Microsoft’s Don Mattrick’s Comments: A Result of Frustration or Ignorance?
Microsoft have had something of a turbulent time since their E3 outing. Even with a solid conference that showed some decent games, they have struggled to make a positive impression on the audience. Let’s face it: every company screws up every once in a while on the biggest stage in the industry, but Microsoft have taken E3 2013 as their opportunity to not just screw up, but almost stick two fingers up at their customers.
Don Mattrick, a Microsoft executive, recently said something that felt rather venomous and slightly ‘off’. His comments were a result of a question based around the requirement of an internet connection in order to play games on the Xbox One. His reply was the following:
“Fortunately, we have a product for people who aren’t able to get some form of connectivity,” he said. “It’s called Xbox 360.”
The way in which it was said felt rather condescending–almost immature. I have to wonder if this was the view of an individual or the view of a company. If the latter is true (which seems the most likely case), then this is truly a sign of how out of touch Microsoft has become with its customers. To take in the scope of the comment you have to look where it was made–on video to Geoff Keighley at E3, and not just in a random interview on a site or magazine. This was in full view of the gaming masses; it was possibly the most public way to broadcast the message to the consumer outside of during the actual conference.
Personally, I believe that comment was made as a result of frustration. It did not come off as the sort of well-thought-out comment you’d expect by someone in his position. The wounds Sony had inflicted on Microsoft were still fresh, and the PS4 buzz was still strong. There is no way that this would’ve gone unnoticed by Microsoft and Don Mattrick. What happened at this year’s E3 was the equivalent of a rival embarrassing their counterpart. Think Manchester City beating Manchester United 6-1, or Chuck Liddel KO’ing Tito Ortiz, or even Vince McMahon buying out WCW. Being taken to the sword by your rival is a frustrating experience in any walk of life, even more so at such a huge event like E3.
Don Mattrick’s words will be the comment that rings throughout the next generation. Even if it was said in frustration, it represents how out of touch, how off the mark, Microsoft has become. Is there time for redemption? Sure there is. Price cuts, changes in policy, attitude and quality content can sway public opinion. But for now, Microsoft simply has to suck up the unpopular opinion on their system and company, and comments such as Don’s will never help their cause.