Listen to Luke

   There are a lot of options for gaming on the market. Among these many options is the humble home console. Favoring power over portability, these weird looking boxes can offer much entertainment.

   The problem many developers are facing these days is how to set themselves apart from the crowd of numerous other game systems flooding the market. The main three duking it out in the console department are Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft.

   The answer is simple; have a unique goal that makes one company differentiated and special. Microsoft has failed to do this. They are not as focused on gaming as Sony and don’t have half as many exclusives as Nintendo [exclusives are games that are only available on one company’s system(s)].

   Microsoft is kind of like that one guy that tries to please everyone, while he ends up pleasing no one. Their upcoming console, the XBOX One, tries to be some sort of entertainment hub that is voice controlled. It is always listening, waiting for you to summon it by robotically saying, “XBOX, on!” It may or may not be the beginning of Skynet.

   The XBOX One neither focuses on gaming nor TV, but tries to do both. This scares away the dedicated gamer market initially. Like those 2-in-1 products on infomercials that promise to give you flat abs in 6 weeks while it walks your dog, it doesn’t really work out as anticipated. Trying to multitask in a company can lead to failure.

   Nintendo has a clear priority: provide a gaming experience that is like no other company. They do this with their innovative hardware and plethora of exclusives. Sony tries to appeal across the wide spectrum of gamers by providing exclusives that range from the E rated LittleBigPlanet to the M rated Uncharted series.

   Microsoft desperately needs exclusives. They own Halo. Halo sells millions of copies per game. They also have Gears of War. These are the major exclusives on XBOX consoles. These two series have a large fan base, but they only appeal to a specific audience. They are both rated M (17+ years of age). This essentially repels a large portion of the audience that could buy the XBOX One.

   Imagine competing theme parks. In Microsoft’s hypothetical park, a long line of paying customers stand in a line of pure anticipation. Then Microsoft shouts, “Hey! Seventeen and up only! Kids, out!” They wouldn’t make as much money. This is what Microsoft is doing.

    After the announcement of the XBOX One, stocks for Sony increased, while Microsoft’s declined because fans preferred the Play Station 4 (Sony’s soon-to-be-released game console) to the XBOX One. The fan base is not happy with Microsoft. The company has to act fast.

   The main thing Microsoft can do to improve its standing is to create some new game series that appeal to more than one audience. This will draw in more customers and will boost sales. They won’t be able to survive forever off of only shooter fans.

   Making a couple new games that are exclusive to the XBOX One and targeting new audiences (along with being well made games) will definitely bring some new consumers over to their side. They should make a game that is a side-scroller, one that’s a JRPG (Japanese Role Playing Game), and one that is geared towards kids. This would be a good start, as it would entice a more diverse pool of customers to try the XBOX One.

   Say that Microsoft’s fictional park had only a Ferris wheel. No roller coaster, no spin-until-you-puke rides, no anything else. Who would go to that? People would instead go to Nintendo’s park that has many, many rides.

   If Microsoft listens to Luke, they have a chance at becoming the top gaming company of this generation. But really, Nintendo should open a theme park.

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