Xbox One, The Homer And Why Microsoft Should Give Less F#@ks

UFC fighter Rashad Evans has an unorthodox training technique. He takes off his gloves, puts down the pads and walks over to the nearest mirror. He looks at himself dead in the eye and he says "I don't give a f*ck". Then he says it again. And again. And again. He keeps saying it until he actually believes it, until he no longer has any f*cks to give.

There's a power that comes from giving zero f*cks. For Rashad it means ignoring the distractions that come with being in the public eye, the negativity, the pressure, the loneliness that comes with fighting another human being in a cage. Letting go of the things he can't control allows him to fight with more freedom. It's transformative. It allows Rashad to fight his own fight.

Which is really just a long-winded way of saying: I think Microsoft needs to give less f*cks.

The Vision Thing

After spiel upon spiel about how integral Kinect was to its all-in-one media monstrosity that will consume our living rooms and, indeed, our lives, Microsoft has now announced that Kinect on the Xbox One will no longer be mandatory.

As a solitary statement of fact this is fine but, in context, it's the end result of a series of backflips that make Microsoft look very much like a ship without a rudder. Or, indeed, a Captain. First Xbox One was the always-online centre of your living room. Then it wasn't. Then Kinect was the key that made your living room a throbbing, vibrating world of 'accessible' motion control. Then it sorta was, but only if that's what you want and you still have to pay extra for it, even if it's not what you want.

So, some seriously mixed messaging.

But first, allow me to provide a list of things I am not saying...

- I'm not saying Microsoft shouldn't listen to consumer feedback. It should. - I'm not saying the ability to turn off Kinect is necessarily a bad idea. It isn't. - I'm not saying that always-on is an ideal solution to piracy. It isn't.

Now allow me to provide a list of the thing I am saying.

- If Microsoft had more confidence in its own ideas for the Xbox One, we'd all be more inclined to buy into it. - If Microsoft had done more realistic market research before announcing the Xbox One, everything might feel a little more cohesive. - The Xbox One needs to somehow redefine itself as a console with vision.

And allow me to reiterate. It should give less f*cks.

Consider The Homer

When Rashad Evans was busy swearing at himself in the mirror he clearly understood one thing: no matter what he did, no matter how he fought or prepared himself, people would have something to say about it. That 'something' may be positive, it may also be negative. Sometimes you have to let go of the reactions and give less f*cks. You have to be confident in yourself and push forward.

Microsoft is now in the process of learning a harsh truth of the internet age: no matter what you do, no matter what decision you make — regardless of the direction you head towards — there will be a group of people who disagree vehemently with your decisions.

Giving less f*cks is essential. You must be flexible enough to make the changes that must be made, but those changes must be made for the benefit of your product. They should be made at the behest of your overall vision for that product. These are the kind of decisions that can only be made when you can coolly evaluate the responses and — crucially — you have a tested faith in the product you are attempting to sell. Maybe this was always the problem — Microsoft came to the party underprepared, with a machine it didn't know how to sell. It had no faith in the Xbox One itself and maybe those cracks are now beginning to show.

But above all consider The Homer. When The Simpsons came to visit Homer's long lost brother Herbert Powell, they discovered a motor magnate in rapid decline. Sales were down; people were no longer interested in the automobiles Powell Motors was producing. In desperation Herb turned to Homer, the average American. Build me a car, he said, that the average American will love.

The end result? 'The Homer', a bloated car without vision, burdened with last-minute additions that made no sense: the modern-day representation of Henry Ford's faster, weirder horse. I'm not saying that Microsoft is anywhere close to that level of lunacy with the Xbox One, but it must watch carefully: it isn't too many steps removed from adding gigantic cup holders, shag carpeting and three horns that play 'La Cucaracha'.


Comments

    Personally I disagree, I think The Homer is more fitting when describing the Xbox One before the drastic changes occured.
    Just like the Homer, the 'E3' Xbox One design was crammed with all of these extra things that people didn't want or need.

    I think Microsoft has to give fucks about this situation, they are desperately trying to turn their 'Homer' that Don Mattrick championed into something that people will actually want to buy.

      I pre ordered a Next Gen E3 Xbox One. Now it's becoming more and more a polished Xbox 360 like the PS4. The foaming at the mouth vocal minority have pretty much stripped the "next gen" from the next gen.

        I just registered a Kotaku account to agree with dknigs

        Come on, i know being dismissive comes hand in hand with being on the internet but you have to know there's more to it than that. Why do people just blatantly ignore general information just because they don't like it? Why don't people look at what they think and then try to understand an alternate point of view before dismissing it? I mean there's being dismissive and there's being fascist.

        Hell yeah my thoughts exactly! MS wanted to bring the new and poeple just want a box that has games shoved into it! It's unfortunate Sony is doing what they did with the Sega Dreamcast trying to make a corporation look bad fro actually doing superior things! I think Sony know they cant compete cause if anyone knows Sony are skint and borrowing money while MS spend $100million on their controller, the console I'm unsure but would be a lot the 300,000 servers is amazing and that would have cost millions if not billions and the fact MS are putting $1billion into the first 12 months of games into the XONE/360 etc...And not to mention XboxLive has been superior since the original Xbox!

        I'm sure MS are doing amazing things and not letting some bully Corporation try make them look bad cause MS have to go backwards cause Sony wont truly go forward! If you dont see that then your just ignorant! Cause all Sony are doing are using MS approach to console hardware, keeping quiet till MS make a move and trying to ramp on that they have some kind of superior console! When it's been said they're practically the same machine! n my eyes as a gamer and consumer I see what Sony have done for years and they're the ones losing! Seeing as only of 2011 they made any profit from their so called superior PS3

        People hear 4cores more, they hear Gddr5 ram and the words better and run to it! It's just hopeless and those kind of people are what makes the gaming industry backwards! It amazes me seeing people say that MS are going back on things and copying Sony!

        Just look at PC to understand my point! It's the true superior machine but games dont come as close to being developed for! You know why? Cause specs and power truly mean nothing! Nintendo may be doing it hard but they've been around way longer and their games don't need superior hardware at all! they just have games that people worldwide love!

        Last edited 14/08/13 12:35 am

      Well, they have to give some fucks, but not all of the fucks.

      But I want a console that's powerful like a gorilla, yet soft and yielding like a nerf ball.

      Nah the 'E3' Xbox One was designed by a bunch of executives.
      The Homer was designed by a member of the public.

    I always wondered how one car could've severely cripple Herb's company. It cost $50,000. Don't sell it, go back to the drawing board and start again. If he had millions in the bank (although given the state of the US vehicle industry...) there's no way he should've turned homeless overnight because of the Homer. I love The Simpsons more than I like girly cocktails (they taste great), but I can't help pick out its foibles sometimes.

    Oh, Microsoft, they're starting to realise that gamers are their core audience and are bringing their games division direction back in line with demand. I don't think that not giving a hoot about what people think is the way to go. The internet exploded over the XBone with very good reason; their policies were terrible. There's a time for not giving a flying monkeys, but also a time for sucking it up and admitting you ballsed up. Now that they've done the latter, they can start to do the former, especially with all the ribbing they're getting now about it being the XBox 180. If they can ignore that, they'll do well enough. They'll have to accept though that Sony are leading the pack atm

      The funniest thing about your comment, is that last nights episode "Boyz in the Hood" of The Simpsons featured Lisa telling Bart that "cartoons don't have to be 100% accurate" while a duplicate of Homer walks by in the background (he was also sitting on the couch in the foreground).

        or when Ned's voice changes after he says they can change voice actors easily and no-one will notice :D

      IRL - It takes millions of dollars to produce a prototype - not $50k

        I know, but a company is unlikely to go bust because one product is a failure.

      I remember Holden said that it takes about $1 billion to develop a new version of the Commodore. *shrug*

    I don't think Microsoft were ready.
    The whole thing smacks of policy on the fly... the same with E3, the way messaging came out was like there was no message yet.
    Developers mentioned that the software wasn't ready for developers... and MS is a software company.

    The other problem is that Microsoft is so large, with so many subdivisions, each fighting for a share of the pie, that they're developing with non game features in mind.

    Will they get it together? Absolutely...

    I think the other thing is that we're looking at this from our point of view and, to be fair, but we live in such a bubble that the issues for us concern the wider audience not at all.

      Yeah this is a good point.

        Which one?

          The bubble thing -- but all of it really :)

            Except your wrong and this article and the previous article posted are wrong in alot of ways.
            I dont see them as having any less vision, it is a matter of fact that they thought the Xbox one would be better received. It wasn't so they made a few tweaks to make the majority happy, regardless of the previous stance this is a good thing. They then have decided, well I understand some people dont want it connected 24/7 so if we give them this tiny simple thing that wont change the base product ( and WON'T fracture the player base) but will likely win a few more followers back for minimal effort.

            I'm just so horrendously sick and tired of the doom mongering following the Xbox one, especially here. They can't win,
            "Oh they have DRM down with Microsoft." - Oh they got rid of the DRM, bunch of sissies bring it back.
            "Oh i have to have kinect Boohooo"- now you can un plugg it in select non game related circumstance. Omg Microsoft has lost the plot what are they doing.....

            Seriously its getting beyond rediculous, they can't please anyone at Kotaku despite doing everything they can to keep their vision alive while still catering general public (with a few changes). They should be commended for at least having the balls to make a change instead of doing what sony has with the Vite and Nintendo and the WiiU, which is stick their heads in the sand.

            The ONLY CHANGE, the single only change that is in the previous conditions, where you could "turn off" the kinect (which they once stated still listened for 1 or 2 commands only) you can now unplug it instead.

            You can not play games without it connected, period.
            The only thing is that now you can use without it plugged in are the the HDMI pass through or watch movies on the console, this is how it will stay unless otherwise explicitly stated.
            IT won't change how games are developed, it is a simply change they have done for those who are paranoid and wanted to unplug it while not in use without disable the ENTIRE machine. It is a simple code tweak in an effort to win over a few of the tin foil hat wearers.

            Last edited 13/08/13 12:40 pm

              I think you need to go re-read the Microsoft announcement again, because they clearly say that the Kinect only needs to be plugged in for software that actually uses it eg Kinect Sports. You can have it unplugged otherwise.

                That's not actually what they said though.

                All games will use kinect, everything is tied to kinect. The only things that don't utilise it is HDMI pass through and movies. Sure there might be some other apps maybe the tv sports tv sports stuff too. But the games, you know on the damn games console. All games use/need/offer kinect options, which means to play games kinect needs to be plugged in even if you don't want to use it (in which case you can turn it off) But it still needs to be connected.

                Which means that literally nothing has changed, the only difference is that in those moments where you could previously turn off the kinect fully you can now unplug it as well. It has no impact on games.

                IF I WAS WRONG, they would have worded it differently. They would say you no longer have to have the kinect plugged in to play all of the Xbox one video games. So the very fact that they didn't word it in such a manner of even leave it as an opened ended question/answer means that as of right now, you will still need to have it plugged in for all normal function and that only a select few things will work without it ( As i mentioned).

                Read it yourself if you like, since kotaku rarely sources properly. http://au.ign.com/articles/2013/08/05/ask-microsoft-anything-about-xbox-one

                Considering how little reading comprehension the average Kotaku user has, I'd bet on my English skills over anyone else here. (look at how many people argue with me in previous post only to have totally missed the point or are flat out wrong because they lack comprehension.)

              I stopped reading your post at 'rediculous'. Seriously how can I take anyone seriously who spells it like that. Lol.......try ridiculous.

              Sorry but I see it a lot and its embarrassing to the human race.

    Beautifully summed up my feelings. The way Microsoft keeps chopping and changing has left me feeling really cautious about the Xbox One and though I'm sure it will undoubtedly be a success at the end of the day, it will be interesting to see how it is received by the world after launch.

    The REAL problem with the xbox one and microsoft - is that they didn't communicate their ideas clearly - hence why there was speculation that they might do a 'relaunch' to clearly detail what their vision is. In today's climate of social media, no one is going to get away with anything without certain scrutiny, microsoft put themselves in this position, by bumbling through their conference. BUT in a way that's not entirely their fault, as the xbox one is more than just a gaming console, it's their vision of the future in entertainment as a whole - something they have always said they were going to do, back when the xbox was released.

    People are scared of change, and gamers have waited a long time to get a new console. Most will only care about the games, extra features are a bonus. Microsoft wanted to make a presence and say we can do X, Y AND Z...oh and games - they mistakenly made people focus on the wrong thing, and that's due to how they communicated with the audience.

    I'll be getting a xbox one, I didn't buy into any of the 'hoopla' that went on - Sony came off smelling like roses, because they were after Microsoft, they had the beauty of hindsight. I'll get both, I buy them for their games - games that I can't get on my PC, because at the end of the day I'll play the majority of games on my PC, as I'm apart of the master race :P

    Wrong Mark. Rashad stands in front of a mirror, rubs his nipples as a tribute to his former mentor, then begins blowing kisses to himself.

    Give not enough F#@ks and you are arrogant, disconnected from your core market (whinging gamers) and inflexible.
    Give too many F#@ks and you are soft, inconsistent, got your strategy wrong, have no conviction.

    Actually I think MSFT are probably sitting at just about the right number of F#@ks. They released a visionary product, they listened to the feedback, they adjusted without preventing the reintroduction of those capabilities at a later date. What they haven't got right, across all of their efforts to re-invent themselves, is their ability to communicate the vision to customers. The XBone is part of a huge play into the battle for the loungeroom and it has some pretty handy potential there. But they really failed to illustrate their vision to customers. Likewise Windows 8 was a massive play in the future of personal computing. Despite the flaws I think the strategy has some merit, especially from the perspective of MSFT themselves.

    What they failed to do was outline the value of the strategy to their customers. Customers didn't get the potential of XBone & customers didn't get the potential for Win8. MSFT needs to get their strategy people and their marketing people working together at the same table so they can convince customers to buy into it. Otherwise all of their strategy moves (which I think are quite interesting and even more innovative than Apple in some respects) will be for nought.

      Unrealized potential is a dangerous thing when it comes with more drawbacks than rewards.

    Herb Powell just needed a better marketing division. I wonder if the marketing arm of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation does contract work...?

    Last edited 13/08/13 11:56 am

    On the flipside, The Homer demonstrates what happens when a company does not respond to feedback or seek the opinions of its audience until it's too late (i.e. an overabundance of confidence).

    There's probably some sort of middle ground between flipflopping like a fish out of water, and doing a Homer.

    Last edited 13/08/13 12:04 pm

    that was a terrible read.

    comparing Microsoft to an E-sports Athlete to an episode of the Simpsons... why?

    Rashad Evans isn't trying to sell you a home entertainment system - he IS selling the entertainment on your system. All he has to do is fight to a satisfactory level for consumer's entertainment.

    Microsoft a global company is trying to sell the next home entertainment gaming system. The amount of work and synergy behind its collective components are vastly different to a fight.

    As for The Homer, it was made without restriction or supervision by an average man. The $50,000 cost price was far too high for what it was in its time and I think it was the stock/share prices plummeting which ruined the company.

    In my opinion, Microsoft weren't ready with anything - rushed to present their product to compete with others not taking into consideration the impact of social media and the backlash they were given when they presented ideas that did not sit well with their consumers. Which is why the idea they should give less fucks is ridiculous. Its fine to try and appeal to new customers to adopt their hardware but its the existing consumer-base which they support from, because they are the ones most likely to upgrade to newer hardware and pissing them off is a bad idea.

      ...e-sports athlete?

        call it whatever. its a sport, its entertainment.

          All spectator sports are entertainment.

          I’m pretty sure he’s just an athlete. I’d be pretty pissed off if I’d spent my life as an elite level college wrester turned martial artist only to be referred to as an e-athlete (which to me implies the bloke’s either a pro-gamer or a professional wrestler).

          Still a stupid analogy though. I’d call it all the ‘Fred Durst Effect’ – going out of your way to constantly say “I don’t give a f*ck” seems like very odd behaviour for a person who doesn’t give a f*ck.

    I actually think you've got the analogy back to front. The original idea for the XBox One was the Homer - something that was built on ideas that came from listening to the wrong people. MS listened to big publishers, TV content providers, their own internal teams, etc. They listened to what all THOSE people wanted from a new console, and somewhere along the line they forgot that those aren't the people who are going to be buying the console.

    The end result was that their initial reveal and E3 presentation were both pretty much like the announcement of the Homer - a lot of fanfare and the curtain parts and there they are, sitting on a pedestal slowly turning round and round while the people they needed to impress just kind of looked on in stunned silence, not quite able to believe what they were seeing. It's only since then that they've started to think that it might be a good idea to create something that people want to buy.

    You know who doesn't give a fuck?

    Nintendo.

    Think about it:

    Fans: We want a new F-Zero
    Miyamoto: Why would anyone want to play F-Zero?

    Fans: 3DS needs two analogue sticks
    Nintendo releases revised 3DS with one stick

    Fans: WiiU needs games
    Iwata: Art Academy

    Fans: Console Pokemon?
    Nintendo: Fuck Off!

      That's the difference between the companies, really. Nintendo KNOW they've got their fanbase sorted out. Microsoft THOUGHT they did, just like Sony back with the PS3 launch. Consumers are fickle things...

    People are confused. They believe "having a vision" also means "being deaf, dumb and blind to how people are reacting to your machine"

    Maybe Microsoft simply decided that their vision needed some changes in the beginning, before the vision could be realized.

    Last edited 13/08/13 1:35 pm

    I think the real problem isn't ignoring the negative feedback.... It's their terrible PR. To be honest, I still don't know if the features they dropped from the xbone where really going to be worth it or not; but they didn't sell the benefits of the features, so everyone hated on it.

    If they just clearly presented what would have been good about always online, maybe all of this would have turned out differently.

    I honestly preferred the original Xbox One.

    This new one is far more boring and less convenient for me. I have internet, I don't buy used games and am sick of swapping discs all the time.

    For me personally, the original Xbox One was pretty much perfect. I would have expected the original vision to affect casuals for more than core gamers given most core gamers have internet, use Steam (which is all digital) and barely buy used games.

    But whatever I guess. Hopefully MS brings all that stuff back through updates.

      They've already announced pretty much all those things returning - check out some of the kotaku articles over the last week or so

      How is it less convenient now? You can still purchase your games online, which will allow you to play them without swapping discs all the time. You don't have to purchase used games at all, but the option is now there for those who wish to without impacting you in any way. Kinect will still work as it was going to before, but you can choose to not use it for most tasks if you wish. The game sharing functionality has even returned.

      The current version of the Xbox One gives you everything you had before, but with less restrictions and more options for everyone. I don't see how this is a bad thing.

        I liked the idea of buying a disc, but then having the convenience of digital.

        If the digital pricing was going to be decent, I'd be fine, but we all know they'll be charging $100AU for new digital games.

        If I'm going to pay retail prices, then I want a retail disc. I'm happy to bank on digital if the price is right. I've replaced many 360 games digitally with all the recent sales. But for $10 or less, I don't mind not having the "security" of a disc.

    im just waiting for the announcement on launch day that they actually never changed anything and the day 1 patch is actually restoring the firmware to the way they always wanted it to be

    Oh Mark - how I've missed you and your articles!

    Microsoft is now in the process of learning a harsh truth of the internet age: no matter what you do, no matter what decision you make — regardless of the direction you head towards — there will be a group of people who disagree vehemently with your decisions.

    That's such a cop out. They did something they knew people a sizable portion of their audience wouldn't react well to purely because they thought they were in a position that would allow them to force it. They over estimated their bargaining position, showed their true colours and now they're paying the price.
    You can't just shrug that off with a 'haters gonna hate'. Even before the internet consoles had to deal with the fact they couldn't please everybody. This is something completely different.

    Do u always have to be online I love jesse Dawson <3

    *glances at the dreamcast*

    I was one who applauded their 'always on' reversal but this is just spineless and nonsensical. I would never have even considered buying an Xbox One if it had to phone home every 24 hours due to the nature of my work and gaming habits. On the other hand, I don't give two shits about the Kinect. I think it's a gimmick but as long as it's relatively harmless, I can see some cool factor in controlling your home theatre through it. And hey, unlike last time, it's being packed in with every system so there should be no excuse about developing for haves and have-nots. Why they did this complete 180 boggles my mind.

    Microsoft wasn't Homer. It was Mr Burns!

    It really was. It originally did "not give a f*ck" and the complete disregard for the "group of people who disagree vehemently with your decisions"; aka most of its customers and potential customers put it in the position that it is now.

    The complete backflip on so many restrictions(and don't misinterpret them for anything else; they are RESTRICTIONS) is a good idea. The Kinect does not need to be connected. Just like you don't need to have a webcam plugged into a PC to use it. Of course if you don't have one... then you don't have access to the things a webcam can do... but that's common sense. If the Xbone's Kinect is good, people will use it.

    A lot of people aren't going to immediately change their minds. The road to healing is a long one, but Micro$oft are at least taking the appropriate steps. The only thing which really annoys me is all of these people with fear of missing out(FOMO). The "original" Xbone wouldn't have given a superior experience, it wasn't that the customers "weren't ready", it was simply worse.

    All i have to say is that so far the lowest point for the XO was day-2 E3, and it has been consistently making the right changes, its good the Kinect is redundant but still comes in the Box [I hope this does not change], the only thing i could ask Miscrosoft now is user-removable HDD's, but thats not a big issue, next year - re-implementation of 10-man game sharing [ONLY FOR DIGITAL PURCHASES], and THATS IT, MSFT should start focusing on 1st party exclusives the XO really needs no further changes at this point, so far all changes of the system HAVE made it better, now it just needs the games to sell the systems,

    sooooo... exactly how many fat, unshaven, underpants wearing x-boxbois did Redmond expect to be cheering the concept of being camera kinected 24/7 on an always connected 'gaming' console?

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