Since I questioned Microsoft’s change in marketing strategy for the Xbox, I’ve been thinking about positive suggestions for boosting the market share of the Xbox 360. And I think I’ve got a good one, although it might be bit odd – as always I’m hoping your comments will aid my thinking.
The idea came to me as:
Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is a major attempt to ‘own the living room’ with a device which converges gaming (especially online gaming), videos, and other entertainement and community building.
The Xbox Live service is a major selling point for the Xbox.
Videos on Demand were one step towards convergence.
Then integrating with Netflix was the next step to boost the pretty measly catalogue of videos on demand. (Sadly still unavailable in the UK).
US broadband suppliers are starting to limit data. Meanwhile in the UK, far lower limits are normal. In fact, one major reason for my decision to go with Zen Broadband was that they offered a decent data limit for 2-8Mb connections, unlike most other ISPs (It’s the maximum speed I can get in my area). But even with a 20GB limit, I’m getting closer and closer to hitting the data limit every month, as more and more of my media usage is online.
So why doesn’t Microsoft bundle internet access with the Xbox 360/Xbox Live accounts?
There may be issues around conflicts of interest etc, but if Microsoft wants to own the living room, particularly outside the U.S, then perhaps becoming an ISP, or partnering with an existing supplier might be the best move they could ever make.
1. If they offered the highest data limits in the market, they’d give an added incentive for families to pick the Xbox.
2. Increased data limits would encourage the download/renting of full films online – as it is, a handful of films would mean no more internet for a month for me.
3. They could ensure maximum compatability, and also work to reduce issues with lag and connections. There are still many issues with online gaming, especially given the speed differences between U.S and U.K for example.
4. They’d be in a position to stimulate broadband improvements, and drive down prices by subsidising the costs with the increase in revenue from an uptake in sales, Live Accounts, and VoD. Plus it may stimulate more innovation in the services being offered. And they’d also be able to benefit from offering services from the entire Microsoft business to families which are likely to have other internet-enabled devices alongside their Xbox.
5. It gives an added incentive for people currently using/considering a PC as a media centre to use the Xbox instead.
It seems to make sense, but in my enthusiasm I may have missed some reasons why this would be difficult/impossible – so please do help improve my thinking through the comments. Maybe we’ll end up with better broadband because of it!