Microsoft May Not Be Smart, but It's Wise


Microsoft wasn't being very smart when it told gamers that the new Xbox One would have to connect to the Internet every 24 hours. The company also acted unintelligently when it said that disc games could only be sold once. And it further lacked insight when it said there would be restrictions on lending and sharing games with friends.

But yesterday, the company proved that making a few dumb decisions doesn't mean you still can't make wise moves - and it's reversed the previous Xbox One restrictions.

In a blog post entitled "Your Feedback Matters - Update on Xbox One," Don Mattrick, president of interactive entertainment business at Microsoft said, "We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds." Microsoft, which looked liked it was killing the gaming community it helped to create, will now offer the same game-sharing features as the Xbox 360.

To be clear on its intent, Microsoft's post included these three phrases to make sure gamers know what the reversal means:

  • "You can play, share, lend, and resell your games exactly as you do today on Xbox 360."

  • "You can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360."

  • "There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360."

Just like the Xbox 360 - music to most gamers' ears.

Luckily for Microsoft, the company came to its senses and did the wise thing before it started selling the Xbox One. The company has been the top-selling console-maker every month for over two years. The Xbox has been an innovative flare for the Redmond company and, let's face it, the company isn't exactly heralded as the most cutting edge tech company at the moment.

Microsoft investors should be happy that the company was wise enough to listen to a core customer base and give them exactly what they want. Maybe the Xbox One would have sold a lot of units without the changes, but it's likely to sell more now, because Microsoft listened. Investors need to see how the gaming community reacts to the changes and, eventually, if those changes translate into Xbox One sales once the product launches.

Maybe Microsoft will learn an even bigger lesson from the Xbox fiasco when it makes updates to its Windows 8 platform later this year: Making bold changes to technology is one thing, but making bold changes that people actually want is quite another.

While most of the gaming community's concerns over the Xbox One have been quelled, Microsoft is still struggling to find its way in mobile, and its latest Windows OS has been highly criticized. So continuing its history of strong demand for Xboxes would be a welcome sight. In a new premium report on Microsoft, a Motley Fool analyst explains that, while the company's opportunities are huge, so are the challenges. The report includes regular updates as key events occur, so make sure to claim a copy of this report now by clicking here.

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Fool contributor Chris Neiger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Originally published