Xbox Design Lab: How to sell Xbox custom controllers? Give creators a cut

Microsoft had a problem. Consumers were happily designing customised controllers on its Xbox Design Lab site, but they weren’t buying them. Probably due to the increased price that inevitably came with the customisation options.

Marketing agency McCann, the ones responsible for the Tomb Raider billboard survival stunt, came up with an idea to get them invested in the site and buying more controllers. The agency told Campaign this week.

"By having that ownership feature, people started acting entrepreneurial and strategically. This actively engaged them and showed us how entrepreneurial and marketing savvy they were," said Jamie Mietz, McCann creative director, to Campaign.

Creators then started to make custom designs related to films, sports team, memes and a myriad of other popular culture touchpoints. They could register these designs as their own and earn a commission everytime someone bought one of their designs. It was called the ‘Fanchise Model’.

Last week the campaign won the Cannes Lions’ eCommerce category, with Campaign noting that ‘On average, each designer made $95.24 (£72) from their controller, with the top earner making $1,131 (£860).’

Crucially for Microsoft, though, it boosted sales by a massive 350 per cent. Engaging consumers with the store like never before. It turns out that although people like to customise their own controllers, having someone else do it for them, and then often promote those controller designs heavily across the like of Twitch is a far bigger draw.

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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