Oh Microsoft. The tech giant can’t seem to catch a break. Last year, Microsoft was criticized for spending too much time on non-gaming things: voice control, TV, original programming, the NFL, etc. So Microsoft listened to customers (or the press?) and at this year’s E3, the beleaguered company didn’t talk about anything but games, games and games. And yet, people complained that Microsoft’s presentation was too focused and uninspired. Forbes‘ take, for example:
[The presentation] wasn’t bad, so much — some of the games looked great, even if many weren’t exclusives — but it was decidedly safe. There wasn’t much that felt exciting coming from Microsoft, and you could sense that in the presentation as well. It was timid. That’s not the worst thing in the world, but you could feel it in the room. For a company that needs to re-invigorate its console, it doesn’t feel great.
It’s a catch-22 situation for Microsoft: damned for talking about non-gaming things, damned for only talking about games.
This is no paradox, however. Microsoft’s mistake is in taking feedback too literally. The objective of your business is not to listen to customers, the objective is to impress them enough so that they actually spend time or money on you. Microsoft focused too much on listening and not enough on the actual wowing.