Microsoft’s biggest Xbox One mistake? Listening to its customers, dev argues

Game designer and professor Jesse Schell has argued that Microsoft’s big mistake with Xbox One was one many global companies make – it listened to its customers.

"Your customers want you to stay the same, even if it drives you into the ground," Schell told Games Industry. "The problem is that the hardcore folks always want the same thing: ‘We want exactly what you gave us before, but it has to be completely different.’

"Somehow, Microsoft didn’t seem to think that would be a reality, or even a problem.

"The reality is that they can’t do what the customers want. They came out and said, ‘We’re gonna do this new thing.’ And the customers said, ‘No, we don’t want that, we hate that’ – even though it’s what they really want and what they will ultimately buy.

So now Microsoft has had to say they won’t do all that stuff, but someone will. That’s how it always goes. This is the lesson of the innovator’s dilemma.

Why is it that big companies fail when the technology changes? It happens in every industry, so what’s the pattern? What are they all doing wrong? Everyone says, ‘Oh, it’s because they’re stupid. Big companies are stupid.’ They can’t be stupid. How did they get that big and stay that big if they’re stupid? Microsoft isn’t stupid.

"There’s one mistake that they all make, and that mistake is listening to their customers."

Last week Codemasters founder David Darling also criticised Microsoft for bowing to pressure and reversing its Xbox One policies.

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