How Microsoft threw away their Xbox dominance opportunity

6 min read


You just need to go back in the archives of any video game media website to see how in 2007 and 2008 the PlayStation 3 was reeling with terrible marketing, a high price and a generally terrible design. The Xbox 360 was dominant in most Western markets and had the gamers on its side… so what happened?

Unfortunately the same thing that has happened to every single console manufacturer since the beginning of time, Microsoft got arrogant and greedy. Instead of continuing to develop and cater for their core audience, the gamers, Microsoft saw the dollar signs over the mainstream population and wanted some of that.

Microsoft dialled back their investment in exclusive titles and game software and turned their focus onto the Wii’s market with the announcement and subsequent release of the Kinect.

By the time the peripheral was released in 2010 murmurs were doing the rounds that Microsoft needed more exclusives and games and at the same time the PlayStation 3 had received a face lift and a price cut and was selling like hotcakes in the market.

Sony however wasn’t immune to the allure of the Wii market though with it’s development and release of the PlayStation Move, possibly the most useless peripheral of the last generation.

However Sony quickly realised that they were never going to compete with the Wii and that their core market didn’t want them to. Instead of continuing to push for control of the living room and mainstream audience Sony decided to double down on their core audience and decided to push for more exclusives and changed their marketing to target gamers and only gamers.

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The gamble paid off with sales of the PS3 and the general media’s reaction soaring. Sony were once again becoming the gaming company of the masses. It was at this time that I expected Microsoft to realise the error of their ways and start re-focussing back on their target market.

However instead of doing that Microsoft continued pushing the Kinect functionality and entertainment station idea of the Xbox 360. Less and less 360 exclusives were made and in 2013 we had an awards year where we couldn’t even list a decent Xbox 360 exclusive for the Xbox 360 award. It was a shocking turn of events with Sony finishing the generation easily on top and with their best games still being released while Microsoft’s attention was solely on the Xbox One.

Microsoft’s new Xbox One is the console Microsoft thinks will revolutionise the living room and is their play to become the centre of everyone’s entertainment. But Microsoft has once again made a crucial mistake, in their haste to dominate the living room they have forgotten that not everyone wants a gaming device in their living room, in fact most gamers have families who want to watch TV while we game.

Not only that but Microsoft forgot that not everyone lives in America and releasing a console that is incompatible with most of the worlds TV suppliers, the voice commands simply won’t work, was not a good move. And yet they carried on with a trifecta by also releasing the console in very selected markets while ignoring some of the bigger countries in the world.

The rest of the business world knows that the developing market is where the most revenue is going to be earned in the next 2 decades but Microsoft simply ignored all of the developing, and a lot of developed markets, when they released. Not only did they ignore us but they still to this day can’t even reveal what year we may be graced with their presence.

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Over and above all of that we are also expected to pay a premium for the Xbox One experience even though the number of exclusives on the device pale in comparison to the PlayStation 4 which is available in most regions and for a lower price.

A dominant player in the gaming market is not ideal for anyone but the average consumer, outside of America, is simply not going to see the value or point behind picking up a Xbox One.

Microsoft need to review their plans quickly before the shareholders decide to cut the department loose.

I’m still going to import an Xbox One because it does offer some great functionality but I’m in the minority and the longer Microsoft ignore regions with loud media the worse it is going to be for them in the long run.


Microsoft has contactd us to re-affirmn that we will be getting the Xbox One sometime in 2014 in South Africa. 

“The Xbox One will release in South Africa in 2014. We currently do not have an official release date but when we do we will announce it to all our media and through our social channels.“

Last Updated: December 30, 2013

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

  • Unavengedavo(aka. MadeYouLook)

    Haven’t read the blob post yet… But I think everything can be summed up in one word and one acronym… BAD PR! (the exclamation mark doesn’t really count, does it?)

  • JHN

    The main thing that is pissing me off is that they cant tell us when the console will launch here.
    Its a case of it gets here when it gets here, this weekend was the end of the waiting for me, if we dont have a solid release date by the end of Jan i will buy a PS4.

    • That is exactly what I told MS South Africa. If they can’t give a release date by the end of January the gamers will simply go PS4. We aren’t known for our patience

      • Marc O Polo

        the fact that they are saying “sometime in 2014” means they dont even know yet, if they had a clue they would at least be saying some sort of rough time frame like 3rd quarter of 2014 for example

        • Her Highness the Hipster

          that’s my argument as well – i don’t actually mind if it’s Q3 or Q4, i just want to know. not sure why they’re so afraid of giving a rough estimate – am i going to be able to buy it for a present in the joburg winter? or xmas? or should i just forget about planning on buying one and just focus on the PS4?

      • Terrence W Pringle

        Too late! Sony got my money this time round….

      • Lydon McG

        I already went PS4 because I can’t be bothered to wait for the Xbox One. “Sometime in 2014” could be a year away. Coming from being a serious 360 fan, I’m very disappointed with Microsoft this generation. But I’m glad I made the switch as I’m loving the PS4.

    • Johan du Preez

      Its being released in August 2014 my contact at MS confirmed this.

      • Uberutang

        My local MS contact can barely confirm the time of day, unless it is office 365 related. 😛

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Yes MS, throw us an Xbone.

  • Kervyn Cloete

    This – not draconian DRM – is precisely why the PS4 will be my first choice for the new gen, and I’ve been supporting MS since the first Xbox. I will probably pick up an Xbone when it’s going for dirt cheap in a couple years, but until then, I am happy to swap sides.

    • Unavengedavo(aka. MadeYouLook)

      So are you saying that you will be “batting for the other team”? 😛

      • Kervyn Cloete

        😀 As soon as I typed that sentence, I knew that reply was coming. And no, not that kind of coming.

        • Unavengedavo(aka. MadeYouLook)

          Lol, the realization of the mistake only hits after you clicked the “Post” button. And editing it will always come back to bit you in the ass, because somewhere someone took a screenshot as proof 😛 The best thing to do in such situations is just to roll with it

          • Mark Treloar

            Because Unavenged really wants to “bit you in the ass”

          • Unavengedavo(aka. MadeYouLook)

            Bwahahaha… case in point 😛

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            lol, incoming ice-cream vid 😛

          • Unavengedavo(aka. MadeYouLook)

            Will this do?

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            Oh my god that is my new ringtone!

  • frikkenator

    I don’t think it’s any problem with the console itself to be honest, I think it is the horrendous launch they did. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are tens if not hundreds of thousands of xbox fans who have bought a PS4 simply because they have no idea when the Xbox One will finally be available in their country.

    • Hammersteyn

      Agreed, the fact that MS is not even giving a estimate of when we can expect it is kinda worrying.

    • Sageville

      Yeah I agree, I do also think the PR was shocking, that whole DRM issue, the #DealWithIt dramas, sounds small drama but it did begin a downward slide…

  • Hammersteyn

    When you compare XBOX Live to PS+ you would clearly see that Sony dominates that category as ell as the PS+ is more value for money than one could imagine. For R480 a year you get discounts and free games for the PS4,PS3 and VITA.

    • This is a good point. Microsoft owned the online space and instead of reinvesting into it they just sat back and took the profit.. now Sony has blitzed them

    • BillyHoWCR

      So you are spending on PS+ for the discounts? I thought we wanted the best multiplayer experience?

      Yes PS+ has some attractive discounts… but when it boils down Sony has no clue how to run a multiplayer network. It pails in comparison.

      • Hammersteyn

        There’s free games as well. Every month and for the most part its games that are hardly a year old and it’s for the PS4,PS3 and VITA plus the multiplayer works just fine thanks.

      • Naeblis

        That is an assumpion based of the fact you don’t have xbone at the moment. I live in Eu, we got xbone 40 days ago, and online feature sucks. No cros game chat if you play multiplayer, server problems, disappearing party invite, and worst of all 3 hours to install a game with a 3gigabyte patch on a 50 megabit connection. The interface is full of ad and commercial, and you have to pat the live gold subscrition to ave the chanche to pay netflix.

        The central double billed home hub, why should i pay a live gold subscription if i care only to see netflix tv shows?

        No, xbone is a monumental example of greedy, bad care if consumer and PR stupidity

        • Jason Brody


        • MichaelMatusowsky


      • Brian Murphy

        If you wanted the best multiplayer experience, you wouldn’t be on console.


        • Hammersteyn

          LOL! ;P

        • BillyHoWCR

          Had been a long time PC gamer. Multiplayer experience is the worst possible. Since choosing not to game multiplayer on PC my experience has been much sweeter. Just a fact that other PC players can’t comprehend. Gamers on PC are just too arrogant and hacking/modding/cheating etc. is just too prolific.

          • Brian Murphy

            It’s a fact for you, but isn’t indicative nor representative of all PC players experiences. There’s a difference.

            And yeah, there’s no cheating on console, lol. And most people actually enjoy mods on PC…that’s like, one of the things that make it a clear winner over console. But, to each their own.

          • BillyHoWCR

            And you just proved my point. “it’s a fact for you, but isn’t indicative nor representative of all PC players experiences.” and thus making your comment of “If you wanted the best multiplayer experience, you wouldn’t be on console.” exactly the same point of your preference and not necessarily the facts. At least I have been a long time PC gamer… can you say the same about XBL? p.s. I have modded myself… totally different from people buying aimbots and other such game ruining garbage. PC is the home of the DERP DDoS and the all mighty Anonymous… tell me again how they make such a wonderful world for us to play in?

          • Brian Murphy

            Seriously, you’re going to ask how PC’s have helped gaming? How about, without PC’s there would be no gaming. That’s the easiest freakin question that’s ever been asked.

            And unlike console, I have control over the people who frequent my servers, so aimbots, vaporized. Landsharking, vaporized. Can’t get that kind of control on console, which is why it’s an inferior product. Sorry, that’s just what I feel (not to mention the vast majority of people I know). Is that the entirety of PC/Console gamers? No, but considering they all have consoles as well, and play SP on console, and MP on PC….tells me a few things.

            Having more control is ALWAYS better, than having less. Plain and simple. If you prefer console, that’s fine. But, it doesn’t mean there isn’t better out there.

            And by the way, trololololol, is usually indicative of a joke. Lighten up, Francis.

          • BillyHoWCR

            “Seriously, you’re going to ask how PC’s have helped gaming?” No… I asked “…DERP DDoS and the all mighty Anonymous… tell me again how they make such a wonderful world for us to play in?” the groups and people with similar mentality have made such a wonderful multiplayer experience for us to enjoy.

            Multiplayer experience on PC has been destroyed by such groups and others who want to do nothing but trololololol through the servers.

            And for your information trololololol is indicative of just being an A-hole… and as for the Francis remark… “You just made the list, buddy.” 😛

  • Umar of The Rebellion

    Lemme be the ultimate pessimist and that while xbox is the worse of the two next gen consoles..the gaming industry as a WHOLE is going backwards…MS has forgotten gamers?….nope….most companies had forgotten gamers. And no matter how good Sony is looking, what’s the point when games are going f2p..micro transactions..drm….dlc…….the industry needs to go back to its roots and I hope it crashes…so that it can build itself up again

    • Jason Brody

      Very deep and so true, but i doubt anyone really heard you.

      • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

        I WISH SOMEONE WOULD HEAR HIM. He is absolutely correct.

    • Beanz777

      You forget season pass after season pass. It’s a shame the way things worked out

  • Aussious

    I still remember my younger days when I flew the Xbox flag with pride ready to faceoff any 360 naysayer… I said this before and I will say it again, MS will never receive another dirty cent from me when it comes to gaming. Next year I am getting a PS3 just for all the exclusive games and PSN for services and multiplayer. Live Gold is the biggest con this side of the eToll.

    • Eish comparing Live Gold to e-Tolls… that’s harsh

      • Aussious

        Lol a neccessary harshness, imagine a title like GTA V costs R749, and then I still have to pay MS like R50 for online play?

    • veggiesaurus ZA

      I’d love to reply to this message via IE on Xbox, and then watch a youtube video of some cats on my xbox, but my XBL gold subscription has expired. You need a subscription to use their browser. Lawd

      • Mark Treloar

        If you didn’t spend all your money on e-Tolls you could afford Xbox live

      • Aussious

        Lol I know the feeling, I was so pissed when I got my copy of Saint 4 only, to find that my subscription expired on the same day hence I couldn’t import my character from the Initiation Station.

    • BillyHoWCR

      “Live Gold is the biggest con this side of the eToll” really? So what toll are you paying for on PS4?

      “Next year I am getting a PS3 just for all the exclusive games and PSN for services and multiplayer.” Really… next year? A little late to the game aren’t you? Hope you don’t mind that you won’t be playing Grand Turismo 5 or the Resistance series online anymore. It’s like Sony doesn’t care and just cuts off the players at the knees. want to drive online against friends? Well I guess they force you to buy the next series. No choice. Want to play some friends online in their console exclusive title? Guess not… Sony needs to save some money…. they can’t afford to let you play with an old system game when the new system JUST got launched.

      Sony said they are going to continue supporting PS3… I guess that doesn’t mean they are going to support the players and their choice to play games online that they already might own.

      • Aussious

        Perhaps I am late to the game, but to me buying a PS3 for half the price of a PS4 to play games like God of War, Infamous,Heavy Rain, Beyond, Little Big and more is worth it. Did I mention all those timeless PSOne classics? Hey if thats not for you then cool.

        • Hammersteyn

          Don’t forget Last of Us!

          • Aussious

            Lol yes my bad…Along with all those Japanese PS3 exclusives!

        • BillyHoWCR

          Timeless PSOne classics? Not sure what system you are buying but it likely must be very old and used because the newer PS3 systems virtually eliminated BC play for PSOne games.

          And you just listed a bunch of games that really have nothing to do with the multiplayer portion of your comment which I was commenting on.

    • Abba Okoro

      The ignorance is still strong

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      I know bud, and it definitely pains me how far they’ve fallen. :/

  • Daniel Dorestant

    Ms never had Sony on the ropes… Ps3 has been outselling 360 worldwide since launch, which is why it has passed the 360 In total sales despite the year headstart. MS did a good job spinning numbers and bragging about the NPD’s but the facts show, the Ps3 was more successful

    • MichaelMatusowsky

      They had a REALLY slow start before people went wild for the PS3 just FYI…

      • Daniel Dorestant

        The year the Ps3 launched it sold 1.2mil, it launched in Nov.

        360 was at 7.5mil by the end of that year.
        Thats a decent headstart

        • 1.2 million is about half as well as the PS4 did in it’s first year.. PS3 blew it out of the gate. That’s now a fact, even Sony agrees

          • Aussious

            True Gav, I was one of those who boycotted Sony and bought a 360…

    • Abba Okoro

      So their losses and debt signals DON’T EXIST? Wat

      • Daniel Dorestant

        Sony had losses and debt before the 360 or Ps3 released, and it wasnt because of the PlayStation division or anything MS did. It was their tv/electronics division…

        • Abba Okoro

          NO, if you did you research it was win the PS3 launch Sony OVER invested and at the time they also sold off important TV patents and Blu-ray licensing that caused them to hit the bank.

          Sony at this very moment only has $500 million dollars to spend(Remember this is considered bad since there suppose to be multi-BILLION dollar corporation and run 27 different business

          • Daniel Dorestant

            You’re proving YOU didnt do any research,

            Sony was in debt since b4 2004… When did the Ps3 come out again buddy? I’ll let you answer that… And plz dont gimme the r&d BS…

            Anyway thats besides the point the fact is it still had nothing to do with MS, they never had Sony on the ropes…

            Finally, the Xbox division has been losing MS money for years, while PlayStation is one of the few profitable divisions for Sony, go look it up

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            And that kids is how you construct an argument! Good man Daniel!

    • Aussious

      True as soon as PS4 is out in Japan its bells for MS.

  • kevin

    Don’t really bother me , cause their still here and continue to have my support in the living room and the bedroom . As for that other console not my kinda of pie , prefer Apple pie Instead .

  • Ana Heluši?

    lamebox lost

  • Jonah Cash

    I’ve finished Killzone and it is brilliant!!! Bought Assassins Creed yesterday and it looks amazing, but still too early to start raving… give me another day or two!! Hahaha… All I can say is I love my PS4 it is really awesome!! And I hope every gamer can have one….

    • Hammersteyn

      I am itching to get Assassins Creed on the PS4.

      • fred

        Currently busy with AC4 on PS4 , it really is amazing , the best in the series so far , and that graphics , at 1080p it looks awesome. (I know the pc dudes have been having it for a while I know )

        • Hammersteyn

          LOL that’s fine, we had GTA V for a while now 😉

          • Uberutang

            We are waiting for the 4k version before we touch it…

          • Hammersteyn

            But off course

  • Purple_Dragon

    Great editorial.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    You can’t throw away something that you never had. If there was one company that did throw away their dominance it’s Nintendo. They DOMINATED with the Wii. As for Microsoft, they gained ground, they came in as the underdog, managed to grab some market share (which was impressive, although on the back of Sony’s arrogance under Kaz), which may or may not be sustained during the current gen. However, the numbers (last gen and current gen) aren’t in their favour. However, it’s all too early to tell though.

  • Zubayr Bhyat

    What scares is how much more the Xbox One will cost in comparison to PS4.

  • Lardus-Resident Perve

    I am still waiting for that next-gen game I “NEEEEEEED” before I completely make up my mind what to get, but NBA2K15 late next year might be the one with Dead or Alive 6 for HD bewbs. My leaning towards the XBone has gone from 60-40 to 55-45, still only due to the controller feeling better to me (*before any crusaders go on about how this is better or that, this is my opinion on the controller, yours may differ*). If/when Dawn of War 3 gets made, I will upgrade my PC with the sole purpose of playing DoW!

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