Microsoft’s Yusuf Mehdi shares lessons learned from failed Xbox One reveal

When the Xbox One was revealed, Microsoft faced an unprecedented backlash over their vision for the future of gaming. An always-online console which didn’t allow used games was viewed as detrimental to consumers. Despite the fact that abilities like family sharing and the potential for Steam-like prices were discussed, the company decided to abandon their ambitions in favor of what fans wanted. Instead of imposing change on gamers, Microsoft has now learned to adapt their devices accordingly.

Corporate vice president Yusuf Mehdi posted his understanding of what Microsoft’s relationship with consumers should be like in the future. He said:

“My learning is that you cannot create fans, you have to earn them…our team has embarked on the journey to build a fan-centric culture at Microsoft…you really focus on doing the right thing for your customers…Doing the right thing is not always the easiest thing and that will be the truest test of your values…We’ve experienced these challenges ourselves with…Xbox One…we didn’t deliver what our fans wanted. We heard their feedback…we changed Xbox One to work the same way as Xbox 360 for how our customers could play…This experience was such a powerful reminder that we must always do the right thing for our customers.”

Had Microsoft changed the console after giving gamers a familiar starting point, their vision may have been adopted. Since the reveal of the Xbox One, many gamers have been asking for Steam features on their console along with cheaper game prices. Unfortunately this isn’t possible anymore because the original pitch has been branded an anti-consumer practice. The reason for this is that Microsoft—despite great ideas—wanted to force it on gamers. You have to start a conversation with people before announcing significant changes like these. Listen to what the consumer wants at that moment and go from there.

Mehdi summarized this point well when he added, “Many companies treat the initial transaction with the customer as the most important part of the journey. Any fan-centric company should treat that as just the starting point. In fact, every interaction with the customer after that is more important.” Microsoft should focus on evolving their products in the future—instead of imposing controversial features—and continuing the conversation with consumers. A great example of this is Project Scorpio which is exactly what gamers wanted in an Xbox One upgrade.

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