OPINION: Microsoft and the Xbox 720 guessing game

The thing is, it’s not really Microsoft’s fault. It’s ours.

Earlier this week MCV lamented Microsoft’s compulsion to lie to us all about an admission from its general manager Brian hall that the New Xbox is a ‘thing’.

We lamented the necessity of lies in corporate culture. We lamented being treated like idiots. But then we had a think about and realised that perhaps Microsoft isn’t to blame at all.

Perhaps it’s all our fault.

By our we mean the media of course. Well, and Apple. Because Apple has proved how to make a successful business out of keeping people guessing.

Here’s a(nother) thing: do a quick Google News search for iPhone 5 rumours”.

In the past 24 hours alone stories have been published about the pixel count and size of the still unofficial device’s screen, the shape of its home button, how many units some analyst thinks the still unconfirmed device might sell whenever it might be released, the number of rows of apps the home screen will display, the width of the unit, the possible inclusion of a magnet on its dock connector and even, shock of shocks, how many pins will be included in its dock socket.

Hell, there are websites out there that exist purely to publish unsubstantiated rumours about all things Apple.

There’s a whole industry of free marketing out there that Apple pays absolutely nothing for. Which is maybe why it can afford all those flash, minimalist, piano-backed TV ads.

And Microsoft knows that as long as it keeps shtum about the New Xbox it will receive the same treatment. As long as we’re kept guessing, we’ll keep guessing. Publicly.

So when someone discovers a small Microsoft job ad that seems to suggest that the New Xbox will be out within 18 months – something the whole industry is absolutely 100 per cent certain of regardless – it will still get coverage.

Why on earth would Microsoft want to kill that particular golden marketing goose? Heck, a little bit of corporate bullshit is a small price to pay, right?

The long and short of it is that we’re going to (at least try to) stop reporting on every New Xbox scheduling rumour from now on. Not that it’ll make even the remotest of difference, of course.

But at least we’ll have a platform from which we can step onto our high horse.

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