Microsoft's new Xbox One console has been branded as the ultimate games and entertainment machine.
The hard reality of those ambitious claims is now biting hard, as early buyers find poor gaming experiences, expensive in-game-content demands and issues with the TV and entertainment features. But Microsoft is handling the complaints well and trying to minimize disruption for users.
Both Sold 1 Million
Microsoft proudly claimed to have a sold a million Xbox One consoles across the 13 launch countries on its opening day. That compares to a million Sony PlayStation 4 sales in America alone on its launch. But it is likely both companies are pleased with initial sales, which confirm mobile and tablets have yet to kill consoles.
However, it wasn't long before issues, as we predicted, started coming to light across social media showing that all was not well for some users. While a few had trouble with screeching Blu-ray drives (even putting up YouTube videos to demonstrate), installing the day one update and other issues, most of the problems are with the games and software.
Racing game Forza 5 is a $60 title that has been roundly criticized for trying to sell extra downloadable cars and track content as if it were a free-to-play mobile title. NBA 2014 (also on PlayStation 4) has come in for heavy criticism of its gameplay, forcing publisher Electronic Arts to promise updates and improvements to the otherwise gorgeous-looking title. Other games have received average reviews, with a lack of next-generation look or features cited as a common theme.
Other issues include some European users are complaining of jerky TV performance from the console's entertainment features. Also, many common entertainment apps aren't yet available and the huge update sizes for the system and some games are delaying users enjoyment of their expensive new devices.
Quick Fixes and the Long View
Microsoft was quick to respond across social media. The company directed users to call support and responded to stories that appeared on tech sites by providing lists of corrective actions. It is also announced it will ship replacement units without waiting to receive the defective units back from customers.
Certainly, these consoles will be around for six years or more and represent a long-term investment for buyers. But, in the rush to launch, Microsoft seems to have come off worst with its wider scope as a home entertainment system opening it up to more potential problems.
If you have yet to buy, check our guide to the differences between the two consoles. Alternately, there's Nintendo's Wii U. That product suffered similar issues during its summer launch but has evolved into a more mature and less costly offering with a great number of games.
Anyone responsible for a product launch or marketing and support can examine these recent events for valuable lessons. From ensuring the completeness of an offering, to transparent, honest and positive handling of consumer complaints on social media (which has been managed pretty well), there is plenty to pick up on.