it's market place for instance. Of course the bean counters at MS didn't realise that steam restrictions are accepted often because of the massive discounting and offers that go on - facilitated by cutting out the cost of manufacturing physical media, distributing and the retailers cut - MS saw the opportunity to take the retailers cut AS WELL.

    They are far from unique in this though. Sony were so punch-drunk on the success of the PS2 they were actively celebrating how expensive the PS3 was in their pre-launch PR!!

    Best thing that could happen to Xbox - MS selling it off as an ongoing company.
  • ShotgunForFun
    Umm... caring about the money and the gamers is the same thing, they are the customers. You keep defending Sony's "mistakes" as you call them like they aren't the actual shady ones. I forgot that it was Microsoft gloating about how they had Backwards Compatibility on their last system, until removing it completely. I forgot it was Microsoft who said that your information, even though hacked, was still completely safe in an encrypted code (a blatant lie).I forgot it was Microsoft who promised all these exclusive games last gen only to cancel them or push them to this next gen after years of customers waiting. I forgot it was Microsoft bragging about all its games running 1080p at 60fps... but yet not a single game was actually like that, some even dipping below 30 when actually tracked.

    You are a fan boy, and you are just pretending you are looking at it objectively.

    Truly look at it objectively: Which system changes its policies towards what the masses cry about? Which system spent its own money on developing new IPs and exclusive content for each of its consoles right out of the gate? Which company was completely up front with all of its policies? Try and answer that last one with Sony and then remember all the patents they had and still have on DRM. These aren't rumors, or mistakes, or anything but blatant lies toward their customers, who are gamers. If you don't care about the $$$ you don't care about the customer.

    Lastly, which company netted over 5 billion dollars last year, and which one lost over 50 million? You can't run a business when you don't care about the customers and Sony is learning that. You can see it in their gaming division, their movie division, and their PC division.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Exclusive games canceled or pushed? Hmm...you know, I think I'll take Uncharted, The Last Of Us, Killzone, Resistance, Ratchet & Clank, Demon's Souls, LittleBigPlanet, and..how many other PlayStation exclusives over what the 360 had last generation. Which, last I checked, had Halo, Gears, Forza and that's about it.

    Which system spent its own money on new IPs and exclusive content? If it was Microsoft, it has to be a joke, because we haven't seen a new IP from them in a LONG time. Up front with its policies? The company that decided to lie about the RRoD for four years, saying they "couldn't find the problem," as if anybody with a brain could possibly believe that? The company that opted to charge gamers for online play for an entire generation, while the competition offered it free the entire time?

    Oh, it must be the company that gave you something besides online play for your money. No, wait...they gave you nothing and still give you nothing. Odd that Plus is the only service to offer multiple FREE new games to subscribers each and every month, early access to betas and demos, etc. And it's still cheaper, which is just plain laughable.

    Sony never tried to tell anyone that Thief was a PlayStation exclusive. The box art was obviously a mistake. Games that ran at 1080p? Oh, you mean like the Gran Turismo games? Even LAST generation when the PS3 could actually, you know, handle high-definition because of Blu-Ray, and the 360 was still chugging along with DVD? Lies about resolution...? I see, the confirmed numbers for currently released multiplatform games (Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, the upcoming Watch Dogs, etc.) that are obviously superior on the PS4 must be "lies" as well. Better tell the developers, who were always the first ones to release such information in the first place.

    Objectively? I've owned every Xbox, I played every Halo and Gears, I've defended Lost Odyssey and Alan Wake to the death, I've covered all three major companies for nearly 15 years. I know how Microsoft does business, as does every member of the gaming press, and why very few journalists have any respect whatsoever for that company. But by all means, continue with your highly biased, completely uninformed rant and try to claim you even understand the word "objective."
  • The Truth Hurts
    It'd be a lot easier to take your arguments seriously if your tone wasn't so incessantly whiny. Oh and, your article didn't contain any source or proof that microsoft only cares about 'the bottom line'. They've never stated as such.

    All you have is hardware failure rates and ranting about the kinect--these are your only weapons? If you remember, PS4 also had a rather noticeable failure rate at launch. Simply searching youtube you'll find video proof of this.

    This entire rant (because that's what this 'article' is) is nothing more than jaded views and hatred. It is a sad day when this is considered journalism. jato24 is dead on the money. You've got quite the axe to grind with microsoft and you need to find a more constructive way to vent your anger friend. Maybe do something about that fanboy bias. Your 'article' reeks of it.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    PS4 didn't have a noticeable failure rate at launch. I can research YouTube and find "proof" of flying dogs. I can research YouTube and find "proof" that the RRoD really never existed and it was just invented by Sony fans.

    Yeah, I'll use actual sources, thanks.

    Don't get all bent out of shape because I pointed out the obvious. I know the Xboys who are all in bed with M$ really can't handle the truth, but I have a theory about that: They've been taken in so many times, forced to part with their money so many times (what, on your 7th Xbox 360? Gee, nobody's surprised), and forced to watch M$ backpedal like mad when faced with facts, that they have to feel pretty bitter.

    The more bitter they get, the madder they get. It's a little sad, actually. Rather than get all upset, why not confront Microsoft? Me, I'd rather not get pushed around by a company who will bend over backwards to get very dime out of me, without offering much of anything in return. Know what I mean?
  • Ashe.Darkthorne
    I think it is hysterical you bring up the wrongs of what Microsoft did with the Xbox360 but at the same time you don't bring up the fact that at launch you had 3 versions of the Playstation 3 and they were all high priced. Also since you bring up the "RROD" as a way to have people purchase more systems which I have never done I just fixed and solved the issue on my own through research. You fail to mention Sony's own Yellow light of death which was a worse problem as it completely bricked the system. On top of that you have every major "journalist" singing the praises of one company since last E3 and no matter what changes were made Microsoft was still made to be the bad guy in front of people, A "Damned if you do, damned if you don't" moment. As someone who has the XB1 I have no problems with the Kinect and I can also see the point for both sku's but to be honest the Kinect works and works well. I use it all the time in comparison to it's predecessor. You see this as a wrong and that Microsoft only cares about money. Anyone who doesn't think a corporation doesn't care about sales is a moron and should continue to fly blind. This piece just comes off as a ranty and no real value to it.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    I don't know anyone who fixed their own Xbox 360 through research, and 99 percent of anyone who got the RRoD definitely did not do that.

    The RRoD resulted in 30-35 percent failure rates for four years running. The system landed on the Consumer Reports list as one of the worst products of the year, several years running. The PS3 never had higher than a 4-6 percent failure rate, as reported by the five biggest retailers, and at its end, was registering barely 1-2 percent. The YLoD had little to no impact, despite the headlines.

    It's also clear you never even bothered to read the article, because I mention several times that all corporations have to make money. I've covered the industry for a long time; I know how each company reacts to the press, I know what their common practices are. Do you want to know what Microsoft's reputation is among the gaming press? It's pitiful, and there's a reason.

    MS tried to stick gamers with numerous Nazi-esque policies last year. How you forget that is beyond me. They forced you to pay to play online for an entire generation while the competition kept that feature free. Even NOW PS Plus is a vastly better deal, as it's cheaper and the Instant Game Collection (free games every month) greatly surpasses any so-called "benefits" you get from being a Gold member.

    I also never said Kinect didn't work well. I do, however, say it's a gimmick because in fact, that's all it is. The Move was, too, and I called it a gimmick the instant I saw; all of motion-sensing is a gimmick, as far as I'm concerned. But Sony didn't take advantage of it and try to force a completely unnecessary peripheral down people's throats when a new system came out.
  • Denverdiod
    I agree with the article.

    But why not care about the bottom line? Every company has to. It's a business that is required to show profit a meet projections of profit or people will loose their jobs.

    Buy a copy of a movie, several months or a year later there is a special directors cut. Then the next year (when the sequel is in theaters) there is a special super duper special never before seen collectors edition.

    Buy the movie 3 times?

    Microsoft announced they are opening stores, Sony closed stores.

    Every company reports to shareholders and makes decisions based on profit and bottom line.

    Even car, food and drug companies are more concerned with profit, than the safety of the consumers using their products. GM hid or lied for many months about their car safety reports. People died so GM could make profit.

    Wasn't Apple paying workers in Asia pennies a day to make IPhones making huge profits until public outcry? The clothes you're wearing are from Asia or Mexico, being made in a sweatshop with under paid employees so you can have a 20.00 t-shirt, and the company is making a profit.

    If Microsoft made changes later after initial profitability, or gave the appearance of caving in due to consumer demand, so be it.

    The same type of executives are deciding what sneakers you're wearing, what music gets released, what scent of cologne you'll get to buy and what home appliance you or you're parents can't live without.

    It's the world we live in.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    I get all that. Everyone does.

    It's called business ethics, however. Believe it or not, some companies have it. And there's definitely a difference between how some companies conduct business and how they interact with consumers.

    My point is that if you compare how MS interacts with its consumers and how Sony interacts with its customers, there's a very large gap, with multiple glaring pieces of evidence in the console market.
  • Darklurkr23
    Really though any argument about Money > Consumer is just that bottom line. They fixed it twice, what more do we want? they could've just said F u like Sony did after the launch PS3 taking away BC. The biggest confusion is Nintendo. We see they cater to some "gamer" niche (what that is i have no idea) and we see their entire brand is in the toilet
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Sony taking away BC over time made perfect sense, as gamers spend less time with older titles as a generation goes on. At least the PS3 HAD backwards compatibility for a while, including PS1 support. The Xbox 360's emulation of Xbox games was just pathetic; I tried it three times and it never worked right once.

    BC was also costing Sony a huge amount; it made the PS3 a lot more expensive to manufacture. And people were complaining bitterly about the price at the time, so essentially, one could argue that BC disappeared to better serve the customer.

    As for Nintendo......the Wii was ingenious, the Wii U was a head-scratching error.
  • Elijah Beahm
    Featured Columnist
    Fathoms can't fathom something? :P

    Also -- well sh*t, next thing I know you'll tell me Sony has a starving PR department, and that Nintendo is stuck in it's own ways too much.
  • jato24
    lol good one, I just think some Sony fans can feel a Microsoft cloud looming over Sony prier to e3 with all these announcements and just have to find something negative to say to discredit them in any way when they are making changes that are beneficial to themselves as well as the consumer. It's unfortunate for Sony right now because of their financial situation and all their news hasn't been so positive. Just raises concerns for plenty of people, but I'd like them to get it together however.
  • jato24
    You make a good point that they weren't offering options at all last year around e3, but they saw the reaction and at least they changed their direction which benefits them and gamers. Sony on the other hand promises broken lies and just lies in general all to often. Claiming on box art that "thief" is only on playstation, claiming killzone shadow fall resolution and fps was higher than it was, claiming battlefield 4 ran 1080p, and the most recent watch dogs would run 1080p 60fps on their own web site when it runs 900p 30fps. Sony also had DRM in place but changed the structure of their e3 conference after seeing the fans reaction when Microsoft tried it. What about the last guardian and the agent shown at previous e3's years ago we've heard nothing about since. I know some games get cancelled so I don't really hold that one against them to much, but they are in control of the games they show at e3 and know whether they should be shown or not. The list could go on but i'm not trying to write an article. Please do an article on Sony like this then I'll listen to you. But to me it sounds like you just hate Microsoft with a passion, even when they are changing things to improve their situation.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    None of what you're referencing are lies on Sony's part; the resolution and frame rate numbers were given to them by the publishers and then changed. And it does not say on Thief's box art that it's "only on PlayStation."

    I've been covering PlayStation for nearly a decade, and never have I seen the kind of shady dealings and complete money-grubbing behavior that I've seen from Microsoft.

    No, I won't do an article somehow trying to prove that Sony is just as bad, because historically speaking, that's not even close to true.

    MS is doing things to change THEIR situation, not YOURS. One of these days, you'll figure that out. In the meantime, it was Sony that kept online play completely free for an entire generation. It was Sony that first honored the everyday gamer in an official commercial. It was Microsoft who released one of the worst consumer products in retail history, tried to pretend they had no idea what caused the RRoD, said they magically "fixed it" four years later, and kept forcing people to buy new 360s in the meantime. It was MS who forced people to buy an accessory with a new console, not Sony.

    Yes, the list could indeed go on and on. But it would be more one-sided than you'd want it to be, as you're clearly a Microsoft follower...and not a very well informed one, I have to say.

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